What I want for my kids…

I don’t want my kids to learn things in bits and pieces, randomly, unconnected and at someone else’s behest, just so they can say they did it.  Just so that they can laugh at dinner parties years later about how much they “hated algebra” or why they refuse to ever read a book written before 1990 or that one awful teacher who gave them so much homework and “ha, ha ha” isn’t that funny that we all had those awful, humiliating, boring experiences?

I don’t want my kids to be shunned by the “popular” kids or be one of the popular kids and find themselves looking down on others for the way they dress or wear their hair or the way the teachers all love them or the way they use the word “random” too much.   I don’t want them to worry about cliques or ever find themselves sitting alone at a lunch table because they dared have a crush on someone who was not in their own circle of friends.

I don’t want my kids to coast through school, getting good grades, never questioning the system and always doing as they are told because…well, just because.

I don’t want my kids to believe that a good grade makes them a good person; that a high test score makes them intelligent, better, more worthy.

On the other hand….

I want my kids to know that there are many kinds of intelligence, and most of them are not valued or fostered in schools.

I want my kids to learn things because they are curious, even if the things they are curious about do not interest me.

I want my kids to be able to set goals for themselves quietly, without the need for announcements and constant superficial praise, and then be able to pursue those goals on their own – with our help if they need it and our support, always.

I want my kids to know that sometimes the path to achieving a goal leads through an area that, on its’ own, would hold no interest for them but which they tackle willingly because it is part of pursuing the goal they have set for themselves; it is part of  the whole, and as such it will be remembered, rather than learned for a moment – for a test – and then forgotten.

I want my kids to know where to go for answers when they need them and to be familiar with the tools and resources available to fill any “holes” in their knowledge – should the need arise to do so.

I want my kids to be kind and accepting of themselves and of others no matter where they’re from or what they look like.

How can I be sure my kids will know and be these things?

Trust them.

Lead when needed, encourage always.

Live my own life with joy.




8 comments on “What I want for my kids…

  1. A wonderful description, Amy. Well said.

  2. Eileen says:

    As someone who loved homeschooling my children, I hesitate to write this, but I have been seeing so many articles by unschoolers that I feel is somewhat negative, and a bit elitist. That this way is better than everyone else. Due to life’s circumstances, as the only living parent now, my children their education after 10th grade in public schools. The people there were so wonderful, teachers, students, administrators.
    My children loved so much homeschooling. I have curious, happy, amazing children, including a special son with a type of autism who is mathematical and now a student at UVA. Both my chldren and I cherished our homeschooling years. Time together, the freedom learn whatever interested us that day—we cherish in our hearts always. But, there is so much good in the public schools–I feel compelled to respond to this writing as I’ve seen this feeling in too many homeschool articles. One thing I hope I have shown my children through my example and I know they are like this, too—we don’t feel the need to be negative about someone else’s choices or to say that our way is the better way. If we truly believe in our right to choose to homeschool, we should also respect someone else’s right to choose another path that may be the best for them in their lives. I know, as life can change, and I am the only living parent now, and I can tell you, it was the people in the public schools who were there for my children and me. I think one of the greatest lessons is we should not make judgments about others without walking in their shoes to see if the generalization being made is indeed true or not. I am currently tutoring in the public schools, and I can tell you there are interested, curious children, and the school is filled with so much positive. Many of these kids are from families without the ability or advantage to homeschool due to life’s circumstances. My children and I would never trade those years of homeschooling, and we were unschoolers. We did what was best for us and had so much joy learning, but I truly feel disheartened when I read from unschoolers that their way is better than anyone else’s decisions not to homeschool. This I feel is an elitist attitude and I hope one of the most important things I taught my children–is to treat everyone with love, kindness, and respect for their choices, to walk in their shoes and be compassionate and understanding.

    • Jenn says:

      I am truly sorry that you have endured hardship and am glad for you and your children that you are having a positive public school experience but I am failing to see where Amy’s post is elitist or critical of those who make different choices. This is, after all, what she wants for HER kids. The message is trust your kids and live life joyfully. It sounds as if you are doing both! :)

    • Amy says:

      Hi Eileen,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry for your loss, and am grateful that you found your school to be supportive and a good place for your children to continue the educational foundation you had given them.

      The comments I made regarding public schools and what I want for my kids came directly from my own experience in public school and the experiences of many people who speak to me regarding their frustrations with their schools. It does not mean that every public school is that way. My opinions and my observations are always mine only – and if they speak to someone and help them in any way, then that is a good thing. In writing what I want for my kids, I am not summarily judging everyone who chooses a different path, and I’m sorry if you view it as elitist. I do believe that unschooling is the ideal learning environment, but I realize the many obstacles that exist for families who currently would not be able to choose the unschooling life and I speak often about how we might be able, as a community, to overcome those obstacles so that each and every child can pursue his or her own interests, regardless of their background, socio-economic status or family structure.

      Again, it is a wonderful thing that the people in your school were so helpful and loving to your children. If that could be every child’s experience, the world would be a better place.

      All the best,

  3. Jenn says:

    Wonderful post, Amy!

  4. Mani Sheriar says:

    Beautifully said! <3

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