I feel like I see a lot of discussion about how to react when the kids want to go to school. Little kids see the schoolbus and watch cartoons like Arthur or read books like Judy Moody and want to experience all the joys of school. Older kids see normalcy and hordes of peers or possibly easier taskmasters and long to be a face in the crowd.
Mushroom and BalletBoy have never once expressed to me that they want to go to school. They’ve ridden a school bus at the fair (it was really exciting too). They’ve watched all those TV shows about hunky dory school experiences. They’ve read the books about how wonderful school is. But they never once said to me, “Why can’t we go?”
I could give a lot of answers for this. They had a homeschool peer group from an early age through our preschool homeschool group. They feel secure and trust our decisions. They’ve had outside classes for years so they get their fill of the sort of “school” experiences they want. We make learning fun so they aren’t looking for anything else.
But let’s get real.
I totally brainwashed them.
Really, I didn’t mean to. I don’t mean to keep it up. But it’s hard to stop myself from talking smack about schools. I mean, I know schools, I’ve taught in schools. I don’t like schools. Every time the topic of school comes up, it’s not like I make it out to be some horrible torture chamber or anything, but I always have something negative to say about it.
I try to be good about allowing my kids to form their own opinions about religion, politics, art and anything else. “I don’t like mayonnaise,” I’ll say, “but you might.” “I love Doctor Who,” I’ll say, “but that doesn’t mean you will.” (Okay, maybe I never said anything as crazy as that.) But somehow, I can’t bring myself to encourage them to form their own ideas about the institution of school. Considering the power of parental influence, the fact that we don’t lie to our kids and we specifically encourage them to decide for themselves about so many things, I know how it shakes out. How it shakes out is that we’ve completely brainwashed them.
I figure it’ll wear off in about eight to ten years. And then, oh boy, there might be a reckoning.