I hate back to school time. It’s touted as many parents favorite time of year. So why do I dislike it?
My Least Favorite Time of Year: Back to School Time
As a new expat, longtime unschooler, and parent, I hate back to school time even more than before. I feel a lot of pressure to send my kids to school here in Mexico. At home, being asked about socialization was laughable and it’s why there are so many memes making fun of the question. It’s especially funny when we think back upon our school time and realize that socializing wasn’t actually encouraged. It was actively discouraged. In Mexico, school is so pervasive that it seems impossible to meet other children and parents, especially when you add in a language barrier.
Summertime and the livin’ is easy
The summer here has been better for us, but the summer break here is short. Children receive about 5 weeks off of school for summer break. During the break, there is an increase in children at the park and for longer periods of time. We have slowly started playing with others, but it is easier if my trilingual expat friend was with us. Or one of the expat kids. Another serendipitous event was that a bilingual middle school aged girl moved into our neighborhood, and started talking to us. And to everyone, as far as I can tell. Once summer ends, this may taper off because ALL grades receive homework. Yes, even preschool age.
The kids in our neighborhood play together with multiple ages. It’s really interesting to see the older kids playing with much younger children (for example: the middle-schooler including my four and five year old children and this is common to see in our neighborhood).
I still think Mexico is awesome
There are wonderful things about Mexico, like the way the kids interact with each other. Of course, school is the topic everyone, and I mean everyone, asks about. Even the guy from the US Consulate asked us about school.
Being an outsider, I don’t want to make a choice that ends up alienating my children. As a parent, I don’t want to make a choice that is in direct opposition to my principles. I can only think of two pro-school arguments and countless cons. Even so, I’m leaning in the direction of sending my children to kindergarten here. At least, for a short time.
Making a really difficult decision
It really does rankle my unschooling sensibilities and I’m struggling with making peace with this decision. School starts in a matter of days and the first school I applied for is a poor fit. We will not be attending. I’m planning on visiting others and see what options we have. It feels weird and even fraudulent to be going through these motions. Yet, I am. I am monumentally out of my comfort zone with this situation.
I’m out of my comfort zone with a lot of things. We moved to another country to experience life differently and have our perspectives grow. This decision to come here was a conscious one. While my husband has moved abroad before, everything about this is brand new to me and our children. Among the expats I see regularly, we all seem to know everything about each other. I’ve never been a part to this type of situation for the long term.
So here I am, an expat in Mexico and an unschooler who is probably going to send her children to school. I feel compelled to make this decision. While it doesn’t have to be forever, I hope I don’t regret it.
If you homeschool/unschool, would you send your children to school if you lived outside of your home country? If you don’t homeschool, would you ever homeschool if a circumstance dictated it?
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