Thoughts on school love

I know, I know, enough with the school talk already.  What can I say, it’s on my mind!

Here is something interesting…as my young children begin their first year of school…my oldest child begins his last year of school.  Public school, that is.  Dustin is a senior this year.

Dustin does not hate school.  He goes to school every day, he does his work, he stays out of trouble.  He goes to a good high school, he has a great group of friends that he has grown up with, nice kids from nice families.  He will graduate next spring, live it up with his friends next summer, & begin his college career in the fall, just like everyone else.  No worries, right?

As I said, Dustin does not hate school…but he seems to be completely apathetic towards school.  I am certain that Dustin will go to college, but I wonder for how long?  He must choose to go to school & he must choose what he studies.  He will succeed or fail based on his own initiative, no longer propelled by my aggressive nagging generous encouragement.  I hope that the college environment will reignite that spark for learning that has long been dark.

We start off loving learning, but somewhere along the way, many lose that joy.  I asked Dustin once, “When did you stop enjoying school?”  His answer, “Around third grade.”  Well, that sounds about right, third grade was pretty much it for me as well.  So, what happened?  He said, “It just got boring.”  Yes, I agree.  It did get boring.

I suppose that Dustin’s take on school is fairly common.  He sees a necessary chore, just get thru it & something better is waiting on the other side.  But if only he could embrace the journey.  If only I could light a fire inside of him, that flame that burns in young children who want to know everything about everything.  Simply for the joy of learning.

Is Dustin’s disinterest in learning a fail on the part of the school system, or is it my own fail?  And is it realistic to expect that my little homeschooled kids might enjoy learning…past the third grade…or maybe…forever??  You know, children are fickle, fleeting creatures (as they should be, with their brand new minds!).  Maybe asking a child to do any one thing day after day, for thirteen plus years, will cause some resistance.  Maybe even the most creative of unschoolers meets with this same apathy.

I am not teaching my little kids at home because of any strong opposition to public schools.  Public schools serve a purpose.  They have served us fairly well.  Quite simply, I am now in a position to offer something different to my kids.  What works for us is not a statement against anything or anyone. I just enjoy teaching them, & we have fun with it, so why not?

But I am not fooling myself, that it will always be so easy.  That they will always be such willing & eager little sponges.  The day might come when they just don’t care about what I am offering them.  They might be bored with learning.  I hope to keep them curious, to keep that flame burning bright.  But, honestly, I do not know what to expect.

It will be interesting to compare the experiences of a public school journey with a home school journey.

I dream big for Dustin.  He has much to offer the world.  My wish is that he become well-educated, so that he will have the luxury of choice in his life.  That he will choose a path that both challenges & satisfies him.  That he will find joy in his work.  Life is hard work, true.  Also true, is that life is so much more colorful when you love your work.


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on school love

  1. Hang in there! I was in your shoes two years ago at this time. My eldest, Aaron, although bright, creative, and talented, was completely apathetic about academics in high school. We’d talked and talked, I’d mandated study time, we’d grounded him for grades, we’d bribed him. He just simply didn’t care. His senior year went so badly academically that I didn’t believe he’d graduated until I held his diploma in my hand. Now he’s starting his sophomore year at college with a 3.2 GPA. He loves his field of study, just added a minor, and is happier than I’ve ever seen him. You’ll get through this!

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