Today I´m writing about his first day of school.
The whole process of enrolling Silas in public school is VERY central to our pioneer life. It is a turning point.
In some way because it marks our failure. It seems that the leap from normal life and into this pioneer life was too big (except for Sigurd who was more or less born into this)
The twins began to feel like they were missing out on something and Silas was beginning to lose initiative. The workload was very hard for us in the fall and he faded… building tree-houses alone is not all that funny and although surrounded by friends and family he really missed being around other children.
Central, in another way, because it marks our success.
We went through some very hard weeks of deep, dark soul searching trying to decide what to do: to go home and continue the life we had- or find other ways of making it work… out here.
What is it that we want to give our children? Are we giving it to them? What is the good life? What are our values? What do we believe in? What do we DO? Does it have to be either/or? What do we think is good about the societal structure? What do we think is bad?
And what do we do now? What do we do?
We decided to stay here because we believe in what we do.
We also decided to enroll our kids in school.
We realized that we had either internalized the values of society, or actually just agreed: it is good for a child to be around peers.
In Sweden it is by law illegal to home school your children. Compared to american standards where home-schooling seems to be socially accepted and compared to Australia where distance education for many is the only solution… this might seem odd.
But Sweden is build on “the welfare model” which nurtures solidarity among the people. Society takes care of the poor and homeless, everybody is offered healthcare, school is free, even university.
In Sweden (as well as in the other Scandinavian countries) we like to think of our selves as a tightly knitted group (pardon my french).
School does this. School creates groups. School creates social and cultural affiliations.
I do think homeschooling can be fantastic, in many cases much better than the education the traditional school system offers (drained by cost savings and such).
This is a great example of a group of american mothers who home school their children and this is a sweet documentary (alert: in Swedish) about a single mom who arranged for her child to be homeschooled by competent people in her network.
Silas was homeschooled by his parents, his siblings, his aunt and our friend Capitan who took him for long walks in the forest, debating anything from political issues to animal tracks and healing plants… and it was all good. Until it was not anymore.
This day is a success because it proves (to me) that we DO walk the talk.
We don´t want to be ridden by ideology, political discomfort or quiet desperation – we want to be pragmatic, we want to find solutions.
Life is not about isolating one self in a corner, screaming at everybody else. It´s about doing what one think is right.
This is a moment of creative problem solving. Pragmatism. Love. Compromise. This is a moment of “making it work”
This is what he looked like after his first day of school: