After reviewing all our notes collectively, we have come to realize that there are MANY things we learned through our info panel held 2/27/2016. Too many to share at all once. So we will be sharing our notes and reviews through a series of blog posts.
Our first topic is:
REASONS TO START HOMESCHOOLING
Note: Our panelists were from diverse backgrounds as far as ethnicity, cultural affiliations, age, professions, and years homeschooling. Hence, their answers were very diverse and enlightening.
Here are some of the things that were shared as far as what made them begin to HomeSchool, and a quick summary of what we learned from their answers.
*A Child’s Illness-
When a child has a chronic illness, attending school may be challenging. Getting up early, making a trip to the school’s campus. Not feeling 100%. All these factors can affect the child's ability to focus, learn and perform. Absences due to Doctor's appointments or relapses can cause a child to “fall behind” on the curriculum being taught to the rest of the students at school in their grade level. This may also cause the student to feel “not up to par” or caught in a race in which he/she may never catch up. Pressure from school staff or peers to catch up may also stir feelings of insecurity within a child’s heart and mind. So much pressure is not healthy for a child.
Though sometimes we just want our children to “have a normal life”, as adults we must understand that “normal” is different for everyone. If a child with an illness is displaying discontent, low energy and lack of interest in school or other signs such as emotional challenges, HomeSchooling can be a great option.
A family can create a schedule based on the family/parent's time availability and work around that to make sure the child is in an environment that is familiar, safe and pressure free from school peers and staff. Once the child is comfortable with the schedule and routine, he/she will be more open to receiving information and embracing it. Feeling in a safe environment to learn can increase concentration, motivation and self confidence. These attributes can transcend into other aspects of life and shape a child's character for life!
*Shyness and/or Social Anxiety-
Some kids are shy at first, then they warm up to new environments, people and routines. However, for some, getting accustomed to new people or being around a large amount of people can cause anxiety and withdraw. A child experiencing this can sometimes be mislabeled as a “loner”, “weird kid” or be outcast by his peers, leading a child to feel inadequate. School-age children are highly emotional and sometimes self-conscious. If your child is experiencing some of these issues, be sure to talk to him/her and see if there is anything you can do to help. Making after-school friends or activities, becoming involved in parent committees, etc. If your child’s shyness or social anxiety does not improve, you may consider homeschooling as an option. It can be temporary or permanent, according to your child’s needs.
Be flexible, open and understanding. It is not worth it to “push” our kids into an environment in which they don't feel comfortable in. This “pushing” can create inner insecurities within a child out of fear of disappointing family or peers. Some insecurities can transcend into early adulthood and even throughout life. Do not underestimate the effects of forcing a child into an uncomfortable setting for them. Talk it out. Check out your options and local resources! HomeSchooling may be right for you.
*Lack of Tolerance and Racism-
For most adult People Of Color (POC) it is evident that in American society we are still experiencing racism and prejudice through many avenues living in a system that was not designed for POC originally. In the school system, if a child does not assimilate into a “long day of sitting at a desk and only speak when spoken too” environment, a child is sent to detention, counseling, and placed on “special programs and lists” based around the child’s “bad behavior”. Though some efforts on behalf of school’s staff are noble, sometimes they are not comprehensive. Children; especially boys of color (Black and Brown) are quickly labeled as “trouble makers” or “thugs” in the making simply because the style of education is not right for them and the attempts to correct an “unruly” behavior are based solely around the behavior and not what's causing it. Some of the “unruly” boys and girls are actually VERY TALENTED AND POSITIVELY ENERGETIC! The “sit down for 8 hours a day at your desk” schooling is just not right for them. Some children need to be challenged with didactic activities, art projects, music knowledge, different teaching methodologies for math and other sciences. They are NOT bad kids! Some of us have experienced working with the schools and trying to follow disciplinary and actions only to find that there is no in-depth reasoning behind the school’s orders. Sometimes children with “behavior issues” are really experiencing emotional changes or challenges. Sometimes schools miss this cry for attention and help from students. Some of us have came to the realization that the school is following outdated protocols that target and track our children in spite of their efforts to improve. In spite of parent’s efforts to be involved and change the course of their child’s behavior. It is then that some parents come to realize that the school system is a system whose foundation did NOT have the best interest of POC in mind when it was created. It is an institution with Euro-Colonial roots made for Euro-Colonial-American people.
A panelist who experienced discrimination and racism in her son’s school for some time, even after her and her son’s attempts to improve, chose homeschooling for her son and it proved to be an amazing choice!
Her son turned out to be highly gifted in the arts and music and went on to hold a career in music which he still holds today.
Sometimes, schools and staff are outdated in their methodology which is not inclusive of the many tribes, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities of all members of the community. If you are experiencing these issues, talk to your child and family and see if homeschooling is right for your child. You may learn that your child is not a “trouble maker”. Your child is a STAR. Always has been. Always will be.
For those of us that identify with our ancient Pre-Columbian culture, Decolonizing is a way of life. We are aware of who we are as a people and where we stand in the story of this continent. We have experienced what the American school system has to offer through first hand experience. Through collective in-depth analysis we have come to the conclusion that the curriculum taught in public schools offers very little life tools to our children. Not to mention that as far as historical curriculums, what is taught in public school is the perspective of the Euro-American.
As original people, we have made the choice to live up to the responsibility to educate our children and pave a path towards autonomy for them. We understand that it's up to us as parents to teach our children the ways of our ancestors and to give them the tools to survive in current society and thrive towards self-sustainability.
A couple in our panel shared their story of decolonizing through shaping their lifestyle. Through many sacrifices they were able to open up a business that allowed them to open a cultural and agricultural center. Working their own schedules and having a place in which to grow food, they are able to provide for most of their families needs and be available to care for their children. This is a great example of what a family working together can accomplish! As original people, we have survived many tragedies rooted in colonization, but we have the ability to recover our autonomy and create the path we want in our lives by honoring our ancestors and passing on their knowledge and ways of longevity to our children. We can do it! Working together as a family and community.
We would like to thank all our panelists and everyone who attended the panel and helped shaped this great dialogue. We will be sharing more information soon!
If you have a homeschooling story you would like to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org