Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are Homeschoolers Part of the "Community"

This post is written partly as a response to a member of my community who implied that by choosing to homeschool rather than send our children to the "community schools" we were a lesser part of our community. 

Also, as part of full disclosure, for new readers, I feel the need to include the fact that my 2 older children do go to our "community" public school.  I am still homeschooling the younger two. 

Let's get started.

The above comment was written by someone in response to a discussion by 2 homeschoolers.  These friends of mine were commenting about the impact common core was going to have on homeschooling and the lack of critical thinking skills in public schools. 

I honestly feel that I learned more critical thinking skills in my first year homeschooling (preschool) than I ever did in 12 years of public school.  In our "community" school.

Here's the deal....a BIG deal....and public school proponents need to remember this.....if public schools were PERFECT parents wouldn't be pulling their students out in record numbers.  Trust me, homeschooling is not everyone's perfect job.  We make significant emotional, family and financial sacrifices to homeschool our children.  Some families struggle to make it on one income, some families homeschool on nights and weekends so both parents can remain employed.  Another thing that public school proponents need to remember is that homeschoolers are paying both ways.  We pay TAXES (against our will) to fund these wonderful public schools.  We then pay for homeschooling materials and outside classes for our children.  THEN we are turned away from public schools (that we pay TAXES to) when we desire to take part in their activities (in my case sports).  You see, my older 2 children are in public school now because they wanted to take part in sports.  In the great state of Illinois, you must be a FULL TIME student of a school in order to participate in their sporting activities.  So in order to participate in these activities (that my tax dollars are paying for) my children must attend their school.

Honestly, this has to be the biggest racket going.  If you don't see the absurdity in that then you need to stop reading because you aren't going to be able to keep up.  My children couldn't take part in activities that I pay for because I choose to take charge of their education.  Interesting, huh?

Now, the above facebook poster claims that I and my family are lesser parts of the community because I choose to take a large role in my children's education.  So are the elderly or single people in our "community" lesser parts because they don't have children attending these fantastic schools??  I'm just trying to figure this out.  I would have to assume that the way to be an integral part in my community is to volunteer and whole heartedly support our community schools.  Does volunteering as part of our local soccer program count?  That's not part of the school system.  {Our wonderful school system refuses to support a soccer program}  Does volunteering through our church not count as being an integral part of my community?  4-H participation?  Community classes?  Attending community events?  Shopping at community stores?  I thought those things made a person part of a community.  Not attending a community school.

I have listened for years about how wonderful the teachers/staff are at our community schools.  I would agree at least 90% of the time.  However, all teachers are not wonderful.  Some of these teachers have multiple complaints lodged against them, however they are still there.  Multiple complaints from multiple parents.  Everyone know who those teachers are.  And yet they are still there.  How is that for the best of the students?  How is that best for the community?  How is common core and dumbed down standards BEST for the students.  I have 2 students in that school.  How is this looking out for them?????

I attended these wonderful community schools as a child.  In THIS community.  In kindergarten I was forced to spend 30 minutes scrubbing crayon off the back of my chair.  Crayon that I didn't put on that chair but the teacher was convinced I did.  And I cried the whole time.  And the teacher ridiculed me in front of the whole class the whole time.  I was also demeaned because I needed to go to the bathroom that year.  I didn't use the restroom at school the whole rest of that year.  I was terrified of that teacher. 

In 3rd grade we had to take standardized tests.  My teacher convinced us that if we didn't do fantastic on those tests that we would be held back in 3rd grade.  I picked up some irritating habits that year (hair twirly, nail biting).....why would you put all that pressure on an 8 year old???

The next few years were ok.  Some better than others.  In 6th grade our math teacher decided that she was going to put us in groups, do our homework and tests together and then average our grades.  At the time I was an A student in math and although I didn't mind helping others, I did mind getting their grades.  My mother and some other parents managed to get that stopped quickly.  How about one of my high school math teachers that refused to actually teach the subject?  I was a good student but we still had to call another teacher several nights a week for help. 

I was not a student that caused trouble.  I never rocked the boat.  I didn't really want to be there at all.  Quiet.  Responsible.  Hardworking.  I can't imagine what the experience of those that didn't keep their heads down and their mouths shut was like.  I can't imagine how a teacher would treat my 5 year old that has ideas about everything and can't sit still for 30 seconds.  How would they manage him?    They wouldn't.  He would spend considerable time in the principles office, or off in a corner or in special classes.  He wouldn't get the education he deserves.  I'm not perfect but I have my children's absolute best interests at heart.  And before you jump my case, I'm sure there are teachers that have the student's best interests at heart but how are they going to manage with 30 students?  And what about the bad ones?  Because I know they are there.

I've had several teachers comment that my older children are well spoken, thinkers, willing to speak up for what they believe.  In case you didn't notice, they learned that from me.  At home. 

Now we struggle with poorly explained math assignments....busy work.....questionable reading material.....not exactly what I hoped for in my sons' education.  They eat lunch in an overcrowded lunch room (my 8th grader gets 5 minutes to eat his lunch).  The junior high has no library or dedicated "study lab" (he can't go to the school early, sit at a table or desk and work on homework or projects).  Trades classes were cut at the high school level and sports may take a hit next.  At that point there will be no valid reason for my children to be there.

Maybe these public school groupies need to focus more on why homeschoolers are homeschooling and less on attacking us for choosing the best for our children.  It seems they have a say in the process (at least they think they do).....us community serfs don't seem to.....that's why I homeschool. 

1 comment:

DANEILLE SNOWDEN said...

Very VERY well written. Thank you for being willing to step up and share the truth.
So many just don't understand.
Sadly, they judge before really listening to the vision Home Schooler's have.