Homeschooling Conflict

Homeschooling this year is a struggle.  I feel faced with all my fears of traditional thinking versus what I feel is right.  There is a battle going on.  The result is me constantly contradicting myself with my children because I am struggling with these notions within myself.  I feel I need to get grounded.

Both my girls lack any goal or intention for the year.  My eldest, Sherese, who left school in her Grade Twelve year is doing nothing but watching movies all day, sleeping and announcing she feels sick whenever I ask her for something that might involve some motivation.  But then she will ask to go and see a movie in the evening or hang out with friends all weekend.

I know kids and families need time to adjust to this new way of learning when leaving the traditional school system but this seems particularly challenging.  So I went to my library to get some support from popular homeschooling books out there.  The first one just came in and it is titled If Learning is so Natural, Why am I going to School?  by Andrew Nikiforuk.  It opens with this quote and I felt compelled to share it.

“We need better government, no doubt about it.  But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities.  We need persons and households that do not have to wait upon organizations but can make necessary changes in themselves on their own.”

–  Wendell Berry


Day 2 of the New School Year – Part II

I follow the sound of the clinking spoon and see Emily sitting at the table eating cereal.  Simultaneously Craig comes up the stairs and tells me that Sherese has slept in and she wants me to drive her to school.  I go downstairs to see if I can avoid this by making her a lunch or breakfast.  This is not going to be enough so I concede to drive her.

I return upstairs to see Emily laying on the couch snuggled into her blue robe, eyes heavy.  “Other than being tired how do you feel?”

She is silent for a moment and then asks, “How do you mean?”

“How do you feel about your decision?”

“Relieved actually.”

Craig walks down the hall, dressed and ready for his day.  He leans over me sitting on the couch and gives me a kiss.  “Try and convince her to go to school today?”  I will do no such thing so I just smile, acknowledging I heard him.  He seems to feel he needs some control over this situation and I have no interest in talking with him about it first thing this morning.

He turns to Emily, “Are you going to school this morning?”  Emily looks at him and an awkward smile starts to grow on her face.  She doesn’t want to give him an honest answer.  She is nervous.  Not getting an answer from her he says, “You should try it again.  One day is not enough.”

He begins to walk to the door but turns and looks at me one more time before leaving.  His gives me his squinshed up face with head tilted to the side look that says you know my way is best Dear.  Not acknowledging it I say, “Have a good day Dear.” and he is gone for the day.

Sherese follows his departure catching the bus a minute or two later.  It is just Em and I.  Well Teela is still sleeping.  Our first day back at homeschooling.  Bring it on.

Later that day …

Craig returns home from work and I am surprised to learn that he has a full-fledged plan for Emily to learn science this year.  I had planned during the day that I was going to put my foot down with him this year.  I was not going to go through another year of us debating the value of child-led learning.  He doesn’t understand it or believe in it and I do with all my heart.  It works best for Emily too.  Now Sherese, if she drops out and does correspondence well Craig can have science up to his chin with her.  She loves structure and wants a Regular Grade Twelve Diploma.

“Dear, you are brilliant, possibly even a genius, but when it comes to knowing how to educate our children you are behind.  You are old school.  You have a one way thought process.  You are too logical and base none of your ideas on intuition.”

Perhaps I didn’t handle this right.  I was not very smooth.  I was distracted baking brownies with Teela and caught off guard at how determined he was.  I thought I could tell him to back off and he just would.

Later that night he shares with me his plan of Emily doing 20 hours a month of science including science experiments and reports. My goodness!  I actually laughed at him.  I laughed at him for about 30 seconds until I realized his face just dropped.  I hadn’t been aware of the amount of enthusiasm he had on his face until my laughter drained it right out of him.  He was so excited sharing his well laid out plan, he even said he created a document for it, and I laughed at him.  Shame on me.

Over and over again in our discussion he kept saying two things.  1) he doesn’t have a say.  So he does want to be involved.  and 2) he doesn’t understand.  He says we never explain to him how or why Emily left school in the first place.  In all honesty he is partially right.  Partially.  We have  tried a few times but sometimes words get squiggle like the tape in a cassette player on the way into his his brain.  He can’t actually understand some of the words I say.  When you start talking about intuition or using words to describe it he doesn’t understand.  Emily is an artist and she thinks differently than him.  He doesn’t understand that either.  Words used to try to describe the differences get all twisted and blotted out like that wrinkled cassette tape film.

(I once knew this guy in high school who was brilliant.  Very smart man.  He was dumb enough to let one of my friends pierce his ear though and as we tried over and over again to explain to him how to use a Q-tip and peroxide to disinfect it he could not understand so we just did it for him.  This is my husband.  Not literally but in his ability to understand something.  Give him the Chinese version of a manual to take apart and put back together a car stereo – he can take one look at the diagram, have it memorized and do it.  Ask him what his gut intuition is and he has no idea what you are talking about.)

We bickered and battered for some time.  All friendly and amiable but in disagreement.  He believes everyone love science and I tried to explain to him that not everyone loves science the way he does.  I also feel that science is learned or understood differently through an artist’s mind.  I see it as art before I see it as something cold, hard and solid like he does.  Finally I gave him a post from the author of Free Range Learning.  I let him read that and went to collect my brownies from the oven.

