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Your public school experience - Page 3

post #41 of 58

School experience

Hi everyone. My decision to homeschool my daughter was made because of observing HER school situation (she's in first grade, and we'll start homeschooling after this academic year is over). But when I started reading about homeschooling and considering it, I couldn't help but think about my own experience and how different things might have been for me if it weren't for my bad school experiences.

I went to elite private schools until 8th grade when I was kicked out for misbehaving. Then I went to public school for a few months. Then I was sent to a Fundamental Baptist (shudder) boarding school for high school.

I don't want to write too much, because I don't want to bore you all, so I'll try to sum up each experience quickly. Private school: Too much pressure to excel, too much competition, expectations or perfection, no room for mistakes. (I was adopted at 8 after my mother was killed, and had emotional problems that were never addressed, but were exhibited in school. The school would not tolerate this.) Public school: Fear, boredom, waste of time. Fundamental Baptist boarding school: Extremely traumatizing, too much to sum up quickly. If anyone wants to know, send me a private message.

Anyway, I started noticing that when my daughter "plays school," she often yells at her dolls and talks to them in a really humiliating and patronizing way. We talk to our daughter as an equal, so I was shocked. I also noticed that the things she focused on were lining them up and scolding them. I go and eat lunch with my daughter and two nieces at least once a week. The first time I went, the cafeteria monster cam up and told me that I could not have my nieces sit with me, because it would get "out of hand." She made my nieces get up from the table and go sit somewhere else. They were totally confused as to who they should listen to. I complained to the pricipal and the matter was resolved, but I still have a distaste for the whole situation. I think that rules should make sense. They shouldn't be made because something MIGHT get out of hand. That's just stupid.

I also didn't like the things my daughter would get in trouble for: fidgeting, playing with things in her desk, talking to her friends, not listening, etc. I think a 5,6,7, etc. year old should be doing all of those things. I don't see why she should be criticized for normal behavior that she can't help.

I don't like that a first grader has two hours of homework. I don't like that a first grader has to run laps for P.E. I don't like that she has to run extra laps if her MOTHER forgets to send her to school with P.E. shoes. I don't like that kids get awards for being on time to school, something totally out of their control.

Most of all, I don't like that my daughter is slowly starting to hate anything associated with learning.

Well, so much for making that short! I could say so much more!
post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
I don't like that a first grader has two hours of homework. I don't like that a first grader has to run laps for P.E. I don't like that she has to run extra laps if her MOTHER forgets to send her to school with P.E. shoes. I don't like that kids get awards for being on time to school, something totally out of their control.
OMG, the homework situation is absolutely *appalling*. I read an article in Child Magazine a few years ago about how in the elementary grades, particularly K-4, a child should never have more than 10 minutes of homework per grade per evening (so a 3rd grader should never have more than 30 minutes). In first grade, my niece had up to 4 hours of homework every evening! She would have to come home from school, change out of her uniform and work on homework, get a break for dinner, go to bed, and wake up at 6 am to finish her homework from the night before and get ready for the next day. With such an obscene amount of work, is it any wonder that she didn't want to pay attention when she was actually in school?! This year in 3rd grade she has a *minimum* of 3 hours a night. It's absolutely disgusting.
post #43 of 58
HEllo! Well, my experience in public school was probably average. Some parts I liked and some I didn't. I disliked high school the most, and I always hated how cruel kids could become when in a crowd. I never joined in with teasing others, and I was always for the underdog....(still am) But, That is NOT why I chose to homeschool my kids. I homeschool because it occured to me that I worked so hard for my kids in the beginning of life, that I couldn't see "handing" them over to a school for the best parts of their life. So, I enjoy being a family - and consider this a family journey and I am so so glad I did it!! (but, the School system now a days do make me shudder, and I am glad they are here with me.... )
post #44 of 58
Through my elementary school years, I was enthusiastic, bright, quick and giggly. I got my work done and then talked with my neighbor, and was reprimanded...(um, socialization?!)

In high school, I quickly realized that the grades weren't anything real. I got A's, but we didn't have discussions about anything. We weren't thinking. We weren't encouraged to think. I couldn't handle that--I became depressed and angry. My peers were thinking about what I thought were very trivial things, meanwhile I knew that the Amazon was being bulldozed to raise cattle for McDonald's hamburgers. This was the 80's, Reagan was the president and I didn't really fit in socially.

