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Your public school experience - Page 2

post #21 of 58
Originally Posted by sweetpeasmom
I was just curious as to what your experience was when you were a child if you were in public schools, or even private schools. Did your experience play a factor in your decision to homeschool?
Not consciously, it didn't, but of course, all our experiences lead us to where we are, right?

I guess I had an average ps experience. I hated school, as did most of the kids. Some years I liked the teacher, some years I hated the teacher. I always hated homework, never studied, got by with the minimum amount of work. (I figured, if I could scratch together a midterm report the night before it was due and pull off a "B" why put more time into it than that?) There were bullies. Some I could stand up to, others I couldn't. I looked forward to assemblies and the smoking hall, art class and literature (the teacher was a radical feminist and I was more interested in her political opinions than in what my classmates had to say about the books we were reading.) Dreaded math class and French class (that teacher creeped me out.)

There were certain highlights--the 7th grade science teacher who researched one of my questions and got back to me the next day with an answer. I was stunned that he did that for me. The German teacher that I was in love with. Getting out of classes early to go to dance rehersals or performances (my true love.) But mostly, I just put up with school because all kids had to.

It wasn't until many years later that I started to analyze the experience. At the time, it was just what I had to do, yk?

So, I couldn't relate to ds's feelings of being overwhelmed when he was in school, but I could relate to his not wanting to be there. I recognized the feeling of wasting your life, and remembered the knots in my stomach from having to deal with teachers who were unfair or students who were mean.

I didn't directly say, "I hated school, therefore I won't send my dc." But having gone to school, I understood the things about it that he couldn't deal with. Originally, I sent ds to school because I didn't think there was any other option. I tried to *make* his school be the place he needed it to be, and while that was proving impossible, I was learning about homeschooling and it all just came together.
post #22 of 58
post #23 of 58
Originally Posted by tuffykenwell
I always knew we were the same person in two bodies Reese! I read under my desk for the whole of my "schooling" career...and the teasing went way beyond name calling

awwwwww Steph yea I hear ya! Luckily now I'm blessed with a man that is just as much of a book nut as I am, and so our children are as well We'll show THEM huh!!
post #24 of 58
Nothing major happened to me.Spit balls and pushing. The thing that bothers me the most is I wonder how the heck I went through 12 YEARS of school and feel like I know nothing. I am finding I have to repeat learning most basic skills. I am sure this did not happen to all kids.I wonder at what point people decided I was not worth the bother.Why didn't anyone help me? Guide me? Anything???? I don't want my kids to go through years of schooling and just be passed through the system not really learning anything useful upon graduation.
post #25 of 58
Originally Posted by reeseccup
I even got in trouble for READING in class during "busy work time" even though I was done with my lesson and had nothing better to do.
Recently, my Ds was made to stand in the hall for 30 minutes as punishment for reading in class - granted at the time the teacher was explaining the busy work - his defense was that he already new the material and was very discreetly trying to finish a really good part of the book. Since I saw both sides I just let it go - but it burns me up that he is not being challenged.

I am currently trying to work up the nerve to pull my children out of Public School.

As for me, school wasn't all that great. I got along and hung out with pretty much everybody, but it just felt so unnatural and boring to me.
post #26 of 58
I had a very average schooling in the sense that it wasn't outstanding, but was very typical. I attended a Catholic school K-9 and feel the education level was awesome. The kids were so-so, nothing really special sticks out in my mind. After entering a very expensive, snooty catholic high school for 9th grade, things went downhill. I was teased because my clothing was not up to par, my interests were different than the popular ones, and frankly, I was a fish out of water. I was raised very middle class and this school was over my head in THAT sense. So, in 10th grade, I refused to go. I was enrolled in a public school at that point, and I got an education I felt was sub-standard. I also got a great education on the goings-on of kids that were not from my "bubble" catholic school world! I saw kissing and fondling in the halls, teachers cursing at kids, students coming to class drunk and high. (I never noticed this in Catholic schools, but that's not to say it didn't happen.) I was always shocked at how teachers never seemed to care about this, which was a true shame.

I fell in with an okay crowd, and felt peer pressure at its finest. I tried drugs, drank, and was beat up a time or two for things that I didn't even do. there were bullies, gang members, and criminals all over my school. One guy that was my lab partner in school was arrested shortly after starting school because he murdered a boy. This was all in a middle-class area! I also ditched most of my senior year and still managed to get As and Bs, so that there tells you a lot!

I regret not sticking with the Catholic high school. Even though the kids were jerks, the education was awesome. But, being a mom who has considered homeschooling for her son, I would not send him to a school just for that. My best friend was taunted in school for her large breasts and nothing was done for months. She was grabbed, poked, prodded, and really, this has made me decide to hs my kids starting next year. I never knew this happened and it's a shame that her daughter had a similar experience recently. Teachers just didn't care enough to report it, especially since two great football players were the ones doing it.

I want my kids to explore and not be bound by standardized tests. I want creativity to play a huge role in educating my kids. My son is older and I can see his creativity has been completely squashed, but I'm working on that!

BTW, I'm an ex-teacher, public school!
post #27 of 58
I just want to note that my own private school experiences were much worse than the public school ones on all levels. And my son had bad private school experiences too - which is what led us to homeschooling. Lillian
post #28 of 58
I know you asked for public school experiences when we were children so i will start with that. My experience was okay, good even. I loved school but i remember being so shy many times and so afraid of not conforming [until late high school that is]. My child is only 9 mos old, but i am already worrying about her education. I work full time and don't see that situation changing anytime soon, but i would ideally love to homeschool or go private. My reaction comes from the fact that I am a public high school teacher. I see the way students treat each other [not very good "socialization" as far i am concerned] and the way stressed out teachers and staff members treat kids. I know that when i was in second grade, my teacher embarrassed me in front of the entire class because i couldn't remember the new way the toys were put up. if that happened to my girl i would be livid. of course i never told my parents. i feel trapped by government edicts about what i can teach, and how. trapped by the fear of observations by administration that will knock me for not having 27 pairs of eyes. [can you tell i am burnt out? that i am considering a new line of work? ] i just want better for DD.
post #29 of 58
Originally Posted by DoubleOven

None? Absolutely and unequivocally none, for every single student who's in a brick-and-mortar school? I'm very hesitant to generalize. Fortunately there is more than one option for all of us, and if one of the options we choose doesn't meet our expectations, we can try another.

Since this is the learning at home board, I will obviously be in the minority. I'm just not comfortable making assumptions on such a grand scale.

I understand your hesitation about making assumptions. However, I feel that the problem is the existence of the school institution in and of itself. the individual cannot, out of sheer logistics, be allowed to truly go at his or her own pace, or to follow his/her interests, etc. Just can't happen. Too many kids for the teacher to "control," too many state regulations to adhere to, etc.
post #30 of 58
I will try not to get too lengthy with this. I greatly disliked school, but our decision to hs was separate from that. We chose hsing so that our very asynchronous child (we only had one at the time) could have an appropriate academic experience. We chose hs for academic customization. Later, we saw that he was very sensitive (both emotionally and to outside things like noise), in addition to being introverted and requiring a lot of solo time, so we strongly felt that he would not be well served in any kind of school.

After the decision had been made for a while, I was able to think back on my bad school experiences and realize that there were these social benefits too. I had been very hesitant to project my bad social exps on him, because I had felt it was my own fault and that any kids of mine would be better prepared by us to deal with mean kids. Now, I see it differently. My dh did not have really bad school exps like me, but he described school as, "Just something to do with us while waiting for us to grow up." Neither of us have sentimental feelings about school.

I will try to hit some highlights and not get into every horror story. In elementary, I was a daydreamer (like my oldest is, I'm now realizing) and I was punished for that. I was removed from my special reading group (only one other kid in it) and I always thought it was because I was bad for daydreaming. Daydreaming took up so much of my in-school time that I spent the entire 4th grade after school. Teachers were always going on to my parents about how I wasn't working up to potential and so I started to see myself as lazy. I would never ever want to force my dreamy child into a rigid box at 7 or 8 or 9 years old and I would never want to create the pressure of expectations based on "potential". I want both kids to feel good about themselves and I am slowly allowing myself to see daydreaming as a good thing.

I was singled out by teachers a few times for misbehavior and I was shamed in front of the class. That really stung as I'm a very sensitive and introverted person. I remember being called out in 1st grade and feeling really embarrrassed, but I don't remember what it was for. It happened in 2nd grade because I was caught licking the inside of the plastic baggie that my chips were in and the teacher thought that shaming me would teach me the dangers of plastic. In 3rd grade, my desk was moved up to the teacher's in the "bad kid location" for daydreaming and also staring at a little boy I had a crush on. In 5th grade, I was called out in front of my peers for not completing an assignment that a substitute teacher said I could skip (due to my thumb being fractured). That same teacher made me write with the fingers on hand with the fractured thumb until my father eventually complained (and I was made to write left-handed, which I purposely did as illegibly as possible). I have very thin skin and am easily embarrassed, so the calling out and shaming techniques that the teachers used (and I'll bet are still used) really stung. I would never ever let anyone be in a position of power over my kids like that at such a young and delicate age. My kids' self-esteem is more important to me than smooth classroom management. I just can't go there.

