I hate posting anything negative. I really do. So… I am going to try to angle this post from a positive perspective.
We have a blend of school kids & mainly unschooled kids in our family. We are very flexible and willing to adapt to what we sense our children need at different points in their childhoods. We do not, nor have we ever, believed in a one-size-fits-all education for children. So it doesn’t bother us to go against the grain. And when we do go against the grain, it is not done to cause issue with anyone, or because we think our poop doesn’t stink, etc…. Lastly, choices made are never made because we don’t care about our children’s education, a point I used to feel I had to defend because I felt horrible and slightly insecure that anyone would think that. Now it just pisses me off. And disgusts me.
I’m just going to say it: after a lot of reading, discussing with veteran homeschoolers (apparently I actually fit into this last category now which is kind of amusing to me because I still have no clue what pearls of wisdom I am supposed to be able to share with newbies — I just trust my gut, get a feel of things, and rely on observation & personal experience… maybe the shift took place when I went from “hoping” things would work out to having no doubt whatsoever that they will?) I think that homework for a six-year-old who just spent six hours in school is a complete and useless waste of time. And an invasion on what should be his own personal time, and time with his family. I love my son’s teacher, she is incredible, organized (I am fairly certain my lack of signing his reading log and sitting down and playing homework games she has put effort into making & sending home with students drives her more up the wall than she will ever actually state to me because she is a truly classy lady), and cares deeply about her students. I was told by a friend who has worked in this school that if I knew some of the families of some of the students I would totally get why teachers would try to create games & activities that parents have to sit down and do with their kids every night after school — I guess it is the only time some of them will hang out with their kids at all. I am grateful that my son loves his class, his school, his teacher, his friends, and by all accounts they adore him as well. But… the moment that boy steps off the school bus and into our driveway, at the age of six and having spent six hours at school, as his parent and official guardian, I proclaim him Free. And Ours. And… His. Are we following me here?
I am not going to force him to sit and play a math game when I know he is doing just fine in math, and I also know that at his age there is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to even reviewing it after school. At his age it does nothing to help them retain what they have learned. All it does is get them in the habit of taking time after school to do their homework so that when they reach the age where it is actually remotely beneficial, they are used to doing it and it is not as much of a shock to the system. As I mentioned, great school, great teachers, love that my kids are happy and loved and doing well. But… if my boy wants to build a fort, play chess with his father, read with his sister, write letters to his friend in England, as far as I am concerned he can do those things instead of What His Homework Paper Dictates We Are To Do With Him. Even if it doesn only take 20 minutes to get through. Because most days he just doesn’t feel like it, and neither do I. But I will sit down and read a book about ogres together, or he will, as I mentioned , play chess, or we will teach him how to contribute via chores to earn some pocket-money and then all head to Super Store as a family to see what goodies he can score for that amount…
But he is Free when he gets off that bus. And I am not revolving my life around what day is pyjama day/fundraising for whatever day/ bring a (insert item here) to school day… nor am I begrudgingly sitting down to play a game that neither of us feel like playing to reinforce skills that he has no problem with whatsoever. Not because I don’t care, but because I would rather we both be happy and enjoy the time that we do have together, even if he is on one side of the room reading while I am on the other painting.
We are all different as parents. Our children are all different as children. We need to be respectful and non-judgemental. In the past, I have not always been respectful and non-judgemental. In the present, I still struggle. I am trying to be and hope that as I age, this is a quality that develops more solidly in me. I have been told that I am a lot like my grandmother; if this is true, then I can be confident that judgemental tendencies will make their exit over the years and be replaced with more and more empathy and understanding of others. This is what my grandmother embodies. That and a killer sense of fun and humour. 🙂
On another note, my mainly unschooled son (almost 14) is on a lobster boat this morning. He left at 3:30am with his father & brother-in-law. None of them have ever been out before. I am anxious to hear what their morning has been like.
Enjoy your day, wherever you are. We’ve got a sunny one here on PEI. I am going to tidy up, and get outdoors to soak it in now.