Still, I was on the tennis team, debate team and in a school play. But, I was so bored!

My kids are almost never bored. And, when they are they figure out ways that are meaningful to them to fill that space. They are in charge of themselves in real ways that I didn't learn until I was an adult. I don't think kids can learn that in school. The school is in charge and then people wonder why kids don't take responsibility for themselves and why they don't make wise choices. They haven't really had experience making choices have they?

My kids have very rich, deep friendships with kids in our homeschool group. These are friendships that transcend age. You don't get that in school, instead kids are taught about divisions: grade, tracking, class,etc. "Celebrate Diversity!"? Never is it celebrated. The diverse are divided from one another and not embraced.

School is just so rife with ways that separate the self from the self. It is the arbitor of thought and behavior. How can we not expect kids to come out confused and angry and having to spend a decade to find themselves and know themselves?

Impossible.:
post #45 of 58
For people like me, whose child is not yet in school, I think it's inevitable that one's own school experience is a major determinant in their decision to homeschool their children. That's because the decision is being made before the DC has their own school experiences from which to draw for making the decision.

My choice for DS is based in part on undesirable things I experienced in PS, like how one needed to be disingenuous and hardened to navigate peer interactions well, the boredom - even in a middle class suburban "good" district, the cruelty. I am as ashamed remembering my experiences as a bully as I am at my experiences being bullied - both are emblazened in my brain, and those thoughts pop up sometimes out of nowhere making me regretful. I wish that on no-one. Not every day or every teacher was bad, but there were just too many bad or useless experiences that I had, and that I suspect DS would have in PS, to subject him to that. As a PP said also, I am spending so much effort on DS, why would I suddenly hand over his precious mind and spirit to someone else in a setting that seems to be suboptimal?

DH has no strong feelings about PS, but he does resent a few things, like not being able to take engine repair classes because just taking them - even if he earned an A+ in the classes - would have lowered his class ranking and made it harder for him to get into college, so his parents discouraged it. What kind of backward system is THAT?

Bottom line: I know I can provide so much better than conventional PSing based on my experiences, and DS deserves better if I can deliver it. It isn't my experience with bad teachers (although they exist) or mean students (they also exist) that would be the biggest problem in my eyes, but a system which, when working at its BEST (i.e., all good teachers and angelic children), still suffers from shortcomings that I know about because I was in a PS like the one where DS would go... problems like having to work at someone else's pace on topics that someone else deemed important, arbitrary age-segregation, external time commitments required of DS - between school preparation, attendance and homework - that would erode crucially important family autonomy and time, and limit DS's ability to participate in personally important activities that don't fall within the scope of what the PS deems important.
post #46 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for responding. It's really interesting reading.
You know even if I had a relatively good ps experience, i probably would still end up homeschooling. I just think it fits our style.

And oh my gosh on 2 hours of homework for a first grader??? wtf?
post #47 of 58
I had a good public school experience. I was picked on a little, but I brushed it off. I went to a very small school in a small town. I actually wouldn't change my educational experience. However, my dh had a horrible experience with being picked on and not fitting in.

We are choosing to homeschool because 1- I don't think my child would do well in ps and I don't want that special part of her to be squashed out of her to make her conform! 2- I don't think kindergartners should have desks or homework or be yelled at to stand quietly in line or any of the other crap that happens.

I've also been working in the public schools here for the last 2 months, and having talked to the teachers and seen school today (and in this area) up close- there is no way I want my kid there!
post #48 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
I don't like that she has to run extra laps if her MOTHER forgets to send her to school with P.E. shoes. I don't like that kids get awards for being on time to school, something totally out of their control.

Most of all, I don't like that my daughter is slowly starting to hate anything associated with learning.

Well, so much for making that short! I could say so much more!
Oh my gosh, that is one of the reasons I'm pulling DD! I am sooooo tired of her getting punished for something I did. If I get her to school late 3 times in a quarter, she gets a detention. She's 10, how does she control when I get her to school??? If I forget to send her gym clothes, she has to write lines (well, she remembers her own gym clothes now, but that was when she was littler).

