Mrs. Zajac

Rules can be scary. 

Rule enforcers can be scary. 

Breaking rules can have big consequences.

Compassion can motivate you to overcome obstacles.

These mindsets are eloquently described by Tracy Kidder in his book, “Among Schoolchildren.”

Mrs. Zajac seemed to have a frightening amount of energy. She strode across the room, her arms swinging high and her hands in small fists. Taking her stand in front of the green chalkboard, discussing the rules with her new class, she repeated sentences, and her lips held the shapes of certain words, such as “homework,” after she had said them. Her hands kept very busy. They sliced the air and made karate chops to mark off boundaries. They extended straight out like a traffic cop’s, halting illegal maneuvers yet to be perpetrated. When they rested momentarily on her hips, her hands looked as if they were in holsters. She told the children, “One thing Mrs. Zajac expects from each of you is that you do your best.”

The rigidity of the educational system described here reminds me, once again, of why I want to homeschool. 

Homeschoolers are often viewed as rule breakers since we go against societal norms and expectations. For me, homeschooling isn’t about breaking rules as much as it is about focusing on a different dimension. I like to have learning experiences that are less focused on managing the classroom and more focused on understanding deeply.  I like to have relationships with my children as students that inspire them to offer their best rather than relying on punishment and enforcement.  I don’t want to be a traffic cop, I want to be a learning companion.

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