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Where Does He Go To School?

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  I received this timely Wall Street Journal opinion column this morning in my email. I consider it very timely for many reasons. I have been hearing this terribly annoying commercial on afternoon talk radio lately. I wish I could place it online but I’ve had no luck. The closing statement is along the lines of “The future of America is as good as it’s schools.” I cringe each time I hear this. I pray ‘Lord have Mercy’ and pray for the intercession of John Paul II. He knew that the condition of the education system, while quite important, pales in comparison to the condition of the family. His words, “Humanity passes by way of the family” run though my head each time I hear this commercial. Sure, a good education can contribute to good future, but a good family assures one.

  The movement toward universal preschool is perplexing to me. Children are encouraged to be away from their families earlier and earlier. Do the benefits truly outweigh the family time lost? The time for a little boy to  run around the house and yard to just be a little boy, where he can run to his mother anytime he needs connection and security? When is there time left to climb on Daddy’s lap for a good book? When is there time for siblings to just talk, play, share stories and dreams together?   Will early childhood now become a time of strict schedules and pigeon holes for reading time, play time, painting time and eating? 

  I had our three year old in the emergency room yesterday afternoon. (The stinker is fine by the way, just two staples to the back of the head after a tumble in the bathroom.) The triage nurse was asking the typical questions of birthdate, weight, allergies, immunizations, (which is never a fun question for me since we do not vaccinate our children and they can never leave it at a simple “No”.) etc.. Then she asked me a question that took me completely off guard, “Where does he go to school?’. I kind of paused for a moment and replied in astonishment, “He’s only three!”. The nurse pushed her chair away from her desk and in a very curt manner said, “Plenty of three year olds go to school dear.” Then with a deep sigh she said, “I suppose he’s homeschooled.” I tried to explain to her that he’s not ‘schooled’ at all, that he is a jolly three year old boy that spends his day playing in the backyard with his brother, finding bugs, riding trikes, and building forts. He asks me a million and one questions per day.  He holds my leg while I make dinner, asks for a story in the afternoon and tries to keep up with his older brothers on the chin-up bar in the basement. He is a kid.

  But, she clicked the little “Homeschool” button on the screen. It was my turn to sigh. My three year old is homeschooled, I had no idea.   I wonder how this conversation would have went down if I had my one or two year old in there? I would expect it with my older kids, but it was my three year old, and I’ve never even considered his current “schooling”.

  Then came the Wall Street Journal piece in my inbox, and what I’ve known all along in my Mother Heart was confirmed and edified. He is right where he is supposed to be, home, with me, being a kid.

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About Lisbet

We are a Catholic homeschooling family of 13. (so far!) We are devoted to our Lord and our faith, open to the blessings of children, and enjoy learning and growing together in our joyfully chaotic home.

13 responses »

  1. It is amazing that children are pushed into schooling so early. Let them be kids, they (and we) will never get this time back . They grow up too fast as it is. I am glad you got this timely article to confirm what you already knew.

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  2. Great post. I feel the same way. 🙂

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  3. Wise words from a wise mama. Great post!

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  4. “Where does he go to school?” Three years old and they already want him to give up his childhood freedom… Unbelievable… I suppose if he is being “schooled” at least he’s being homeschooled… 🙂

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  5. Absolutely right!

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  6. What a sad state when you are getting “cluck-clucked” at for following your instincts and actually taking the responsibility of your child’s health and well being into your own hands. It’s tragic that the structure of the American family has fallen into such a disaster that those of us who devote our lives to the upbringing of these wonderful little people are looked down upon for not pushing our kids hard enough. I have a friend who is convinced that my almost one year old needs the socialization of a pre-school environment. Um, he’s one. We let him move at his own pace and will continue to do so until he’s ready to be “pushed”.

    Thankfully we have a wonderful physician who is very happy to compromise with our vaccination decisions and understands our concerns about overloading our child with aluminum that his body is not capable of metabolizing yet. It’s more work for us as far as getting him to the doctor for the schedule that we’ve chosen, but it’s a small sacrifice for the long term benefits. There are different choices in parenting and there is no better expert about your child than you.

    When I encounter people who judge our choices and condemn our childrearing decisions, I look very deeply into what emptiness they must feel about their own lives. Compassion is the only appropriate response. How sad that the nurse is so encompassed with fitting everything into a box in order to fill the form out correctly that she was unwilling to listen and get to know you and your child. Sounds like she was the one missing out on learning something new…

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  7. My husband and I both work full-time, so my 3-year-old and my 6-month-old are in “school” during the workday. Even though it’s technically a day care center we choose to call it “school” for a couple of reasons. When the girls are old enough to start “real school”, we hope it won’t sound so far removed from what they already know and thus less intimidating. And really, no matter where they are, they are learning – everywhere could be called “school” for their little sponge-like minds!

    To us, “school” isn’t about schedule and curriculum, it’s about exposure to new things and getting the chance to ask questions and get answers and absorb all the amazing things out there in the world.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Universal Preschool – if I could stay home instead of sending my girls to school, I would – but if they have to be somewhere other than with me, I want it to be in an environment where they get the most opportunities to learn about life and love and the world and themselves. Life is a school!

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  8. I totaly agree with you.He is only 3!!!! Why is it necessary for him to be in “school”. A lot of parents do it for the socialization but I think with os many brothers and sisters he gets plenty of that.Sorry you had to deal with such a judemental person.I applaud you for doing for your child as you see fit!

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  9. Wow! Great post on this incredible topic and I’m glad he is doing fine after his trip to the ER.

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  10. My thoughts, as a teacher, is that children should not be in school until they are seven- especially boys. Having to sit in one spot and be taught is something that a little tush cannot do easily.
    I am encouraging homeschooling for my grandson- and maybe I will be able to help with it- when he turns seven:>)

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  11. It is great to see someone address this problem. I live in a community where the majority of 3 and 4 y/o’s go to preschool. With my first two kids, I fell into the trap of thinking I had to send them too. My first went when he was four, and my second attended for two years. My younger three are not preschool kids. The first of the three just started Kindergarten, and she is doing great, loving every minute of school because it’s all so new and exciting to her. My almost 4 y/o and 1 y/o are home with me, and we are enjoying all the things that being children and being with children bring to life.

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  12. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    This universal preschool thing is worse than annoying – kind of like that nurse!

    Shhhh…did I say that???

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  13. That’s crazy. I feel so odd that I seem to be the only one not putting my four year old in school, but WHY? I love having him around and I’m perfectly able to teach him his alphabet. Great post.

    Reply

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