Jr high was highly traumatic for social reasons. Kids picked on me for being a nerd. They used to say lots of sexual things and do things like pull individual strands of hair on my head when the teacher had his back turned. They threatened to beat me up after school when the teacher had stepped out. I was afraid to go to school. I was also angry that I had been moved down into an academic track that wasn't challenging and when my parents complained, the school admin said that they were trying to stop tracking and blend kids together.

High school was better, because I had some degree of choice over what classes I wanted to be in. Also, there were more kids, so it was easier to find a peer group and avoid the mean kids. The stuff that was good was really good. The stuff that was lame was a huge waste of time. In my second high school, pep rallies were mandatory and being the black-clad rebel that I was, I *loathed* pep rallies. Plus, honestly, that stuff is a huge waste of time for many/most kids. The assemblies on driving safely or whatever were a waste of time, IMO. If the goal of high school is to learn, then lots of things were a huge waste of time. You know that John Mayer song, "Welcome to the Real World"? That song is so right on, IMO. Teachers in high school spoke to us very condescendingly as though they held the secrets of the real world and we were unworthy. The real world was a welcome relief to me and, in retrospect, high school was a really artificial environment. I would much rather my kids take community college classes than attend high school.

My husband didn't have such a bad experience with school, but he wasn't incredibly impressed either. It just wasn't the real world, in his opinion.

As for modern times, my sister's kids attend public school. And while they don't have the horror stories of our time (like the teacher that made me write with the hand with the fractured thumb), there's lots of other silliness. There's being made to study things that one already knows for years and years, because of birth year. It's being strongly encouraged to sell things for the school and turn the kids into mini-sales reps. It's being strongly encouraged to eat at fast food places to raise money for the school and rewarding kids for selling crap. It's lots of meaningless awards and creating competition among children in ways that we never had. It's having to ask permission to take one's child to the ballet and then being penalized for doing it. There's a lot of it that still seems like a colossal waste of time to me, but in a totally different way.

Ok, that's my long (sorry), uncensored, politically incorrect monologue on school. I think it's good our society has schools. I think some teachers are outstanding. But the whole set-up and environment are not appealing to me and do not seem to be the best use of our time.
post #31 of 58
I was not educated in the US, so have no direct experience of either public or private schools here. I was privately educated in the UK, as was my brother (classical education, ended up with a MA in Classics from Oxford) and sister (PhD in History, Cambridge and London Universities), I was educated at a ballet school and majored in Dance at London University. I frankly hated school for the most part, but I was at a boarding school and wasn't particularly interested in academics. But there was no really bullying, the teachers were strict and we were taught in a very traditional way. I survived, I learned -- more than I realized at the time. Looking back it really wasn't too terrible. I had no bad experiences, except having to leave home for school the first day of term, but as soon as I got through the gates and saw my friends, I was fine. I certainly wouldn't send my children to boarding school though and put them through the separation. How did my mother do it?

I am currently not a homeschooler, but am considering it down the path. I want my children to learn some of the things I and my siblings did, things that I know they aren't going to be exposed to here in the US, like Latin (I wish bro was in this country to help out, my Latin is very rusty), British history. All of my children love school and have always been treated with respect by both their fellow students and teachers. I guess they some of the lucky ones.
post #32 of 58
I went to public school when I was little, then I was homeschooled. That is why I homeschool my kids.
post #33 of 58
I had bad experiences in both public and private schools - especially in private ones - but that had little if anything to do with deciding to homeschool. My experiences wouldn't have been at all the kind of experiences my son would have had in the schools I found for him. The main reason we homeschooled was because of the bad experiences he ended up having in private schools - and I came across homeschooling while researching the alternatives. Lillian
post #34 of 58
Well overall I had an OK time in both public and private schools, I had good days and bad day, didn't love it or hate it. I was somewhat popular. I can't say I learned anything in school really because I was far more concerned with my friends and stuff though--my mom always called it the "teen cult". I got into a *lot* of trouble as a preteen and my mom pulled me out to homeschool me and it was probably the best thing my mom ever did for me.

