Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fighting Against the Tide

I don't home educate my children because I like to be weird.

It's a lot easier to do what everyone else is doing. Heck, if my kids were in school, I'd only have my two year old with me for several hours every day. We could go to play groups, take naps together, go shopping, meet friends for lunch, etc.

If my kids were in school, I would have lots more things to chat about with my friends and neighbours. If my kids were in school, I wouldn't constantly try to wring out an educational purpose in everything they do (they are making mud, cooperation! viscosity! weights and measures! MATH!!!).

If my kids were in school, I wouldn't have to fight against every supposition that society has about children and how they are supposed to learn, behave and live. I wouldn't have to fight against the local authority who thinks they have the right to inspect our home and how we teach our children. (they are not responsible for my children's education, I am)

If my kids were in school, I wouldn't have conversations with strangers in the street about how much I must hate having them around. (I don't)

If my kids were in school, I could blog more.

If my kids were in school, I might even have the time to get a job.

If my kids were in school, I wouldn't have first hand knowledge of their unbelievable ability to soak up information at a break-neck pace. I wouldn't be able to witness my nine year old teaching my five year old about plankton and life cycles. I wouldn't get to see my seven year old spend most of the day reading chapter books, when only a few months ago he barely read comics.

If my kids were in school, I wouldn't have the time to teach my kids about gardening, or cooking meals, or preserving foods for winter, or Ancient Egypt. (I know; they used to go to school and they barely had time to get homework done and into bed for the next day)

If my kids were in school, I wouldn't have the pleasure of hearing their endless knock-knock jokes and watching their intricate, character-based pretend play.

If my kids were in school, my toddler would miss them terribly. She cries when the girls go to Brownies and Rainbows, and follows her siblings around like a sweet little puppy.

If my kids were in school, I would not enjoy my life nearly as much.

I have to remind myself of why I do this, from time to time. It's hard work parenting 24/7, and a 6 hour break, five days a week, sometimes sounds appealing. It's also difficult knowing that we are such a small minority. There are two other families in my town that home educate, but none nearby. We get "looked at" a lot when we are out and about, and sometimes you just don't want the extra attention!

This is the right choice for our family, and the children are thriving. I love having them home with me, and that is what I hold onto when I get tired swimming upstream.


Mortons said...

I have a friend in my branch who asks me a LOT of questions about HE, in a very positive way. Last Thursday night she brought it up at a Relief Society meeting as we were all sat around a table sewing. I really wish you could have been there! It was so awkward. The eybrows went up, the heads went down and the silence from everybody else was tangible. I found myself stuttering and babbling, it was horrible. The first comment, once they had gotten over their shock was (of course) what about mixing with other kids their age' and then other comments included the usual 'I couldn't wait to send my kids to school', and from a retired teacher 'what about a syllabus? How can they learn if left to their own devices?' It actually made me more sure about what I'm doing. I do not want our family to join the great conveyor belt of life. I want our life to be extraordinary!! Anyway, just a wave from over here, from one weirdo to another! Lots of love! x

Raisin4Cookies said...

Oooh, I probably would have loved to jump into that conversation! I think one of the best things that happened to me was to move to a new town and make friends who have only ever known us as the home educating family. It certainly helped me feel like I had more gravitas and authority on the subject (pfff, as if).

I'm glad the conversation helped you fortify your beliefs! I'm sure the next time it comes up (and, it have many years of these conversations ahead of you!) you will feel more confident in your responses. :)

Lots of love back at you. x

funkyhan said...

love it xx

Emma-Jane said...

I feel exactly the same. An LDS family I know well from church here just recently lost their 20 something year old only daughter in a tragic car crash, and despite their firm faith in the Saviour and their eternal family I can see the devastation and heartbreak it has caused constantly as they've tried to continue with their lives. When someone young dies too, who hasn't even had chance to fall in love, marry and know the joys of parenthood yet,it seems all the more tragic as well. It really made me realise you just never really know how long you have with your children, life is so fragile. But it made me feel even more determined in my home educating because I felt that if someone looked into the future and found that one of their daughters were going to depart from this Earth when she were 6 or 9 or 15 or whatever age, one of the first things you would do differently would be to spend every moment you had left together, which is exactly what we do as home educators anyway. I would never want to have the regret that I just wish we'd had more time and more memories together.

RaisinCookies said...

Time is truly our most precious resource. Thank you for that perspective. x

Rebekah said...

What a great post. I feel the same. I'm always very saddened when I hear mothers say they couldn't stand to have their kids around so much. I want to say to them, "I hope your kids never hear you say that!"

Raisin4Cookies said...

It's such a common turn of phrase, isn't it? We sometimes say things without thinking....