Wednesday, 28 May 2008

sometimes it's difficult...

...not to feel a teensy weensy bit well, how should I put this, erm, smug when one home educates .... let me explain ... I see Mrs X, who is lovely, any day of the week, and I would enjoy a visit to her house for coffee, but I can't; I have kids all day long. She sends her boys to school and she does coffee mornings and charity afternoons and well, you know, even though I like her, and could fall into conversation with her, our lives are different. We have chosen different paths, and when she meets me struggling with kids in some awkward place at some awkward time, she probably feels smug about the school choice she's made and the school choice I've refused.

But today we share a moment's chat, about this or that; we mostly avoid the subject of education, and then by mistake, she mentions, she just happens to mention that in this half-term holiday her sons will not leave the TV alone. They stare at rubbish all day long, they will watch anything she says, and they do not even choose, they watch, endlessly, and well, what can you do? and she rolls her eyes as if to say, kids! eh! what can we do with them?

But she detects something is wrong, because there's a look on my face like er, well we don't have that problem. I could add that in the home ed world, we don't have this made-up boundary between school and leisure. We don't say between these hours you are learning, which means, by implication, that there are hours when you are not learning. To our home ed family, everything is about learning, and the children learn through their own interests and enjoyments. Then she inquires, and asks directly, so what do yours watch? and then I tell her truth because it is, and I say, well, Shark this morning asked to watch her new video.

Which was? Erm, Whale and Dolphin Identification. I'm sorry? Yup, that's right. It's basically a spotter's guide to the whales, dolphins and porpoises regularly occurring in the North Atlantic, North Sea and Mediterranean, which translates as something over an hour of a man talking about fins.

And at that moment it's just a teensy bit hard not to feel a little bit smug at Shark's choice, which is so clearly about her enjoyment of learning, about her finding out, keen to know, and not the construction of a half-term anti-learning posture which requires loafing around on the sofa watching MTV. So I try and make it better, and say sometimes we do Nemo, and Black Beauty, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and well, you know, it could have been worse, because now we are working on a project of crime and punishment, so Squirrel could have chosen the history of the British police force.


Em said...

Ah, this does happen sometimes doesn't it!

Or like this

Mum x: "oh half term probably doesn't seem any different to any other day to you does it"

Me: ", we don't tend to go far since we have to queue for everything, wait about to do things, and share the library/swimming pool/playground with hoards of others."

Or maybe that just makes us sound anti-social?

Maggie May said...

I like the sound of the Dolphin DVD.
I can't think why people have to be smug at all. It really is a matter of choice. I know what you mean though, coming at it from different angles. As long as you are not made to feel that what you are doing is wrong or vice versa!

Mean Mom said...

My lads did watch children's tv, when younger, but not endlessly, I'm glad to say. They also did other interesting, constructive things, at home and really enjoyed cycling. I'm afraid that the documentaries they watch now, often bore me! Oh, dear! I'm a bit of a Miss Marple person!

It's my birthday tomorrow (7th June). I'm having a virtual birthday party. Please call by if you can.

Suburbia said...

I envy you your homeschool decision! I have thought about it for Small Sprog but that is as far as I get!

sharon said...

Does Mrs X not have a OFF button on her TV? My sons went to school but they certainly did not spend all of the non-school hours glued to a TV or, for that matter, a computer screen. I think many parents need to remember that they are IN CHARGE and stop letting their kids rule the roost. OK, rant over :-)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

i do like reading about your home ed ethos - me the conformist who has sent my brood to school - and your girls seem so inquisitive and independent.

and even better - Grit is feeling smug, happy, strong and in control. Hurrah!

Retiredandcrazy said...

I think that you are doing an amazing job with the girls git. Did you ever read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran? I love the chapter on children.

Michelle said...

Hmm not quite sure what to say to this as I have a home educated child who has done nothing all day on a Sunday once other than sit in front of the tv mostly watching rubbish (with some wildlife programmes thrown in for variety). It was an experiment in seeing if she can mofderate her viewing. She clearly couldn't which is why I now have to do it for her.

Elizabeth said...

You deserve a bit of smugness in your life!! Enjoy!

Allie said...

I let slip that "every day is like half-term" when talking to someone who sends their child to school. But the truth is that none of our days are like half-term really. I remember all P's school holidays as sadly ticking away from us. Life has much more room these days.

We have had some odd favourite videos over the years. Leo loved a series of US dinosaur documentaries presented by Walter Cronkite. Pearl insisted on repeated library loans of a video showing clips of trains and trams around Europe.

Elibee said...

Now that I have stopped laughing hysterically at Retiredandcrazy calling you 'git' I have to tell you that this post is a relief. After the glazed expression on the faces of a family who got excited when Star announced that he had bought round a brilliant DVD to watch and were faced with Life of Birds and not National Treasure 2 I have wrestled it off him when we go out. I still haven't recovered from the look on the face of the very 'street' kid who was told 'this is a cool cd listen to this' and found himself listening to the call of the Black-tailed Godwit, in public.

Grit said...

hi em, we are exactly the same; holidays mean we don't go anywhere. i have never got over the time i had to queue in great yarmouth.

hi maggie may! sadly, some home educators are made to feel what they are doing is wrong; i am relieved to say so far my experience has been more positive than negative.

hi mean mon! great party! sorry about elvis. were you saving him for something?

hi surburbia, it's flippin' hard work! some days it is agonising and some days i have serious doubts that we are doing the right thing! and on other days it seems like the
best thing in the whole world to be doing!

hi sharon! you are RIGHT! adults are in CHARGE! (sound of small feet trampling grit into mud)

thank you, pig. my feelings of smugness don't last long, but they are nice when they happen!

retiredandcrazy, thank you for the reference, all are resources round here!

michelle, i blame the parents.

thank you elizabeth!

oh, allie, trams and trains around europe sounds like hard going, especially the 12th time round...

elibee, i am grateful to be called a git. it is better than some rhyming words we can think of now, isn't it? when are you coming round to dinner?

Kelly Jene said...

Bravo mummy!! I love that!

My guys are really into this geography series. They love it and devour each episode we borrow from the library.

It does make one feel good, doesn't it?!

Grit said...

too right, kelly jene, let us be smug! X