I'll respond to as many points as I can before DS wakes up from his nap.
Originally Posted by 4evermom
Yes. I don't see why it is considered "opting out" to homeschool. That's kind of like telling Protestants that they should rejoin the Catholic Church and effect change from within. It's simply not accepting something being offered, no more, no less.
No, I would equate it more with deciding not to vote because you don't feel like you can get behind any particular choice that is being offered. But I would still consider that opting out of the system, because you live in a democratic society whether or not you choose to participate in it.
Originally Posted by rightkindofme
Uhm, the thing is I "benefitted" from the public school system. I had years of physical beatings. I had teachers who would ridicule me in class. I had people chasing me home throwing rocks because I made them look bad in the *GATE* program because I was younger and smarter. My experiences are far from unique. They are pretty standard among almost everyone I know. I really don't give a shit about building the character of little monsters who want to hurt my babies. I have absolutely zero responsibility towards those children and all the responsibility in the world for my kids. The public education system as it stands is flat out abusive to children who do not fit into molds of behavior. There is occasional room for a mild "quirk" but no serious deviations are permitted. I think there is a 0% chance that my children will be the appropriate kind of lemming. I was a public high school teacher. I taught because I wanted to go be nice to the freaks. I thought they needed someone. I was right. I have an 18 gallon tub full of letters from students telling me how grateful they were to have me as a teacher because I was the first adult who ever treated them with any respect. Most of my students were 17/18. I was one of their *last* teachers. I am aware that teenagers are given to hyperbole, but given the percentage of gang kids I taught, I don't think it was by much.
Like I said upthread this is a big reason why I became a teacher as well. I disagree though that there are not schools out there where the misfit kids can have a safe haven. I taught at one. I do realize though that this is the exception not the rule...but it is an exception worth going to bat for.
The public education system does not mimic the rest of life. I am not interested in supporting an education system focused on conformity and test taking. Public school teaches you how to be good at school. You have to go learn all the hard parts in the very few free minutes you can find in between listening to lectures about inappropriate classroom behavior. Because discipline accounts for a ridiculous portion of the school day. No thanks.
Again I think it depends on the school, but I have to agree with you that NCLB is a freaking cancer. Interestingly I've found that the more attention a teacher gives to discipline the less effective they are as a teacher, and the less respect they get from their kids. This is probably not news to you though.
I'm not sitting at home reading books about things I hate over and over again. I tell my kid no. I will read any given book one time per day. I don't do repeats. If she throws a tantrum she gets nothing at all. I do not play games I find boring. I tell her she needs to play them by herself. I interact with her playing when and how I want to, and that's it. And that's all I've ever done. I do have a hard time getting through projects right now because they are both little people with a tremendous number of bodily needs that they cannot provide for themselves. I'm really looking forward to having two kids instead of having a baby. I read books. I'm remodeling my house, by myself (mostly, sometimes I get help from friends when they can). Being a stay at home mom is what you make of it. I am not at a place where I want to go out into the world for mental health reasons so I'm finding ways to learn and grow at home. Like all the awesome gardening stuff that you have contributed to. :D (Thanks!) Enjoy!
Yes, I know it is what you make of it. The thing is...I don't know...I guess I am not a very patient person, and I get bored very easily (and very irritated when I am being interrupted twenty-billion times for the same thing). I'm not really...configured...wired?...to be a SAHM. And of course seeing my DH all happy and fulfilled at his dream job makes it even more bitter for me.
I'm going to go out on a massively pushy limb here. I believe that having a philosophy that requires *everybody else* to act a certain way is an entitled and privileged position. My husband agrees with you. Wait! So does the stroller brigade. You are treating homeschoolers as a monolithic group who are opting out of a potential utopian system for selfish reasons. The reasons people homeschool are nearly as numerous as the people who do it. I had multiple co-teachers who would go on screaming tirades at their students. People with a lot of seniority and lots of friends. They were quite literally abusive. Kids couldn't get out of their classrooms and the *law* requires those kids to be in school. I *saw* this. How in the world can you call me selfish for wanting to save my daughters from that treatment. (Ok, you didn't say "selfish". But you really strongly implied it.)
Well, honestly I don't think that public school is the perfect fit for all students, but I also don't see viewing the public school system as a monolith is any more constructive as seeing homeschoolers as a monolithic group. The more dedicated and interested parents participate in the public school system the better it will function (and be help accountable) but I don't really see how that view equates to me saying that everyone ought to make the same choice as I have. I really don't want to homeschool my kid, no sirrie bob, but if I tried my PS options and it just wasn't working out for him you had better believe that I would do it. Because he is my kid. But I would be very sad about it and I would see a real opportunity lost. Would you make the same choice...in that would you give up home schooling if your kid really wanted to go to public school and home schooling wasn't working out for her? I'll bet you would but you would be sad and see an opportunity lost.
