I’m wary of good kids.
I used to be good. I was a great student who was a good citizen and polite in class. I was quiet, most of the time. Now? Now, perhaps I’m a bit of a renegade upon occasion. I’m still a good citizen, but sometimes I’m opinionated. I wiggle in class. I cast doubts upon generally accepted truths. I also make a point of making sure that kids of all sorts get an opportunity to be themselves. Yes, they need to learn how to behave well in social settings as an adult, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that each child’s early years will look picture perfect.
Why am I wary of the need to be good?
I want to know what kids are feeling. Yes, it’s hard to know that my daughter sometimes feels really lousy about learning how to read, but I want to know this. I don’t want her to learn how to hide her emotions completely, only to have them come out later in different ways, ways that might be harder.
I want to see kids reach their potential as the humans that they were born to be. For some kids, it is very hard to be good. Rather, it is very hard to be good the way that school construes it. If you’re a kid who loves to be a star, or a kid who’s a natural at leading new projects, you may or may not find your niche in school. That entirely depends on whether the classroom environment squashes or supports your particular personality.
It can also be hard to be good if you’re a kid who has a hard time focusing. Children with ADHD and ADD can have a hard time focusing on one thing in class. Children who are kinesthetic learners and need to move also have a hard time sitting still. It’s not that they’re not trying. It’s just that the learning environment is not ideal for that child. It took me years to realize that my need for motion while I am learning is not a bad thing. It is just how I learn. My body needs to move so that my mind can be occupied elsewhere.
A flexible and open-minded homeschooling environment allows you to get rid of the need to be good, if you so desire. Of course you want your kids to grow up to be caring and compassionate people who can also make polite cocktail-party conversation. If they’re confident within themselves and have good models in their parents, I don’t doubt that this will happen. However, there may be some less-than-model moments along the way.