The other day, after doing a page of Singapore Math with me, Younger Daughter remarked: "When I was in school, I never raised my hand during math, because I never knew what they were talking about." This is confirmed by her teacher's report: "She can add 7 and 2, but she can't tell you how she did it!"
One way that school is stressful for kids is that it makes demands that the kids don't understand and can't possibly meet.
The most common demand is for an answer that will make the teacher happy. A child has to be extremely verbal, socially adept, eager to please, and adult-oriented to figure this out. A child like Younger Daughter, who has language delays, along with a volcanically intense love-hate relationship with authority, doesn't have a chance.
Of course, it isn't just math. We've already seen the reading "comprehension" problem. The teacher asks, "what do you think will happen next?" If the child answers with a perfectly sensible, and truthful, "I don't know", she's at risk of intervention for inadequate "comprehension."
I was worried that the trip we're taking now would be difficult, because we don't have backup care for Younger Daughter. I've been pleasantly surprised at how well we're getting along, even though we're together 24/7. One reason is that we're all a lot less stressed out in the absence of school. Am I turning into an unschooler?