My fun homeschool experience (I really enjoyed being hs'ed) is what led me to hs my kids, no so much my public/private school experience.
post #35 of 58
Originally Posted by Itlbokay
Recently, my Ds was made to stand in the hall for 30 minutes as punishment for reading in class - granted at the time the teacher was explaining the busy work - his defense was that he already new the material and was very discreetly trying to finish a really good part of the book. Since I saw both sides I just let it go - but it burns me up that he is not being challenged.

I Had to write 50 sentences, "I will not read in class". How silly is THAT ONE!? I still remember the whole conversation as if it happend yesterday.

I am currently trying to work up the nerve to pull my children out of Public School. It took my oldest to completly loose it before I got the courage, please don't put if off if you are just scared that you may not be able to do it.I wish you all the best in your choices.

post #36 of 58
For the most part, I liked school well enough. I managed to find the fine line between being picked on and picking on others. I occasionally fell into the "picked on" category, but I had it mild compared to some friends of mine. I did feel like school was a humongous waste of my time, and I felt that I wasn't really getting much out of it. I was able to jump through all the academic hoops with relative ease, was tracked into AP/gifted groups and classes, and took most of my classes with the same kids. I assume that I was a "bright" child that wasn't quite "gifted", as I was able to fit in well AND turn the academic tricks to pave a pretty smooth path in public school. The gifted classes were just icing on the cake--fun and rewarding.

I also LOVED sports and was good at them. I pretty much went to high school to play soccer. It was the brightest spot in my schol experience. I also had an easy/healthy/loving/supportive home life, so that lessened the stress of school a lot, I am sure.

However, there are many negative incidents that do stick out for me.
*My 7th grade math teacher who signed my yearbook, "Nice smile, weak math mind" --gee, thanks.
*The bodybuilding, steroid-using track coach who shamelessly hit on a teammate of mine (she was afraid of him and we never left her alone with him).
*This same coach would buy alcohol for some parties. And attend.
*He also packed the JV track team (including my little sister) into the bed of his pickup and drove them to a track meet 25 minutes away because the bus was late (this was 1994, so it was a big no-no then like now).
*The daily anxiety and shame of trying to find a seat on the bus to school as the younger kid who nobody would slide over for.
*Sexual harassment by classmates.
*Inappropriate sexual comments by one teacher in particular.
*Being treated without respect simply because I was a child.
*Reading Beowulf out loud in 12th grade English class stanza by stanza. It took weeks (this was not an AP class--I didn't like the teacher that taught the AP class so opted out that year and got her B-level class anyway). I read a book/magazine in my seat in the back of the room and caught up to where we were as a class just in time to read my lines. This teacher told me that I would not make it in college because of my inattentive behavior in class. I reminded her that I had scored an A+ on all the tests/quizzes on the Beowulf stuff and we had been doing the same thing for weeks. I added that I thought it was a credit to me that I could read "Seventeen" in class and still ace her tests. Surprisingly I didn't get in trouble for that.

I am sure there are more, but I have to go change a poopy diaper. This has been an interesting thread. I don't want my kids to have to change who they are to fit into school social structures, and I don't want them to waste their childhoods doing things that have little to no value to them.
post #37 of 58
I went to public and private schools. They each sucked in their own ways, and definately played a role in my decision to keep my kids out of school at all costs. In fact, I decided in seventh grade that I would homeschool my children, because that's when I first heard of homeschooling and found out that it was possible.
post #38 of 58
I'm not consciously homeschooling because of my school experiences but I'm guessing they do figure in a bit.

School wasn't bad. I felt it was, as many others have said, a colossal waste of time. I was bored a lot. I daydreamed a LOT. In 8th and 9th grade I was so bored I created an entire fantasy world, complete with characters, time line, genealogy going back dozens of generations (for my main character), maps, place names and stories. I still have some of it around I guess I can thank school for that, Before that I just daydreamed a lot, doodled a lot, got yelled at for not paying attention a lot.