The education thing...yup, DD now hates math. Because she doesn't understand this year and thinks that we are "repeating" 4th grade math because she is dumb (her words) Her teacher yells at her for not paying attention if she asks questions, so she comes home and her dad explains it to her. She is barely getting it, so I said we'd try the same stuff again next year but make it more fun, and now she thinks she is stupid. Science is now boring because they've done mass and matter and light waves 3 years in a row. Thank goodness she is *really* excited about learning biology next year, so she doesn't think *all* science is bad.

My public school experience was horrible. I could write volumes...but I am now a total people pleaser, have very little self esteem, and do my best to never stand out or be "different". Yup, that's how I finally got kids to quit picking on me in school. It's now a hard habit to break--the biggest for me is that I always wear somewhat fashionable neutral colored clothing. Boring, wallflower, but not ugly enough to be noticed clothing. I can't stand wearing bright colors or unfashionable clothing. I also try to downplay my huge vocabulary and intelligence.

Yeah, school is great. If you are an average kid who likes looking and acting like everyone else, that is.
post #49 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
I go and eat lunch with my daughter and two nieces at least once a week. The first time I went, the cafeteria monster cam up and told me that I could not have my nieces sit with me, because it would get "out of hand." She made my nieces get up from the table and go sit somewhere else. They were totally confused as to who they should listen to. I complained to the pricipal and the matter was resolved, but I still have a distaste for the whole situation. I think that rules should make sense. They shouldn't be made because something MIGHT get out of hand. That's just stupid.
Okay, I'm going to be wondering about this, so I have to ask - WHAT might get out of hand? I can't even figure out what she might have been referring to. - Lillian
post #50 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
In first grade, my niece had up to 4 hours of homework every evening! She would have to come home from school, change out of her uniform and work on homework, get a break for dinner, go to bed, and wake up at 6 am to finish her homework from the night before and get ready for the next day. With such an obscene amount of work, is it any wonder that she didn't want to pay attention when she was actually in school?! This year in 3rd grade she has a *minimum* of 3 hours a night. It's absolutely disgusting.
Ryanna, this is so disturbing! Is that a public school? What geographical area is it in? That's just so abusive and crippling. - Lillian
post #51 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J


Ryanna, this is so disturbing! Is that a public school? What geographical area is it in? That's just so abusive and crippling. - Lillian
When I hear of hours of homework I scratch my head trying to think what kind? Worksheets, presentations, book reports?
post #52 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Itlbokay
When I hear of hours of homework I scratch my head trying to think what kind? Worksheets, presentations, book reports?
Honestly, I do too. DD has never had more than an hour, and she's in 4th grade! Most of the time it's a half hour or so, usually consisting of a worksheet and some spelling practice. Sometimes another half hour or so of studying if she has a test the next day. But her school believes in doing most schoolwork...at school

Soooo looking forward to this hs journey...
post #53 of 58
My daughter usually has about three worksheets and out-loud reading to do every night. There are usually two writing/spelling worksheets and one math worksheet. She also has to write sentences for all of her spelling words. Sometimes the teacher sends home the kids' in-school workbooks for them to go through and correct with their parents. For the reading, they have to read a whole book or a chapter if they're reading chapter books. She can do the work on her own, for the most part. But I had to watch my niece for a week, who is in the same grade at the same school, and she has a harder time with the work. Now that was a tough situation. Making a child sit and read out loud to you when they are totally frustrated with reading. That's a sure way to make a kid hate reading forever. And making a child who hates school come up with sentences all on her own. It was sad.
post #54 of 58
My Catholic grade school experience was okay. For the most part I was a happy kid (until my parents divorced) and then I managed to be a trouble maker....but I never felt unhappy until high school.

There were times literally where I almost tried to kill myself because I was being ridiculed so badly for a tiny overbite and small breasts. It was horrible. I remember crying and crying and crying. These weren't my close friends but the bullies in the class (usually the most popular kids). It wasn't that I wasn't popular amongst my own group...I just didn't look "perfect" like the popular girls. The worst was when a girl drew up a comic book about me....it was horrible. She passed it all around my history class and everyone was laughing at me and I didn't know why (you know like a scene from a movie). It was horrible. The book then got passed around the halls and so many people saw it. I left school that year because I threatened to my parents that I would kill myself if they made me return.

As far as grades go, I did well in grade school. I was usually on honor roll. After the first semester of public high school, I went downhill to Cs & Ds. I went on to Catholic high school for two years and I did much better there both socially and academically.

