Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our brief foray into "school".

The children signed up for a week long choral camp this week. I was in two minds. I knew that they'd love the singing (Shira loves the choir during the year, but they only meet for an hour a week), but I wondered how they'd cope with 6 hours a day of someone else's schedule, kids around them all the time and lots of busy work. (I suppose I should write a disclaimer here. My two are introverts and find people tiring, not regenerating)

For the first time, I noticed something that my friends who have outschooled children complain about. Our mornings were suddenly rushed, I was chasing after kids and people were becoming cranky. Our late afternoons were horrid. Kids were tired and therefore cranky. Sibling acrimony was high.

I did not enjoy the first three days of this week. I was excited before the week started as I thought I'd have 6 hours a day to myself, a luxury I've not had for years. It didn't work that way. I had to structure those 6 hours so that I was in a different city at the beginning and the end of them to ferry children. I was also out of sorts because my children were out of sorts. I disliked having to chivvy my children each morning and I was discombobulated by having cranky, pugilistic children in the afternoon. The rejuvenating time on my own was destroyed by my unhappy children.

A few minutes ago Ben asked me if he had to go back to camp. I experienced brief turmoil about "the kids should finish what they start" vs "this camp is not good for their psyches" and then said he could stay at home. We then went to ask Shira what she wanted to do. The relief at being asked that question was hilarious. So right now we are all in the family bed watching "The Blue Planet". I'm about to go and make green smoothies and let the children drink their breakfast in bed.

Today is going to be a good day. We're going to regenerate and revel in each other's company. I think some messy art is in our future.

I realized something these last few days. All those people who tell me they couldn't homeschool because they can't bear to be around their children can't compare those hours on either side of outschooling to being with your children all day long.. They experience their children in a similar manner to what I experience my children these last 3 days, and that is not a pleasant experience. Children when they are unstressed, and given time to be on their own, are delightful (well most of the time they are.)

It makes me wonder how much of the attention and behavioral issues we hear about are caused by children being in situations that are not suited to their personalities.


Candy Cook said...

Hi! Love your post. One sentence, in particular, rang true - how much of the attention and behavioral issues we hear about are caused by children being in situations that are not suited to their personalities. It's very difficult for a great many brilliant children to succeed in the school environment, as it is today. We describe my son as a "croc hunter, jr." He's very passionate, highly active, intelligent.. but, his personality (similar to Steve Irwin.. vibrant, some would say hyper, just out there) is the opposite of what they "NEED" in the classroom in order to keep kids sedated and working on boring worksheets and listening to yapyapyap as they watch, through a tiny window, a gorgeous day slowly drift on without them. Thanks for seeing this!

Shez said...


Good to "meet" you. I love the country pics on your blog.

amanda bel said...

Great post. I really identify with this, especially after Max's experience at preschool. I hated the morning rush, it felt so pointless. I was completely unproductive, and never really enjoyed the three hours he was away. Most of all, I got sick of having to make "excuses" as to why he missed school almost every other day. Or rather, my excuses were never *good enough* for the teachers; "We wanted to go to the museum instead, " or "We wanted to finish our game of cards," or "We walked to the park and lost track of time," or "We slept in and read books all afternoon." His teachers looked at me like I had three heads! I'm sure they thought I was the wost parent ever. I was starting to feel pressured to make up better, excuses like illness or family emergencies, that's pretty much when I realized school just wasn't the right fit for us at all.

Kristen's Raw said...

I love green smoothies and look forward to homeschooling someday, too, when I have kids :)


Shell said...


When rats are confined to a space that is too small, minimal sustenance, and attention, they become violent, miserable, and/or depressed.

It's no wonder that when we put children in this same situation (i.e. an 8 hour school day in one room with too many children, inadequate nutritional choices, and all competing for one teacher) that they become violent, miserable, and/or depressed.

Your post was dead on the money.

M~O said...

I think that can be said for a lot of introverts -- that being around people is draining, not regenerating. There are several "acquaintances" I have through various clubs that I can only handle for about 10 minutes, because I can just feel them sucking the life out of me!

Blessed Mommy said...

I had my oldest in preschool two days a week, 9-12, this past year. Those two days were rushed to get there, rushed to pick up. Then my child was tired and cranky. And that was just 3 hours. Now that it is summer, we are enjoying a more relaxed pace. This Fall will be our first year home schooling. Looking forward to learning with my children. Came across your post and will be back. Thank you.