I was picked on. I was fat all through school (was? : ) and got teased a lot. Nothing severe ever but I haven’t forgotten the kids who walked down the halls after me making noises, stepping on my shoes or calling me names and putting worms in my hair. Or the high school teacher who told me I should lose weight (which was worse because I genuinely liked him). I wasn’t ever beat up but I was threatened with a beating once. I wasn’t popular in the least and cried a lot because I had very few friends. FAR fewer than my sheltered, unsocialized, homeschooled daughter has (uh, that’s sarcasm in case anyone can’t tell )

I’m shy. Very shy. I don’t like public speaking. For some reason, teachers seem to think it’s important to make kids stand in front of a class and deliver reports on a regular basis. It didn’t help to make me less shy. Probably the reverse. I remember wishing I would die and wouldn’t have to go to school, or at least break a leg or something. Really, I can still remember the intense, stomach wrenching fear I would get from the anticipation of that. I’m just not a public speaker and never will be and I don’t see the point of all that torture.

I was considered gifted (per testing) but was bored with school so didn’t make an effort most of the time. There weren’t any gifted programs in my school (very “good” school district in a well off town) or maybe I didn’t qualify because I wasn’t applying myself. I did my homework at the last minute (before school sometimes – or in study hall before the class) and mostly got B’s. I put effort into things that were interesting but for the most part, it was boring. A good teacher could inspire me to study something I might not otherwise but, sad to say, there weren’t a lot of them. I had very few bad teachers too. Most of them were just mediocre I guess.

I do think of one thing in regards to my kid’s education. After 12 years (well, plus daycare, nursery and K) of school I was so burnt out it wasn’t funny. I was DONE with being told what to do by others. I really liked college but at that point I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. I dropped out after my freshman year and took awhile to get back. Finally finished and then, after 3 weeks of grad school I realized I just couldn’t do it anymore and dropped out. I actually left in the middle of a class I hope if my kids decide to go to college they will be able to enjoy it a lot more, having not been burnt out on school before then.
post #39 of 58
I went to public school. Elementary and Junior High were my designated school and highschool my parents enrolled me in as a choice school as the one I was assigned to go to had a really bad rep. I would say I had an overal positive experience in school. Nothing too extreme, good or bad. I would say I enjoyed elementary school the best, I stayed there from kindergarten unitl 6th grade so I had a lot of friends along the way. I would say my favorite teacher was for 3rd grade. She was hippy-ish and alternative, she made learning interesting and fun, we also had a lot of field trips that year which is very important at this age, IMO. I would say my worse teacher was 5th grade, evil mean witch lady! She was a control freak and spent the majority of the time disciplining and thus the kids thrived on that and acted out even more. I remember clearly when she wouldn't let me go use the bathroom and I really had to go, I walked out and she was furiated and I ended up in the princiapals office and later had a meeting with him, the teacher and my parents. Really, to deny a bodily function because you want to controll everything is horrible. I was the president of the school in 6th grade so that was fun to spend my last year there helping make decisions and *running* the school. I probably learned more from that than the other years combined.

Junior high was okay, a lot of new friends, classes, teachers. It was kinda a joke though as it's such a social time and to have to sit still and learn 6+ different subjects a day just gets old. I would say i learned a lot about friends and life socially then, not much from school although I did enjoy band and was consistently first chair flute.

High school, ahhh, I wish I hadn't bothered. I mean a diploma is nice and all but there are other ways to get to college. I was just following the motions and doing what I had to to pass. The rest of the time was spent with friends, boys, at the smoking corner. I partied a lot and enjoyed these years but I was ready to grow up and move on with life. I probably would have been better off getting my ged at 16, getting a job and starting community college.

Our decision to homeschool does have to do with the fact that neither I or DH feel as though we learned very much while in school, we both agree that our children should be free to learn how and what they desire and that learning is a natural thing that does not require institutionalization. I am so lucky and thankful that we are both on the same page as far as learning and educating our children... I do think it's because we have realized how many years we wasted and how much more potential there could have been had we been in control of our education.
post #40 of 58
Originally Posted by Itlbokay
Recently, my Ds was made to stand in the hall for 30 minutes as punishment for reading in class - granted at the time the teacher was explaining the busy work - his defense was that he already new the material and was very discreetly trying to finish a really good part of the book. Since I saw both sides I just let it go - but it burns me up that he is not being challenged.
Once you get into homeschooling, I think it becomes harder and harder to see the side that feels it's okay to treat another person like that. In that incident, your son was exercising his own judgement and common sense but was not being treated like a full-fledged person. He won't be treated that way in college or anywhere else in life. He might end up with annoying or unreasonable or even bullying bosses somewhere along the line, but nobody will have the right to humiliate and "punish" him like that. I can't imagine that it would do much good to try to tell a teacher that punishment isn't okay - especially in a case of someone making harmless personal choices about his own ways of spending time - and that's a lot of the problem. Lillian
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