Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why I Homeschool: Reason #37

Every time I turn around, I'm reading a blog post by a mother whose child's behavioral/emotional problems (often severe) were completely eradicated by keeping them home.  Every other time I turn around, I'm hearing from someone I know how their child was literally saved by homeschooling . . . how at school they either had already completed or were in the process of becoming someone completely different from who they were (drastic personality changes for the worse, social influences taking them on paths 180-degrees from their parents' guidance, etc), and once they stopped the school attendance, their beloved child reemerged.

Just talking to DawnEtta, an old and solid friend from another town, during a chance meeting at the store, I learned that her junior-high-aged daughter will not be attending high school in their small town.  And that her elementary-aged daughter would not even be attending junior high, as she has watched that very thing happen with other children.

The answer to family problems is not distance.  It is proximity.  Increased time together.  Firm limits.  Plenty of time to talk and connect.  And the elimination of the influences which were destroying your child.  DawnEtta is taking preemptive action to ensure her daughters' emotional and psychological safety--and I applaud her for it.

Parents, if your child is struggling at school (or struggling, period), don't think for a second that the limited time in the evenings and weekends will be sufficient to rescue them.  While in college, I ran across a quote that I'll never forget:

"If you spend 15 minutes a day with God, and 16 hours on stuff, is it any wonder that stuff is more real than God?"

We each determine our own reality by where we choose to focus our time.  This is as true for children as it is for adults . . . but vitally more influential as they are still making life-determining choices in their development which determine their world view.  Those choices can be reset, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  More time than we have in the evenings and weekends.  The pull of peers is frighteningly strong . . . and it's positively horrifying if our children have chosen peers that actively pull them away from the ideals and standards we have worked so hard to instill.

When children spend eight-plus hours each day in company with their peers, and a total of two or three actually in our presence*, is it any wonder that the world their peers present is more real than ours?

*Even though children may spend nearly the same number of hours away from school as at school, those hours are eaten up by personal pursuits, extra-curricular activities, TV/video/computer/screen time, showering, texting/talking on the phone with friends, etc.  If lucky, families of school-attending children get two hours of good "face time" together each day between meals and conscious and careful use of evenings.

Once a child has chosen peers who pull counter to their family's healthy culture, even moving them to a new school (or moving the family to a new city) doesn't usually do the trick . . . for the child will seek out similar peers in their new environment.

Parents, please, invest in your children.  If you see your child struggling, don't leave them in the maw of the social dynamic at school, where they are either being showered with (or choosing to drink from) an emotional cesspool.  Bring them home.  Love them.  Keep them close . . . even if it takes months for them to stop being resentful for taking away all of the things which they had chosen to define themselves.  It is the job of a parent to guide their children, providing clearly defined and rock-hard limits, so each child can learn and grow towards a happy and healthy adulthood.

Sometimes our children want what's not only not good, but actively damaging for them.  We don't let them drink anti-freeze, so why should we allow them to continue (or, heaven forbid, facilitate!) their destructive behavior?

(Please note: this is written from my perspective: that of a devout Christian mother.  Whatever your beliefs, studies have shown that children taught strong ethics and given a well-defined framework (whether religious or not) from which to understand the world tend to grow into much stronger, more confident adults.  I welcome questions and opposing views, so long as they are structured respectfully and constructively.  Calling me bigoted and narrow-minded might make you feel better, but it does nothing to help me understand what your issue might be, or how we could continue the dialogue in such a way as to come to a better understanding.  Thank you.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why I Unschool

"If every child was unschooled -- given the chance to explore and discover and learn in the real world what they love to do, what they're uniquely good at doing, and what the world needs that they care about -- then we would have a world of self-confident, creative, informed, empowered, networked entrepreneurs doing work that needs to be done, successfully. We would have armies of people collaborating to solve the problems and crises facing our world, instead of going home exhausted at the end of the day seeking escape, feeling helpless to do anything that is meaningful to them or to the world. We would have a world of producers instead of consumers, a world of abundance instead of scarcity, a world of diversity instead of what Terry Glavin calls "a dark and gathering sameness". We would have a world of young people choosing their lives instead of taking what they can get, what they can afford, what is offered to them. We would have a world of people who are nobody-but-themselves, and who know who they are, and how to live and make a living for themselves."

--Dave Pollard, An Unschooling Manifesto

That is the kind of human being unschooling produces.  Those are the children I am raising to adulthood, one at a time.  I can only influence a few human beings in my lifetime . . . why would I send those over whom I have the most influence into an environment that has, so crushingly and universally, turned out exactly what our "Real World" does not need?

As Sir Ken Robinson so astutely stated, the children going into school now will be retiring in 2075.  None of us have the faintest idea what the world will look like then.  Honestly, there aren't many who belong to the older generations (or my own, for that matter) who really understand what the world is like right now.  Educating our children in a structure designed by 19th Century Prussian socialists to turn out obedient public servants is one of the highest disservices we can offer our children in the name of preparing them for the "real world".  The classroom has its place . . . but only in small and measured doses, and when the student chooses freely to go . . . and is free at any time to leave.

The Real World I was warned about, educated for, and made to worry about in my own schooling doesn't exist for me.  It never has.  It was the Real World of my high school teachers . . . and even if there are some for whom that world construct still serves, it never served for me.  I have always chosen to remain outside of it.  The dark and gathering sameness has never attracted me.  The dawning light of new understanding, the striving and sweating to reach new heights, the call of a better way that the limping gait of culture have always kept me forging ahead elsewhere.

Each of us makes our own Real World, full of possibilities, priorities, paths and pastimes.  Why on earth should we be educated identically?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Randonimity

Just a friendly reminder: this blog is a reflection of parts of my life.  (Mostly the hobby and intellectual pursuits parts.)  It has been random most of the time, filled with whatever I happen to be doing.  I hope that those of you who may have gotten on board way back when for knitting content have found things to interest you, and those who are along for the ride are enjoying it.  I know I am. :o)

Onward and upwards, friends.  Who knows what will be next?

Some laughs on a sunny day.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

epic fail- Comcast Fail
see more Epic Fails

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

And finally, yet one MORE reason to keep your kids OUT of the public schools:

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Even if you're not a grammar whiz, you can show your children how to use the Grammar Checker. ;o)

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This is How I Know.

My kids learn what they need to know, and it's easy to see it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Down with Schooling, Up with Education!

Quote of the day, by John Taylor Gatto:

"From a system perspective, schooling makes a neatly manageable mass. Education makes efficient but dangerous men and women."

Here's to dangerous men and women. :o)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

RS&RB in CDA!!!

Hey everyone who lives anywhere close to me . . . one of my favorite bands of all time, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, is coming to both Spokane and Coeur d' Alene weekend after next.  Advance tickets are $2 less, and the CDA venue is only about 400 seats, so we're not waiting until we get there to buy ours.

The details and ticket purchase info are linked above (click on the city name for each event page), and here's an intro to RS&RB, in case you haven't yet experienced their music.  (Just too much fun . . . I love it!)

Here's another fun video that only has a link:

And if you want more Shupe, here's Facebook, their blog, and the official RS&RB Site.