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.