|1990?||REBOUND Volume 1|
From The Editorial Staff
We're back! And we are here to serve as your editorial staff for this and all upcoming issues of "Rebound." In this issue, we have decided to devote our editorial to two areas that, judging from your letters, seem to be of great concern to homeschooling parents. First, we will talk about homeschooled teenagers who decide to go to school. And second, we will discuss the pros and cons of trying to homeschool children who have been exposed to the current educational system. We appreciate all of your letters and calls because they help us to know how we can be of help. We are glad to be back as your editorial staff and we hope that "Rebound" will be of help to you in your efforts to recover from the harmful effects of today's educational system.
Homeschooled Teenagers Go To School
We have received many letters and calls from parents expressing concern for the fact that their homeschooled children have decided to go to school. While we believe that there is a wide variety of reasons for this, we have noticed that most of those calls and letters are from parents whose children are twelve years of age or older. All human beings are ready to leave home and launch themselves out into adult society sometime between 12 and 15 years of age. Even teenagers who have been exposed to current educational practices feel the urge to leave home and establish themselves as fully functioning adults. However, educational practices have rendered them incapable of doing anything but launching themselves into four years of high school, where they are treated like big, overgrown babies.
When homeschooled children reach adolescence, they too feel the natural urge to leave home and establish themselves as independent adults. In fact, because their natural, self-directive systems have not been destroyed by schools, the urgency to establish themselves as independent adults is even greater than it is in teenagers who have been exposed to schools. However, under the influence of modern education, this society has no place for functional, mature 12 to 15-year-olds. The only apparent, available place for many homeschooled teenagers who are ready to leave home is the local public high school. And so, this is where they go.
Some of the parents who have written to us about the fact that their teenage children have decided to go to school wrote about this as if it were a sign that they, as parents, had in some way failed their children. We would say that the fact that these twelve to fifteen-year-old homeschoolers feel compelled to leave home and go out into the world is only a sign that their parents have done a good job with them. In any natural, reality-oriented society, young adults of these ages would be recognized as fully functioning adults and would assume adult roles in society. In a natural society, teenagers are expected to go out into the world, find a mate and have their young. Natural, intact teenagers are ready to take their place in the world and to pursue a field of interest. If this were a reality-oriented society, young teenagers would be found in apprenticeships in all walks of life. They would be studying banking, boatbuilding, plumbing, electronics, carpentry or auto mechanics. Some would be enrolled in college studying engineering, law or medicine. Young adults should be doctors, lawyers and engineers by the time they are twenty, not thirty or forty.
It would be best for homeschooled teenagers to take a high school equivalency test at thirteen or fourteen (since most homeschooled teenagers are capable of passing a GED) and go to work or go to college. For some young adults the best thing for them to do would be to travel around the world for a couple of years if there were resources available to do so. It would be best if some teenagers could live and work in other societies for six months to a year at a time.
Under the influence of modern education, this society has worked at closing off these natural pathways to adult life. As a result, many homeschooling parents and their teenage children are left to try to carve out some pathway, some route into adulthood that is not sanctioned or supported by society at large. It would be best if homeschooling parents were able to help their teenage children find a way to pursue a field of interest, to mate, to have children or to travel around the world. But, it is understood that these natural pathways are not always readily available. Even when they are available, many homeschooling parents, who were themselves subjected to the current educational system, do not have the resources to assist their teenagers in such pursuits.
We are not advocating public schools. Schools are negative, toxic places. However, it is understandable, given the conditions in this society today, that homeschooled teenagers would choose to launch themselves out into the adult world by going to junior high or high school. And while some homeschooling parents might consider this a failure, we would consider this a sign that the parents have done a good job keeping their children's natural systems intact, so that at the onset of puberty these young adults do the natural thing, which is to leave home. Homeschooling parents should also know that once children have been homeschooled up to the age of ten or eleven, they have had enough time to collect themselves up so that they can no longer be corrupted by the external invasion of educators. Previously homeschooled teenagers who go into the school cannot be mentally and emotionally harmed by current educational practices in the way that children under eight or nine can be harmed. If anything, previously home schooled teenagers are generally an irritant to educators because they are mature, functioning, free-thinking adults. Educators are frightened of functioning, freethinking human beings because they have dedicated themselves to producing dysfunctional, passive, accepting robots.
