As homeschoolers, we often see the question asked, “How do I help my child adjust to home school after public school?” Other questions along those lines such as “How did your teenager adjust to learning at home?” etc.
Hiding in the Woodwork
It is not often though, that you see the question posed, such as the one by Amy on HipHomeschoolMoms, this morning though. She wants to know how to respond to her daughter who is going into first grade who wants to go to school because the neighborhood girls do.
What do you know; the first response to the question was another mother and home educator with the same concerns. Now, I believe this scenario is a more common occurrence than many of us realize because many of US ( eh, yeah, I mean me too) are not readily able to admit that there are times that our kids do NOT want to learn at home and would rather give public school a try.
Drum Roll Please!
My best answer to how to respond to this question from your child is simple, gently remind them that you are the parent and at this time it your job to make decisions that play such a large role in their mental, emotional and possibly physical well-being. Tell them you understand their wants and sit down and try to work out a plan to satisfy the REASON why they want to go to public school.
In Amy’s case, her daughter feels like she is missing out on something with the neighborhood girls. Little does she know that she would have little interaction with these girls in the school setting anyways in the way they she would probably like (laughing, playing etc...) In fact, there is a large chance that she would not even end up in the same class with them and see them as often as she does now.
So, from my point of view what Amy’s daughter is craving is more “socialization” time with other children. The simple solution, discuss a sports team, scouting, art class etc...that she could join in the fall where she will get to spend time with other children in semi-structured atmosphere, but where they will still enjoy themselves. I would also suggest, looking for a nearby home school group to join up with and participate with.
How do You Know?
So, how do I come up with my beautifully thought out response, you ask? Well, simple, my kindergartner, soon to be first grade girl has asked on and off to go public school all year and has gotten pretty persistent about it in the last month or two. This led my mother to say, “Well, maybe you should enroll, maybe the structure would do her some good.”
Now to understand my mother’s response, let me give you a little more detail about Goldilocks personality.
She is LOUD! The child does not and I’m not sure if she ever will understand the concept of an inside voice.
She would much rather be outdoors than in. Whether it is hot, cold, rainy or sunny, it does not matter; she will head outside with work and get it done.
She is a MOVER! When doing work inside she has to move. Whether is it is wiggling in a chair, walking around for a minute in-between lessons, etc...if she can’t get up and move, she is not focused.
Now, these are just a few of her personality quirks but they quickly made the light bulb click in my head, “Oh my gosh, my mom wants me to make her NORMAL!”
Yes, my poor mother is still wrapped up in the mindset that sheepish molding process that takes place in traditional educational settings makes a person NORMAL and that this is what my child needs.
Let me remind you….
I Don’t Want Normal
I do not want the public school system to suppress these personality traits in my daughter. I don’t want her to sit in a desk and speak in a low voice all day to comply with what someone has said as to how children should look and behave while learning.
There may be a day when her LOUD voice is tool that helps her to be heard and make a change.
Her love of the outdoors may lead to career that keeps her there each day.
Her constant movement may prove useful as she progresses in sports, in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and more.
Why would I want to take any of this away from her?
That is when I was reminded that while we SHOULD listen to our children’s request in regards to their education, ultimately as their parents it is our responsibility to make the choices that are best for them. I will continue to respect and discuss my daughter’s wishes with her, but the ultimate decision is mine.
After all, if I gave in to every request because she pled her case well and sincerely requested it I would have a house full of Happy Nappers and be at Disney World five days a week.