For my last “Another Voice on Homeschooling” post for this month, I’m sharing a post from Mindful Homeschooler, an online, self-described “primarily secular” homeschooling magazine. Mindful Homeschooler brings together posts about a variety of homeschooling subjects from a variety of authors.
“I think there is something about homeschooling in general that lends itself to kids not having to worry so much about appearances and things that feel so important to kids herded into public schools. Isn’t some of societies [sic] perception of homeschooled kids as odd really just a reflection of a societal uneasiness with true individuality? When thinking about this, I often reflect on the quote by Albert Einstein regarding his decision not to wear socks in which he said, ‘I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.’ Ultimately, the question really is, should we make them ‘wear socks’ even when they are not old enough to make this choice?”
I found this article interesting because it addresses an attitude I’ve noticed in my own children.
My seven-year-old daughter went to church one January day with tights on but no skirt or pants. I left the house early, so I take no responsibility for this occurrence, but blame aside, when we were sitting in the pew waiting for service to begin and I pointed out that she was wearing no pants, she just shrugged.
When our babysitter cancelled at the last minute last week, my three-and-a-half-year-old proudly attended a Girl Scout meeting wearing his sister’s old Daisy tunic and her Brownie beanie.
At the same time that I love that my children don’t seem to define themselves by their appearance, I also feel a little concerned that maybe I’m not teaching them the self-awareness necessary to avoid ridicule later in life. I think, “So what? There’s no harm in being a little eccentric.” But then the little voice that’s always pointing out where I’m screwing things up pipes in with a dose of doubt: “…is there?”
In his post, Ryan echoes the ambivalence I feel about my children’s self-assuredness. His post also reminds me of a blog discussion I had with a mom who posted about her choice to let her young daughters (ages 3 and 4) cut their own hair (the original post seems not to be up any longer, but the link to my post includes a bit about the original post and a brief quote).
How much control do we exert over our children as they’re trying to discover their place and their identity in the world? How much do we try to protect them from what other people might think about them, and what does this teach them about their value as individuals?
To read Ryan’s full post, please visit Mindful Homeschooling…and please consider leaving a comment while you’re there to let him know what you think. (And after you read that one, check out this post, by Angela Wade and also on Mindful Homeschooling, about the path that led her to Unschooling.)
- Another Voice on Homeschooling: Homeschool Happymess (imperfecthappiness.wordpress.com)
- Another Voice on Homeschooling: Music, Mayhem, Motherhood (imperfecthappiness.wordpress.com)