Monday, October 19, 2009

Should be going to bed, but...

...just remembered a conversation I had this morning with a mama who is also a teacher (or worked as one before having her child).
 
We were chatting about homeschooling, and she seemed alarmed at the relative lack of reporting and accountability required of homeschool parents (as opposed to prior to 2002, when the board could investigate and demand all kinds of documentation from parents - while refusing to acknowledge that different kids and families have different learning styles). 
 
Why was she alarmed?
 
Because, she said, some parents might take advantage of this to just keep their kids out of school and... umm... well, I never did get exactly what she was implying that these irresponsible parents would do to prevent learning from taking place.  Imprison their children in boxes?
 
In my experience, it is almost impossible to stop an untethered child from learning.
Schools exist mainly to teach them how to line up and put on snowsuits and take them off again and share crayons and there's the drinking fountain.
You can't tell me the school day is all about learning.  In Junior Kindergarten, at least, the school day is 5% learning and 95% mopping up various sticky substances.
 
I told this mama that it has been my experience that the lousy parents - and really, I have probably met fewer than ten of these in my fifteen years of parenting - are usually the ones who seem more than eager to get rid of their kids after four and a half years, or sooner if daycare and/or preschool are an option. 
 
This mama seemed to think that was true, and lucky indeed for the children of these parents.  I suggested that these may be the parents who will most adamantly support full-day kindergarten, an initiative currently being pushed through in Ontario despite the staggering expense and unproven benefit.  She agreed wholeheartedly that full-day kindergarten would be ideal for these parents. 
 
Let's get the kids out of their clutches!
 
Well, she didn't exactly say that, but I was shocked at her belief - perhaps drummed into her as an educator? - that the role of school is to tear children from their home environment in order to educate them against their parents' better judgement.  And that there are lots and lots and LOTS of bad parents (perhaps a majority?) whose kids would be better off away from them all day, every day.
 
Didn't they give up that idea when they closed down the native residential schools?
 
I mean, I have overheard all kinds of crazy, paranoid-sounding rhetoric about the adversarial relationship between the education system and parents.  But this person (otherwise entirely intelligent and sane) was actually trying to convince me, from a perspective of experience, that was indeed a central raison d'etre of the education system.  I felt like taping a tinfoil hat to my head so I couldn't pick up her signals so clearly.  Or she mine.
 
Lucky, lucky, she seemed to think that I was a good-enough mama, and that Naomi Rivka and I will have no end of fun and adventure while homeschooling... as long as we make sure to stay on the happy side of the law and get all our paperwork filed.  (I told her I didn't think there was paperwork because school attendance here isn't mandatory until Grade One.  I could be wrong about that, but I'll keep on saying it until somebody sends me some kind of official notice to the contrary!)

2 comments:

  1. Yup, we get this conversation, or some variant, a lot, and I never really have a good way to answer it, and always leave feeling like I'm doing something wrong. You summed it up well.

    I think I read somewhere or was told that there is no paperwork to file, ever, as long as your child has never been to school. But once they have been in the system, you have to file every year that you are not sending them back to school, or something like that. Must look into that... along with vaccination, and all the other million things I need to look into more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really? a LOT? I'm surprised (saddened) that so many people believe kids are better off away from parents.

    As for vaxxing, with GZ I basically spent the first year hoping he wouldn't get sick (which you do whether or not they are vaxed, because they can still catch stuff), and then started a catch-up sequence.

    I felt more comfortable at a year because I felt like a lot of his personality, language, etc had begun to coalesce. I knew him better than I would have at 3 or 4 months and would (hopefully) be able to tell if something was wrong following a vaccine.

    Maybe that's totally irrational. However, at heart I do still believe that most of the diseases we vax for are way worse than any possible, one-in-a-million side-effects of the vaccine.

    It does annoy me that so many of the vaccines here are combos, so you really have no options once you decide to vax. Fewer ouchies for the kids, but less parental choice.

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments!