Trailer Park Unschoolers

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

The Education She Deserves


It seems like Oz’s dad is the cause for a lot of conflict on the homeschooling front.  He’s constantly reminding Oz how homeschooling is wrong and is always starting in on him about this or that.  It’s become a real point of contention between them.  Honestly, his father doesn’t understand anything about homeschooling or why we do it and just doesn’t care to.  Oz’s sister is really no better.

Just the other day Oz finally told his dad that Corde would not be going to school this year.  We’ve been really intimidated to tell our family.  Everyone seems so pleased that we’re finally putting her in school.  I’ve had nothing but people on my case about how I’m doing so poorly for her because she’s not progressing on your standard academic level.  She’s not meeting all the standard milestones for a kid in school.  She’s slacking on reading, writing, and math, but the skills she’s slacking on are skills she doesn’t find useful and relevant at this point in her life.  She knows how to read well enough to read her Pokemon books.  She’s learned enough to allow her to cook, which is full of math skills and reading.  She likes to do it on her own without help because she’s extra proud of the results that way.  She’ll write when she feels like it.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just stuff that’s hard to measure on an academic level.

Oz’s father kind of ambushed him after he finally admitted that we weren’t putting Corde in school.  His dad asked him if he felt Corde was getting “the education she deserved”.  Just to prevent any arguments he told his dad he didn’t.  His dad then informed him that he had to put his foot down when it came to Sander and make sure he went to school.

We talked about this whole thing later that night, which was when he told me about his conversation with his father.  He told me he felt Corde was really intelligent and he brags about how smart she is to everyone at work.  Sure, she may not know a lot about conventional subjects, but she really does know a lot that kids her age don’t know.  She’s had a chance to study philosophy, chemistry, and art history.  She knows more about the American Revolution than most adults.  When she’s interested in something, she runs with it.

Of course, Corde, hearing this, asked who we were talking about.  When I told her we were talking about her she said, “I know I’m really smart.  I can count to a million and I don’t think most kids my age can do that.”  Isn’t it funny what constitutes intelligence to a kid?  She’s always talking about how the kids she knows annoy her because they don’t know half of what she does and they think she’s crazy because of it.  They’re always wanting to talk about television and movies, but she’d rather talk about history, video games, or science.  When she doesn’t know something she doesn’t make up an answer and pretend it’s a fact like her friends do.  She’ll ask an adult and then come back all proud of herself for knowing the answer.  She likes to show off all the cool things she does that other kids her age just don’t do.  She’s big into arts and crafts and her newest interest is sewing.  She wants to learn all about embroidery lately.  Most of the kids we know don’t do anything arts and crafts related unless they learn it in school or in scouts.  She’s fashioned her own baby carriers for her barbies and to carry her baby doll around.  She’s a highly creative child and very inquisitive.  I don’t see much of that in kids her age.  Surprisingly, she can even recognize that most kids her age don’t have those qualities either.  She tells me about it all the time.

Oz revised his answer to his father when he was talking to me.  We’re not giving our kids the education the state says they deserve.  We’re giving them the education they actually deserve.  We’re doing exactly what every other parent out there is doing, trying to give our children all the advantages possible.  We don’t want our kids growing up to be just like us, working whatever jobs it takes to get by.  We want them to learn to strive for their dreams, no matter how hard it is.  We want to give them the advantage going into adulthood of truly knowing who they are and what they aspire to be.  They deserve to dream big, something that’s often killed by adults, like my own dream of being a dancer from when I was very small.  Eventually I did grow up to try my dream out, but I realized it wasn’t what I wanted anymore.  It’s hard to say whether that was because I didn’t want it or because too many years of knowing I couldn’t have it built it into an unrealistic vision.  Oz and I want our children to know what it’s like to be happy from the start and not have to work at it their whole lives.  We both wish someone had given us that same advantage in life.

So, yes, Corde is definitely getting the education she deserves in our eyes.  His father is never going to agree with us because he seems to think that the only education worth having means one where children are indoctrinated into the school system and taught to learn countless subjects that they could care less about.  He wants something that can be measured in grade letters where you can show where the kids stack up against the rest of the population, a basis that starts everyone out with the same advantages, or so it appears.  He wants them to go to college because that’s what you’re supposed to do, and I’m an unfit mother because I don’t want those same advantages for my children.  Instead I want something so much better for my children.  If only he had the care and consideration to look beyond his own social programming to understand what is possible, not just the limited perspective he chooses to see.


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

2 thoughts on “The Education She Deserves

  1. It surprises me that what many critics of homeschooling, and specifically unschooling, don’t see, is that public education is pumping out kids who can pass standardized tests like nobody’s business…but they don’t have the first clue about surviving in the real world. And they haven’t had a chance to find out who they are, to establish their own identity. Then they’re packed up and shipped off to college where they accrue untold amounts of debt and operate under the lie that they’ll be able to get a job when they get out and pay those loans off real fast. Then they’ll spend the rest of their twenties still living with their parents and uncertain as to where they want to go with their lives. I realize this is a generalization, but it’s what I’ve witnessed among my peers and I don’t want that pattern for my kids.
    I could go off on this forever. Anyway, good luck staying strong against the dissenters. It’s always amazing how strongly people feel about the subject of homeschooling when it really doesn’t affect them at all. And they clearly haven’t acknowledged the vast and blatant failures of the public education system.



    • You know, this dissenter’s opinion should have been colored by the things his son and daughter did when they grew up. His son is my partner, who has made some really bad decisions in his life. I’m sure a lot of that will come up at some point. This is why he and I agree on unschooling. School never did well by either of us.

      Then there’s his daughter, who is living at home at 20 with no real aspirations. She hasn’t exactly been doing well in college. She doesn’t stick to anything. She has this crazy dream of living by the renn faire, but doesn’t have the dedication to actually stick by it and make a life of it. She still feels the urge to tell on her brother whenever he does something wrong when they’re both adults. I don’t want to see my children grow up like that either.

      There are so many examples of people educated in the school system that enter the adult world in a completely lost and directionless way, including myself. Why would I want to do that to my kids too? As someone said to me once, our job as parents is to offer our children something better than we had. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

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