Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quitting School...again

My homeschooled daughter surprised me a few weeks ago by begging me to let her go to public school. I didn't love the idea at first, but I listened, and ultimately I let her make the choice. I was surprised to find that many people (friends and family included) seemed shocked that I let her go.

I am a firm believer in doing what is right for yourself, and living your best life. So I'm not sure why it would be surprising that I would let my daughter try and do the same. More importantly, my daughter needs to learn how to trust her own gut instinct, not mine.

Sometimes timing is everything, because this week this list showed up in my Facebook feed, 50 lessons I wish I had learned earlier, printed by Family on Bikes. It's a great list for all walks of life; whether you want to travel full time, send your kid to school, or just find contentedness in where you are. It's about how to live your life smarter, better...and be the version of you that you were meant to be.

"Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go."

This one was number 37, and it resonated a lot with me, especially this week. After bravely entering the 4th grade with her peers, she came home that first afternoon glowing with pride. At first, there were only great days. Which gave way to  good days...which then became ok days. At which point she came to the conclusion that school was simply not all that she thought it would be. She began to see it by the 3rd day, and while she loved the social interaction, it simply wasn't enough to balance the limitations of a traditional classroom.

The lack of freedom was the first thing she recognized as a problem for her. She couldn't sit around and read, crochet, play guitar, talk or even poop when she wanted. (yes, she was really disappointed about the pooping part, she likes to take her time and read) She was always being carted here or there, being told when to sit, when to eat, when to talk, etc. For most of us, we shrug and think...obviously, that's what school is...she needs to learn that lesson. I went to public school all my life...I remember it well. But here's the thing, she is not required to be there. She has a choice. Since she was there by her own choice, she was just as free to choose not to be there. And what she realized is that she would much rather be able to go to the beach, the forest, the library...or stay at home in her loft and read.

Wouldn't you?

The next thing she noticed is that everyone babied them. For a girl who can crochet anything, read anything and cook anything...she was suddenly being treated like a baby who could make no decisions on her own. (I remember hating that too.) My daughter is a very capable girl, and it is offensive and frustrating for her when people treat her otherwise.

I am thankful that my daughter tried this new experience, had some fun with it, and ultimately made her own mind up about it. And I am REALLY glad we have the freedom to allow our kiddos the choice as to whether they want to attend school or not. It makes me sad that other children, even when the circumstances are bad, do not have that same freedom. Freedom, I believe, is the key to happiness in life. And I think it's an important lesson to  learn to let go of those things that are not serving you.  Often in our modern world we equate this with quitting, and tell people they should suck it up, it will make them stronger. But that is simply not true for most things.

If it isn't making you happy, if it doesn't make you a better not be afraid to let it go. 

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