Thursday, February 2, 2012

Home Schooling: Thinking It Through

I've found that there's a lot that a parent goes through and thinks about when coming to the conclusion to home school. For me, it has been both easy and hard. It was easy for my husband and I to say, "hey let's home school our girls so they can get a quality education, form a strong family bond and so that we can keep a relaxed family schedule while they grow." Very easy. It was easy to see the benefits of home schooling, it was easy to see the disadvantages of public schooling. It became hard when we were actually staring home schooling directly in the eyes and faced with ACTUALLY taking her out of school for the purpose of learning at home. Then, beyond the three wonderful and beautiful pros that I listed above came thoughts of socialization of course, college, high school credits, the class Valentine's Day party that was coming up in two weeks, the "friendships" that she'd already formed and the biggest of all..."what would people say." Oh, it was tough.  However, in the face of all of that, you somehow find the strength and conviction to do what you feel you should do for your family and somehow, we did.
courtesy of Google images

So the purpose of this post is to talk about an article that my husband sent to me titled, Home Schooling on the Rise for a Good Reason. Sounds great right? In fact you're probably tempted to click on it right now to add it to your arsenal of what to say when your friends and family ask you why do you home school. Don't! Just kidding, there is some good information in the article from parents who've home schooled for 20 years or more but there is also an interview from a college professor who claims that home schooled children do worse in college than publicly schooled children. He claims that home schooled kids' education usually has holes in it like swiss cheese (heard that one before right?) and it is harder for them to keep up in college. He aslo says that home schooled kids don't have the added benefit that public school offers in the area of knowing how to handle difficult personalities like bullies, bad influences and healthy competition.

Well it started me on a rant to my husband about the wonderful character building traits of public schooling that I attained. Warning: this will be brutally honest. Read with caution:

I started in about what I attained as a result of Melissa (the biggest girl in our 4th grade class) bullying me. And you know what? I can honestly say that I got NOTHING from that experience. I don't go through my adult life thinking, "oh this is how I handle this person because I remember in 4th grade, I stood outside of the school about to fight the biggest girl in my class." I was scared out of my boots that day but I was cursing like a sailor and stripping off my back pack because "it was on!" LOL Thank God that a parent was sitting in her car nearby and stopped me from getting the day lights beat out of me that afternoon. I'd never fought before so how in the world could I have won that fight? Thank you public school bully for teaching me that if I curse loud enough, somebody will hear and save me from myself and a mean person.

Then I thought about a party that I went to with all of my single girlfriends before I got married. We did icebreakers and one of the questions that I pulled from the hat was what was my biggest regret. And at the tender age of 25, my only regret was loosing my virginity before marriage. So thanks "public school sexual pressure" for building my character in this area. I mean really now I know when a boy teasies me about being a virgin, I should go out ans sleep with him so I dont have to deal that one again. Oh wait...that's a ONCE IN A LIFETIME event. No, I'm not bitter...I mean it. I'm fine.

Another very prominent memory of mine is when I was in the third grade and was sitting in the back of the classroom with my hand raised for a very long time and dancing around in my seat. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Daniels looked at me several times and NEVER called my name. NEVER. I wet my clothes and finally she told me to go to the bathroom. I stood up and walked all the way to the front of the class with wet jeans on. Of course one of the kids in the class noticed and announced it. So I had to go to the office and they sent me home and as a 3rd grader I dont remember being crushed by that experience I dont think it registered to me that she didn't like me or was annoyed with me...I just didn't get it. But now when it comes up, it feels weird to know that that happened. I dont know how I feel about it but I do know that I dont want to subject my girls to a teacher who may not like them or at the very least may not like them for that day. So thanks "public school mis-guided authority figure" for teaching me that just because parents trust you  with their most precious cargo does not mean that you are trust-worthy.

So in short, I don't think I am rushing to log any of those experiences in my journal of character building traits that I got from public school. No, not at all. But I can say emphatically" Thank you public school for teaching me that you are no place that I as a parent can with a good conscious send my children everyday for 6-7 hours a day to have such wonderful, character debilitating experiences.
courtesy of Google images

Now in all fairness and I have to say this, that public school was not ALL bad although I have more wonderful character crippling experiences that I could share. However, I wont, I will mention my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Pat Singleton. The singled most, toughest and bestest teacher in the WHOLE WORLD. I will never forget her, she whipped my tail into shape and got me on track for my seventh grade year and beyond with A-B honor roll during middle school. We need thousands more just like her. Teachers who actually care.

*Now I've talked enough...let me hear from you. Who was your favorite teacher in public school and why? What type of qualities and character did she or he possess? Let's hand out some apples for those teachers by leaving a comment about them.

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