I’ve been writing this blog for so long that I can see the trend of teenagers yelling at their parents for not preparing them for college — including my own. Because by the time the parents and kids realize it happened, it’s too late.
This is not just about math. The preparation is making sure the kids have wide access to the community to forge their own connections without you. Families that are insular rather than community oriented prevent kids from developing a sense of self.
The Barbie movie reminded me of this quote from Ryan Gosling from an interview in GQ about his childhood:
“I just felt this sense of: I have a limited amount of time and, you know, I’ve got to get started. I also didn’t like the arbitrariness of control that people seemed to have over me.”
I think most kids don’t know to question that. They just accept it.
“I think my mother encouraged that. I had one teacher, because I was dancing, he thought that was funny and he would make jokes about it in class, and my mother said, ‘You know, if ever you feel like he’s being disrespectful, you can just leave.’ And I did one day. I called her and said, ‘Hey, I left.’
I saved this for six years to remind myself high school kids need curriculum. Ryan Gosling had dancing and acting and he had a specific curriculum that he had to get through every year. Things were structured in his house and he had a place in the world where he fit that was separate from his parents.
That’s what the most successful homeschoolers look like. It takes a lot of money to create that on your own. If you pull your kids out of school, they have to be going to something better. They have to be participating in an education that is better, and a community that is better, and opportunities that are better. If they are not doing that, it might be that you’re keeping your kid out of school because school is a pain in the butt for you to make them go.
I’m saying this because there are so many people who take their kids out of school and don’t do academics with them. It was great that I let my little kids to play all day. And it was fine that we didn’t do math and curriculum til sixth grade.
But I made the transition pretty slowly to a world where my kids have an academically rigorous day. So I’m telling you: don’t limit your kids choices in life by not having them complete a challenging curriculum. Because it’s too limiting. You can have tutors if you don’t like how school works, but don’t leave it to your kid to learn everything on their own. Or online. It’s not fair. I found out the hard way that it’s too difficult and too slow. Every kid deserves the chance to feel the pleasure of having someone teach them. If you can afford 1:1 or 1:3 great. If you can only afford 1:30 then do that.
Taking responsibility for your kids education is a big commitment. Kids need more involvement from parents as they get older, not less. When kids are teens it’s not something to be left to chance, as in, “it will work out”, or “they’re finding their way”, or “we are self directed”. If you are willing to leave it up to chance then put your kid in school where they will get more attention.
I used to think my goal as a homeschooler was to have kids who shine like Ryan Gosling. Now that I can see a bigger picture, it’s clear to me that my goal is for my kids to feel as positively about their education as Ryan does about his.