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The Best Thing about Home Is That It Isn’t a School At All

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The Best Thing about Home Is

That It Isn’t a School At All

By Linda Dobson

homeI know. You’re inundated with the hoopla of “going back to school” for most of the summer. Maybe you picked up some new learning supplies recently, thanks to the sales. Your kids have watched their friends disappear into the big yellow bus. It’s time to start – or continue – homeschooling.

Those kids who climbed onto the bus? They’ve been dreading this day for a week, perhaps even all summer. Now their fleeting summer, and semblance of freedom, is over. They know that bus takes them to a building they don’t necessarily want to be in, to surround them with people they don’t necessarily want to be with, to learn things about which they couldn’t care less. In this place they don’t want to be, they will be told to sit down, shut up, be still, eat too early or too late and on schedule, do what the teacher wants at the same time as everyone else, when they are told, how they are told. Why they are doing these things is seldom, if ever, explained. Those who resist go through the hierarchy of authoritarians until the punishment suits or exceeds the “crime.” The punishment of the hierarchy of authoritarians hangs over everyone’s heads, even those who aren’t resisting, for they know a bully or three could draw them into punishment at any moment. Such are the trappings of that institution we call school.

What about the Kids Who Stay Home?

Those kids who didn’t climb onto the bus? They’re home, so they’re comfortable where they are and who they’re with. They know you know what they’re interested in. If, perhaps, you forget, they’re quite comfortable reminding you. You don’t have to, nor do you want to, tell them to sit down, shut up, be still. They’ll eat according to their stomach indicators as opposed to a cafeteria schedule. They’ll know why they are doing what they are doing. The previous being so, what is there to resist? They’ve no need to commit “crimes.” And, ahhh. No bullies will make life hell, causing unnecessary stress or fear. Indeed, they are spending their time with someone they know loves them.

See also “Catch the Learning Lifestyle Attitude!

Which children are going to be happier, more content, more knowledgeable of self, more relaxed, more comfortable? Which children are more prepared for and open to learning? Which children don’t need to be “taught” in the way of school because they are open to learning?

If the ways of school are unnecessary in your children’s lives, there’s no reason to bring them into your home, which isn’t a school at all. You and your family are free, free of the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all curriculum and approach to learning that makes those other children sorry that summer is over.

You’re All Home

Like many before you, if you are flailing about in this freedom, utilize one or all of the following suggestions to help you find your comfort zone within freedom.


  1. If you’re using a curriculum, try turning it into a guide to inform you what same-aged children are learning in school. Then, figure out different ways to lead your child to learning the same things, freeing you of teaching.
  2. Make a list of community members who could help your child learn something new, or share knowledge about your child’s interests. Make it a point to informally meet with those folks who, you will find, almost unanimously agree that sharing is a great idea.
  3. When the going gets tough, take a field trip! The going usually gets tough when you get into a rut. A day out and about at an interesting place will allow you and your child to enjoy yourselves, makes it easier to get out of the rut, and allows you to return home refreshed and energized.
  4. Have your child keep a running list of topics s/he wants to know more about. Keep the list in a convenient place so when inspiration strikes, it’s easy to make a note of it. It’s the “Never to Be Bored” list.
  5. Remember that William Torrey Harris, our U.S. Commissioner of Education at the turn of the century, once said, “Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American [should be] content with their [sic] humble role in life, because they’re not tempted to think about any other role.” That’s what the kids on the bus face…every morning. It is impossible for you to hold your child back, so relax and enjoy the homeschooling journey.


Be happy.

Embrace freedom.

You’re all home.

It isn’t a school at all.

What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all.

~ John Holt in Teach Your Own

This piece by Linda originally appeared in a recent edition of Home Education Magazine
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2 Responses to “The Best Thing about Home Is That It Isn’t a School At All”

  1. This is a wonderful,beautiful reminder of why I love my life so much!

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