The decision to homeschool didn’t take long once the idea was in our heads. We needed a modern solution to an outdated social standard and homeschool was it (private school was the runner up, but it shared many of the same problems as public schools. This topic is discussed elsewhere, and if you’re not convinced public school is outdated and potentially harmful, I’ll convince you).
As a bit of background, we refer to Kallan’s active brain as a shiny race car — beautiful, powerful, and able to take turns that would cause any other brain to sail off the edge of the cliff. My brain is a large, somewhat rusty truck which putters along but can store an amazing amount of material. It may not be fancy, but I’ll take my family’s race cars and trucks over all the sedans jamming up the streets.
Anyway, a mere four months into the curriculum we knew there was a problem. Our son’s self-confidence started to plummet, and we heard comments he had never uttered before:
“Mommy, I’m just not as smart as the other kids.”
I realize I may be biased, but frankly, our son is a fucking genius who sees the world in a unique way I envy. Want evidence? Here is a Ghost Robot he invented when he was two years old.
Kallan was no longer the forever-smiles kid, and we could no longer endure his self-defamation. But when to start homeschooling? Should we wait until the end of the year? This seemed reasonable at first, until my son dropped a ton of bricks on me.
“Mommy, I don’t like my race car brain. I wish I had a truck brain.”
That was the moment the decision to homeschool was made. We would not allow my son to feel inferior simply because schools pattern lives around imaginary constructs called grades. Naturally, Kallan’s internalized shame hit my husband hard, as he can relate to Kallan more than anyone else in the family. Rob knows what it’s like to be told you can’t keep up with the others, when inside you’re bursting at the seams with brilliant ideas. He’s still thinking about it, as evidenced by the following:
“I Wish I had a Truck Brain”
They say my brain is special.
I think faster than the rest.
Daddy thinks like me,
But Mommy’s is the best.
She can study really hard;
She can memorize.
When I sit down to study,
I’m completely paralyzed.
They say if I “can just slow down,”
Enough to learn this thing…
But that’s just it!
I can’t slow down.
I want to play and swing.
I want to learn like all the rest,
I hate my race car brain.
Why can’t I be normal?
Why suffer through this pain?
They say my brain is special,
Not some sadistic jest.
But I wish I had a normal brain,
‘Cause Mommy’s is the best.
–Written by Robert Ren.