Thursday, October 31, 2013

We call it homeschool...

We call it "homeschool" but this word hardly does it justice. The thing is, someone who still lives within the school paradigm can't even conceive of what life is like for a homeschooling family. Because no longer is the point education. The point is living. The point is exploring what it means to be human. What do we love? What makes us tick? How can we get along with others while pursuing what we love? How can we honor what other people love? These questions become the central axis of life as homeschoolers. And suddenly it has nothing to do with "school" and sometimes very little to do with home.

When I look at school websites, thinking there might be some educational community that we would enjoy being a part of, what I see is the limitations that define these institutions. Dress codes to avoid bad things (gangs, shootings). Locks and security guards to do the same. Curriculum wrapped around external measurements called testing and mandates and standards. Crowd control and germ control and behavioral control.

When we homeschool, the focus shifts. We learn from within. We explore out of curiosity. We share out of excitement. We wear clothes that express our moods and dreams and sensations. We lock the door when we feel the need to nest, and open it wide when we seek contact and stimulation. Our behavior is shaped by relationships. There are no "standards." There are goals, like learning multiplication and spelling and geography, but we have time to get there, and ways to integrate these learnings into things that matter and make sense.

Homeschool seems crazy to people living in the school paradigm. But when much of the structure of school falls away, an unnatural structure geared towards external measurements, what we are left with is far saner a lifestyle.