Saturday, December 11, 2010


"Who says recess on a school playground with kids her age is better for my child's emotional well being than playtime in the tub with her younger sibling?"

This is the dialogue I had with myself as I was laughing at my kids while they were laughing at each other, playing in the tub one afternoon.

(I will often let my girls "play" in the tub during the winter afternoon's, when the day is the most warm. This is often nothing more an early (albeit extended) bath time for them, not to mention an opportunity for me to clean the bathroom while I have to be in there supervising them anyway).

It occurred to me that it's pretty arrogant, not to mention ridiculous, for schools, even the best of them, to claim to have a monopoly on what is best for kids. Just because school is the most accepted choice, the most popular one in our culture, doesn't mean it's the best thing for kids, particularly for kids emotionally.

In fact, those who favor formal schooling will usually admit that it can be (and often is) emotionally traumatic or detrimental in some ways, but then they just laugh off and dismiss even their own deep concerns with some comment about how this is a "normal" part of growing up. Why is this? Is it possible the only reason the negatives about school are dismissed and labeled "normal" is because the negatives are so typical? And, I think that sometimes, the only reason these negatives are so acceptable to people is because the alternative, home school or even private school, is unacceptable to those people for some other reason.

I'm not saying that formal schools are always bad for our kids' emotionally or that every home environment is always nurturing. But, how can anyone claim to be open minded about education and what's best for a child's emotional development when they won't even consider that formal schools can be inferior in at least some ways and home schoolers may actually be onto something good?


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