Friday, January 22, 2010

I like my kids!

Sometimes when I'm chatting to complete strangers and the subject of schooling comes up, quite often their response to home learning is "oooh I couldn't COPE with that, I need a break!". I'm not some super mother, it's just that I like my kids and I don't desperately crave time away from them. In fact the reason I had children was to spend time with them - that's a radical notion in some circles!

Even when my daughter was in prison I was practically the only parent in the playground not bemoaning the upcoming holidays, and complaining about what we were going to do to keep them happy for that extensive period ... of two weeks!

I read an article in the news paper the other day about the cost of children on holidays and was quite honestly gob smacked! They were making out like the only way to keep kids happy was to take them to expensive places and buy them expensive food that is guaranteed to contain trans-fats and be completely devoid of any nutritional value. Then the did a list of a day at the movies, which was complete with popcorn, chocolate, ice creams, and soft drinks. And a list of a day at the cricket which was just as silly.

I'm not a big consumer, I couldn't afford to be one for the longest time, and now that we have a little bit more money about we're used to doing things on a shoe string budget so we still do. A day at the museum costs us practically nothing. We usually take our own healthy food, we are members at the museum thanks to my father who gives us membership for xmas, and we don't spend much at the gift shop. So all up that's about $30, including transport, not the $109 average the news paper claimed a day out cost. Even when we go to the movies we take our own drinks, and a snack, and we only buy a small popcorn - how much popcorn do you need?

But cost aside, the main issue people have with with homeschool is spending time with their children, and never having a break. I wonder if part of why they don't like their children is because of the influence school has on them. My own experience of a schooled vs unschooled child is that they are complete polar opposites. My schooled child was often bored, usually rude, resistant to expressing who she genuinely was and often got about in the persona of some crazed little brat who I was sure wasn't my child! The deschooling process was complicated -and I believe it's a long term endeavour when your child has spent so long being indoctrinated, and struggling to be an individual within an institution (and credit to her for maintaining so much self under all that pressure!).

But despite the fact that nearly six years of resisting pink, fashion, shopping (like it's some amazing and self improving activity), continuing to study frogs, stick insects, enjoy sport, and wear clothes she liked rather than what her peers wore, that stuff still rubbed off on her. And when she was being one of her peers instead of being herself she wasn't the greatest child to be around .... but I still looked forward to holidays!

I wondered what would happen to our relationship when peer pressure wasn't steering us off course. I wasn't sure that removing her from the system would actually bring her back into herself, sure I'd heard all about it, but from what I was living it didn't seem entirely possible. However I was keen to try, I wanted to be more involved in her life, I wanted to spend more quality time with her, and I wanted to see if we couldn't just peel back some of that unpleasant exterior and relocate Stylish under it all. Over the course of a bit over a year we have done just that!

I like my children, I like spending time with them, but I can't wait for the school holidays to end now, so we can go back to the museum when it's empty, and the pool when there's only one grandma in the slow lane and us with the whole leisure area to ourselves. So ... for me, it took homeschooling to make me dread the holidays, and wish for them to end. But for very different reasons than I hear from other parents. It's sad that people don't like their children, and I really wonder if it's their children or the institutionalised versions of them that they don't like.




9 comments:

Kez said...

Yep I agree - I find it sad that so many parents say they can't wait for their kids to be back at school. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the kids are unused to amusing themselves, they are so used to being told what to do at every minute of the day, so they become bored very quickly.

And yes, I'm looking forward to getting our parks and museums etc back to ourselves too :)

Alice and Mother said...

only 4 more days to go!

karisma said...

Here Here! I also cannot wait. I can't stand the holiday crowds. I remember a few years back bumping into a lady I used to know from school whinging about the kids being home for one week!!! She sent them away for the other week of their holidays. I turned around and asked her why the hell she had them if all she wanted to do was get rid of them. I think in the majority of cases like this, the parents go into the holiday with bad thoughts and it manifests into the kids behaviour. Poor kids! Yes I love my kids too!

LigiaSwaney0613 said...

當你真心渴望某一樣東西,整個宇宙都會聯合起來幫助你。 ....................................................

Bec said...

Hmm...I love my kids to death too but they go to school. Does this mean I love them any less?? Interesting blog to read, to get another point of view. :)

Alice and Mother said...

It doesn't mean you don't love them at all. I sent my child to school as I have mentioned numerous times. It's simply a tongue in cheek idea to get people thinking ... clearly it worked :)

Bec said...

yes you are right, it did get me thinking. and like you I am REALLY in there...I am a teacher, LOL. Mine drove me around the bend yesterday and in all honesty I saw the behaviours you talked about, and I wondered if they would be different if they were 'unlearned' :)

Alice and Mother said...

My parents were teachers, breaking free of the mould that society expects was really hard for me in some ways, and yet so easy in others. And it was SOOOOO worth it!

Tinkr said...

I totally agree with you. I adore my girls, I can't stand the thought of sending them away every day.
I hate school holidays too, but for different reasons to other parents that I know.
Kez is right that kids spend all day everyday being told what to do and when to do it, no wonder they are so bored when they have freedom. =)