22. Home Schooling

Some parents decide that they don’t want their children to go to school, so they teach their children at home. Before school was invented, of course, it was neither a decision nor an issue. Where there are no schools, of course, it’s still neither. But when school is available and free, or at least affordable, the decision not to send your child there can be a pretty heavy decision.
I decide which issues to tackle in these little articles. No one is looking over my shoulder, and my publishers can print or not print whatever they want. Sometimes I decide on a topic other writers write books about. I used to think the reasons I didn’t write books were lack of time and energy. Lately, I’ve surrendered lack of time as an alibi, but for the time being, I’ve picked up lack of inclination, and lack of energy is now a more credible alibi. There are plenty of colleges around here where I could take courses in writing or selling what I write, but I choose not to. So I guess I’m home-schooling myself.
Well, let me give some lip-service to the issues around home-schooling. There are books about it you can borrow or buy if you want. Some people home-school because they don’t want to spend a lot of time away from their children. Or at least they keep their kids out of school a lot to spend extra time with their children. I can understand that. They’re postponing the inevitable, but culture and society let you know when saying good-by to your children becomes inevitable, and let’s face it – staying alive is postponing the inevitable.
Some parents disapprove of the idea of school, and feel that it would be irresponsible to send their children to such a place. They may question why children move, in such a short time, from a multi-age home and neighborhood to a place where they’re chronologically segregated. They may object to the crowding of so many people into one room where one adult is supposed to somehow be aware of and responsive to all their needs. Teachers sometimes secretly identify with the jolly old elf who is supposed to pop down all the chimneys on earth in one night. I think parents who question the concept of school have a point.
There are plenty of other reasons for home-schooling. Some aren’t as commendable. Some parents abuse their children, and school can get in their way, both by providing a temporary haven and by taking legal action.
There are good reasons to school-school, too. One is that everyone else does. Not the kind of reason we want to use too often (If everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.), but it’s hard to be the only kid on the block. Other children may look with envy, but they get recess, camaraderie. They get to “have to” sit next to the pretty girl or cute boy they’d never “have to” sit next to if they were home-schooled. And teachers, for all our shortcomings, can sometimes teach kids some things.
If you’ve been confused about this issue, I hope I’ve helped clarify it a little. If you haven’t had a chance to be confused about it yet, I hope I’ve given you the chance.

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