Book Review: The Well-Adjusted Child

I’m absorbing Rachel Gathercole’s The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling through my pores.

This book consists of all the thoughts I had no idea were whirling around inside my brain matter.

Out and About

My first fear (as is the fear of a lot of parents on the brink of homeschooling) is that Ava and I will be trapped captive at our kitchen table, longing for companionship and counting down the minutes until Matt comes home to describe the colors and sounds of the outside world.

Gathercole’s book dispels that monster of a myth.

If anything, homeschooling seems to be the social mecca we’ve both been craving.

How so? Well, the typical 8 AM to 3 PM schedule is tossed right out the door since as the teacher, principal, and superintendent of my own school, I can create a schedule molded to the way we think and play. Plenty of breaks, trampoline time for my ADHD student, and a break up to any possible monotony with the promise of museum trips, pool time, and volunteering put a pretty attractive period on the end of the sentence.

Academic Adventures

Academically speaking, homeschooling is on point simply because of the smaller child to teacher ratio, not to mention the emphasis on learning because you want to learn, not just to do better than everyone else in the class.

I like this approach. I like the idea of finding new ways to learn and new subjects to tackle with the only thing potentially hindering us being the finite number of moments in a day. And I also kind of love that I can fully explain the love Christ has for her and how she can impart positivity and kindness to others because of this love instead of, you know, just showing off the new Nikes she just got.

Social Butterfly

But what about other kids?

Easy. Homeschooling co-op. By doing a simple Internet search, I found a co-op that offers field trips and meet up time as well as bi-weekly classes like sewing and American Girl history all for a VERY minimal yearly fee. Ummm…yes, please.

I like the idea of Ava engaging with kids of various ages and that those interactions, while happening intrinsically, can still be monitored by a parent who loves her fiercely.

Putting an End to Bullying

In school, there was too much bullying, too many hurt feelings, and no way to gauge how to walk that path all on her own.

And I know proponents for traditional schooling might say, “Well, she’ll have to learn some day how the world really is.” But have we ever stopped to think that maybe the world is the way it is because we aren’t guiding our children the majority of the day? We’re essentially offering them a Lord of the Flies type existence and are surprised that we’ve birthed a generation of Kim Kardashian wannabes.

Gathercole puts this another way: just because she’ll one day be living on her own in an apartment working to pay the rent, doesn’t mean I’m taking her apartment shopping any time soon. Just because one day she may need to put a fire out on the stove doesn’t mean I’m going to overheat the coconut oil and tell her good luck. Things should happen as a child can fully understand and handle them. And this is the very reason we parents exist in the first place.

So ultimately, I want her to learn the tools necessary to appropriately navigate her feelings and tend to the people who incite them. And Gathercole’s book gives a myriad of reasons as to why homeschooling lends itself to this kind of learning. I highly, highly recommend giving it a read!

Thinking about homeschooling? Want to pick my brain? Reach me via the contact form.

 

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Why I’m Homeschooling My Daughter

girl taking photo of dogs

I want to tell you a story about a man named Gabriel I trained once at my job.

First, let’s mention the fact that I had recently become the company’s new training manager. And now let’s revel in God’s amazing wonder at how he used a human being who hates ice breakers and general eye contact as one company’s main point of contact for the new and terrified.

That God, man. He’s a riot.

Gabriel’s class was my first class. I don’t remember everyone who was in it because I’m a terrible person but here are a few of the characters that roughly recall a memory when I think about them: Bill, an incredibly obese and incredibly forgiving gentleman who held a glint of sympathy for me in his eye but was still somehow Gabriel’s best friend; Derek, a young man who had just underwent bypass surgery and whose girlfriend had just left, leaving him to tend to their newborn daughter; and Maggie, an older lady who had a peppery stink about her and was originally from California. She said it would be easy to remember my name since her lesbian daughter had spelled hers the same way as mine before she committed suicide. It seemed like everyone Maggie knew had died. Which worried me a little.

I’ve changed all the names except for Gabriel’s, FYI. And I’m sure he’d be okay with that.

First day, I was all armpit sweat. I thought maybe I could coast through most of the material because it covered Federal laws pertaining to communicating with borrowers via the telephone which isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But of course Gabriel challenged me on everything and attempted to lead a mini-revolution in our classroom when all I wanted to do was find the steering wheel in my car to smack my head against.

And then there was the moment he threw a wad of paper at my face. After being asked to read from our company’s manual aloud (he did so in a variety of multi-cultural voices ranging from a Cockney accent to a Southern drawl), he crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it directly at my nose. I opened it and it said, “I’m bored.”

I was devastated. I went home empty and yet filled with grief. This wasn’t the first time my job had challenged me, but this definitely was the first time a forty-year-old man in an expensive cologne-soaked Polo had ever thrown anything at my face.

Why, God. Why?

And then that tiny voice that always answers when I ask that very question said exactly what I expected it to: Because you can.

So I did.

I kept showing up for that week of training. I kept teaching and talking and ice breaking like a son-of-a-gun. It was my responsibility to impart wisdom on these people: Bill of the kind words, Derek of the wonky eyes, Maggie of the many deceased relatives who would later loudly ask me if I was pregnant in front of a slew of other employees, and even Gabriel whose favorite target was my face.

And here’s something for you. At the end of it all, they had to write reviews of how I did, reviews that would later be given to my boss. And do you know what that Gabriel said about me? That I was an absolute class act and that the company was lucky to have me. And everyone there needed to take a page from my book.

I’m not quite sure what that book is. Maybe The Complete Guide to Not Punching Someone in the Face When They Throw Paper at You?

Regardless, that experience made me feel like I had won. Like I could do anything.

And you see, that’s the point.

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