After having had another conversation about the many “issues” of homeschooling I decided to let my mind cool off browsing Facebook for a moment. I needed that little distraction because I felt fired up. Fired up for hearing the same uneducated remarks over and over again. Fired up because yet again it came from someone who doesn’t know my children well enough to even think about judging. Fired up because I truly believe in “what works for you works for you but doesn’t have to work for me too”.
But I also felt proud. Proud because I did not let it get to me. Proud because I did not engage further. Proud because I let her slide into the wall without pushing her. Proud for not letting me get to the point where I got defensive.
It’s been one of my issues ever since we started homeschooling. I always felt I needed to explain our decision, felt I needed to defend it. But I don’t and I realized it finally.
I don’t have to explain anything and for sure don’t have to defend any decision we take in regards to our children.
On my way home from this little encounter I thought about all the issues I heard about other parents have with their schools. Bad teachers, bullying, pressure, too many kids in classes, lack of engagement of the teachers, drop off and pick up issues, unhappy kids, stressed out children. I remembered what one mom once said to me: My child became an entirely different person than she was before school. She has lost her empathy and it will be a lot of work to make her find it again.
Besides everything else I heard before and after, this was most probably the most shocking thing I heard so far. The mom decided to take the girl out of the school she was in shortly after and taught her at home while researching to find a better school. She moved her to another school eventually and it worked totally fine from then onward.
Kids can get screwed up by the system. As much as they can get screwed up if we as homeschooling parents don’t do our job well enough. While we have to trust in the system and can’t change certain things we for sure can influence what we do, what we teach and how we guide our homeschooled kids. The pressure is entirely on us. No excuses if we screw up. No teachers to blame, no classmates to take into consideration. It’s just us. We are responsible. We teach, we screw up or we succeed. As simple as this.
So far I have not met a single parent who wants their kids to end up being uneducated or as screwed up individuals. But I have personally been taught by an extremely disengaged teacher who gave a rat’s ass about what we actually learned but just showed up. I had one teacher who told one child that he will never get anywhere and that he is just too dumb for anything.
Nothing infuriates me more than hearing that kids need to experience a bit of rough love from their peeps and maybe even teachers. That the vanilla kind of bullying is important for them to shape into strong adults. That they need to learn to deal with harsh criticism. At the same time the internet, bookstores, all kind of social and old style media preaches engaging in a “can do” attitude and that we need build up our confidence.
Now I put it out there: When and why do we lose our confidence? For sure not when we get told how well we do stuff or how fantastic we are. Right?
We lose it when we constantly hear criticism, when we get talked down. So tell me again why kids need to be bullied and deal with harsh treatment in order to grow into confident adults?
I get it. Life is not easy. But just because you are not constantly been kicked in the gut when you were young doesn’t mean you can handle kicks when you are a grown up.
Going back to the “can do” movement: There is another one too, which, just like the “can do” is close to my heart. Obviously I’m not the only one though, as it is all over everything as well: The desperate cry out for more empathy and kindness!
And I ask you again: How can kids learn empathy, when they need to build a wall around themselves in order to not getting hurt? How can they turn into kind individuals if harsh treatment is considered important for their development?
I’m just tired of hearing the same arguments over and over again. Especially when they are so thin.
So back to the beginning of this post: I surfed the internet, spent time on Facebook and in between some very funny animal memes there it was. This post about schools in Denmark, teaching empathy as one of the subjects from Preschool onward. It made me happy on one hand side because finally something is done. It made me upset because obviously we live in a world where empathy and kindness have been taught.
It made me think that there is no one gloves fits them all. There is no one way. Education has to be right for the society involved, for the people involved. For the family involved. There is no right or wrong in regards to education. Just a right way for some and a wrong way for others.
It made me shake my head over the remarks that things have always been done in a traditional way. As if the traditional way is the only right way. Because yet again there is proof that something can be done in regards to the aggression out there if you keep an open mind. Teaching empathy in school as a subject is out of the norm and still it’s done. It’s introduced to society and it’s accepted. Well done, Denmark!