Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the one about home schooling

Some weeks ago the girls and I went to the library, arriving a little early. We sat on the steps with a couple of other people, waiting for the Children's Section to open.

A thin and nervous looking woman arrived with her daughter, the girl quite tall but probably eight or nine years old.

The librarian must've been delayed, it was a few minutes after 1, and with some theatrical sighing the woman asked me if she could leave her daughter in my care until the doors opened.

The girl happily came and sat next to us and started chatting to Frieda.
The mum stayed a few more moments, glancing twitchily at the other people standing around, then she left, sharply telling her daughter to stay close to me and not to talk to anyone else, pointedly looking at a lone man standing nearby.

By this point I was judging, obviously.
I understand the importance of wising your kids up to the world, but I felt like don't leave your daughter at the library with strangers if you're so hung up.
Then I berated myself. You don't know anyone's history, this woman may have had real reason to be so apprehensive. But then again, if she's so worried, why leave her daughter there?

The library opened, we went inside, the girl asked if she could leave her bag near me while she went to choose books.
She was chatty and friendly, even sat in on some of the stories I was reading to Frieda. She was taking out an enormous stack of books and had a little moan that her mother always made her take out some Afrikaans books too.
Her mother took a long time coming back. I was starting to wonder what I'd do if she'd not made an appearance by the time we were ready to leave ...

Eventually she appeared, just as twitchy as when she'd left. Asked me if her daughter had 'been any trouble'.

And that's when she uttered those loathsome words: 'I'm home-schooling her.'

Ah yes, of course you are.

I know there are some really great people out there who home-school. I read their blogs and often find inspiration in some of the activities they do with their children. And I totally understand how you'd chose to home-school rather than send your kids to boarding school if you live deep rural. But ...
Really? To choose to do it in an urban environment, to spend all day and everyday together, to be your kid's parent, teacher, life-coach, guidance counsellor, disciplinarian, bum-wiper, playground buddy to infinity and beyond?
Say what you like I think it's just. not. healthy.
For anyone.
Twitch twitch.


Fi said...

I agree. Blimey, imagine if you were solely responsible for your child's everything?! The normal amount of responsibility is just about too much for me!

Can't imagine ever leaving H with a stranger in the library, either. Weird.

Sandra said...

I don't know enough to think I would be qualified. I have a good blog friend who home schools. She lives on an island, so I forgive her.

Victoria | Hibiscus Bloem said...

HI. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
I was so intrigued to read this post and hurried through to see what happened. Totally agree. I would never home school my children. I think it would be unhealthy for everyone concerned. Chidren need to be with others of their own age, mix, learn, have fun, experience all kinds of things that I as a parent could not offer. I also need the time away too!

india flint said...

good heavens.
did this woman know that you were not an axe murderer? perhaps the man nearby was a good and humble person?
how could anyone just leave their child with someone they don't know
how could she have the audacity to dump the responsibility on you?
how did the child feel about this?
sounds to be as if this woman isn't happy doing the so-called home-schooling, in which case why is she doing it?
learning is about discovery, exploration, curiosity and wonder; not about being dumped at the library with somebody you don't know; selected at random because they happen to be in the company of another child

Florcita said...

I could not agree more. Kids need to interact with other kids and parents need to have time for themselves too...
Found you blog by chance! Very nice find! :)

Cwybrow said...

lol - I was homeschooled, in a perfectly suburban environment. Cue normal. Or maybe not... ! yes, I spent some highschool years in school, and they were godawful; I was bored and bullied. Learning at one's own pace has a lot going for it, as does mixing and matching social groups with different activities instead of being chained to the same twenty children day in, day out.

Hailey Cuthbert said...

I agree. In the US area I am in, homeschooling is very popular. It is sad because, in many cases, children are not getting the chance to spread those wings of independence. This extreme attachment (helicopter parenting) is starting to take its toll. When "children" can't go to a job interview without a parent...uh-oh!