Originally Posted by moominmamma
I live in Canada and we don't have a whole system like that. We don't have school funding that's contingent on local factors. We don't have students fleeing "bad schools" because we don't let bad schools happen. Meaning, extra resources are poured into schools that are, say, remote, or rural, or have large numbers of ESL students or are otherwise facing particular challenges. We have social systems in place such that we don't have vast numbers of destitute poor in horrid neighbourhoods in cities. It seems to me the solution is not to get homeschoolers to enroll their kids but to fix the school system, the school funding models, and the social safety net.
Now you're talking! But it will never happen here because the US is waaaayy to afraid of anything that even smells slightly of socialism. Plus our lovely American Dream Pull Yerself Up By The Bootstraps myth ensures an ever replenishing well of animosity towards the poor, so those schools are never going to be fixed unless by the communities in which they reside.
It is possible to be a strong supporter of public schools without enrolling your children. I have recently had my eldest enrolled in school, but I was a strong supporter of our local school and the school system in general for years before that: donating my time and energy to organize and contribute to special events, to fund-raise, to give talks to various classes, to provide musical enrichment. On top of that I've cheerfully paid my school taxes into a system that my kids have not used services from. And not to mention that my kids, were they in the system, would I think be rather costlier than average to provide education for as they have special needs for which minimal extra funding is available in our system. So while they would ensure per capita funding for the school, they would cost more than that to provide for, making for a net drain. I vote for politicians who propose to strengthen the school system and improve its funding.
I think you're being overly simplistic in your portrayal of support for public education. It's not simply a case of supporting it or not by casting your vote when you enrol your child or not. I support Canada's universal medicare system wholeheartedly -- without getting sick, without checking myself into a hospital, without seeing doctors.
I would argue that you are probably the anomoly in terms of actively supporting a local school system while homeschooling your kids. I get the impression that most home schoolers want nothing to do with the local school system. As one poster here said "what does it have to do with me?" or something like that.
Originally Posted by Plummeting
Of course I see the value of public schools and their role! I hear home schoolers moaning about how they don't think it's fair that they have to pay property taxes to support their local schools when their children aren't attending, or how they ought to get vouchers since their children aren't attending. I happily support our schools financially. I donate supplies. I would vote to raise a tax for schools every time. I have even been to local school board meetings to voice my opinion about things that they probably don't care about, given that my kid doesn't go to school there anyway.
I could afford to send my kids to private school now if I wanted to - if it was really just about finding a better school. I don't want to. It's not about finding a better school. I don't think there is a better one *for my kids* than my living room, and even if the public schools were fantastic, I'd still believe that. <shrug>
What would you do if you believed that but didn't have the option to actually stay home and school them yourself? And also, where the heck do you get the self confidence to believe you can be their best teacher? I mean that last sincerely, I'm not trying to be snarky lol. I don't think I have it in me to feel like I could be an effective math teacher for example.
Originally Posted by Plummeting
The idea that people like me are screwing up what would be a much better system if only we'd sacrifice our kids to it is a little offensive. I'm not feeling insulted or terribly offended or anything. It's just an idea that I find a mildly offensive, for lack of a better word. If I could think of a better one I would. lol
I knew the sacrifice your kids thing would come up..I was joking with DH about that before you posted.
Originally Posted by joensally
I feel compelled to tilt at windmills. I don't feel compelled to use my child(ren) as a lance. In fact, my profession is tilting at windmills that I feel passionate about, so I get what you're saying. But that's my thing, not my kids'.
My kids move back and forth between public school and homeschool - currently, one's in school and the other is at home, and they may both be home next year. The education I received as a child is very different from what is offered in our district - which performs well enough on standardized tests/global measures. My children get one 13 year period of their lives to be "schooled," and I'm not going to have them spend it feeding the machine against their own interests.
Furthermore, the exodus of children and families to homeschooling in the last decade-plus is, or should be, an alarm bell to anyone who cares about child development, future social costs, or innovative societies with creative thinkers. This may be more powerful than isolated folks standing against the current.
This is fun to watch:
Sir Ken Robinson - Changing Education Paradigms
I am not arguing that the PS system is not messed up. Fer sure. I havn't had a chance to watch the link though. Hopefully soon.
Originally Posted by onatightrope
Chamomile Girl-- suppose you have a child who needs surgery. Would you send them to the very best hospital you could find, or would you send them to the charity hospital up the road, as a means of showing your support for the charity hospital? If you chose the charity hospital and it became clear your child was not getting the care she needed, would you keep her there for the hospital's sake? My kids have educational needs that my local public school can not meet. I'll be danged if I'll send them there anyhow as a means of "supporting" the public schools. Supporting my kids is a much higher priority. The idea that I should put the system's needs ahead of their needs is bizarre. The system is supposed to work for children-- saying that it can't work unless I sacrifice my kids' education is nonsensical.
I don't see it as the binary that you do. There is no evidence as of yet that public school won't be a perfectly good fit for my kid and I also do not see the entire PS system as a monolith. If one school does not work out I will try another. But as I stated before if it becomes very clear that my son is not being properly served by his schools then other options are certainly on the table. Where I think I differ from many of you is that I do not see keeping my kid at home to learn because of my experience in the public schools as being logical. I am old and crusty and the schools I attended are all closed, the teachers all retired. There is no evidence that my kid would have a similarly awful experience as me because I do not believe my experience to be the default. I guess I am an optimist because even though I know there are some craptacular schools and teachers out there there are also many great ones. I'm gonna find me a great one lol.
