Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can o' worms

On Monday Matt sent me an email bringing up the topic of homeschooling (or "homeskoolin'" as he calls it). It served as nothing more than a note to say "hey, I was chatting with a teacher I know and this is what she said about homeschooling" but it seriously piqued my interest.

I had thought about homeschooling a while back. It may have even been before Eloise was born, you know, back when I had the energy to think about devoting all of that time to my children. Matt wasn't at all interested and I was only mildly interested in the idea, so I didn't think much about it again. Instead I focused my efforts on thwarting Matt's efforts to send our girls to public school. I could write about this for days, but we both had very, very different school experiences and are both quie confident that we need to pass along (or not pass along, as the case may be) our experiences to our girls.

Okay, so homeschooling. Matt sends me an email and oddly, it was the second day where Iris's teacher called me at home saying Iris was having a hard day and asked her to call me so I could come back to school early to get her. Hmmmm, I thought. Iris is a child who usually has to be convinced to go to school. She oftens asks to stay home. Heck, the girl never wants to go anywhere, ever, not to the store, the park, anywhere. The next day I was the working parent at Iris's school. I have noticed this in the past, but it was even more clear to me that day-- she really seems to slink off in to the shadows at school. She doesn't seem to make definite friends with other kids (and I've whined about this in the past) and didn't really seem overly interested in some of the big projects the other kids were working on. Now, it's not like she was a lump in the corner, but the personality I know in her doesn't really seem to come out at school. Does this mean school is wrong for her and she must be pulled out and homeschooled immediately? No. But it is something for us to watch. Something to talk to the teacher about.

It's hard for me because I see alot of the smallest personality traits in Iris that I had, well, still have. I don't want to project myself and my feelings on her, but when I observe her, it's suprising how striking the similarities are between us even already at her young age. I hated school. I hated everything about it. Man, I would have loved to have been homeschooled. Does that mean it's the same for Iris? I don't know. I wish I did. I think we have alot of time to figure it out, though.

I'm lucky in that I know several homeschoolers and I feel like I have great resources available to gather the information we would need to give this idea some serious thought.

I am sure poor Matt had no idea what kind of can of worms he was opening when he sent me such an innocent email :)


  1. We're going to homeschool. We think that school does no favours to any students. It restricts what they can learn and when, as well as forcing children to move on when they're not ready... it's full of problems.

    We're unschooling and loving it!

  2. I was very interested in homeschooling for gradeschool but two things stand in the way: EJ is so social I'm very certain she'd be said about not going to school and 2) I have to work to earn money :(

    Otherwise, I've heard there are a lot of good homeschooling networks in the NW so if you did homeschool the girls could still make friends and socialize in the homeschooling network, but you could control the education and not have to deal with problems in big classes in public schools and bullies and all that crap.

  3. I'm sure you will do what is right by your child. You could always get a few things and try it out over the summer. That is tough, because the beginning is really the hardest, but it does give you an opportunity to get your feet wet!

  4. Raina has so many of my personality traits. She is quick to anger and just seems to experience life very intensely. I have noticed this from the time she was an infant and it has been very eye opening for me to learn more about myself by watching my child.

    I was a gifted child and its much to early to determine that R is (or isn't and I am not certain it really matters). I have generally leaned toward homeschooling my child(ren) based on my experiences as a child in school and just how BORED I was in a classroom during my formative years. Part of my problems were related to personality as well- being scared to speak up, being overly emphatic- these things generally are not helpful when a teacher has so many charges.

    I obviously have not explored non-public, non-HS options in the Seattle area yet (at least not fully), but the more I watch Raina grow and change, the faster I want to find an alternative educational model for her so she can thrive.


  5. Have you ever read up about the differences between introverted and extroverted people? I did once when dh accused me of being introverted like it was a bad thing. It turns out introverts don't necessarily dislike people, some of them in fact like people a great deal. It's just that introverts need to be alone to "recharge" and extroverts are energized by the company of others. The problem is, the social realm is dominated by extroverts, and they often don't understand those of us who just want to chill out by ourselves sometimes. In the end, introverts are often misunderstood as social recluses and people with personality problems when in fact, we're just another form of normal, and we can be valuable assets to the mix if extroverts can just learn to accept our differences.

    I thought I'd write this because from what you describe, Iris sounds introverted. Maybe several hours surrounded by people is just exhausting for her, especially at her age? That's not to say that school in general is wrong for her (though you know I'm gung ho about homeschooling), but maybe she's just not ready to deal with it yet? And maybe it's just something to keep in mind whether she's in school or homeschooled -- going off by herself and not wanting to mix with the crowd isn't inherently a flaw, and can in fact be a strength.


  6. My husband and I also had very different school experiences. I was totally for homeschool; he was wishy-washy. Now we're both totally for it. John Holt and John Taylor Gatto are my favorite writers on the subject.


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