Today I had a bit of a rant about schooling, on Snapchat. When I start these rants I generally have no idea what I’m going to say, and it’s a way for me to get the truth out of myself (I guess these blog posts are the same). Anyway, it brought up a lot of negativity in me about the school system. Things I have to face with my kids.
My intention has always been to home-school my kids. I told myself that the reason for this is so that I can teach them the lessons that I wish I’d learned in school, and that’s true. Another reason is that I had a really hard time at school, and that created a lot of negativity in me whenever I think about sending my kids there.
My perspective is completely tainted by my experiences. I see school as a place where kids are forced to conform. Where creativity and different perspectives are not encouraged. Where kids are programmed to ‘fit in’ and be obedient.
See, I was a really weird kid. I had a massive imagination and odd behaviour. I questioned everything and didn’t like being forced to do things that I saw as pointless. I didn’t feel like any teacher made an effort to understand me or change their approach to suit the kids who were clearly different. Class sizes as they were I can see why they couldn’t do that, but it meant that kids like me slipped through the cracks.
I did ok at school. I got the highest marks in the class, until I started getting bullied for it, so I made sure I only ever got between 50 – 60% on tests – just enough to pass but not enough to stand out.
Even back then I saw school uniforms as a way to control people and squash individuality. I’d look at school Uniforms, then look at McDonalds uniforms and I saw one leading to the other. For me, it actually did lead to a job in a uniform where I felt completely disposable.
I understand that other people have different opinions to mine and I actually think everybody is right. The truth is fluid because it’s generally based on perspective. I have developed my truth through experience, but I acknowledge that my truth isn’t fact (I try not to think of my truths as facts, because facts are rigid). My truths change as my perspective shifts, and it shifts often.
Although my opinions about school are the same, they have softened. I can see other people’s perspectives now. I’ve had many discussions about this topic with a lot of different people. People are very passionate about it and there are almost as many truths as there are people. I sought after different perspectives from mine so that I could learn and become more knowledgeable. I don’t hold traditional school in such a low regard anymore. In fact, I believe for some kids it’s the best possible option. Some kids thrive in that environment.
I just can’t see my kids being two of them. As the person who is around them the most, they’re going to learn a lot from just being around me. My perspective will be the first they learn. As I help them develop their own I want to try and leave as much room as possible for them to find THEIR truths. But as the dominant influence in their lives, I can’t see them becoming the kind of kids who fit in, or even want to.
We’re going to start them off in home-school, but if they ask to go to regular school we’ll have that discussion with them. It will be their choice and I’ll be fine with it. I will do the best I can to give them the best experience possible in home-school, and I will want them to continue with it, but the biggest lesson I want them to learn is to go after what THEY want for themselves, not what we want for them.