Our home has been overtaken by an unsavoury lot of characters.
Pirates and their treasure chests.
This boy of mine is into drawing, creating booby traps with yarn and masking tape, taking old appliances apart to create inventions, and dancing to "I Like to Move It". I've been struggling lately with the notion that in September he'll start going to school full-time. Struggling for lots of reasons: it's the first time he'll spend more time with people other than family members. Although he is considerate, funny, and gentle, he often plays alone in the schoolyard. He often needs reminders to "focus" and "pay attention".
Dragons full of the people they've devoured.
Many-limbed aliens from another planet.
This boy's head is right where it should be: in the clouds (not to mention on pirate ships, in underground caves and outer space, and inside robots). He is the proverbial square peg. I suspect many children, little boys in particular, are square pegs when it comes to the school system. I've seen him focus and pay attention for hours to his drawings and inventions. I've seen him reading and writing when it is meaningful for him. I've seen him absorbing math concepts, making connections between stories we've read and experiences he's had, and reading between the lines.
Robots that shoot arrows and wash dishes.
...and more robots.
I'm presently reading Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.You know when you read something that articulates what you knew all along in your gut? This is one of those books. My struggle lies within the fear that the confines of a classroom will not allow for this little boy's mind to reach the distant places to which it naturally longs to travel. There's a conflict between my intuitive desire to keep my boy home to learn at his own pace, and the fact that my income as a school teacher allows us to live on our little farm (not to mention the fact that I love my job). I struggle with what I see as the school system's unintentional (?) habit of creating tiny cogs to fit into the giant wheel of industry...eat and pee on schedule, play outside only at specified times, learn what everyone else is learning whether it interests you or not.
Plans for snowball attacks a la Calvin and Hobbes.
Daddy and Jude on the toboggan, on their way to ATTACK!
I don't believe that school is all bad, or that it isn't suitable for any child. But it certainly isn't ideal for every child, and therein lies my struggle. Although I have been a teacher in "the system" for the past 14 years, I feel concerned that it isn't right for my child. I want him to tap every bit of creativity that exists in his growing mind and heart, without the interference of what he is "supposed" to learn in Grade One (or Two or Three...)
And my favourite: a geriatric robot with his cane.
I've had extreme fantasies of selling all we own so that we can live more cheaply in order for me to homeschool or unschool our children. In my more rational moments, I remember my parenting mantra:
faith and patience.
I am choosing to have faith that if school does not suit our boy, we will find alternatives. If that means I eventually work full time so my husband can stay home to build pirate ships and draw maps with him, that is what will happen. Or maybe by then his interest will lie in gardening or astronomy or music. I sometimes wonder what I might have become if I'd been encouraged to seriously pursue my passions for writing, textiles, painting, and music rather than perceiving them as "hobbies" secondary to my school studies.
I want to find out what might happen to my child if we encourage him to pursue his passions, wherever they may take him.