There was a time, when I was very much against any idea other than the normal, run of the mill, K-12 education.
But he’ll need that social experience, I said. But he’ll need that regimen, I said. Understanding trained professionals.
But then I thought about it… and well, my experience was nothing like that.
Once my son was actually in this world and things were no longer about how I did it… I started to think otherwise. For me, school was a mix of both the highs and the lows… and it fell more often towards the lows. I was a smart kid, but the system wasn’t designed for me. I remember being put in an “advanced study group” scenario when I was about grade 6…
I was asked, “What would you like to learn about?”
I was a twelve year old boy in the 80’s. I wanted to learn about remote control. I had this dream of building myself a go-kart that was motorized and remote controlled. I could just drive it up to my front door with the remote. I’d be the coolest kid on my block.
They said, “Uhh. How about pyramids?”
Pyramids? PYRAMIDS? I wanted to learn about remote control!
But alas, even in the moments when they were trying to go above and beyond their boundaries, the limitations of what was able to be taught was maddening to me. Led me to being bored… not caring about any of it.
My son sucks up knowledge at a speed that is only second to his downing a plate of sushi. I’d hate to see that knocked out of him simply because of the limitations of the system. I’d hate to see him become as bored and uncaring as I was.
The caste system. You’re thrown into school. Suddenly you’re a cool kid, a nerd, a non-cool kid… whatever the stigmas are these days. There you are. It affects you. It affects every day of the rest of your life in some cases… and for what?
I was bullied non-stop as I hit Grade 8. I went from a funny out-going kid to being a silent, withdrawn kid. Someone who could talk non-stop to someone who could barely say a word. The system wasn’t there for me. It wasn’t until the kid that was bullying me found my house, after many months of trying, and put lit matches through the mail slot trying to burn the place down, that there was any relief for me. The police became involved and suddenly I was able to breathe again after a long run. Was there any good reason for that? No.
I agree that there are teachers who elevate the profession. Who are inspired and amazing and can change your whole outlook on life. I think in my experience, those were the few and far between. I can certainly, to this day, name the three who really brought me to another level… but alas, when you’re serving 13 years… it should be more than three that pop to mind.
I think if it’s possible to avoid these things for my kids… why the heck not?
The system has only gotten worse in the twenty years I’ve been out of it. The schools are overcrowded. The government has spent a long time attacking and belittling the teachers. With recent changes in our government, this may change… but then again, it might take too long.
My kids have a ridiculous amount of social activities. I don’t need to have any worry about them there. They learn faster than they can be taught. So I don’t have to worry there.
Overall, as with every parent, it’s just about trying to make the right decision for our kids.
If homeschooling doesn’t work. If he really needs the public school education, then we would make that work. As fast as we possibly could. But for now, this is the adventure. It’s a looming adventure. One that I’ll admit, scares me a little bit.
When it comes down to it though, I remember being a kid. I remember having friends that were homeschooled. I remember being a bit of an ass to those kids. They were different. Kids are brutal to each other sometimes.
I will say though… those kids turned out to be some of the most interesting, versatile people I know.
I can only hope that for my own.
We’ll see. This adventure begins.