Wednesday, January 16, 2008


(imagine a picture of my face shyly peeking from behind a curtain-like object. some avoiding of eye-contact. some shuffling of feet)

...i've been away. having a fit. a major paradigmatic overhaul. it is very difficult to imagine that two weeks ago, my biggest source of anxiety was a list of new year resolutions. sometime between now and then, new shit has come to light. Isabelle tried going to school. i tried Isabelle going to school. Isabelle going to school didn't agree with either of us. so i resurrected a vague memory, an instinct, a stirring in the gut, something i had put away a long time ago, just in case i might one day grow big enough to fit into it. homeschooling. unschooling. amazing stuff. the alternative, the other option.

within two days, in a whirlwind of excitement, fear and trepidation, with some really good deep connected moments thrown in, i

a) cancelled Isabelle's school subscription
b) signed her up for a dance class
c) found and made contact with a mailinglist for local homeschooling mums
d) talked on the phone for at least 17 hours
e) talked off the phone for at least as many
f) told my parents-in-law
g) dealt (with varying degrees of compassion and understanding) with three major howling sessions with Isabelle, who has so far been brain-washed that she believes if she does not go to school (that place that gives her nightly nightmares and nettle-rash, not to mention diarrhea), she will not be 4 years old anymore.
h) read, read, and read some more.
i) moved from despair and loss to triumph and strength. and back. a few times. 'treating those two impostors just the same', i.e. lying low and waiting for the wind to change.
j) came up with a list of 'advantages of homeschooling from the perspective of a four-year old' (you get to go to bed when you are tired, not when we say you should, you don't have to do stuff you don't like (she is taking this one very literally indeed), you get to do 'ballet' and 'turnen', you get to learn to embroider, you have more time to play with the goat (should you have a goat))
k) told my mum.
l) came up with a list of interesting people who were home-schooled (Pippi Langkous, Pluk, Aaagje, the children of Bolderburen, Mowgli (and Shanti), etc.)
m) declared myself insane. repeatedly.
n) declared myself utterly sane. repeatedly.
o) had many nightmares. only some of them at night (she will learn nothing, ever, she will blame me, she will be a social pariah, she will hate me for the rest of her life).
p) reassured myself in the morning with the realization that all of the items under (o) have just as much (if not more) chance of happening if i do send her to school.
q) found out that the Netherlands are crazy where homeschooling is concerned, so that i'll have to brave the Law as well as public (and private) opinion.
r) found out that my friends were not lying when they said 'i will stand by you no matter what'.
s) found out my husband really is my best friend.
t) shamelessly bought new books.

so here we are. wobbly, slightly fuzzy, but here. the first morning. the world is new. it is ours. this is the most learning i will ever do. and i am as ready as i'll ever be.


Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I love you...your courage, you free spirit.


Mijk said...

if you need help with the law. Check out Miriam Lavell who is a regular contributor at the ouders en school board of ouders online ( I think she would love to help you and she knows everything about schoollaws..

Véronique said...

Thanks for the tip, Mijk!