Sunday, April 24, 2016

Homechooling Parents: Do You Know What I Loved About School?

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I went to public school K-12. I'm not even sure if people had ever heard about homeschooling back in those days. Actually, I do know that people homeschooled. It was a thing that people did when their kids couldn't make it in school because of behavioral issues or developmental issues. That was all I knew of homeschooling back back back in the darkness of the stone age.

All I knew as a kid was public school, and I loved it.
  • I loved the art classes. Trying out different types of art projects from clay to fiber to ink and more. I doubt the art teachers back in the day got much acknowledgement, but now I appreciate them.
  • I also loved Pizza Fridays in the cafeteria. Why, I have no idea. The pizza was terrible and I generally went home for lunch every single day...for pizza.
  • I nearly always liked my teachers. I had the kind of teachers who truly seemed to care about each of us personally. There were a few exceptions, but for the most part I had very caring teachers all through school. 
  • I liked feeling smart in my classes. I was always in the advanced classes and I knew it. I knew when I was the best or the smartest or the fastest reader... It was a real self-esteem boost.
  • I liked holding a nickle in my hand to buy a new pencil in the second grade. It was a fat, red pencil with thick, soft graphite and no eraser. I loved those pencils.
  • I liked it in the sixth grade when my advanced class finished the grade school curriculum and our sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Stork, designed a very creative year's worth of activities for us.
  • I liked that little pencil tray inside of the desk that held pencils, erasers, and mini pencil sharpeners.

See, although I loved school back in the day I really didn't have anything to compare it to. If I had known about homeschooling as it exists today I think I would have made the perfect candidate to be homeschooled. What would it have been like if someone had noticed how little I was getting from school, how completely disconnected I was? What would it have been like if someone (but who?) would have taken me in hand, would have recognized my ability to learn independently, and would have taken an interest in me and who would have empowered my studies. What would it have been like if I could have had some of that child-led learning stuff and freedom to follow my own interests? I had so many interests!

I had no friends in school, truly. I truly didn't. I had little connection to the materials we covered in class. I seldom felt actually seen. In fact, I remember some specific moments when I actually thought I was invisible. I felt like flotsam. There were about half a dozen bullies in my class, K-12. I remember thinking our class material was pointless and, even worse, I don't remember ever understanding why we were learning what we were learning; I guess I had little context. I never seemed to understand what was going on. I never ever understood the socialization of kids around me. 

I hope schooling is better for kids these days, though I think that the problems have just changed. Public's just not for everybody.

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