When my son was just four years old I dropped him off at school for the first time. It hurt both of us. But that’s what you have to do, children need to get an education and school is where education happens. Teachers facilitate that education and education is the purpose of school. If you don’t send your child to school they’ll be illiterate, stupid, know nothing and be weird socially. That’s what a lot of people believe. This post is about some very good reasons not to send your child to school.
It’s not true.
We’ve been homeschooling for a few years now, my children and I.
I know that school is not the only option nor is it the best option. We are very happy in our choice, all of us. We firmly believe that school is the worst place to get an education.
Reasons Not to Send Your Child to School
1. They’ll get a great education without school
The content of a school curriculum is limited. It contains what an average child can achieve in a crowded classroom with little personal assistance over a school lifetime. A school lifetime that contains a lot of breaks, a lot of waiting, a lot of filler and very little natural stimulation. Kids in school are cut off from the real world that they’re supposed to be learning about.
The set school curriculum is what your government or state needs your child to learn, but there is so much more in the world.
Why should somebody else decide what is important for your child to know?
You can take that curriculum and use it as a starting point. Then you can build so much more on top of it. You, and they, will have plenty of time
2. They’ll make friends and be functioning members of society better outside school
They’ll make friends of all ages, from every gender and from many backgrounds. School restricts children to socialising with same-aged peers, from whatever small area they come from. Schooled children often won’t even mix with children from a neighbouring school. I remember inter-school battles from when I was a child and sometimes they were bloody.
They don’t go to our school, they aren’t like us, we can’t be friends with them. Schools often induce rivalry and competition quite deliberately through the house system and inter-school competition. It’s not a good way to make peace in the world.
Children that don’t go to school are free to make friends in the same way that adults would, naturally. They will find people that they have something in common with, that share values, interests or a sense of humour. Not just share a desk.
Children that don’t go to school meet people all the time, every day. They don’t need to have a social life arranged for them. Take them to the playground, to the pool, to a club or activity that interests them, it’s all social interaction. My children’s best friends come from homeschool group, from our street and from places we have lived previously.
I hope they make friends from all over the world as we travel. I know I have friends all over the globe and that’s a good feeling. One of my best friends is 20 years older than me. Is that so weird? Why can’t it be the same for children?
They will learn how to deal socially with the members of society that we meet in the real world every day, from a responsible adult who has had plenty of practice. Not from another child with schoolyard social skills.
3. They’ll develop important life skills, not school skills.
Children who aren’t confined to a classroom for years of their life spend more time in the real world that they will later inhabit. They’ll learn how to function in that world from other members of society.
Kids learn practical skills from watching and listening as we go about our normal lives. They’ll learn all that boring stuff about bank accounts, handling money, insurance, budgeting and how to buy a car or house. If they’re in school they usually miss all that.
Likewise, they will learn how to order and pay in a restaurant with good manners, confidence, and respect. They’ll learn that strangers can help and are usually kind. Hopefully, children will learn to speak up for themselves because they are members of society in the same way that adults are.
Through self-moderation, self-regulation and self-governance they’ll learn to think for themselves, organise their own time and entertain themselves rather than being institutionalised.
4. They’ll have access to amazing facilities.
Really, most people have better computers at home than the school computer rooms do.
If your child needs or wants a particular piece of equipment, you can buy it.
If your child wants to learn a sport, you can find a club for them and they can devote as much time as they like to it. One of the great positives of homeschooling is the abundance of time and the freedom to spend it in the most valuable way for the individual child.
Your child can use whatever facilities you have at home any time, for as long as they like, without having to share them.
Yes, you may have to spend more, but nobody said having children was cheap. There are a million homeschool resources that homeschoolers can buy, from simple workbooks to complex equipment. You can homeschool kindergarten with very little extra expense but as get towards the high school years you may have to invest a bit more. You’ll certainly want good computers. That said you’ll be able to find plenty of free courses and learning tools online.
5. Self-confidence and inner strength stay intact.
Children who aren’t constantly compared to other children should grow up with more self-worth than children who are made to feel secondary to peers who may be cooler, cleverer, thinner or more athletic through a trick of genetics.
