Pressing Buttons

I stared at my phone. Should I post my comment? Would it be helpful for this poor lady? After all, she wrote to the group asking for help. Her story: she has high blood pressure, had a fight with her kid, told her kid their fight was making her blood pressure worse and is worried she’s traumatised him now. She was questioning how much we should tell our children about our health issues. 

I stared at my unsent words: ‘Don’t worry. You’re human. Goes with the territory. My kids grab their chests in mock agony when I get stressed with them – especially during school hours! I have a mitral valve prolapse and chronic chest pain. If we can’t cry, then at least we can laugh. Hope this helps.’ I added a smiley face emoji and almost pressed post. Then I paused. Was that really helpful? Or did it amuse me more than it helped her? I mean, my post was true. I do have the prolapse (sub-clinical my cardiologist said) and the girls do make fun of my achey chest, but I don’t take medicine like this lady does. 

Her Facebook post had come up in my notifications alert. Probably because I’ve been paying more attention to this homeschooling group in recent weeks. Urghh. Usually the term ‘homeschool’ makes my mouth go weird. The thing is, I don’t have anything against school institutions per se. Normally I’ll take all the help I can get. I’ve always told myself that we homeschool because of our circumstance. Because of Quest. 

Our homeschool environment – or the more charming ‘boat-school’ term we use. Double urghh – the smugness! I would hate me too. And yet at home Lulu was sold on Penglais School. Delph would have gone too if we hadn’t come back here. Now on Quest, we’ve re-entered our old world. 

I stumbled on this article this week. It stated that homeschool kids rank high on the academic percentile for their age group. I was surprised to read it. They are increasingly being accepted into Ivy League schools. This article focused on American homeschooled kids, not our British lot. But still. I told its findings to Delph and something unexpected happened. She grinned – like she knew all along! I realised suddenly that she identifies with being a homeschooled kid. 

Then Jack mentioned he’d met a Trinidadian along his travels. He works for the government. Jack told him about our schooling situation, and he told Jack about his friend – an educated Trinidadian woman who decided to homeschool her kids by unschooling them completely. Left them entirely to their own educational devices. I gulped. This is a working concept that’s both intriguing and frightening. With unschooling, you literally let your kids find their own interests. The theory is, that because kids are naturally curious, they’ll pursue their own learning themselves without being pushed. Her kids have just entered The University of West Indies (UWI) here in Trinidad. Wow. 

I looked at my kids. Could I trust them to find their own interests? Could I leave them without a curriculum to follow or homework to ignore and hope they’ll just learn? I don’t know. I never pressed send to the lady with the high blood pressure either. Even though I do hope she eases up on herself. I decided it’s not for me to say. 

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