There are many reasons for me to reject public school. For one, systemized schooling simply doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve been there, done that, and it’s worked out pretty well so far—though I would not necessarily credit my success to my academic arrangements. For me, I define “success” as happiness, health, mindfulness, self-knowing, and self-growth. In addition, the ability to deconstruct and remain aware of society’s conditions is one of the most important things I value in life. In a way, to be “outside of the system” intuitively yet still be able to function intelligently and cooperatively in society.
In short, those are the things I value in life, and those are the things I want for my future children, if I have any. And public school does not offer that. On the contrary, homeschooling appeals to me because it allows for individual pursuits as well as a more productive and dynamic use of time in general. It gives more room for self-discovery and lacks some of the negative impacts that public school has because of the need to conform and belong.
Having that said, I don’t claim to be an expert in home-schooling or child-rearing, nor do I claim to have an extensive knowledge (yet) about home-schooling. I can only envision and speculate the benefits of homeschooling based on the information and intellectual discussions I have been exposed to so far. And so far, the concept of homeschooling seems to matches both of my ideals and worldview.
In my mind, what it comes down to is preference. It’s what I prefer for my children. What I do not understand is the shocked faces I encountered when I mentioned I want to homeshcool my future children. The common reaction is a dismayed“Why?”
Why do I want to homeschool my children? Well—why do you want to send your children to public school? Or private school? Given that it is the norm, there doesn’t seem to be the need to question it. Homeschooling is somehow edgy—different, and it raises eyebrows.
Upon uttering the word “homeschool”, there is the immediate assumption that homeschooled children are socially awkward. There is also the question of where and how are your children going to receive the social interaction and conditioning needed for them to become socially functional in various situations and environments. Furthermore, there seems to be this notion that homeschooling shelters children from the “mean, bad, world” and will not adequately prepare them for “what is to come”.
As far as I know, homeschooling does not mean isolating your children at home. That I can understand: the social concern, since public school essentially serves as the hub for the offspring of your community. However, I do not understand the philosophy why it is a necessity to expose children to negativity in order to teach them how to deal with negativity. It is true that we grow by experience, and there is no question about that. However, the very idea of putting children through and risks and dangers of the “social jungle” just so they can emerge faster, better, stronger? It’s like saying in order to prepare for a heartbreak, you must find somebody to break your heart first. No—I do not believe that is necessary—and sensible—way for children, or any person to grow. Why accumulate bruises and scars when you can teach them how to defend themselves and remain unharmed amidst pressure and peril? To me, what matters most is the ability to cope mentally and emotionally through self-reflection, self-awareness, as well as logical and creative thinking. What matters most is the ability to maintain self-confidence and a positive worldview, while being unafraid of mistakes.
Those things—those values—cannot be found in public school. Public school is about sameness; it is about routines. I want for my children a life that is adventurous and uninhibited by norms or structure. That is the worldview I want to give my children, and homeschooling, at the moment, seems like a much preferable option than public school. Although, when the time comes, I will need to consider the practicalities of homeschooling. After all, can I afford to homeschool my children? Can I put my career on hold to educate my children? And most importantly, will my children be suitable for home schooling, taken their personalities into account?
But for now—homeschooling remains an ideal, a concept, a plan. I do not know what the future holds. I don’t know if I will have children. If I do, I don’t know who my children will be.
But one thing is for sure, I will let my children become who they are and who they want to be, just like my parents did with me.