OK so this is what consumes an embarrassing amount of my mental energy these days; what to do about school. Right now is registration time for next year so I am needing to make a decision. I have to remind myself that no decision is permanent and that we can change paths at anytime. In this post when I say "school" I actually mean our local Montessori and when I say "homeschooling" I actually mean unschooling.
I'm so jealous of the people who are sure and confident about which of the two is right for their child. I'm so on the fence its driving me crazy so I'm going to try and talk it out and ask you all to weigh in.
OK lets get the first big issue down; social skills. While I truly think its possible to homeschool children and have them be socially skilled I have actually never met an adult example of this. Now this said, most adult homeschoolers I know were homeschooled for one of two reasons; they lived so rurally it would have taken too long of a bus ride to get to and from school OR they were fundamentalists Christians being sheltered from the sinners. Not exactly great social situations. Calgary has a large and vibrant homeschooling community (10,000 or so students) and about 80% of Lyric's current friends will be homeschooled. We are very busy socially and it was actually difficult to pare down Lyric's bday party guest list to the 24 kids allowed. I dont think alot of the social skills learned at school are valuable anyway. i.e. how to judge people based on their appearance, gender roles, follow the crowd and fit in etc. I like the idea of being more involved in the development of her social skills and know from observation how awful the current playground culture really is. Its shocking. I regularily hear 8 and 9 year old boys yell at girls on the playgroung "Suck my dick" etc. Recent studies show that by age 10 close to half of girls have already done just that. Not the kinda socialization I'm looking for. Any doubters of how awful school playgrounds are should go hang out near one everyday for a week. Its really really sad. And yet I have the lingering fear that if I homeschool my children they will be "socially awkward."
Next thing; education. I, like every mother, want the best education for my child. I worry that a child like Lyric will receive little individual attention/instruction at school. She is calm, quiet, learns easily etc. These are not the children who get the majority of a teacher's energy. I would say in Lyric's current classroom the teacher spends WAY more time managing behavior than educating. I also think there are major gaps in a public education. There are so many useful skills I was never taught but instead learned about the Russian Czar system. I think so much of what is learned at school is forgotten almost immediately because it was not of any interest at the time it was taught. I also want to keep my children's passion for learning alive. I want them to LOVE to learn. However there is a small doubt within me that I can properly educate my own children well enough to keep all doors open to them. I would hate for them to not be properly prepared for university if that's the path they choose.
Next thing; my own life. As a single mom is it really reasonable or desirable to try and be home with my kids for the next 15 yrs?? What about persuing my career in midwifery? Is that easier if they are in school? Can I stand to be around them all the time??
Next thing; extra curricular activities. There are many many extra activities Lyric would like to be involved in. She has asked for lessons in violin, skating, snowboarding, Spanish, gymnastics, skiing etc. ALl this and she is only 3, so many more things to come I am sure. One thing I know for sure I DO NOT want to be is the mom that spends 3 or 4 hours after school everyday shuttlng from one actvity to another. Everything from girl guides, to music lessons, to sports etc. is available as part of the homeschool daytime curriculum in my city. If something werent available, then the "school day" could be a quieter day so that the evening activity could happen.
Hmmmmmm what else......oh I know commercialization. I hate how commercialized school children seem to be. Ok well most children in general but anywhere you have a big crowd of them it multiplies. The children who Lyric meets at school dont seem to really know how to "play". They just act out tv shows. Seriously its weird. They have pre-written plot-lines and they stick to them. They are agressively marketed towards and I dont like what people want to sell to little girls. Ever really looked at the Bratz dolls or similar?? They are awful. On the other hand her friends who do not go to school seem to be capable of much richer play. They are more imaginative and cooperative etc. They suggest new scenarios and compromise on story-lines. Along with commercialization comes the garbage food that she will see more as normal at school. Anyone who spends anytime with me knows I dont shelter my kids from any kinds of food - including prepackaged crap. I just dont want that to become the only accpetable lunch because thats what everyone else eats.
Ok naptime is over and this is long enough for now. I ask you all to weigh in and help me figure out what to do...............