Ooh, the homeschooler's parent worst nightmare: what to do when your child asks to go to school?
That was the statement that my 6 yo made this morning.
Initial sinking feeling: I am failing him. Something is off, and I am doing a bad job. Why would he choose school over being at home? Is our life that boring and horrible that he much rather join the ranks of school children?
Fortunately, he made this statement when we were all sitting in the kitchen, eating breakfast. My husband immediately asked him WHY does he want to go to school? 8 yo tried piping up with HIS reasons, but we asked him to let his brother speak. The funny part was, he did not have a reason. Then we asked him what he thinks kids do in school. Last time he was in school setting was when he was 3. He said, they do work and sit in their seats. My husband reminded him that there is also homework. His brother started talking school up, how they had red day and ate licorice or blue day and they could wear blue. I reminded him about uniform and not being able to pick what to wear. 8 yo also said that you have to listen to what the teacher says and do your work. I said that you cannot stop when you are done, you have to do work till the teacher says you are done. He asked about field trips. I said, they do field trips, but he would miss out on our trips. I also told him that sign-up for homeschooling classes is this week, so I need to know whether to sign him up or not.
We left it at this.
Of course, I am nervous. The possibility of going back to school routine is terrifying to me. I hated carpool, I hated homework, I hated not being able to do activities that my kids would rather do all for the sake of being well-rested for school. I also think we would brush against his behavioral issues, which I have a handle on now and which, frankly, have not been so bad lately. They were the original reason why I did not send him anywhere at 4, or 5.
I also realize that most likely this request has to do with not knowing what to expect. He has no idea what school is like, only that some of his friends go to school. He hears about recess and zipline and lunches. He might also have some kind of secret idea that, in his mind, happens only in school. Growing up, I remember looking at school kids in uniforms, looking all formal and grown-up and thinking that school makes you smart. One school song even went: " Here is a teacher entering a classroom, he will teach us everything". For a kid like me, eager to learn, that sounded like a marvelous proposition. Imagine learning everything! The reality, of course, included teacher who taught strictly to state curriculum and I can say that I remember boredom, but not actual content of what was taught. Contemporary American schools are certainly more jazzed up than those Russian schools. Now teachers sing and dance and bend over backwards, but, at the end of day, school is school, and a class of twenty boys still needs to be kept in line and reports need to be filed and worksheets filled out and teacher's performance evaluated and tests given. Somehow, all of this stands for education.
I will watch for more school requests. I am calmer about it now. I wish I could make a deal with the school for him to try it out for a week or a month, so he would see for himself what it's like, and he would have less yearning for that unknown.