Monday, April 28, 2008

93 (I'm counting down)

I have a document somewhere with lots of reasons on it, and I'm definitely going to look it up and start working on it again, but in the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about how homeschooling affects children's perception of themselves.

This is my thinking on the matter: it is vastly more healthy for a child to develop their own identity without having to constantly deal with other children's preconceptions.

Clearly, I am thinking of Ziad's nature studies experience here. There was a group of kids, he somehow got on the outs with a few of them, and the next thing you know, everyone thinks they know who he is. That he's just a pest, not someone to deal with face-to-face. Not important.

That's their opinion (and their loss, when it comes to that). The thing is, when a kid runs afoul of that kind of thing in a school setting, those perceptions start to get hammered in, until the kid is also buying into and even perpetuating the situation. The scars from those experiences can take decades to heal.

I remember when my older daughter was in high school I came across a note one of her friends had written. "I'm a loser, nobody likes me, I'll never have any friends," was more or less the theme of the note. This from a smart, cute, funny kid who in grade school had had ambitions to be President. I wished then that I could tell him how soon his life would change, how he could leave behind the people who couldn't appreciate him and go find ones that did. And in fact my daughter herself, when we were talking things over one time, said, "Yeah, well, I always had a few cool friends, even when most of the people around me were kind of mean. Then after high school I made lots of cool friends and now that's who I spend my time with." The point being that the enforced proximity to jerks that most schools provide with such unfailing regularity is a) artificial and b) damaging and c) unnecessary.

I'm not really advocating a situation where children are constantly shielded from conflict, or even from people who don't like them. I'm just saying that it doesn't have to be their daily lot in life. Unless, of course, they're enrolled in school.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lesley said...

Another one you could include is... Filthy Desks. I just wanna break in to that school with a sponge and and some Comet and go out at it!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

You know, I bet one day you will. And if they have any brains, they'll thank you for it. I can remember filthy desks from back when I was in school.

7:09 PM  
Blogger zelda said...

Wow. I remember the desks at my school were pristine! I think about that whenever I clean the table in our "schoolroom". It gets so gross in just one day. I have a greater appreciation for our grade school janitor.

12:28 PM  

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