My last post was about why we homeschool and I forgot two things, one issue that seems to be very important to other people and one issue that is very important to me.
The biggest issue people seem to have with us homeschooling is the socialisation aspect. I understand why they might have that concern. I am not concerned about it all.
When I was at school the only time I really got to socialise was during breaks, the rest of the time was more directed interaction controlled by the teacher.
I was often told to be quiet for trying to interact when the teacher was talking! Fair enough. My point here is that if you add up the lunch hour and breaks during the school week, children get to socialise with eachother for around 7.5 hours a week. We go to one or two homeschool gatherings each week and the children socialse the whole time. This amounts to around 6-15 hours a week plus all the other interactions they have outside of homeschool groups. People frequently mention how sociable my children are and how well the converse with adults for such a young age. This is probably because they have always interacted with people of all ages and are naturally sociable creatures, as most human beings are.
The issue that is very important to me that I forgot to mention in part 1, is related to spirit and nature. I am not religious or a pagan however we spend our days expressing love and gratitude for spirit and nature, in many ways, many times each day. My children would not receive this at school and it's really important to me that they experience reverence and awe for spirit and nature. All the other things we do are secondary, important yes, of course but not as important as our connection with the Divine. As far as I am aware there is no expression of love and appreciation for a higher power in school and yet, it governs everything and everyone. Ha, I guess that may sound a bit bonkers to some however, it is my truth.
By higher power I mean God, the Divine, Source, One Love and it is relevant to everyone, every religion, every race. Living in this way transforms everyday existence. It means that there is no violence or cruelty. It doesn't necessarily mean that there are no hard times or challenges. We need those to grow. It means that all of life is treated with love, respect and reverence. I don't see this attitude/environment/way of being being offered in our schools. It is very clear that most teachers care about children and maybe many of them would include more peace loving, spiritual approaches if given the scope and space to do so. The only schools that I know of personally that do include a reverence for spirit and nature are Waldorf Steiner schools. I really love and respect so much of what happens in a Waldorf Steiner School and if my children were to go to school, if possible, it would be to a Waldorf Steiner School. Our curriculum is inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and I will go into this more in a future post.
Before I wrote this I was talking to a friend who has a 12 year old daughter. She was telling me she has sold her daughter's horse because she has no free time to ride the horse. I asked why and she told me that every week day she drops her child off at the bus stop at 8am and picks her up at 4pm. When the get home her child has a snack and around 4.30/5pm she sits and works on homework for two hours. Last week she woke up at 6am and found her daughter already up and at the kitchen table working on French homework. I am all for academic excellence. I am also for letting children have a childhood. If her child was 19 and working towards a degree, I would be impressed with her efforts. Her child is 12 years old and I find this situation really sad. She told me many more things and then said I admire what you are doing, I would if I could. I didn't say anything, I just smiled. She could do it and do it well but until she believes it, I am only going to support her where she is right now.
As I look out of the window at the rain, I smiled because one other reason we homeschool is that we can choose to work on a rainy Sunday and as long as we are on schedule, we can go to the park on a sunny Monday afternoon to play and lay like little lizards in the sunshine! Blessings all, Carole