Watch this video before you read my post.
I don’t want my kids to be normal.
I believe that all children are unique and special and should be given the space/environment and time they need to be and become themselves.
And that’s why I don’t want to send my kids to school.
I strive not to live in the box of societal norms and I don’t want to put my kids in the box either. I want them to aim for and dream for more than:
- graduate from high school
- go to a good college
- get internships
- graduate from college
- get a good paying job (even if I hate it) that can get me enough credit to finance
- the house, the car, the vacation that society says I should want.
- get married to someone who fits this mold too
- strive for comfort and safety and don’t take any risks that could disrupt this well-crafted life
- have 2.5 kids and begin the cycle again
I want my kids to aim to do whatever they’ve been gifted by God to do — regardless of how little (or how much) it fits mainstream expectations.
I want them to be passionate about *something*. I want them to know what they like (beyond what they like with regards to popular culture and menu items at chain restaurants). I want them to know what inspires them and what motivates them. I want them to ask God to define their success.
The other day I was watching a documentary with young (30s) scientists talking about their lines of work, and all I could think was, “that’s what I want for my kids!” I want them to have the courage and motivation to immerse themselves in their life’s work, live off the beaten path if that’s what it takes, and forget about fitting into a comfortable box.
I admit. I don’t have a step-by-step fail-proof guide for doing this. But I do know that putting them in a traditional school, designed from its inception to churn out cubicle dwellers that support the economy, will stack the odds against them. If you don’t believe me, read Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling.
Here are some quotes from the introduction:
“School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers.”
“School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently.”
“After a long life, and 30 years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women.”
Besides of legacy of faith, I believe that one of the most important gifts I can give to my children is to teach them how to be themselves–at home in their own skin.
I want to know them and want them to know themselves.
Some people meet their goals for raising kids by pulling them out of a religious school and into public (or visa versa). Or from homeschooling back to the traditional school system. Knowing what is right for your family, independent of societal expectations, is how you know you should decide what is best for you.
My kids want to be with their friends
Many people worry about “socialization.” What they mean is, “Will my kids have friends?” (Even though I love my friends to pieces, how many of those close friendships are from gradeschool? Is it worth it to sabotage your kids’ future in order for them to have recess with peers?)
When I hear the word “socialization” it sends chills down my spine. To me socialization means being taught (indoctrinated) to think a certain way, to want certain things and to believe that there is one way to get those things. When you realize all of the private interests that have a part in schooling, it’s frightening to know that children are just pawns in a bigger for-profit, mind-control game. Again, you gotta read Weapons of Mass Instruction.
So, no, homeschooling doesn’t mean that your child will be a hermit. There are hundreds of ways to make sure your kids interact regularly with other kids. And the list is growing.
Will your kids be weird, like the stereotypical homeschool child? Who cares. Normal is what I don’t want. Average is what I don’t want. If weird means that they don’t think like everyone else, that they don’t want whatever everyone else wants, or that they don’t follow the prescribed, “safe” path to society’s version of success, then so be it. I love the title of Craig Groeschel’s book: WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working. Exactly. Let’s be weird.
I am completely daunted by the thought of homeschooling. Right now the kids (ages 3 and 2yo twins) go to my sister’s house for 3o minutes of pre-school. But if I really believe everything I’m writing here, I know I’m going to need to step it up and take the reigns soon. And that’s when the questions will begin. I will get the same types of questions I got when I was breastfeeding my kids past 6 months. “When are you going to stop breastfeeding?” will become “When are you gonna put them in school?”
But what they’re really asking is: “When are you going to get on track? When are you gonna stop being counter-cultural and start thinking like everyone else? When are you going to join us over here in Sameville?”
It’s the adult form of peer pressure. I resist.