The trials of going counter-cultural

Yet, again, today, I have found myself trying to grapple with the biggest challenge of home educating a three-year-old – persuading her that she doesn’t want to go to school.

School is endemic in our culture. Everyone goes. Everyone assumes that Daisy will go. CBeebies devotes hours per week in attempting to brainwash her into wanting to go. No matter how hard I try, the rest of the world is making school sound so utterly appealing, that I’m having some difficulty in getting her to accept being home educated.

Don’t get me wrong – she’s three. She doesn’t have anything like enough information to make an informed choice, and I’m the parent; I’m the one who gets to make the choice, and I have no problem with it being a unilateral decision, particularly in the early years. But it would certainly make my life easier if the whole of modern culture wasn’t preoccupied with trying to make school seem fun.

Most of the children who GO to school, of course, would describe it at “boring”, and not fun at all, but since it is seen as an inevitability, there’s actually a fairly robust conspiracy to keep that information away from three and four year olds. Adding to the confusion is Daisy’s own ideas of what school is like, and what home education would be like; a few times, she’s expressed an unwillingness to have a “home-school” because she perceives that it will necessitate replacing our furniture with school-type furniture, and then where will we sleep, and sit to watch the telly? She doesn’t comprehend, because she’s three, that the purpose of school is concerned with education*, and it’s the education part that we’re interested in addressing at home, and no matter how carefully I try to explain and reassure, I’m fairly confident that her head is full of bizarre and confused assumptions about what it all means. For example, I imagine that any convincing attempt at school-at-home will have to include the taking of a register, in order to be accepted at authentic. Still, that shouldn’t take long: “Daisy?”, “Here.” All done.

Maybe I need to start asking her to think about WHY people go to school, as a route to understanding the concept of education, as distinct from school attendance.


* Actually, whether the purpose of school is education, is wide open to debate, and worthy of it’s own post. Education is the bit of school we’re concerned with, however.

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