Wednesday 6 September 2017

The Rest of Your Lives

Today is back to school day 2017.

The kids are all excited and dressed in new “back to school” duds which will hopefully tell all their friends how much cooler they are this year than they were last year. Some kids won’t have new clothing because their parents don’t understand the need or they simply don’t have money to spend on new clothes when the old clothes are perfectly serviceable. They all will have new binders, duo-tangs, pencils, pens, rulers, calculators/computers and hopefully a new attitude to learning. Exciting times!

The parents are relieved to have the kids back in school. They don’t have a need to find things to entertain them and keep them occupied for weeks on end. No more camps to send them to and no more vacation days to spend because the day home operator wants a vacation week or two. Of course the parents have to come up with the school fees and pay for all of those items I mentioned in the first paragraph. I hated the fees when my kids were going to school. No, I didn’t mind the fees, what bothered me most was getting nickel and dimed every week for something else all through the school year.

On the whole, back to school is a good thing for all involved.
Today when Buster and I were on our walk, I met a woman and her young son coming into our street. I thought that she was returning home with the little one after dropping an older child off at school. Turns out that she home schools her child and was coming back from a walk and about to hit the books. I wished her well and Buster and I went on our way.

Buster mentioned that he wasn’t sure about the effectiveness of home schooling. He had a couple of good points, wondering if the parents had to have any minimum education standard or aptitude for teaching. I know that I couldn’t teach my kids how to cut the lawn, never mind new math. We decided that the province probably has all of this under control and carried on trying to find the perfect spot to drop a load.

I wondered if some parents decide to home school because in the short term it is less expensive than going to regular school. I have no idea what the actual cost is or what hoops you have to jump thru to teach your own kids the skills they need to become productive members of society, but I am sure it isn’t easy.

I suspect that for most parents who home school want control of curriculum and perhaps to be able to direct their kids away from or towards some religious belief. I know of a mom who decided to home school to keep her kids from being picked on by the other kids at the school. It certainly solved the immediate problem, but I have often wondered what the long term effects have been. I have met the kids over the years and they seem to be as normal and well adjusted as kids that went to school. I guess by that I mean they haven’t taken a high powered rifle into a tower at some university and started killing random strangers.

They are still young...ish.

Anyways, to all of those kids and parents out there, I hope you have a good year and learn things that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.

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