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Categories: Léo’s Insights 2018-2019 Academic Year, Quitting Series
The easiest thing to do is to just quit. Walk away. Abandon the event. Turn away from the problem. Although that may be the best way to remove yourself from an unpleasant situation where you are not part of the problem or the solution, it is usually not the best option most of the time. Needless to say, it takes zero courage to simply give up and quit.
No matter what you may be engaged in, you can count on being challenged. In fact, it may at times seem like the only thing that comes easily is trouble! Trust me, from my aging perspective, I cannot remember not having problems as an integral part of my life. If I thought life would get easier, I was either deluded or I was fed a lie or I wasn’t listening to my elders who undoubtedly warned me that things would not get easier with age!
Problems are a part of life. That is hardly front page news. The big news is not that problems will come but the way in which they do. If we could predict with certainty how and when they would come, we would be prepared to either avoid them or to take them on, but problems are rarely predictable.
You have children, you will have problems. You send them to school and you will have problems. You keep them home and you will have problems. Yes, problems are as common for home educators as anybody else.
Home educating problems change with time. When the children are of preschool age, that is one set of problems. Once engaged in home education, that will be another set of problems. You want problems? Don’t worry, they will come in new and novel ways once the children reach puberty, especially if you have been raising them to think for themselves!
Pubescent children will likely be at the root of some of the most difficult problems you will encounter, whether they are in school or not. While home educating children will likely fare better than their school counterparts, they will still challenge their parents.
Paradoxically, both want what the other has at this time. School kids want to be home, while this is the time the home educated will start to entertain the notion of going to school. Children who have never been to school are often intrigued by what they imagine school to be and this is almost always fixated on friends rather than academics.
Even though there is pressure to let them go to school, this is certainly not the time to quit, yet you would not believe how many home education programs are ended at this stage. We would all love to blame the children, but they are not actually the cause of this problem.
Pubescent children may look the part, but they are not fully adult. Their ability to see past their immediate self-centered future is usually obscured with innocent imagery. Although it is important to treat them as adults when they behave as adults, it is equally important to protect and/or prevent them from making bad choices when they fail to see the long term consequences.
I do not want to talk about how schools can be detrimental to the children’s physical, mental and spiritual health at this time, but to discuss how it is that parents relent and send them there in the first place. Kids will be kids. That is self-evident. Parents are not, so why do they let the children go to school?
First of all, they weaken in their resolve to ignore the age old concern about socialization. They start believing that the children need more friends to be properly socialized (whatever that means) and rather than involve them in more activities, send them to school so they can find “friends.”
The greatest reason for parental capitulation to children’s demands to attend school is much the same as their acquiescing to other sources of discouragement and pressure.
Parents often lack a clear understanding of what home education really is or have forgotten why they chose to home educate in the first place. They unwittingly start believing that the government and professionals in schools can do a better job of teaching their children than they can. This is especially so as the children start reaching the secondary or high school level.
If parents adopt the idea that only a government accredited program will allow students further success, it is easy for children to convince them to allow them to get this accreditation. Needless to say, the best way to get that accreditation is to go to school where there are lots of potential friends.
This is not my argument, but it is the standard argument of many pubescent children. Post-pubescent parents should know better. They should have the fortitude to stand on what they initially determined to do and encourage their children to complete their formal education at home.
If encouragement doesn’t work, that is, if the child is not mature enough to see the sensibility of your convictions, they are most certainly not ready to attend school. This requires the parent to step in and make the decision for the child. After all, parents are the adults and they should be the ones to set the boundaries and expectations. When the children do, you have BIG problems!
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