Thursday, November 5, 2009

Escape Hatch

I'm too lazy to go back looking in the archives, but did I mention that Poppy goes to school now? She started last winter after we moved here, going a few days a week. The principal here was great about it - said she could come when she wanted, for what she wanted, no b.s. about having to jump through hoops that don't really exist except in some little god's fantasy.

And because he was so easy to get along with, this September she enrolled full-time. This is the deal we struck: they get the funding, and I'm the last word, and nobody messes with mama. She's doing Gr. 10 full-time this semester, but next semester she'll probably end up going half-days. When school doesn't work for us, when better things come along, we go with the better portion. If there's some kind of problem of "socialization" (believe me, there are a LOT of "socialization" problems in public schools that I've never witnessed among homeschooled children), Poppy has the option to walk away. Any time. She doesn't have to be there. Ever.

It's working out wonderfully. She's got a goal to be a psychologist, wants to do the academic paper-trail through high school, and is motivated by group situations. I bumped her up a couple grades because her age-peers are struggling through material better suited to elementary level.

You know? I think it's possible that she's the only kid in the entire school who actually wants to be there. She gets herself up at 6:30 every morning and walks there. She's the only one walking too, as far as we can tell. There's a bus, but she doesn't like taking it unless it's really cold.

And it's all because she doesn't have to. Anytime this stopped working out, she could stop going. I know it, she knows it, the teachers know it. The exit is always an option.

I love that. I love that my kids know they don't have to put up with crap that doesn't serve them well. I jump through the hoops of my schooling because it's getting me where I want to go, and the destination is worth the journey. If, for some reason, it stopped being worthwhile, there's no "must" involved. Same for Poppy. In her life, school is there for her - she's not there for school.

Patch? He doesn't consider school an option. Possibly ever, though every once in a while he talks about getting a trade ticket at a college in order to facilitate his business plans. He's got a strong entrepreneurial bent.

Yesterday he was discussing with me his future as a married man with children, and considering that he might like to be the one to stay at home with his kids. Homeschooling is really important to him - he wants to make sure his kids have that opportunity, but he doesn't consider it a foregone conclusion that his wife will be an at-home kinda gal. I love that too.

My kids have a wide world, possibilities on every side. We all do. The trick is letting the scales fall from our eyes.


annettelikesrain said...

Oh my... this almost made me cry. In a really good way.

CG said...

if we'd only do away with mandatory attendance, even I wouldn't have a problem with even government schools. You may just be an example that perhaps they don't have so much to fear (the government schools and their minions that is).

arcolaura said...


Madcap said...

Annette - Yeah, it's a really good set-up for us right now. It doesn't make me teary-eyed, but it does make

CG - I'm hoping so. I'd like to do some sort of collaboration with this principal, writing our venture up and presenting it to both teachers and homeschooling parents. There are so many local homeschooling families who've expressed astonishment about the arrangement we have. There's really no reason (at least not here in Alberta, don't know about the rest of N.A.) why what we're doing can't be done broadscale. The Teacher's Association kvetches about losing funding because of homeschoooling, but when homeschoolers approach the schools about partaking in programming, we (usually) get such a hostile, unwelcoming response. This could be win-win, if they'd loosen their corsets a little and realize that it's not an inherently adversarial situation.

A'Laura - Yes! It's not all sunshine, but it's workable, and it's what Poppy wants.

Madcap said...

Annette - Sorry about that, my train of thought obviously jumped the rails. I was going to say that this story makes me hopeful. All the same, I'm going to take out a membership in the Homeschool Legal Defense organization for our province. I don't want to see any of the options eroded.