“you either learn your way towards writing your own script in life, or you unwittingly become an actor in someone else’s script.”
so, here we are. after a summer of occupying the space in between asking a question and arriving at an answer. we emerge slightly less conflicted but happily more grounded in our decision. ambivalence is an interesting and complicated state. one can get used to hovering there. however, it is clear that movement is essential. no one wants to feel stagnant or frozen in a state of indecision. there is a natural progression in every decision making process. some are slower than others. fortunately for us, there was a moment the decision needed to be made.
we started the summer relieved to have school behind us. having our family back moving in our natural rhythm was similar to coming home after a challenging trip that lasted too long. if only we had returned sooner? but it is easy to say that in retrospect. growth of some sort results from most experience. summer allowed us to reflect on the experience of school and compare the positives and negatives. my personal challenge was to listen to viv without expressing my feelings too concretely. one of the unexpected results of these conversations were my memories of the positive elements of school. the things that could not be curated into a homemade experience. the social stuff. while dysfunctional in many ways, was also really amazing. a true random sampling of our city. interestingly the role reversal made viv feel comfortable to talk about what she didn’t like. not so surprisingly lots came up that i had never heard before – a sort of flood gate really.
the switching sides was an interesting exercise, but i realized it was only an exercise for me. i had such strong feelings about wanting her to stay home. so, i felt great relief when she stuck with the same decision for a month. she would be staying home after all! so happy was i to imagine all the unplanned days ahead of us. how great to continue the good vibe of the summer. making just a few really good plans – do not want to be a slave to the schedule.
so, kind of perfectly, we ran into a friend/neighbor on our way home from dinner monday night – our first official day of unschooling. her kids had started school that morning. she and i have always had very interesting talks about school. she is a big public school advocate. a BIG advocate for many things. she is a powerful lady. i respect her. but this conversation with her has been challenging for me because she refuses to acknowledge that “school sucks” for some reason. also, that it could be different. i do not buy the “real world” argument or the “my kid’s just aren’t so precious”. these really bother me. there is nothing “real world” about the school environment. and even if it does represent a section of the real world, why do we accept it? after all, i do not want to prepare my child for life as a cog. i don’t want that for anyone. and for that matter, everyone is precious. i do not place my children above others. i may love them more, but this is natural. i want them to know that they are one among many. i want them to feel comfortable with that notion. i am not trying to raise superior humans. no. just thoughtful ones.
we need more than one revolution in days like these. so, i hope that our choice does not seem like one in which we are trying to pedestal our children. this is not about them being precious. it is about voting for something different than what we are offered. last night i once again, spent the night really weighing out the realities of not being in school. i continued to feel great relief and frustrated with the way most of the world thinks about school. i am beginning to understand why some unschoolers are starting to say they send their kids to private school. i don’t want to argue about it everyday. and people are really defensive in this area. and i’m tired too.
so again, this is about voting for something different. i feel good about that.
and, didn’t i mention, we’re sending our kid to private school cuz she’s precious!
have a great day.
today is the first day of public school in san francisco. we are not there. so i guess it is official – viv will not be going to school this year. we are all excited and happy to have slept until 8:45am this morning. i will try and write more about the process we went through this summer in arriving at our final decision. i just now sent the email to the sfusd announcing our intention, so in a way the final decision was not made until last night when we decided not to set our alarm. but that is the simple explanation of a very long and interesting conversation. i hope to share some of that soon.