I think it would be super cool if there were a place for homeschooled kids to hang out with a variety of friends of different ages, everyday, for a few hours. But not the way school does it, nor even the way many homeschoolers do it. I mean totally unstructured getting together just to hang kinda time. Even homeschoolers often only get together under the auspices of 'doing something schooly' UGH!!! JUST STOP IT ALREADY!!! Why do homeschoolers copy schoolers AT ALL!?! See that is where school has it all wrong. The socialization in schools, for the most part, is artificial. It takes place under the watchful eyes of 'authorities' and kids can't do what they are interested in. I would love to see a cool place with a big video game room with a bunch of geeky kids playing Halo 3 or Gears of War. Then there could be another room where kids were watching movies, one for art, one for reading, one for chatting and board games, a lab for experiments and on and on. Outside there were would be kids exploring the woods and some playing athletic games. A place like this could be staffed by the parents, each lending his or her special talents to helping kids learn and do whatever it is they are interested in doing whether that is accounting skills, knitting a sweater, designing a computer game, building a website, or baking a cake. How cool would that be? I know it's been done. Summerhill is a good example. So are Sudbury Valley Schools. They are Unschooling schools, but I am thinking more of a learning enrichment center.
So, Ben is going to his school just when the 'fun stuff' happens. He is attending the latter half of the day for a social skills class, lunch, and a fun elective (alternates between science experiments and indoor/outdoor athletics). This is a private school that caters to special kids. But they are still freaked out that Ben isn't being 'educated'. I think he's getting plenty of an education just hanging with these kids and developing friendships while realizing he can be away from the family (esp. ME) and not DIE. But all the hoops I have to jump through are just making me loathe any school: public or private they are all a pain in my ass! I thought, mistakenly, that when I started paying for a school that they would be more willing to work with me in the best interests of Ben. Okay, the private school is much better than the public school he went to (and I am NOT blaming teachers, I am BLAMING the administrators and the state/federal gov't for the public school's inflexibility) but the private school still has an agenda and we had to twist some arms to get what we have now. Let me be clear in saying that the private school administrators have been fabulously accommodating, but they still want it to go 'their way' when all is said and done.
Anyway, school has been ruining my life for years now. I haven't needed school for Ben. I have needed what I proposed above for Ben. If I had the money I would open such a 'place' myself. I think a relative would have to die and leave me money first, so I am not counting on opening any such 'place' anytime soon.
Leonie just sent me a copy of a book that only confirms all of the feelings I have had about schooling, and unschooling, and has me pining for a simpler life. Especially because of all the shit we have had to wade through these last years regarding Ben and school. I am just so tired of it all. At first things look like they will work, people make promises they can't keep, Ben falls apart and our family life explodes. I hate it and I just want it to stop!!! Yes, Ben can drive me absolutely out of my skull. However, school is driving him nuts so I am even more crazy. The stress is just insane. I am sick to death of all the frickin outside interference into our lives. I bet I could have gotten a homeschooled teenager to come and play video games with Ben a couple times a week for alot cheaper than his darn school costs. (Yes, I am getting about 2/3rd the tuition back in State vouchers, but not until the end of the school year will I recoup it all. So, we had to pay the whole 18K out of pocket up front.) I know I could have paid a teenager less and there would be far more peace in our home.
Man, I am an idiot. Will I ever learn what God has been trying to teach me for so long....to let Go and Trust. And to think I have the AUDACITY to get pissed at my kids for not "listening to me" when I tell them to do something a hundred times. How flipping long has God been telling me to stop trusting 'so called experts with my kids and start trusting my kids and myself. I am the best expert on my kids. I think God's been at this with me for 19 years. How wonderfully patient he is with me and how horribly impatient I am with my kids. Jeez, I really suck.