School, Anyone?


It is that time of year again ….for the rest of the neighborhood that is, back to school. It is also on the agenda for those that home school. But as we have progressed over the years, I have found this self-imposed deadline to be ridiculous and painful, for both the kids and myself. Why go along with the pack? It’s insane.  Pack mentality is usually wrong. So now we just learn at will.

Does summer end when school begins? Who said?

John Holt said, to paraphrase,  please do not just replace the school with your home. The same books, the same schedule, the same expectations. He is considered the father of the home school movement. I didn’t hear about him until my third child and we were well underway into our unschool adventure and yet we were using his same insights as our own. See, that’s the thing, we want the kids out of what we know is an artificial sterile environment that is lead by others with little to no consideration to child or family. So we bring them home only to try to recreate what we tried to avoid by bringing them home! This nonsense is furthered by mommy blogs and curriculum sellers for no other reason than to cash in on our misgivings that our babies aren’t thriving enough.

Children do not need things to live nor learn. The advancement of man should stand for that alone. Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds but do we as teachers and guides need it? What we can’t do without today was only a drawing a mere 15 years ago. We did just fine without it then. Can you imagine that we grew up with only one phone and that was in the houseHow did all our great writers, thinkers and artists ever manage to get their crowns without T.V. , computers, ipods, gadgets and whizbangs?  I believe it had something to do with life and imagination. Can gadgets help? Sure, but it is a dependence on things rather than self and imagination that can be stifled.  Since when does learning have to happen at a desk in a room away from the vicissitudes of life? Quiet, maybe but not isolation. Need physical education? don’t go buy a CD for virtual exercise, introduce the kids to the trees, grass and their bodies. Cart wheels, hand stands,spinning and climbing are all included.

Simple pleasures can be physics!

The newest package , the newest curriculum are just there as more landfill fodder . The one thing that irks me the most are the mommy blogs that sell and talk up the newest MUST HAVE for the home school. It’s outrageously expensive but isn’t it cute? Then you see their kids  with the item. For one thing, Mom only has two tikes that are no more than 2 and 5 years old, so we aren’t really seasoned keeping the little one home for learning, but the house is immaculate, the kids are spotless (even when painting!) and the blog is a full-time job! I’d like to know is this for real? And if so how?  My kids aren’t spotless when they are clean! And my house..well let’s just say we can find most things when we need them. Children do not need the perfect classroom by Hello Home School in pink and green. They thrive on Mom and Pop and a way to explore the world. A world of nature that science comes from and mathematics can be seen in both nature and man’s creation. How far removed are we when we learn only from texts and observations of others!

Yes, I use books and pencils and paper. I even sit the kids down to focus on tasks. Dittos are always a easy way to get a bit of writing in, or math. I do not use texts for history and much of our science is from observing and referencing. We live in our classroom. We do not reserve learning for one place, one time and expect to be taught by someone else. We learn, always. Isn’t that the goal? To be always learning? And to become autodidacts? At least part of the time?

My daughter flat out refused to learn her letters like the others. She said”NO!” and she meant it. She was given a pocket size book on birds, she watched birds and had to know each name. It was through this that her first read words were ‘Bald Eagle’! From there she just took off and at age 10 she is at about a 10th grade reading level. This would not have been possible any where else. She was ready when she was ready.

So the next time you read a blog about how your home “school” should be or look, think back to your reasons that you have the kids with you. Remember you are not selling your kids anything but that blog, home school site, or forum probably is. Learning can be natural if you let it or you can stop it and make it a classroom only activity. Let others go to school to learn, teach your kids that learning is just a way of life!

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About sixathome

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ Mom to six children that have never been sent to school.
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11 Responses to School, Anyone?

  1. Hi.
    Found you at Sasha’s.
    I’ve always told the newbies that the beauty of home school is that IT IS YOUR SCHOOL AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO.
    Of course, I did not know this at first. I well remember the first time we all attended a funeral on Friday and I worried about the spelling test we had to put off until Saturnday — what would the _____________ (insert your favorite authority here) think!
    The absolute truth is that no one on earth cares. They do not care, that is, if your child learns or not. They have proven that. All they care about is if you do anything they can penalize you for. (Delayed spelling tests, we learned, do not really fit that definition.) 😆

    • sixathome says:

      Getting going has it’s ups and downs. Not sure what you mean by penalize us, though there are a few entities I can think of (HSDLA is a nice resource). But I think you are right when the ones who truly care if the kids are learning are us! Thanks for the words!

