Proof in Homeschooling.
We are only two weeks in to our rebellious mexican homeschool adventure. The first day we sat down at the table to work with letters. Anahi took off on her own, writing up a storm. Inti would have rather been doing anything else. There was the dirt pile, some chickens were roaming outside and there was a toy car under the table. After struggling to get his attention, it sadly dawned on me, that although he had attended “school” here for six months, not only did he not recognize any of the letters but he didn’t even know how to hold a pencil. I finally persuaded him to try writing the letter “T” and only because “T” is for truck and tractor. He managed to rip a hole in the paper, spill juice on it and write three faintly legible “T”s before running away to play outside. Well ok, he’s three and it’s only the first day…
Feeling discouraged, the next day I went to the papeleria in town for new supplies. I bought paint, glue sticks, tiny scissors, every color of glitter, a big stack of paper and some googly eyes for good measure. I thought to myself “Fuck it. We will just do art. Art is important, right?” The kids were excited to see the pile of stuff and wanted to get started right away. This is the enthusiasm I was hoping for! So along with the crayons and pencils we already had, I left them alone to make anything they wanted. They sat there creating for over an hour.
The next day I decided that we could start making an alphabet book using the new art supplies. So I drew a giant uppercase and lowercase “A” in the center of the page, Anahi colored it in while Inti and I looked through their cousins old school work books and cut out things that started with the letter “A”. Later they glued the cut outs around the letter and embellished with glitter. Every day they each made a page for the book, had a great time and were learning a lot without even realizing it!
A few days later they asked to draw so I gave them each colors and paper and headed out to wash laundry. About thirty minutes later I came back in to check on them. Anahi was happily making her own book full of letters and princesses, and Inti was working away on a page full of rainbow colored “T”s! I couldn’t believe it. This kid wanted nothing to do with it just a few days before and there he was practicing away without even being prompted! This was the first clear sign that what I am doing is already working. They have both started asking me what letters things start with and like pointing out letters they recognize around town. We don’t do school work every day and I never make them if they don’t want to. If I don’t offer it, at some point during each day they will ask for it. They also show more interest in the story books we have.
The second thing that has been happening has to do with the people in town. V was quite sure that homeschooling would be extremely unacceptable here, which was a large part of his initial hesitation (more like rigid determination to stop me). Turns out he was mostly wrong.
I like to do my shopping in the morning before it gets hot. When the shop keepers see my children in town rather than in school, they always ask why they don’t have classes. My response is always the same, that I choose not to send them. At first the people are shocked, but then I explain why I think homeschooling is better and the consensus is always the same. They agree and applaud me for being brave enough to do something different. Many people even tell me about someone else that they know, usually in the states, that choose not to send their children to school either. By the end of the conversation, the people always say “Si! En la casa mejor! Esta bien” or yes, in the home is better, it’s good. There is surprisingly more support for my “crazy decision to pull them out of school” here than I ever would have thought. Thank God, but even if there wasn’t, I would do it anyway! Today they are in the field learning about farming as they help V plow the corn with horses. The best thing for me about homeschooling is that each and every day brings something different. I’m very glad I followed my instincts instead of listening to nay sayers or fearing the unknown.