What did I learn this week?

Homeschooling is not a dirty word

My mom related to me an incident that occurred at the drop-in playgroup a few weeks back. During snack time, the kids sit at 3 large tables and share food from the snack tray that is served up. C, however, has taken to sitting at a small play table by herself, or, with one other child (the play table only has two chairs at it, and can only seat 3 at the absolute max.)

Upon seeing this, one of the other moms asked my mom why C wanted to sit by herself and eat her snack. Mom told her that, particularly when the playgroup is really busy, C just prefers to sit in a quieter space and eat her food without a lot of other kids around her. “Hmmmm” the other mom replied, “well, I guess SOMEONE is going to be homeschooled!”

It’s actually a good thing I wasn’t there, because I probably would have made some diplomatic comment such as, “Well, maybe she just doesn’t want to sit next to your overly grabby child, who never gets any correction from YOU about violating the personal space of others!” No, actually, that would have just been in the cartoon thought bubble over my head.

But, the incident did get me thinking – what exactly was this person trying to say here? Homeschooling is not about restricting contact between children, it is about exercising choice over a child’s learning environment. Margaret Mead used to say, “My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.” I have to say that I understand exactly where she is coming from. Although I don’t believe that schools are completely at fault here – most parents do not seem to believe they have a real role to play in educating their own children.

Schools are there to do a small part of the work, and it is up to parents to do the rest. If you choose to homeschool your children in place of sending them to school at all, you are just taking “formal” responsibility for what you should be doing anyway – making sure your children actually become educated people, not just expert test-takers.

So, will I be homeschooling C and W? Yes – whether they end up going to a regular school or not.

More on this to come…

One Response to “Homeschooling is not a dirty word”

  1. Very nicely put. And while I know this wasn’t the point of your post, as the mother of a child who would gladly sit alone and eat when in a large group, I would have had a hard time with that other mom’s comment. I’m not sure how I would have reacted, but it wouldn’t have been a comfortable situation!

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