Homeschooling Previously Educated Children
If you have a child who is currently enrolled in school and is in the second grade or beyond, and you have been thinking about homeschooling him or her, please consider the following information before you act. Once children reach the end of the second grade, and in some cases the end of the first grade, it is too late to undo the mental and emotional harm which they have incurred in school. In order to survive in the hostile, unnatural classroom environment, children must shift themselves over from a natural system of learning and relating to an unnatural system that allows them to memorize unrelated facts and withstand the public humiliation and psychological tortures of the classroom.
Before children reach the end of the second grade, they are too bewildered and confused by school to be able to adjust to classroom life. However, sometime around the end of the second grade, when children discover that their parents are not going to rescue them from school, children begin to "social in" to school. This is the point at which a child begins to relate to his or her classmates outside of the school setting. "Socializing in" and adjusting to school is not a positive sign. It is only a sign that a child has forsaken all of his or her own natural living and learning systems in favor of the unnatural, non-reality oriented and hostile classroom environment.
Most parents recognize that something happens to their children after the children are exposed to school even for a short period of time. Most parents can see that the children that they knew prior to exposure to school are very different than the children who come home to them every day after five or six hours in a classroom. What most parents do not realize is that the personalities of the children they knew before those children went off to school are gone. Once children have made the shift and have adjusted to school, they cannot shift back into their natural systems, because the pathways and circuits-that once comprised the child's natural systems have been permanently destroyed. Even the most tender, loving parents who provide very accepting, supportive home environments cannot undo what has been done to their children in school.
Children educated up to the third grade are already grade-oriented and success-oriented, and cannot return to a natural system of self-evaluation no matter what the parents say and do.
When parents take their children out of school after the children have "socialized in" and forsaken their natural ways, all that these children can do is to switch over to a third system that will allow them to function as a homeschooler, given all the harm that has already been done to them by the educational system. When children go to school, it takes an enormous amount of resources for them to shift over from a natural system of learning to the unnatural system of memorizing unrelated facts which is required of children in school. Most children become mentally and emotionally bankrupt in the process of making this switch. When parents take children out of school to homeschool them, the children must consume even more of their resources in order to switch into this third system, resources that most children once exposed to school up to the third grade just do not have.
Furthermore, once children have been exposed to school up to approximately the end of the second grade, they are filled up with the negativity that is inherent in the school environment. It is not possible for a human being to exist in a situation as negative as a normal classroom without continuously accumulating negative thoughts and feelings. Most children are very hurt and angry at what has happened to them and their peers in school. As long as children remain in school, their hurt and anger remain under control, because allowing those emotions to surface would threaten the child's ability to survive in the classroom.
When children are taken out of school after they have reached the end of the second grade, they often need many months to purge themselves of the hurt, anger, depression and general negativity they collected while in school. Children who are taken out of school must go through a psychological detoxification period. This period may be characterized by extreme highs and lows, negative emotional outbursts or long periods of apparent depression. If you as a parent feel that you do not have the resources to help your child through this period of psychological detoxification, you should not take your child out of school. If you as a parent want to take your child out of school in order to fulfill your own romantic ideas about how rewarding and nourishing it will be for you as a parent to homeschool your child, you should not take your child out of school. Homeschooling is only rewarding and nourishing to parents when the children have not been to school and their natural learning systems are still intact. Once children's natural learning systems have been destroyed and the children have been filled up with the negativity and hurt inherent in classroom life, the child cannot reward or nourish the parents because the child has nothing left inside with which to do this. Instead of nourishing the parents, the children must draw on the parents' resources very heavily. Again, most parents who have themselves been educated in the current system do not have the resources to successfully help their children through these difficult times.
If you as a parent have seen or know of some homeschooling families who appear to be prospering, and you think that you can get the same thing for your family by taking your child out of school in order to homeschool him or her, think again. Homeschooling families who are thriving and prospering are only doing so because the children have not been exposed to schools. This is not to say that some parents would not see some limited recovery in their previously schooled children. In time, some children will show some limited signs of emotional recovery, although the damage done to their mental systems is permanent. It is just that these children are going to require an enormous output of resources (which most parents do not have) for very little gain.
What we are trying to say is that when children are taken out of school once they have reached the end of the second grade, they do not leave their problems behind. All they can do is trade one set of problems that are associated with being in school for another set of problems that are a function of being taken out of school. Unless parents feel that they have the personal resources to help children cope with this new set of problems, the children, in many cases, are better off being left in school. We are not saying that these children are not worth the effort, because they are. We are saying that many parents who were themselves previously educated in this system may not have the resources that are necessary to make such an effort.
