Sometimes the reaction you get to homeschooling makes you feel like you’re living a groundhog day existence.
Last night at a soiree for breast cancer I bumped into the head of my son’s former nursery. She’s a lovely woman but she got increasingly passionate about me removing my son from nursery. Her comments went something like this. ‘Please put Amaru back into nursery he needs it.’ ‘He needs his own life’ ‘I have been working with kids for over 18 years, I know this’ ‘Even if you don’t put him in my nursery put him anywhere’ ‘Let him go, please’.
I could tell she genuinely felt concern for my son’s well being which I appreciate and I value her opinion as an experienced childcare practitioner as well as someone who actually knows my son.
I could not deal with her comments at the event because I found her distress distressing and also I don’t see the point of getting into the homeschool debate with people who know nothing about homeschooling. I’m not an evangelist for homeschool – each to their own – and its a very personal decision. I will take responsibility for my son, but not your feelings.
However, of course her comments annoyed the hell out of me.
‘He needs his own life’. Is this some sort of joke? My son is still 3 years old last time I checked. He has friends, he has private space and he has regular activities – what is this ‘life’ he is missing out on? I think I know what she was trying to say, the routine of his own day outside of his home, where he is shaped by his relationships with others etc. If this woman was talking about a 10 year old, I could relate but at this age, I think my presence is still beneficial to my son’s development in myriad ways. I have heard of so preschoolers being slapped in schools here, humiliated for not being able to keep up, shouted out and getting urine infections because they’ve been left in their filth all day by negligent helpers. When you release your children to the care of others there are pros and cons. Right now I don’t that he needs his own life as much as he needs proper care, loving discipline and one to one support with his work. Oh and lets not forget none of that shouting, slapping etc is free. £1000 per month
‘If you don’t put him with us, put him anywhere’. Anywhere? Really? My child? There are people who are intrinsically opposed to homeschooling and once I identify with them – I don’t engage with them. These are people would would respect and like you more if your child went to an awful school where they were bottom of the class, hating every minute than if you said you were homeschooling them. Because most people are sheeple and can’t handle difference, perhaps they’ve slaved their whole life just to fit in. In that case how dare you opt out?
‘I’ve been working with kids for 18 years, I know this’ I can’t argue with someone else’s experience. But this is the same nursery that bribes children with buckets of sweets. Education is constantly evolving and nobody has ‘the’definitive answer’ to what it should look, that’s what makes it hard. Teachers are constantly learning new methods of engaging with children and new theories about behaviour etc. The latests science actually suggests, its all in the genes, so then it barely matters what school they go to.
‘Let him go’ This really annoyed me because it suggested I have made a selfish emotional decision that has nothing to do with my son’s benefit. This is the only way she can understand my actions. It demonstrated an ignorance about homeschooling that made me glad I had removed my son from the nursery.