Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Freedom to Choose

This is a conversation that happened last night between Maddie and I...for some reason she always seems to bring up important topics right before bed!

Maddie: Mama, I don't think I'll go to school anymore.
Me: Why?
Maddie: Because the teachers always tell us what to do and I don't have any freedom to choose. And I don't want to be like all the other kids. I want to be me and do what I want to do.

Holy crap! I was totally awestruck that these words came out of my 5 year old's mouth. What do you say to that? Because she's absolutely, 100% right. School is totally about conforming, and obviously {somehow} she is picking up on that. Don't get me wrong, she is loving the experience. She enjoys going, she's made some friends and she's doing well in the classroom. But somewhere inside her little heart and mind she knows and feels something is not jiving with the way we've raised her. We always give her a choice. We always respect her point of view and consider it when making decisions. Obviously a teacher with almost 30 kids in her class cannot do this.

So what do we do?

I replied to her statement by saying: Well Maddie, I totally understand how you feel. But you can still be yourself even though you are around so many kids. And you can still do things your way, while still following your teachers instructions. Like if they tell you to colour a picture, you do what they say but you use the colours you want and make the picture the way you want.

That's all I could muster at that point. And she seemed content with that answer.

But I think Ken and I have some serious talking to do.

Are there any other options? I know homeschool is one...but I just don't know if that's the way to go for us. Unschooling? Private school? Or do we keep her where she is and just encourage her to keep expressing herself and to exert her freedom of choice whenever {as much as} possible...?

Oh the joys of parenting!

1 comment:

  1. HI Kat.
    When I read your post about Maddie's first day of school, I wanted to leave a comment to say how I respect how thoughtful you were about sending her to school--how you didn't just take school as the 'automatic default' without considering all your options.

    Reading your post today I cansee so clearly the values you've instilled in your daughter. Her words are so beautiful. One of my own daughters once told someone that "we don't go to school because we don't like being told what to do all day."

    Your answer to Maddie was so thoughtful. And she may simply want to know that she has the CHOICE whether or not to attend school. We've always told our children that they can go to school or not, OR that we will find the right kind of school for them.

    I really admire your openness to considering all your options. Courage and joy to you!


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