Rayner Garner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun, 01 Apr 2001 22:59:12 -0700
My eldest daughter Fonda, (20) was homeschooled until she was 14. No
pressure to learn any particular subject or achieve academic success of
any kind. We basically got out of her way and she pursued her interests
At 14 she attended High School because, as she put it, she had concerns
as to her economic future. Although she knew that neither her mother or
I wanted her to pursue an academic path unless that was her desire, she
felt that a degree would be essential economically speaking. She also
was being heavily criticised by many of her friends who were attending
school because they felt she lacked ambition. I did not want her to go
to High School but as I believe in choice I did not stop her. I was
quite amazed when in a very short time she had caught up in all the
academic subjects and at the end of the first semester had a grade 4.0
average and was a Honours student when she graduated. I still don't
fully understand how she did this as neither my wife and I taught her
any academic subjects whatsoever.
In other aspects going to school was a disaster for her and us. She
became very depressed, cynical and lost her positive outlook on life.
Her politeness, warmth and openness was met with extreme hostility and
she was much criticised for her opinions and erudition on social
matters, politics, and concern for others. This was just not "cool". She
responded by shutting off and stopped communicating with us to the depth
and extent to which we were accustomed. Whereas when she was
homeschooled she enjoyed excellent health she was constantly sick and
became very aware of the negative image many young women of her age had
about their bodies. She had never been exposed to the hostile, racist,
angry, sexist young men that she encountered at this school. We also had
to get her duplicate sets of books as the weight of her books were
giving her a chronic back ache and affecting her posture. She did have a
stab at attending college here but was put off by racial harassment.
(She is Eurasian and we live in KKK country.)
She went to Europe for a year to explore Universities over there. While
she enjoyed Europe she found that a number of people who have degrees
have found greater contentment in jobs that are not intellectually
demanding. As Europeans do not have the social pressure to succeed
economically, many people choose a job path that gives them greater time
to enjoy life, relationships and personal growth. This gave her a
different perspective on the relative unimportance of striving for
economic achievement. We were delighted to find that her European
travels had restored some faith in a future and her politeness and
warmth has returned. She has now decided to take over the manufacturing
side of my wife's business which will give her some basic income while
she continues to explore the artistic talents that she has.
My youngest daughter, Tiana, (13) has had her own business cleaning
houses for a year. She earns $10 an hour which I find quite remarkable.
Minimum wage here is about $6 an hour! Which is monstrous. Following her
sister's example she has offered to run the sales and marketing side of
my wife's business which she is more than capable of doing. (My wife has
started another business and is delighted to have them taking her old
business over.) Tiana reads vociferously, and is hard at work learning a
wide variety of academic subjects, all of her own choosing. She chooses
the books and subjects. I find it disturbing that many of the subjects
that she chooses are partly because of peer pressure. Many of her
homeschooling friends are pressured by their parents to meet the
academic standards that their school going peers have to meet. I would
have preferred that she did not have that pressure. When I have
discussed this with her she reminds me that it is not her choice to live
in such a culture as this. To fit in she has to acquire certain patterns
of behaviour and learning that may offend me.
She has me there. She knows that the happiest, loving and most contented
people that my family has lived amongst are non academic. An oral people
who share and care with virtually no ambition or desire to compete.
Sadly they are diminishing in numbers every year. Too startling a
contrast with the so called developed world to be allowed to exist. If
we were living in such a community Tiana tells me that she wouldn't be
bothering with her present subjects at all. Takes so much time from the
really important aspects of her life. People, dance, poetry and writing.
She finds this a cruel and uncaring culture for the most part.
John Axtell wrote:
> My question is simple.
> Will a child who is doing, as you call it, creative playing, every, by their
> own choice, become employable or be able to go to college or is it normal for a
> creative playing child to just not ever want to go to college or do anything
> that needs reading, writing, and other basic fundamentally boring skills.
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