Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why do your kids go to school?

So, why do you send your kids to school? What are your reasons for schooling your children? What is your plan for their education? What about socialisation? I can't say I've heard a parent of a school kid asked questions like that. Typically a person who might ask something like that would be a homeschooler... and lets face it, most homeschoolers are too polite and accepting of differences to go around questioning or undermining a parent's decision to send their children to school.

So here I am, where for the upteenth time, I've been asked why I homeschool my children. I've spent a lot of time thinking about a standard response to people who question me and frankly I haven't been able to come up with a short, encompassing answer. That is because there simply isn't one. My reasons for home educating are so numerous, each equally important to me. I could write pages and pages on the whys.

I keep coming back to the idea that if others are just asking to find starting points to challenge me on or to defend school as being equally as good if not better.... then there isn't much point wasting my energy. It doesn't matter what other people think of school, or the supposed benefits they believe school confers on children... I beg to differ.

I spent my childhood in school. I know what school is like from a child's (and teen's) experience. My experiences by the way, weren't negative. I was good at school. But that didn't mean I liked it, or that it met my needs, or gave me what I needed for real life. I witnessed peers group off and engage in anti-social behaviours which excluded others that were different or didn't meet their requirements. This is socialisation as school offers it. Kids learn to conform or else (rejected/outcast). Society works nicely if people conform and go to 9-5 jobs like good little peons and for that, school offers socialisation to meet this.

I also spent over a year working in a school. I wasn't overly impressed, but it did give me a new appreciation for all the planning and work teachers have to put in before they can even step in a classroom.... and for what? Teaching does not equal learning, no matter how good of a teacher you are. Learning cannot be forced, compelled, coerced or manipulated. The more you push for learning, the more likely you are to meet with resistance.

Finally, I met heaps of parents who had children in school and ended up pulling them out of school, going on to home educate for years and years. They had something to realistically compare against. Our family on the other hand, has been a natural learning family since the children were born. You'd think that we, well the children at least, wouldn't need deschooling. However, my children don't have that measuring stick to realistically compare school with the freedom to learn, play and simply be that they have at home.

Thanks to undermining done by others, my children need to be deschooled. It is impossible to escape from school in this society. There is pressure to conform, pressure to school, everywhere we go. School is the one size fits all, answer to life, the universe and everything. It is enough to make one cranky, and then along comes the question - What is your reason for homeschooling? Yes, do explain yourself! School is good for kids, it is vital for development and preparation for life why are you doing this?

It is pretty rude if you ask me. Probably along the same lines of demanding to a hospital birther - why are you having your baby in hospital!? What are your reasons for doing this? Explain yourself!!!

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