Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

The Coersion

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Since Oz’s dad and sister have become a part of our lives Corde has been under constant pressure to go to school.  Oz’s sister, Misti, seems like she’s been trying to convince Corde that school is the best thing ever because she supposedly liked school.  The truth is she did well in school and I think she liked the positive reaction that came of her doing well.  As a result, she’s pretty much ambushed Corde with how great school is, but I think that’s largely because I made the mistake of mentioning that I was thinking about putting Corde in school because I was fed up with our attempt at traditional homeschooling.

The conversations between Corde and Misti were pretty comical in some regards.  Misti would talk about what school was like and Corde, being a rather bright child, would recognize the flaws in her arguments.  It was certainly not going to be easy for Misti to convince Corde that school would be the place she’d want to go.

Misti: School is awesome.  You can study all kinds of things, like art.

Corde: You mean like I did at the homeschool co-op?  We were studying famous artists.

Misti: They have classes where you learn how to be a better artist.

Corde: We did that at the homeschool co-op too.  It was part of our art class.

Misti: You can study all kinds of science in school too.

Corde: We were studying philosophy and chemistry.  Would I be able to learn more about that?  I liked chemistry.

Misti: You can learn about chemistry when you’re older.

Fox: They don’t teach subjects like that at your age in school.  You’d be studying general science.

Corde: Is there anything they teach in school that I haven’t already learned yet?

It’s kind of funny how Misti’s attempt backfired.  It seems like everything Misti brought up that Corde could learn about in school she’s either done before or had no real interest in.  Misti wasn’t able to win Corde over on the few things they did teach that she didn’t learn at home.  She would have to read and write, two things Corde doesn’t really want to do at this point in her life.  She’s not inspired to do either, but to go to school she’d have to do lots of both.  She would have to go to the bathroom on a schedule.  She could only eat and drink at certain times of the day.  On top of that she’d have to go to bed earlier.  It’s not her idea of fun.

Misti tried a different approach, as several other people have in the past.  They started talking to her about all the friends she’d have in school.  Corde, who is a very social girl, was almost won over by this.  She wants nothing more than to have friends.  She complains that Beekee has more friends than she does in the area.  She wanted nothing more than to make some more friends.

Then she started to think about the kids she’d meet in school.  She thought about the kids she knows that go to school.  She always makes the same complaints, “All the ever seem to do is watch TV!  They want to talk about TV this and TV that.  It’s all about movies and TV shows.  They’re so boring!  Don’t they ever want to talk about interesting things?  It’s like all they ever do is watch TV!  I’d much rather play video games, or play anything at all.  TV is so boring.”

Corde has really had a rough time of it out here.  She’s had problems making friends since we moved.  First she was friends with Oz’s dad’s girlfriend’s daughter (how’s that for confusing) but she decided she didn’t like her too much.  “She’s too much of a know-it-all, but she really doesn’t know what she’s talking about most of the time.  She just wants to sound smart.”  Then we moved to the trailer park and she’s found the kids here aren’t anywhere near as nice as the kids in the last trailer park we lived in.

At the old trailer park you’d go out on a weekend and have to be careful not to get run over by kids!  They were all out in the street, playing together.  They didn’t care if they knew you or not, you instantly became their friend.  They would run around the neighborhood in a pack and it didn’t matter how old anyone was.  They all played together regardless of age, race, or creed.

This neighborhood is a lot different.  The kids are a lot more exclusive.  They don’t seem like they’re willing to open up their group to anyone new.  It sounds like it’s because these kids all go to school together and have lived in the same neighborhood for years.  They’re really not interested in anything but riding their bikes around the neighborhood in large circles, chasing each other around.  Corde doesn’t have a bike, so it means she can’t ride around with them, if they’d even let her.

Thinking about this she made a good point, “Even if I did go to school with them, nothing would change.  Why would they start playing with me just because I was in their class if they won’t play with me now?  It just doesn’t make sense.  They’ll be my friends or they won’t.  Going to school isn’t going to change that.”

She’s really right on that.  Going to the homeschool co-op didn’t help her make friends either.  She kind of felt like she was an outsider in a clique.  Sure, she made a couple of friends, but most of the kids were kind of stand-off-ish to her.  It was understandable because they had all known each other for years and she was just meeting them now, but she felt awkward.  I had to remind her that it takes time to make friends.  Not everyone is as open and friendly as she is.  I also reminded her that she was right, going to school wouldn’t help her be their friends any faster, it would just mean they had no choice but to spend time together.  Either she’d make friends quicker or she’d be very lonely because they still wouldn’t want to talk to her even though they were in class together.

Every point that she’s had thrown in her face has been batted back with equal skill.  She doesn’t see what Misti thinks is so great about school.  As she puts it, “Misti is so obsessed with school.  You’d think the whole world was about school to her.”  All she can see is that school would get in the way of doing so many of the things she wants to do and make her learn things she’s just not interested in right now.  I can follow her on that sentiment.

I don’t know why it is people seem to think they need to work away at her, wear down her senses until she’s really feeling like she has no choice but to go to school.  It’s like they think convincing her will make me do the right thing.  Unfortunately, all they’re doing is annoying her.  She knows what she wants and she hasn’t seen a single reason why going to school is so great.  Why is it everyone seems to think our decision is so wrong?  My child is growing up to be happy.  Isn’t that what really matters in the end?

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

2 thoughts on “The Coersion

  1. Corde definitely seems to be able to hold her own! LOL!! I am looking for guest bloggers to feature on my {About You} page. Are you interested? if so take a look at this: http://faithfulmomof9.wordpress.com/about-you/

    • Oh yes, Corde is definitely able to hold her own! It’s no surprise she and I used to butt heads for so long! At least I’ll give her this much, she knows exactly what she wants, no doubt about that!

      I’d love to be a guest blogger. Your blog and your family are so inspirational. I’d be honored!

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