Why my kids are not in school anymore

School is OutThis summer I took my kids out of school. Forever. It wasn’t an easy choice when I though of the convenience of having free daycare. But it was an easy and obvious choice when I thought about what is good for my kids.

Ask many kids and they will tell you they don’t like to go to school all the time, some will tell you they hate school. I think that is very odd. A child spends the bulk of his time at school, and if he is not liking it – it sets a child up in thinking they always have to do things they don’t like to go through life.

Clearly that’s not the case, as it is very much possible to have a job you love and make a living doing things you love to do. I think we set kids up for failure when they are following a path of dishonesty, thinking they have to go to school to become someone. At the same time diminishing who they already are, and what their passions are.

Kids are very capable of choosing activities they like to do, and most of those activities have an educational benefit.

When I go back to the original question, why my kids aren’t in school anymore, the answer is quite simple: they don’t want to. So, this summer I have changed it around. I have my sons each in charge of their own education. And they choose not to go to school.

I’ll be honest, after the first day of school, my 9yo’s best friend called my son up and asked if he wasn’t coming to school, and he decided he wanted to go to school. So day 2 he went back to school, but it wore off quickly. After 2 days, he said he was now really sure he didn’t want to go back. And that was it.

I believe that if we treat our kids with respect, they will treat us with respect. If we use coercion, force or rewards – kids are not doing what they want, but what we want them to do. And isn’t it the best time to learn who they are and what they want out of live when they are still safely living home with us?

When they are under our wings, it’s the perfect time for learning things we think they should learn. It’s the perfect time to make mistakes and learn about cause and effects of positive and negative behavior, because we as parents can support them when something doesn’t turn out as planned. So let kids experiment when they are still at home, and they will learn how they want to live their life.

So, that’s the long answer. I am giving my kids the opportunity to stay home to learn who they are, what they want to get out of life, and how they want to live their life. It’s their life, as long as we as parents create a safe environment, communicate a lot with them, and be there when they need us; when we actually build an equal relationship with them, instead of hierarchical, then I know my kids are prepared for their own life, where I can be his support and help in times of need.

I want my kids to get the most out of life, and the world is so much bigger to learn from then the opportunities that are offered at school. Does anyone remember an inspiring worksheet you made at school that changed your ideas about what you want to get out of life? I don’t think so. Kids find out what they want to get out of life, by following their passons and interacting with people, and I am excited I can offer my kids that.

Comments

  1. Edward says:

    The opportunity to home school our children, is far more than simply having the freedom to not only suggest, but to also discuss with them what is best for them to learn. I have three cousins who live in Oregon who were home schooled from the tender age of three and they are all fabulous, caring and intelligent adults now. They all have secondary degrees and families of their own now and you can rest assured that their kids will be home schooled too. Spending time with these relatives as few times as I have been fortunate enough to do is always a special occasion, for they are a family of faith and they are filled with a respect for others that literally is felt physically when they are in the room. I applaud you – Go, Marieke Go!

  2. School isn’t for every one. Even home schooling. I spent many years in school. All the usual grades of public school. College. Law school. I hated them all. I went because it was “expected”. However, everything that I ever learned that was good and useful, I learned on my own. Much of it I learned disproving everything that was being taught in school. Granted, that was long ago, or when the earth was young and without form (as my grand children believe). It’s worse today. They’re teaching ideology in those classrooms, more importantly, an ideology that I find objectionable. Thus, I would urge everyone to get their children out of those schools and put a library card in their hands and a good high speed Internet connection. Expose them to museums and places where people come to debate. Stay away from all dogma. Good luck.

  3. I applaud your ambition and knowing you I am sure this will be both the right decision for your family and yourself. But I know that this is a decision that I could never have made.

    Maybe it is because I can only visualize my own parents as my teachers. Maybe it is because I put too much value on the social aspects of attending school. But most likely, I just wouldn’t have the patience needed to consistently be a good teacher.

  4. Marieke,

    I am glad that you have the ability to choose to homeschool your children. I do think that some children need the direction and freedom that only a teacher/parent can offer. With that freedom comes a lot of responsibility.

    My experience is not like yours. My children really thrive in our school setting. It could be that we have them in a really wonderful team here (Fayetteville-Manlius, NY.) Things aren’t perfect — but I have yet to meet a teacher or administrator who doesn’t seem to really care about the successes of our children. I also have very enthusiastic kids who seem determined to learn whatever they can however they can.

    The daily social integration is very valuable, too. The kids are learning to deal with all kinds of children, those who are fast-learners, those who have special needs, and yes, those who have emotional issues and bully others. They have learned to stand up for themselves and how to learn in spite of different personalities and methods in the classroom.

    It is a good thing that we have the ability to choose for ourselves what is best for our children and our families. Even in our schools, we have some families who take kids out of the stream for a year or two at home. That requires an incredible amount of time to plan and discipline to keep everyone on a schedule. I admire those who feel as if their children will do better outside the traditional system and can find non-traditional ways to make sure their kids will flourish!

  5. Marieke,

    I am glad that you have the ability to choose to homeschool your children. I do think that some children need the direction and freedom that only a teacher/parent can offer. With that freedom comes a lot of responsibility.

    My experience is not like yours. My children really thrive in our school setting. It could be that we have them in a really wonderful system here (Fayetteville-Manlius, NY.) Things aren’t perfect — but I have yet to meet a teacher or administrator who doesn’t seem to really care about the successes of our children. I also have very enthusiastic kids who seem determined to learn whatever they can however they can.

    The daily social integration is very valuable, too. The kids are learning to deal with all kinds of children, those who are fast-learners, those who have special needs, and yes, those who have emotional issues and bully others. They have learned to stand up for themselves and how to learn in spite of different personalities and methods in the classroom.

