We live in a very small community. Sometimes it seems suffocatingly small; inbred; insular. There is a huge transient population. People come to live here because it is cheap, find themselves trapped on *the rock* & start going slightly bonkers. Many move on to the bright lights, the night life & the malls of urban living. The ones who stay learn the knack of small community living: choose your friends wisely; be self~sufficient; develop an off~island life.
Even now the community numbers are small; growing but small. People you've never met still know your business & we are the resident *wackos*. We homeschool. Every so often someone has had a gutful of the local school & heads our way thinking they might like to homeschool & every time I take the time to refer them to resources, list curriculum choices, forums, umbrella schools, homeschool groups though I know that most will never do it. They don't want their kids home where they have them underfoot all day, every day & are responsible for them. They want them in school & gone for the better part of the day, someone else's responsibility.
I have noticed one thing all these people have in common & it is an interesting thing given that our schools are purportedly there to educate our children. Not once, not ever, has someone come to me & said, "I'm unhappy with the educational standard of the school & think I can do a better job at home." Nope. Not once. Education, or the lack of it, is not what is sending parents scurrying after an alternative. I hear: My child is being bullied; my child has no friends; there is no discipline; the children have no respect; the teachers are too busy dealing with the behavioural problems to teach; there is so much time wasted...on & on. Even if their child is doing badly in school it never occurs to them that they might just learn better at home.
I do understand this. When we started pulling our kids out it wasn't for academic reasons. The academics were an added bonus. We pulled them out for moral & ethical reasons & for their own safety. Nope. We didn't initially pull them out over religious concerns. In Ditz's case she wasn't even put in for purely selfish reasons. I'd done the bright child = behavioural problem with Jossie. The child was reading in preschool & I just felt too old to do the whole thing over again with the school knowing there would never be a resolution, never be an acceptable result, never be the help & support bright children really need. She would have been bored. I live with Ditz. I know the inevitable results of a bored Ditz & it is never pretty. Practically, what was my reading child meant to do while the rest of her class learnt their ABCs?
Nowadays of course Ditz has set a path that means lugging her round the traps musically & regular school would still be a lousy fit with the added drama of missed classes, homework, & assignment deadlines. Not fun.
We are still paying for Creative Generation: sore throats, headaches, runny noses, tiredness. I've been slack about getting Ditz back on track because I haven't been up to par either & the little twinge of guilt has been niggling away. So finally catching up on the overdue shop & staring vacantly into the vegetable stands I wasn't expecting a voice out of nowhere going: " Just the person I want to see!"
What they wanted to see me about was homeschooling. The school up here has always had issues. Weak Heads & aggressive parents are a bad combination & it has been getting steadily worse. They have a sweet little kiddo they are worried about sending & are looking for alternatives so I spent last night encouraging & sharing & showing how we homeschool. It is also a good reminder that homeschooling has never been primarily about education, however important education is. It is about passing on values to raise children who are decent, caring, confident, capable human beings. I needed the reminder. Watching Ditz care for the little one to free mum & dad up to chat & Liddy sharing what homeschooling meant for her I could only think how we've got the important things right. I have wonderful girls: caring, thoughtful, considerate, warm & funny. They are the sort of human beings I would want as friends & am blessed to have as daughters. I have another friend who pulled her child out of school & began her homeschool journey because she wanted her daughters to turn out just like Liddy & Ditz & she did not like the little people her school was turning them into.
It's not about education; it's about people ~ the sort of people we want in our society. We need to keep our priorities straight. Helping our children become humane human beings is our first priority under God. Education is a poor relation. If we get the first right the second will follow. What I don't understand is how we ever allowed ourselves to get so lost in the first place.