Those who aren’t put down or belittled by bullies won’t have the confidence knocked out of them. Children with self-worth can believe in their capabilities, have a can-do attitude and apply themselves to any task without fear of failure or embarrassment.
Youngsters with plenty of free time and no peer pressure often develop amazing hobbies and interests. Nobody will be channelling them towards the latest school fad. Sometimes those hobbies can become careers and sometimes these hobbies and interests can grow through project-based unschooling or homeschooling.
Most importantly, they will grow up surrounded by love, support, and encouragement. If you pick homeschooling, worldschooling, unschooling or wildschooling, there are so many positives if you handle it well. We, as homeschoolers, aren’t sheltering our children from the real world because school isn’t the real world. Would you, as an adult, want to surrender your time and freedom to an institution five days a week? No? Well, neither should the kids. This post deals with just some of the positives of homeschooling. If you want to dive deeper into the pros and cons of home education, see this post. What reasons not to send your child to school can you add?
Melanie Murrish says
Just brilliant Alyson; the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, was when a teacher said my daughter asked too many questions! Another was when she came home and told me the teacher had said she had coloured the stars wrong (apparently, they are silver not yellow!), to which I replied,”I don’t think Picasso would agree.”
I could go on.
Thanks Melanie. I know, I feel your pain. I was told off in school for “shading in” wrongly. I took that word shade literally, ie. add the shade, the darker bits. Teacher meant colour the whole thing. Obviously I was wrong to understand too much about art.
Thursday Took says
Love your work! Thanks for still posting here whilst you are travelling. Hope you guys are having better weather. “Spring” in Brisbane is hot and dry. Blah!!
Hi Thursday! I try to make it over to this site now and again, but it’s a bit neglected I’m afraid. What with the travelling, working and my husband’s new medical crisis, I’m pretty busy! Good to hear from you.
Heidi Harrell says
“Would you, as an adult, want to surrender your time and freedom to an institution five days a week? No? Well neither should the kids.”
The thing is… most people DO have to do this as adults. Most adults need to have a JOB. I don’t disagree with all of you have written at all. But most people do not have the luxury of spending all their time in a loving environment, surrounded by their family for their entire lives. They have to work.
Well yes, some people have to work Heidi, but there are plenty of us who gave up their jobs and a higher family income when our children were born. I know quite a few single parents who did the same thing, finding alternate ways to support their families, often working online, while spending as much time as they can with their children. I moved continents so that I could be at home with my kids,we couldn’t have managed in London, housing is just too expensive. If you want it badly enough, there is often a way.
Oh I SO agree with this!
Sure, there are always exceptions, but I think for the vast majority of people, they don’t stay home with their kids because either
a) they simply don’t want to
b) they don’t want to give up the perks that they can buy with a higher income from both parents working
c) they don’t want to put in the effort to re-organize their lives to make it possible to be home with their kids
d) they don’t want to move into a smaller house so they can afford to stay home
e) they don’t want to give up___________________ (fill in the blank) to stay home
f) they simply feel that it’s impossible to do it – they don’t realize that they COULD do it, if only they wouldn’t give up trying… if only they would keep on scheming for a way to make it happen
I’ve worked in an institution-like setting for years – but never because I felt I had no choice (and no, I’m not rich haha) – but, I did it because I wanted the monetary perks of the job more than I wanted to escape, and because I felt at the time that the price I’d pay to escape having a JOB was too high.
We all make choices, and that was mine… at the time. Hell, that’s the choice most people make, right?
But now, after many years of scheming, we have finally come up with a plan to escape that we are comfortable with – Airfare for the 4 of us already purchased – we leave next summer – a big part of me is terrified to be jobless and on the lam, scared of homeschooling, but, at the same time, my heart swells with joy at the thought of it. 😀
Life is too short…
if this is the most important thing to you, you can find a way. But the most important thing a parent does is love their child, keep them safe and secure. And the child will tell you what they want or need. I thought this article had great points…especially about why would you want an institution for yourself? But sometimes you do. Or sometimes you can’t be all things to your child. In this case, the challenge for all is to remember that children learn best through play. So try to protect and extend their chances to play.