Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I think Bill Waterson wants me to Homeschool



Reading books as a child (and an adult), I almost always connected to the protagonist very personally. I am Bilbo. I am Robin Hood. I am Harry Potter!
I was also Calvin. Not Hobbes, not Suzie and certainly not Mom. (I am that mom now, I know that. We are amazingly similar in our parenting).

I hated school, I loved both snow and summer, I had (ahem, past-tense, guys) delusions of my own amazing importance. I wanted to stay snuggled up at home when it rained, hated the school bus, detested being forced to go fishing with my dad, was a very picky eater that mimed vomiting at the dinner table, and -quite often- tended to live in an imaginary world.
And I have inherited some of those children myself. (As I recently told my mom, Micah is my comeuppance- Grey, however, is much more like Hobbes: chill, reasonable, appreciative of pretty girls, yet still ready to run, tackle, invent and explore for 20 hours a day).
Yesterday as I mindlessly stirred a delicious bubbling strawberry rhubarb sauce, I thumbed through It's a Magical World.
These two comics were placed one over another, and reading them I felt such a surge of surety. I want to homeschool!



The average elementary school student spends almost a thousand hours a year in school! I honestly would send my kids to school, if it were only about half the time - I wouldn't even mind some homework if that were the case.
But as it is, I don't want my little boys cooped up inside for 7 hours a day. (In addition, of course, to being cooped up with their family for meals, sleeping, and the dreaded homework and worksheets that inevitably accompany school.) When do they get to disappear into the jungles of the backyard or hide away with a book that isn't "an assignment"? They need more time to be free!






As I continued to read through my Calvin and Hobbes books, I found dozens more comic strips that made me feel very validated and justified in homeschooling. And since I look for validation in comic strips from the 80s, this is reassuring. I wanted to share a few of my favorites, because everybody loves comics!
Obviously, these are all fairly snarky and exaggerated, but I feel like they make points that are still worth considering. Like this one:


I feel like this is the sort of legitimate question that my kids ask all the time, and it's nice for them to be home with me where I can answer! And when they ask a question thats outside of the "current subject matter" we can delve into it anyway.





And with a classroom full of kids at different points (and, let's say, with different energy levels and attention spans) - it's hard to help everybody love and want to learn - especially cooped up all day mindlessly zoning out (as I spent most of school). 







I feel like Waterson made his feelings about school fairly clear: it sucks away our desire to actually learn things and be curious about the world.
As Calvin wisely said, "It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy... Let's go exploring!"


And obviously, I certainly don't think that my family is better or more correct than anyone else.  There are so many amazing schools out there, and my kids would honestly probably be fine in a classroom- but lately I just feel like I want my kids to get a chance to really be little boys for a while, and the friends that we have whose kids are only in kindergarten have so much homework and stress already!
I'm just not ready. So for a while, we are going to boycott school and celebrate books, mountains, imagination, and being messy and creative little boys.



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12 comments:

Natasha and Jesse said...

Yes! This exactly. I hate how much time children spend cooped up inside during school and how structured it is and they learn exactly what the schools want them to learn rather than geared toward their interests. I want to homeschool but my husband is against it. I'll have to show him this post.

Maddie said...

I like the idea of homeschooling, but I don't think I have the personality for it to be a positive experience for my children--I worry I wouldn't be patient enough and I'd be either way too structured--defeating the purpose or not structured at all (I'm an all or nothing type person, moderation is my struggle). Granted, my husband is a teacher and my daughter is only 3 and we haven't gotten into anything remotely school like yet, so I have a bias and lack of experience. I'm always so intrigued by homeschooling because I've only heard positives from mothers who do it.
Also, my family loves Calvin and Hobbes. I think we have all the collections and my brother Connor was frequently referred to as Calvin. : )

-Danica- said...

Man, I don't know if it's my childhood love of Calvin and Hobbes creeping up, or my plan to homeschool my kindergartener this fall, or that time of the month, but that strip about the water running through the dirt meaning their afternoon was booked made me all emotional. I just wanted to high five you after every paragraph that you wrote! I don't know how long our journey with homeschooling will last, but I Am going to so everything I can to let my kids be kids for as long as I can.

Becky Pitcher said...

For husbands that are against it, give them "homework" so they can research it themselves and tell them that until they've read everything YOU have read, their opinion is invalid. 😉 It doesn't totally work, but it helped a little...

Becky Pitcher said...

I believe in you! I think you should just try it for a year- and see how it feels, you can always put her in school later. Plus, most states don't require kids to start school until they're about 7 anyway. I always say that's when I'll REALLY decide if they're going to start school or not. Until then, we are just trying it out...

Becky Pitcher said...

I legitimately cried when I read it', and was too embarrassed to write that. Soooo...

Elizabeth said...

School is so long! I'm homeschooling Elanor next year. I would not mind so much if they had half day kindergarten, as I know she would love it, but they don't. They said she can come to music, PE and library if she wants and we might do that. I don't have a long term plan for school though....

Christopher Froelich said...

What is school for? Our current school system was designed by industrialist so that it would produce a large pool of workers with the skills necessary to fill positions on assembly lines. Uniform. Obedient. Compliant. A workforce trained to do boring, thoughtless, and repetitive tasks for 8 hours at a time five days a week. If you want a child trained to work for one of the country's 10 largest employers (Walmart, Kroger, McDonalds, Yum, Target, Home Depot, Kelly Services, UPS.......) public school is the perfect place to send them. Those who escape that path don't do it because of public schooling, they do so despite going. Sorry we didn't home school you.

Mr. and Mrs. Hillarious said...

Yes yes yes! I kept my kindergartener home this year because my school switched to full day. And I pulled my 2nd grader home halfway through the year because he felt like he was missing out and spent his whole life cooped up with one thing or another! It's taken me a year to come around to the Charlotte Mason idea of homeschooling, but I'm definitely loving it and plan to make it even more a way of schooling for our family this coming fall. And yes, I too, agree with Bill Watterson and love Calvin and Hobbes and often dream of owning a "Calvin and Hobbes" backyard where my boys can roam free.

Mr. and Mrs. Hillarious said...

Oh and we named our dog Calvin after Calvin and Hobbes.

Rachel said...

I love Calvin and Hobbes. Maybe that's why reading this made me so emotional. My son isn't 2 yet and this made me think maybe I should consider homeschooling him eventually... I know you've written a little before about your home school philosophy but I would love to read more about what you end up doing when you eventually start (in the fall?)

AR Braithwaite said...

Yay! This is a huge reason I have the desire to homeschool too! :)