      • Oh, most of the penalties are verbal, rumors, etc. But our state has jailed some. And if you have homeschooled for only ten years or less, of course, I expect too much and you do NOT know what it means for “them” to peanlize us. This is a thing of great glory, though, since once, all homeschoolers knew exactly what that meant. And really, I believe that day will soon return. (As soon as everyone relaxes, just as in Russia or China.)

      • sixathome says:

        I understand you. I just hate to assume anything. Yes, ‘authorities” have been a problem and I have fought about the ‘idealized telling” of home school on forums. The idea that ONLY if you are doing something wrong will trouble find you, is wrong and newbies, as well as others, need to keep in mind the fight that can occur. I wish I lived in that ivory castle but I do not. I have been doing this for fifteen years and have seen changes both legally and socially.

      • I have a theory. It has, so far, proven true: The amount of static the State gives us is in direct proportion to the amount of grief we would have encountered, had we used the State education institutions. Of course, this presumes God and His enemy, inputting in our lives. 😉

  2. Fox says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been getting at! On top of that, all this pressure on curriculum, on all this “stuff” that’s required for homeschooling makes it out to be something unattainable for us down here on the “bottom” financially. My family lives below the poverty line and we’re still able to unschool. It just means making sacrifices and looking for more free and cheap things to do. There are opportunities for learning everywhere and not all of them need to cost a small fortune or keeping to an expensive curriculum that requires sitting down to do a preset schedule of work.

    Learning can happen everywhere, whether it’s at the park, the lake, a class a child chooses to take, the laundromat, or even in a trailer park. There is no law that says learning can only happen in certain environments, and as Sandra Dodd proved with “Learn Nothing Day”, it’s impossible to go a whole day without learning something!

    • sixathome says:

      Hello, fellow 99%er!
      It seems that we hope the “stuff” will brew instant Einstiens. Nice to see others who see it for what it is…a miserable manipulation.I am not a Dodd fan, too know it all for me, but it is true you would have to TRY to learn nothing! Thanks for the visit1

      • Fox says:

        Yeah, I’m not a Dodd fan either, but I do LOVE that one holiday. I’ve used it to point out to everyone, even my kids, that it’s really impossible to learn nothing…because you can’t read, you can’t work on crafts, you can’t even sit and think because there’s always the possibility that you might learn something without even trying!

      • sixathome says:

        I think it is a shame that people beleive that home/un schooling is beyond their bank. A neighbor just had the Public school reinforce this crap by telling her she would have to spend thousands!If they knew what eight of us survive on AND unschool they would be shocked. We are always told though how different our kids are from “the others”, that makes all the struggle worth it.
        Frankly, I don’t see how Dodd has such a following. You would think “radical” unschoolers would be more independant than that :}

      • Fox says:

        I totally agree! I’ve heard recordings of her speaking at various events and her featured on a few podcasts. I don’t know, she’s just not my kind of person.

        That’s exactly how I feel about the whole idea that it costs a lot to unschool. We live below the poverty line in a little trailer park and we’re able to do it. Granted, we’ve got child support coming in for the older two, which helps a LOT, but we’ve done it before when my partner was out of work and we were living on practically nothing, yet our kids were still able to learn and grow every day. It’s amazing how many free opportunities there are out there and how much you can learn just by having an internet connection, a library, and your local neighborhood. That’s one thing I’ve learned about unschooling. It can be pretty much free, if you want or need it to be, well, if you don’t count the actual cost of raising children.

        In comparison, school requires school supplies, new clothes for school (because it can be hard to find second-hand stuff that’s good enough for school). Then there’s other expenses, like field trips, class parties, and some areas even charge you to put your kids on the bus! Our town apparently does! So, public school isn’t exactly free either. If you can afford to send your kids to school, you can definitely afford to homeschool!

      • sixathome says:

        I think there are a lot of us below the poverty line!
        I think that when our kids see us make it on less and struggle they will succeed in all they do. It is a much needed lesson that life is hard and seems to be getting harder. Most of the world live on very little and are raising wonderful humans. Here in the states the poor are a dirty little secret but it doesn’t make us stupid. Life lessons are as important as acedemics. I see parents truggle with the costs of ‘free’public school here too, if they only would stop long enough to hear us.
        Oh yeah, good work MOM!

Arouse my imagination!

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