    It is a good thing that we have the ability to choose for ourselves what is best for our children and our families. Even in our schools, we have some families who take kids out of the stream for a year or two at home. That requires an incredible amount of time to plan and discipline to keep everyone on a schedule. I admire those who feel as if their children will do better outside the traditional system and can find non-traditional ways to make sure their kids will flourish!

  6. Wow, great choice for you. I totally hated the school experience except for Kindergarten because it was only a half a day and we got to eat snacks. School was just too mind numbing and conforming for my personality.

  7. Congratulations! I love that home education is really becoming a popular choice these days. We made the choice for our kids before they entered school and I’m glad that they’re excited about it.

    When I was a kid, I loved learning–but I hated school. School stifled my love for learning. I would have loved to learn the way that I wanted. Now I can help give that to my kids!

  8. I’m doing the same thing with my 13-year-old daughter, Marie with a few key differences.

    1) She has anxiety (generally it comes about due to new situations) so therefore having her home has been a wonderful option.

    2) She’s in public online school which has been great (w/ a few minor glitches:). I’m not the most patient person, and I’m a writer and social media consultant — not a teacher! So I’m beyond thrilled to finally be putting my tax dollars to use. :)

    Good for you for listening to your kids. Thank you for writing about it.

    My 7-yr old son is in public school and has a wonderful teacher and good friends. I think individualizing their education to their needs is a terrific option.

  9. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t learn something new. The day I officially school (I’d played truant non-stop for the last 2 years of formal education) was the day my learning really accelerated and it’s not stopped since.

    I took my youngest son out of formal education 2.5 years ago when he was 13. It was a scary step that I’d wanted to take 2 years earlier but let the school talk me out of it.

    Now he laughs, sings, plays music and is happy. Oh yes, and he learns, a lot! I dread to think how unhappy he’d be today if I hadn’t taken that step. Or what sort of person he would have become. I just wish I’d followed my instincts and taken him out at least 2 years earlier.

    I know that that school is a good option for some children, but it can be limiting and damaging for many others.

    It’s a brave step to walk out of the formal education system – but the benefits and rewards can be huge.

    Well done for taking the brave step and for writing about it too.

  10. Anke says:

    No, my daughter doesnt like to go to school every day, like I do have difficulties sometimes, to go to my work. But sometimes it is not about what I like, but also what my responsibility is..
    Since it’s impossible to create the world all about your own desires (you are not living alone) I do not agree that homescholing is the best option to teach your children to be themselves.

    Not only because the brain of a child is still developing and is not ‘ set’ to bear all responsibilities and see al the consequences of decisions in life, but also because the biggest blind spot a mother (being one, I’m aloud to this opinion :-)) has, is her child..
    That makes her the worst teacher in the world… sort of..

  11. You’ve touched a nerve here with a lot of people and like some said, with such freedom comes a huge responsibility. I know *you are* capable of doing this and leading your kids to discover their path. I believe that is important because during the early years of development kids have the most time and drive to learn and discover what they need. Bravo in your decision and good luck. I’d love to keep hearing about how this journey goes.

  12. Wow Mareike, how do you run a business, raise a family and home school at the same time? I’m continuously amazed by your achievement. I couldn’t home school, as much as I’d like, my personality simply doesn’t fit I think. My husband says it would be a great way to go, especially in the competitive world of golf. The 1st 16 year old to win an LPGA tournament was home schooled so that she could spend more time playing golf. I do commend you.

  13. Hey Sinnary, its about continuous improvement. Kaizen. I homeschooled my kids when they were young, but have switched since with going to school, private and public to now have them home again. My kids are very independent and make their own decisions, I don’t have to tell them what to do. That is probably the biggest difference. Kids who go to school get told what to do, and get used to this process. The way we homeschool is not by doing school at home. In fact, we are practically never home. Our kids choose what they want to learn, work on, or play with. They make the choices, I am only responsible to create the environment for them to flourish and to always be there for them.

    There are a lot of school activities that are not on my calendar anymore, like making them lunch, bringing them to school, picking them up. Arranging child care, after school care, printing out homework, work with them to do their homework, get upset with them because they didn’t do their homework. Thats all of the table now.

    The other thing I let go of is the notion that they have to go to college. My kids don’t I think there are many different ways that are way more helpful to spend $200,000 than sending them to college. Unless they maybe want to become a doctor, professor or attorney.
    Its really cool to hear your kids are into golf.

  14. Hi Anke, I don’t know if you live in Holland or in the US. Schools in Holland are generally much better than in the US. In the US academic pressure is big. Kids have to learn how to read & write in Kindergarten. They get homework starting in Kindergarten, and all kids in the class room have to do the same thing at the same time. That’s is usually very different in The Netherlands. I have been to a Jenaplan school in the Netherlands, where each child could work at their own pace, no grades, and far more creativity in the class room. That is not the case in the USA. USA elementary schools are factories. All kids work on the same work sheets, they don’t work in books and they don’t move ahead when they are ready.

    Homeschooling is not for everyone. And I hear about some families that I think should not homeschool. Some kids are better off at school.

    As for your point about taking responsibility. I think as parents we have a responsibility to get our kids ready to be independent by 18 years old. That they love learning, and are capable of getting the career they want in the real world. We have to set up our kids for success.

    I think you didn’t see yourself as the worst mother until your child turned 4 and went to school? And I am sure that if your child would be at school 24/7 she wouldnt be a better person for it? What we give to our children is the most important ingredient a child needs: love and care. We are the example to show how to live in this world. We also need to feed their curiosity, their desire to learn. And if we as a parent do not want to, or are not capable of giving in to that. Then school might be the better option.

  15. I homeschool all 5 of mine. Don’t regret the decision at all.

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