I hated my high school science teacher. He was downright abusive.
I hated other teachers as well. I switched schools 3 times in the 4 years of high school. Kids are so mean. I don't want my children to be mean to other people. I raise them as such already.
post #55 of 58
YES.

A BIG YES for me.
Without going into some long sob story about my wretched childhood, let's just say that I really, really felt a kinship with the following fictional characters:

1. Carrie White from Stephen King's Carrie (but without the nifty psychic powers),

2. "Piggy" from Lord of the Flies minus the excess weight, glasses, and asthma,

3. Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time, specifically because of the belligerence and anger.

When I told one of my friends about this, he gave the argument that what was true for X (me) was not necessarily going to be true for Y (my daughter), but my response is that it's not an X and Y situation, but more like X and child-of-X, and that she and I are quite similar. In short, I have very little reason to believe school would be much better for her.

Add to this that both she and I learn things in a way which is significantly different enough to prove a teacher's nightmare, and we have our happy homeschooling story right here.

Bottom line, I don't want her individuality beaten out of her like mine was. I don't want her to be ashamed of who she is or put her in a situation where she has to feel as if she has to hide her likes and dislikes in order to fit in. It's just not worth it -- fitting in is the cheapest of cheap goals.

And that's just the "socialization" part -- don't get me started on the equally- or more-important academic issues.


Quote:
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?

Was talking with MIL yesterday and well she's a former teacher, don't think she's too happy about us hs but oh well. Anyways we just briefly talking and I said I hated school as a kid, and she said well sometimes a bad teacher can make you hate it. I said that wasn't the first thing that came to mind, it was the kids. Constant teasing, bullying, got sick of gum being put in my hair, being pushed off the seats on the bus, laughed at if I did well in class and showed and interest in learning, sitting alone at lunch time, not fitting in because i didn't have the latest style of guess jeans, having "friends" that were just using you because you were smart and therefore cheated off of you etc.. I told her all this and she was like oh? I like yeah there were bad teachers also, but a few goods ones too but it's the other stuff that strikes at me as to why i hated my school years.
Because of all this, I really feel I didn't do well in school as I could have. As all this wonderful "socialization" i received was a major distraction. I mean going home everyday, crying alone in my room well just plain sucked.

I feel that my experience totally played a major factor in our decision to hs.

So anyways, i was just wondering for us what was your experience? Did anyone have a totally good experience while in public school?
post #56 of 58
My schooling experience was very good. Probably nearly as good as it could be. I very much enjoyed school. However, that's not really saying a whole lot for my education. I was an excellent student. I was also a very Passive learner, as a product of schools.

I don't think that a school environment is the ideal educational setting. Since I don't have to resort to using it for my kids, I won't.
post #57 of 58
I found school boring, boring, boring. I knew how to read before kindergarten, so instead of sitting in the kindergarten classroom with my class, I went to the "resource room" to work with a tutor/reading specialist (?) for half of my schoolday. In first grade, I went to a second grade reading class, and then I just went to third grade after that. I was still bored, though.

In middle school, I was picked on incessantly because my parents did not buy me clothes from The Limited and The Gap. Yep, I was the "dork" wearing clothes from Bradlees or Ames. And worst of all, my sneakers said "New Fitness" or something on them instead of "Reebok." *gasp!*

By high school, the kids had mostly grown out of that stuff, and I had friends again. I was in the Drama Club, and I did enjoy that a lot. I took all advanced placement classes, and found some of them fun. I had a couple of great teachers, a couple of awful ones, and most were mediocre. I got good grades, but I was one of those kids who could read over the material once and get an A, so it wasn't because I worked hard.

All in all, I'd say my "schooling" was a waste of 12 years of my life that I could have spent doing better things that would have actually prepared me for life. I did go to college for a year, and did enjoy that.

Anyway, that's pretty much the main reason we homeschool, but of course there are about a million other little reasons as well.
post #58 of 58
I was bored in school and graduated early. I didn't care for the social aspects, although it wasn't a horrible experience. I wish I had joined one of the (academic/athletic/arts) clubs, I think this would have helped me be more involved and busy.

I decided to look into hs'ing after visiting this forum a few years ago. I was curious about posts on classical education. I borrowed an old copy of TWTM from the library and was hooked. I knew, even if I didn't end up hs'ing my children that my research would be make me a better parent.
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