Monday, November 14, 2011

A Letter to my Eldest

So you want to go to high school? Listen, Justin: I'll try to support you in whatever you decide, but consider the opportunity you have through homeschooling to develop into an adult without the pressures of The High School social mentality which (in my opinion) equals the death of individuality: at least for 4 years. If we were to poll all the adults in America, I will guarantee you that the majority of them would state that high school actually kinda sucked...

I hate to think that your confidence in yourself might be squashed before it has a chance to truly bloom. For no one and nothing can squash confidence and individuality like a couple hundred teenagers can...

Please don't get me wrong. My fear lies not in your ability to be strong against the forces of peers and their group pressures, but in the abilities of the entity that is High School to devour anything that rocks the boundaries of their definition of "acceptable."

College accepts and treasures that which is unique. In fact, it heralds it! But high school unfailingly succeeds in separating and segregating. In categorizing and labeling. Jock = popular. Techie = nerd. In high school there exists such a thing as a "social ladder" that makes me want to vomit.

There is definitely a huge value in figuring out how to defend oneself against bullies, snobbery, jeering in the hallways and getting picked on. And if you are one of the lucky ones who finds their niche in the social ladder, you might just find yourself nearer the top than the bottom, and so won't need to defend yourself at all. But do you WANT to know that there are people "below" you? Do you want to wonder if you should be a friend to someone who is considered the "most unpopular kid" in the class because of what that would do to your "standing"? Even if that kid is hysterical and kind and really, really "gets" you?

Maybe having to make that choice is what makes us stronger. But maybe having to make that choice is also what kills our ability to just LOOK at a person without judging them. To just introduce ourselves without a pre-conceived notion of their "coolness". I think that you have that ability right now. I think that you just see people as people, without wondering if they will like you or accept you. (which is exactly WHY they all DO like you and accept you!) I guarantee you that high school would make you question someone's social standing; at least once. I still hurt inside from the times that I was cruel to other kids; either from my actions against them (I wasn't a bully) or from my inactions to save them from taunting or loneliness. There are so many lonely kids in high school that could have used a friend, and I didn't befriend them out of fear of what others would think. This? This makes me cry as I type it, honey. It still hurts.

There IS no pecking order in homeschooling. We learn to learn, not to prove to some government group that knowledge has been attained long enough to pass their tests. The speed and velocity of what and how you are educated needs not be evaluated by strangers who have no emotional investment in your education.


Screw grades.
Screw tests.

I don't want you to be sucked into the vacuum of learning to pass, learning for "A's", and learning to judge based upon what is perceived instead of what you feel in your heart.

Don't think that I think that you "can't handle high school." That is absolutely not the case. Not at all. My worries are that you WILL learn to "handle" high school. That high school will "handle" and alter you beyond what I recognize as a funny, intelligent, unique individual. I worry that you seek this change because you feel as though you may be "missing out" on the High School Experience. Did you ever stop to think that by being homeschooled, you are privy to an experience that most teenagers would kill for?
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