If you as a parent conclude that you absolutely must take your child who has been educated up to the end of the second grade out of school, there are some things that must be done with your child to preserve any remaining residue of psychological well-being. Children educated up to this point are already grade-oriented and success-oriented, and cannot return to a natural system of self-evaluation no matter what the parents say and do.
Once children have accepted the standards of school in place of their own self-evaluation systems, they need to obtain a high school diploma. If you do take your children out of school after the end of the second grade, you absolutely must help your child obtain a high school equivalency at the earliest possible age. A high school diploma represents an element of success and completion in the educational system, which these children need after having incorporated school standards and measurements of success into themselves.
Even the most tender, loving parents who provide very accepting, supportive home environments cannot undo what has been done to their children in school.
Most children who are taken out of school after having adjusted to and accepted this system, perceive themselves as school failures. Some of these children think that there is something wrong with them because they were not able to continue being tortured in the classroom in the way that they see their friends and classmates are being tortured. While, in reality, the children who are unable to tolerate the torture of being in school are usually far more healthy mentally and emotionally than children who readily accept the psychological duress of classroom life, once children have reached the third grade and have been damaged by school, they can no longer perceive this aspect of reality. All that these children know is that their friends are withstanding the torture and they are not.
Most children who are taken out of school after the end of the second grade see themselves as school drop-outs. They carry exactly the same ideas and impressions of themselves as school failures that high school drop-outs carry. Obtaining a high school diploma will help to alleviate some of these feelings of personal failure in the way that getting a high school diploma often helps high school dropouts to feel better about themselves. But some of these impressions of being a school failure remain permanent in previously educated, homeschooled children no matter what their parents say or do.
We must also mention that many previously educated, homeschooled children have problems with the fact that they are free. All children who are exposed to school are treated like prisoners. They are locked away against their wills. They are psychologically and physically tortured just like prisoners, even though they have not done anything wrong. The single most powerful unifying thought among school children is the thought of freedom. "When will I be free again? When will the bell ring? Wow long until recess? How long until lunch or the end of the school day? How many days before the weekend? When is the next school vacation? How many days are left before the end of the school year?"
If this were a reality-oriented society, young teenagers would be found in apprenticeships in all walks of life.
In order to endure schools, children must adapt themselves to life in prison. They must engage in many of the same behaviors and coping mechanisms as people who are confined to minimum, and in some cases maximum, security prisons. Like prisoners, after a while many children find the sameness and the rigidity of life in jail comforting. Some prisoners find life in jail so comforting that they do not want to be released. Some even go out and commit a crime for which they know they will get caught just to get back to the comfort of jail. Similarly, many previously educated, homeschooled children also found comfort in the state-run prison called school. They, too, long for the comfort found in the sameness and the rigidity of classroom life. Some of these children even exhibit behaviors similar to ex-prisoners who are trying to get back to jail. Some children have concluded that if they create enough disruption and difficulty for their parents that their parents will send them back to school.
We have found that talking to previously schooled children about these thoughts and feelings has been very revealing. Talking about these thoughts and feelings also seems to help some children to be released from what otherwise might be seen as some unusual and even destructive behaviors. We strongly recommend that parents who decide to homeschool their previously educated children discuss these ideas of freedom and incarceration as they relate to school with their children.
Finally, if your child is ten years of age or older, he or she should not be taken out of school and allowed to hang around the house all day. You should only consider taking your child out of school if you are able to discover something out in the world that your child is desperately interested in doing, and if you have the wherewithal to help your child do that one thing. This is the single, most important criteria for deciding whether to take your child out of school or not. If, for example, your child is desperately interested in boats and boatbuilding, before you consider taking your child out of school, go out into your community and find a boat builder who will take your child on as an apprentice. If you cannot find a boat builder in your community, and you are unwilling to move to another community, find something else in the world that your child is desperately interested in doing. If your child has no other interests besides boatbuilding, and you cannot find a boat builder, then keep your child in school. If you cannot find a boat builder, but you know of a cabinet maker or a sheetrocker who will allow your child to work with him or her, keep your child in school unless your child is desperately interested in cabinetmaking or sheetrocking. When young musical prodigies are desperately interested in playing the piano, it does no good to teach them to play the violin. Every child has personal interests as special and as sacred as any musical prodigy, and unless you can help your child pursue those exact interests, your child will be better off in school. Unless a child can pursue his or her exact interests, he or she will have very little recovery and will have the more serious problem of trying to figure out what to do with his or her time.