Also, homeschooling is a misnomer. Most people who homeschool are out in the community all the time, mixing with a wide variety of people. I suspect that you have a pretty fixed idea of what kind of people homeschool, and believe we are a monolithic group whose children would benefit from time away from us (you've almost said so in so many words). In my experience, the homeschool community is quite diverse, probably more diverse than my local public school.
Yes, this was said upthread. I have no idea personally as I am not a member of the homeschool community.
Originally Posted by mamaboss
I've found this thread quite interesting. We're not yet at "school-age" but how to educate my children has been on my mind almost constantly. I viewed the Changing Education Paradigms short in a Humanities class earlier this year and found it accurate based on the public school experience of myself and siblings, some of whom are still school-age. I was fortunate enough to fit into the "good student" bracket and was more of a by-stander but I watched some siblings, from a young age being fed a myriad of medications because they weren't succeeding. Yes, ultimately the parent can refuse but how many parents are being told by the school that medication is the only hope for their child.
I definitely agree that public schools are teaching children simply to pass tests. Look at what No Child Left Behind has done. The point of public school is to make sure the students, broken up into specific demographics (Hispanic, Low-Income, Special Needs, ESL, etc.) pass so the school continues to get funding.
I'm with previous comments that I'll pay my taxes, etc. so our school system doesn't completely fall apart but I doubt I can bring myself to volunteer my children to be the lab rats.
OK...again (I'm starting to sound like a broken record...mama whats a record? lol...anyways) what you describe here is not true of all schools. And I can honestly say that I have never asked a child to go on meds...in fact if you knew me you would find that totally laughable.
As for the latter point:
All of our children are lab rats. Take responsibility for it, because you make choices for your children every day. If you are religious you make the choice to bring your child to church and expose them to an entire philosophical system not of their own making. If you are into eating a certain way you choose what your child can eat and what they cannot. You choose what they watch, what they can or cannot play with, where they can go, sometimes who they can hang out with. YOU make these choices for your kids because you are their parent. Schooling choices are no different than any other choice based on your family values. Public school, private school or home school your kids are still being placed with a learning module that is not of their own choosing...at least not at first.
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
I think you are confusing education with public schooling in some of your arguments here. Education helps determine a future - but education and schooling are not one and the same.
If you truly care about education then you might be interested to read some studies that indicate that homeschooling can infact mitigate most of the issues which cause children to do poorly in school. One study indicates that unlike the experiences of public schooled children, the academic achievement for homeschoolers (which is often evaluated to be higher than their public school cohorts) is not significantly affected by the parents' education or, income' the student's race, ethnic background or gender, the family's access to a computer or public library.
If education is truly your goal, and assisting kids who might be struggling in the system is your passion, wouldn't that favour the argument of returning educational power and choice to the family and advocating for more homeschooling rather than less?
If your concern is that the system itself is failing schools, how would adding in more demands to that system improve it? Between my 4 kids I have children who are gifted, dyslexic combined with other learning differences, children who would likely get an ADD diagnosis if they were forced to be in school all day, amd children who have demanding medical needs which require constant monitoring and care. Their needs would not be well served in the school system even with the additional resources that would be required to be in place to attempt to meet those needs. My son went to K and part of grade 1. Had he stayed in school I would have continued to advocate for his needs but that would not, by definition, translate into helping the school meet the needs of other children in the classroom. In the meantime school was a soulcrushing experience for him where not only were his academic needs not being met, but all other aspects of his self suffered - social. physical, relational, spiritual. How does adding my particular child, and a very frustrated set of parents to a system which is not interested nor designed to accomodate his needs or our input help anyone?
I absolutely agree with you that a strong educational system is a benefit to society and that within that system there is a need for public education. However, I disagree with your premise that the only way to make the public school system strong is by ignoring the idea that education and schooling are not the same thing, and funnelling every single child through a public school regardless of what the educational needs of the individual are. That's a recipe for a well attended school system but it is a huge leap to make a correlation between well attended schools and a well educated citizenry.
See I think this is a very interesting point but it misses the crux of my thinking which is that homeschooling is not for everyone. And I'll take the plunge here because I think it is the elephant in the room so to speak, but I value my career much more than I value the concept of homeschooling. And since my career is that of a public school teacher I have a strong ideological investment in that system being beneficial to those it purports to serve. If I thought that the only way my kids could be properly raised was for me to stay home with them I would never have had a child. Because to me that is house slavery and not something I (please actually read this carefully...I...I...I...I..not you, not the neighbor, not anyone else but I) have ever wanted to experience. Unless there is an effective way to homeschool without a parent actually having to be...you know...home.
Now of course if we actually HAD a stronger safety net in this country (or really had one at all) then many more mothers and fathers would have the option of homeschooling without bankrupting themselves and I honestly can't see that as being a bad thing. But it could never work for me I don't think, because I find too much of my personal satifaction and identity through the work I love to do, rather than through being a mother.