Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

For Sure School

It’s been a sort of wild ride this past month and a half as we gave homeschooling a try- a good try actually. It’s strange in that I really didn’t expect such a sudden answer to the question of whether or not it would work for our family or for Enn himself. Well, the answer has arrived, and that answer is:

No, it isn’t gonna work.

First off, let me copy & paste from the homeschooling group site I have been a part of, the post I made in answer to “Why are you choosing to homeschool?”

because I want my kids to get a quality, challenging education without the long hours of homework that kill creative/fun time.

because I like the flexibility of the schedule

because life IS learning, and learning is lifelong

because I get to revisit stuff I learned thru school, but maybe I will retain more this time

because I want to filter some of the low quality information that they may be taught at a public school

it’s cheaper than private school

I want my kids’ boisterous & independent ways to be nurtured, not squashed

And then, here I am… seeing how Enn became a timid, withdrawn boy within the span of being out of preschool for one month. And I had to confront- will I hold onto my notions of what is best for him in the face of seeing his confidence shrink? I had several people observing this change in him. It made me afraid to see it happen.

I still don’t think that homeschooling creates antisocial kids. I do think that many kids totally thrive this way. But Enn… I guess not. It seems like he actually thrives from the interactions with the other kids, from the group experience. I was not ready for this revelation. I felt that public education, being that it was formed to educate the masses to prepare them for the Industrial Revolution… it was certainly outdated & antiquated and impossible for successfully educating my son. Who needed the cookie cutter approach to education? Who would benefit from going to the same ole same ole rat race of a school enviroment, to get churned out to be just like everyone else?

It turns out that school doesn’t have to be so bleak.

Once the school thing seemed a possible trajectory for Enn, I started with exploring preschools. I knew he wouldn’t go back to the place that he left- I learned after taking him out that they encouraged the very thing I was trying to prevent- the over education of little people. He was already reading, doing math, writing… not that it’s bad, because he did enjoy it, but my kid needs more play time, not more academic time. I am not worried about his future ability to read or excel academically. Even if I was, what good would it do to do anything about it at four and a half? Anyway, Enn is already good about working on his own, alone, by himself, independently. 🙂 He needs to learn how to handle other kids, how to have fun even when there’s a brief disagreement, instead of shutting down into a quiet sadness.

So, I found a co-op preschool. We visited today, and it is actually right near my house. Oh I wish I had sent Enn here from the beginning! But truth be told, I did not want the mandatory volunteer hours that makes a co-op. Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of getting a break? But now that I have the energy to be involved- and a lot of desire to be- wow this place is awesome. Enn walked in and exclaimed- This is So Fun! They have a pretend corner, blocks, art, curiosity corner, animals, a huge playground…. I can’t even mention it all. Enn was beyond happy! And he immediately got in the thick of things, and the teacher pulled him into the play they had at the end, and he was a hedgehog. He stood up with everyone and played his part! He laughed and spoke out! He yelled out as we left: “Bye teacher!!! Bye!!!” This is the Enn that I want to see thrive.

By the end of the evening, Enn was noticeably different. He was totally into getting into his own pj’s without arguing. He did the prayer for dinner, and he did it the old Enn way, praying about god you are real, and I really love my new DJ (a Cars car), and just being himself. It was sooo nice. He loved being with dad instead of wanting Me and only Me. It was just another thing to say we are going in the right direction.

So new list, why I am choosing public school for Enn:

he gets confidence from being competent & smart among other children

he likes all the choices immediately available to him

he grows from taking “risks” as he interacts with other kids & friends

he needs the habit of being a part of a group over being independent

I can bring extra exposure to his education, and don’t need to fear so much what public school will lack

I can be involved in his school

I can choose not to send Enn to the academic elementary school that’s down the street & I can embrace my neighborhood school

I can get excited about the strong community that is my school

I don’t have to fit the exact mold of public school; we can be “outside the box”

I’m OK with taking vacations during the school year, on school days, to expose my kids to culture & life

my neighborhood school values the individual child more than what I have seen in the local academic school, and I am so glad about that

I can be an art teacher at the school! Parents volunteer all the time in ways like this.

Well, I have written a lot, I think. This has been a hard thing to work through for me. I was really excited about homeschooling. So it has been hard for me to give it up. I feel like- here I go again getting all worked up about something that I don’t stick with. But I can’t be afraid of that, I just have to trudge along. Perhaps I just have to embrace that I get quickly passionate about things, and that I work hard to figure stuff out and make decisions, and I change course as needed? Whatever. I just gotta do what I gotta do.

 

2 Replies to “For Sure School”

  • Ahhh, I know it’s a hard choice to make. Public school has it’s benifts for sure too. I went to public school and loved the younger grades. As long as your whole familiy is happy though whatever you do will work out just fine.

  • It’s awesome how much thought you’ve put into what’s best for your little guy! I know it will all work out 🙂

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