Friday, March 2, 2007

Not Exactly Fond Memories of School

What's your earliest memory of school?

Mine is that very first day. I remember it so clearly. I was not quite five, but had been reading for quite a while, so my parents decided I needed to be in school asap. Since our neighborhood public school (located right behind our house) did not offer kindergarten, my parents found a kindergarten offered at a church about a mile away, and signed me up.

I recall my nervousness as we approached the multi-sided building with a cross on top. It looked like a space ship, so I suppose it must have been fairly new, a reflection of early 1960s architecture. When we entered, a sick feeling came over me, because I could tell my mother was not going to stay with me.

Soon my fears came true. Mom said she'd be back in a while. The teacher offered me a seat at a nearby table, but I ran after my mother. When I tried to push open the door, it wouldn't budge. My mother was holding it shut on the other side. All these years later, she says she remembers feeling bad that she had to do that, but that it was for my own good.

I eventually got used to going to school. I even liked it for a while. But I soon grew bored. I occupied my mind with daydreams to pass the time.

Another clear memory: the day school let out for the summer at the end of second grade. I was wearing a light green dress with a collar trimmed in lace, and as I balanced on the railroad ties lining the school's parking lot, all I could think was, "I'm free!" I planned my summer as I walked home that day....playing, reading, more playing.....freedom! What an incredible feeling!

That was a long time ago. It makes me sad to think about that little girl. To be seven years old and longing for freedom.....I guess I never could bear for my own kids to have that trapped feeling, and so I never sent them to school.

I wonder how many people choose to homeschool because they don't want their children to feel like they did when they were kids. If you're a homeschooler, did your own school experience have any bearing on your decision to homeschool? Anyone feel like sharing? As Dr. Frasier Crane would say, "I'm listening!"


Daisy said...

It's funny. My very first memory of school was actually great. It was back when kindergarten was mainly play time. I walked into the classroom, immediately found a friend, began playing, and didn't even notice my mother leaving me. I loved school through the first grade. Then my parents got divorced. Unfortunately a common experience today, I was the first child in my Catholic school class to have divorced parents. Children in packs are so very cruel, and I hated school from the very next year until I was finished. Even college, I mainly disliked, because it forced me to learn things in which I wasn't interested.

I'm certainly not planning being divorced, but the cruelty that can be meted out by children in large groups is something I hope my children won't have to experience. I'm sure things will happen to them that are unpleasant, but I also hope that I will be able to prepare them to handle challenges and people of different circumstances with more grace than those children or I did.

Annette said...

the social aspects of school were difficult for my hubbie and I. Knowing that, it has played a role in our decision to homeschool. Mind you, there are other reasons, such as the willingness to do so, the desire to nurture our child's mind in a way that school's cannot, the desire to teach independent thought, the knowledge that others we know have done so successfully and so forth.