View Full Version : "The System" anxiety

02-11-2011, 03:11 PM
My hubsband and I attended a lecture by John Taylor Gatto last week. All week long he's been sorting out his feelings about it. Last night, over an episode of Dr. Who, he confessed that although he knows our children are successful academically, manage to have friends without attending public school and are emotionally healthier, he still feels uncomfortable about home schooling. Fortunately he believes that children have a right to determine who they wish to become, so he would never force them back to the public school system. He does, however, feel a little like we are somehow cheating by not subjecting to the system. I laughed and said in a way we are a part of the system because we pay a hefty amount in taxes and always comply with homeschooling laws. I asked if he would ever be comfortable outside the system and he said probably not since he is the automaton result of said system-taught to be uncomfortable with questioning, dissent and anything that looks to different from established norms. He doesn't want our kids to stuggle with his same issues, that he attributes to his educational upbringing but...

Any ideas how to help him feel more confident in bucking tradition? He is supportive of our experiment but has a fair amount of anxiety over it as well.

02-11-2011, 05:31 PM
Is the issue that he worries that your kids won't be able to get along in a "normal" way if they choose to? To me, this is sort of like the old (absurd) bully argument that kids need to be bullied to somehow teach them about how the world works or help toughen them up or give them character building experience. Sigh. I think kids who have the skills and the self-confidence can choose to be mainstream and go along when they want and choose rock the boat when they want to as well. But in order to have the wisdom to know when it's right to do each one, I think it's best for kids to be comfortable with themselves and their own opinions. I think people who aren't often either follow the herd or just rebel needlessly against everything.

But that's not really advice... just thinking...

I don't know. Spouses who aren't comfortable with homeschooling is always tough.

Stella M
02-11-2011, 05:44 PM
How long have you been home schooling ? In my experience, comfort levels increase as time goes on and you start to see 'the proof'!

I think its easy to underestimate how much deschooling parents need to do, especially those of us who spent 14+ years in the system.

I'm sorry, I don't have many ideas about increasing your dh's confidence in home schooling. Just time :)

Oh, and scheduling successful and fabulous h/s times when he's around to see. I like to do Latin with my dd when dh is around and can hear her reading/translating with confidence. Or I talk a lot about what we're doing in book club and how it went - who said what clever thing - because I know he values a focus on literature.

We did have to make some compromises along the way. Dh wasn't comfortable with unschooling. Because he wasn't with us, he couldn't see the learning and to him, what he read about it in my learning journal, sounded lazy. If I'd been 100% committed to unschooling I would have persisted but we compromised on a more CM type education and both of us were happy with that.

02-11-2011, 05:45 PM
I'm assuming thats not it - its more that just abstract 'people are supposed to go to school . . . if you arent in school you are playing hookie . . . you are doing the 'wrong' thing and there will be some vague negative consequence in the future' . . . sort of like how I felt when I had my first child while living on a commune. I'd been raised that you shouldnt have your first child until you had a college degree, a carreer and a house, and i had none of those things . . . there was a terror, a feeling of jumping in to the unknown without a parachute.

I think for me that thing that best counteracted that feeling for homeschooling was to realize how recent compulsory public education IS, and how many of the great names we hear of throughout history and science were taught at home. You have to really understand that we've been taught a lot of bull when we were taught there is only one way to succeed, and that it IS possible to take a radically different path and arrive where you wanted to go.

Stella M
02-11-2011, 06:00 PM
That's a good point Cara. Putting mass education into context.

02-11-2011, 07:35 PM
How long have you been home schooling ? In my experience, comfort levels increase as time goes on and you start to see 'the proof'!

I think its easy to underestimate how much deschooling parents need to do, especially those of us who spent 14+ years in the system.


My DH was also overly concerned when we first started. Wanted to know what was going on, if they had progressed ect... Now when I try to discuss curriculum or new ideas,he says "whatever you think honey". Time may be all he needs.

I should mention that DH has never once objected to HSing, he has always said that, "You're the Captain and navigator of this boat, I just wanted to know where we are going."

02-11-2011, 09:07 PM
I have to confess I am still a victim and a slave of "the system", as I'm puzzling and thinking about how best to give my children an education through high school to get them admitted to a good university. Any suggestions would be welcome...

02-12-2011, 01:25 AM
I think his concern is more along the lines of what dbmamaz said. Kind of like there will be this unidentified future consequence. Maybe a child wants to go the corporate route and will lack the political acumen because she spent her formative years doing something sort of fringe and subversive. He grew up upper middle class in Fort Worth Texas, where social institutions are almost...revered? Seriously, the first time I met his family and friends all the women were in heels and pearls at a gracious outdoor 'picnic'. I come from the hippy-ish pacific northwest with parents who were off the the grid river guides in their early marriage and unconventional in lots of ways, even when they moved to town. Maybe I need to find some good examples of people who were home schooled that chose to reintegrate themselves into a more tradition lifestyle as adults and did so successfully. Sandra DAY O'Conner comes to mind. Thanks for your thoughts