I read a few homeschooling blogs and in every case both parents are in agreement with the path taken.  Did they start off that way? Are there any homeschooling blogs out there where parents are not in agreement?  Please let me know cause I feel like I may be the only one!

Day 2 of the New School Year

I wake to silence.  I don’t hear the shower running.  Yesterday I woke to noise – the shower,sounding like a waterfall on the other side of our bedroom wall and the kitchen was full of clanging and slamming doors.  Today it is silent.  Something is off.  Yesterday I had to adjust to the realization that it was the first day of school and that was why my house was alive.  Today I adjust to the idea that Emily is not going to school anymore.  That explains part of the silence.  Not the whole part.  Why don’t I hear Sherese?

The bed bounces roughly and I sense Craig flailing for his alarm clock.  Certainly one of these times he is going to have a heart attach when that thing goes off.   He sits on the edge of the bed for a minute then grabs his robe and leaves for breakfast.  I lay there thinking, dreading really, that I am going to have to face his music about Emily choosing to not continue on with public school after returning for one day.

Yes, one day.  “How can she really know what it will be like after being back for one day?” he asks me yesterday.

“It is not like she has never been to school before.  She was at school for the first two weeks last year.  She has been there every year.  She knows what lays ahead.”

Disgruntled and wanting to debate the issue more last night but he was pulled away by Teela.  Thank goodness.  We have  had this discussion so many times last year and now we face another year of it.

I can recall sitting in a doctor’s office in my twenties.  Probably mid twenties.  I had something up with my feminine parts.  Can’t remember what but the doctor had no idea so he sat there telling me how a period works, how long it lasts and how much I discharge.  I recall thinking then, “Seriously?  I have two kids and have been menstruating for over a decade and as a man you are going to sit there and explain my cycle?”  This is how I feel with Craig explaining how my kids should learn.  I feel I am so far ahead of him and in a world that he will never have any clue about. It doesn’t fit his logic.  You go to public school, you focus on the science and maths and that is the end of it.  You need those subjects to survive in this world, to be anything.  Period.

Yesterday I returned home from running errands in the city to find Emily sitting in the living room crying.

“It was torture.  It is not worth it to go to Korea.” she said trying to control her crying.  I have told her so many times that it is okay to cry but she has been conditioned otherwise. “Listening to them talk about everything we are going to learn and how we are going to be graded …. (crying) … made me feel sick.  I am not interested in any of it, mom.”

Now to many people out there who hear their kids say this, and I use to be one of them, would say “Buck up and get back to school.” Not me.  Not anymore.  Now I realize there is so much more to gain if I let Emily lead the way.  I will accomplish more as a parent.  So much more.

Now it is time to face the music.  I need to get out of bed and be Emily’s advocate.  I grab my robe and open my door.  I hear the tinkling of a spoon hitting a bowl.  Emily is up.

A Fresh Breeze on Homeschooling

I love this and thought I would share it. I hope you all enjoy! Thank you Penny at homeschoolingmiddleeast for this!

Kids can learn so much just by doing the simple daily things we all do every day.  This post is such a great reminder that we are teaching our kids all the time.

Homeschooling Middle East

This is a fun list. Thanks to Anisa Asad of the ‘Bahrain Alternative Education and Homeschooling’ group for passing this one. I know and like ‘I’m homeschooled and I have friends!’ but I haven’t seen this before.

You know you are a homeschooler when…


…Learning isn’t an obligation- it’s a desire.

…You can memorize your library card number in twenty seconds- and your sisters’ too.

…You’re reading one novel for Literature, another for Additional History, a third for Additional Religion- and, but only sometimes- a fourth for Leisure Reading.

…You get movies from the Library about composers, artists, inventors, and the Shroud- and watch them for whatever subjects you can make them fit, that you have for the day.

…You have mold growing in your fridge: on purpose

…Art is everyday- or, if it’s not, you…

View original post 385 more words

Pondering The Scheme of Things

I have interviewed a half dozen people for my Scheme of Things research. There is seems to be one common element that I see so far – parental support. Now, I do not know yet if the careers these people choose are their life purpose. Maybe talking to me is their life purpose. I do know that with their parents unconditional support, no matter how crazy the idea was, if the parents supported it and the child was truly passionate about it then it was always a win-win for everyone.

One lady talks of her ‘privileged degree’. This was when her parents paid for her to attain a music degree.  While taking this music degree she was introduced to the concept of music therapy.  She ended up not wanting to be so focused solely on music in her career and studied therapy in a more broad sense.

Who knows what is around the bend in the trail.

Our careers our life purpose? Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts, says we have 12 archetypes.  Perhaps all of those archetypes need to be filled. Maybe we have many purposes. I do not know. I do wish to find out.

My one advice do far in my research is to follow your child. See where they intuitively know where to go. It might seem crazy. It might even mean you will be snickered at by the occasional hoity-toity but persevere. Your child knows their direction. They may dance a little, waver from one thing to another, but it will all pieced together.

Picture compliments of Sherese Luneng