This is a post that is very important to me, because it goes right to the heart of why our children do not go to school. Contrary to mainstream opinion, a supportive, nurturing environment at home encourages resilience, strength and mastery, whereas it is my experience (and the experience of millions of other families who choose to educate outside of schools) that the school environment does not.
School may force children to learn social survival. But survival in crisis, under constant stress, is not the same as building resilience, or encouraging mastery of skills, in an environment that allows you to fail, then try again - as many times as it takes.
In a school environment, it is my experience that children in school are put in to a certain category and that is where they stay for most of their lives.
The academic kid
The cool kid
The basketball kid
The genius kid
The sporty kid
The shy kid
Room for growth and mastering of things outside of that, are grossly limited by the oppressive, time-poor and resource-poor environment of school.
Even if you have spectacular teachers, there are hundreds of kids to put you in your place. Remember the overweight kid who was really bad at high jump but tried anyway - and was ripped apart for failing, the first (or second, or third) time?
Or the sporty kid that wasn't great at reading, and got laughed at, so he didn't put his hand up to read again?
I saw that time and time again when I was in school - and I bet you did too. And I saw it with my three children who started their education at school (and the one who finished in year 12). I saw my children try new things and get teased, judged or labelled. I went to countless meetings where principals (yes we changed schools multiple times), suggested that maybe if our children dressed differently, did their hair differently (one daughter had short hair and that was the cause of a lot of bullying, apparently), were quieter (our eldest was outspoken), pushed back more when bullied (our middle child cried a lot when people yelled at her...), or otherwise changed, then their lives would be easier.
Year by year I saw their individuality reeled in, and their passion to try new things slowly snuffed out. The change with 5 - 6 years of homeschooling is still shocking to me.
For our daughter who vowed never to sing again after a bout of bullying, we have seen her get up on stage, busk, make YouTube videos, join choirs, write her own music, try new styles and thrive in singing.
For our son who called himself 'stupid', 'pathetic', 'moron' and 'idiotic' (his private school teacher taught him those words) I see him trying new things, over and over again. Failing. Failing. Picking himself up, and then mastering. I can't quite believe it, even now.
if you got to the end of this novel and you are thinking homeschooling will be better for your child DO IT. If you have doubts, let this be your green light. If you know that your child is capable of more, or deserves more, then try it. And if you would like to hear from other parents that are doing just that, come along to the Australian homeschool summit tomorrow! it just might change your life!
Thinking about homeschooling your teen? join the Academy of Free-Range Learning!