Thursday, June 4, 2009

Genuine Kids

My kids have an unsquashed love to feel and explore the world. It can be exhausting.

My kids are intense. Explosively colorful. I sometimes describe them as super high bouncy balls in a room full of sunken golf balls. My brain usually gets painfully tangled up as it tries to wrap itself around what exactly is going on inside them. Not to mention, I'm physically tired.

Enter homeschooling, which works out pretty well for us, in that they can explore that intensity. That excitement. That emotion. That need to know. The millions of questions. Etc. Etc. And on and on.

Then again, there is that whole issue of being out in public and relating with the world. For instance, the poor checkout girl, who very recently engaged my children in conversation (and soon after, wondered what she was thinking) and got an earful from Iggy and Ooky about everything from homeschooling ("except that we don't really do school like most kids do school, ya know.") to beverage choice ("we love to drink coffee. Mostly only big people drink coffee, but we really like it so we drink it too.") to extracurricular activities ("oh today? today we're going to a cemetery. we visit them a lot to look for really old graves. we try to figure out why they died...") All in the time it takes to pay for gas and a couple treats.


Another time (last week) we were at a canine festival and stumbled upon some kid games that my lil' darlings wanted to play. They were a quarter a piece and you won a prize. Perfect. So Iggy, who is six, is so gosh darn excited to play this game, and he's making it pretty apparent to everyone around how excited he is. Not necessarily loud and obnoxious, just excited. To play a bean bag game. The boy scout (9? 10 years old?) is looking at Iggy like he's got six heads. I clearly saw him thinking Seriously. Its a bean bag game. You are weird. But Iggy didn't care. He just went on being Iggy.

Anti-homeschooling folk might say in the first example that my kids were talking the checkout ladies ear off because they are absoultely starved for social contact. And then I would counter that, no, they aren't starved for the opportunity to talk, its that they aren't afraid to talk to anyone...and you should be careful engaging them in conversation. Because they aren't afraid to take you on.

In the second example, Iggy was genuinely excited. Anti-homeschooling folk might say its because he's so sheltered that an otherwise lame bean bag game would entertain him. I counter with, nope. He just likes it. And he's not afraid to show it. Sorry.

I don't usually post anything outright anti-public school, because I'm really a live and let live kind of gal. But I will say that I often wonder if they gone to public school, would this kind of thirst for everything that's out there, and the intensity that comes along with it, still exist? Or would it have been squashed out of them? Would they have just smiled at the checkout girl? Would they have passed by the bean bag game because it was babyish? Or would they have still been genuinely Iggy and Ooky?

Hmmm. It makes me wonder.


Sadie said...

Personally, I think public school would change them. Too many other kids' beliefs to contend with. Recently we went to a nature center with a group of people- my almost 8 yr old was the oldest in the group. A mom showed up with her 8 yr old twins (about 3 mon older than my oldest). Talked for a few minutes and started commenting on the age of the kids there. A couple minutes later she whispered to me that they were going to walk around alone because "when you get to be 8, you don't want to play with babies". I just smiled and nodded....but felt it was wrong on a lot of levels, and that she could have used that time to help her kids learn....but being schooled with all same aged kids made it impossible to see the fun in hanging out with 1-7 yr olds.

Ruralmama said...

Oh I think they'd be different. No more playing dress up with the girls--more hanging out and looking "cool" with the boys, or tormenting the girls, while looking cool with the boys.

No thanks. I like those little guys the way they are.

I think about how my eldest would get classified because of her challenges (which you mostly don't see in the real world because she's allowed to make mistakes and learn from them on her own without negativity) and how she'd be ostracized in a public school. I think about how much she loves little kids AND big kids and how much that would change as well. Sigh. There's no way in Hades they're going to be institutionalized.

Sherry said...

That intensity would have been squashed right out for sure! Public school is all about conformity.

homeschoolceo said...

What a great post. I doubt they'd have the same enthusiasm if they went to public school. It's just uncool. It's shame that learning and exploring isn't cool until you are a grown up, if you are mainstreamed. And even then, most grown ups would rather watch tv and duck their heads all week at work to live for the weekends. It's a sad state. A huge reason, I believe, why we don't have many decent leaders in this country. We have raised a country of followers.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Jennifer said...

I totally understand what you mean. Ainsley will talk anyone's ear off because she hasn't learned the art of being too cool to give people the time of day like so many other kids learn by her age. She also will play with any age kid because of the same reason.
I can't tell you how many times the other day at the Como Zoo I had to tell my kids "I don't care what they're doing, we don't act like that", lol. There were so many bus loads of kids just running crazy and climbing the railings and walls. The parents & teachers just stand there next to the "do not climb" signs and do nothing. We were standing with Peyton, in her chair, in the handicapped spot, to watch the Sparky Show. Someone had parked their power chair there and must have went to sit somewhere. A buch of little school kids, covered in cotton candy, climbed all over it and sat on it to watch the show. Their "adult" was right behind them and totally didn't even care! I couldn't believe it. Then a little girl comes over to the railing and shoves Ainsley right onto Peyton so she could crowd in and watch. Of course, Ainsley said nothing because she's so polite. I told the little girl "don't push her out of the way and take her spot!" Ugggg!
Ooh, and Peyton got a huge box of diapers this morning. Guess what became the favorite new toy? They were just thrilled to have a big new box, lol.