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#1 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 11:59 AM
 
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I had similar experience as you, hated school because of peers, but I also had more "bad" teachers than 'good". 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. I was soooo horrifically abused by my peers all through my schooling years. It made me a stonger person, but it also made me more of a recluse as well.

my oldest went through public school until the end of 6th grade. his experience was nightmarish as well...both by peers and adults in charge with a very small number as the exeption. I finally got the courage to pull him when he was so angry that he started abusing his siblings and threatening me. My very kind and gentle boy was burried under all that anger and I wasn't having it anymore.

He flat out said during deschooling that if he didn't have so much support at home he'd be one of them [kids that loose it and shoot up thier peers]. I remember being at my brink many a time.

i've become very anti-school, and i understand some kids don't have better places to go or good families, I sure didn't, but maybe the wake up call will happen the more homeschooling is chosen and no longer the exception.

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#3 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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I also had a similar experience. Lots of teasing, name calling, sexual inuendo, pinching my body in the halls, made to feel like a total outcast. It was like Lord of the Flies and the teachers were only aware of the worst offenses, and if you told them about a problem you were having the teasing would only get worse. My own experience really has influenced my decison about homeschooling.

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#4 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 12:49 PM
 
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I went to catholic school and with corporal punishment. I had one great nun who carried around a guitar and sang Bob Dylan songs. The rest were stern and I got hit for stupid things like not having my desk clean enough. I remember getting in trouble in 2nd grade for purposely coloring outside of the lines on my coloring worksheet. My mom was an artist an told me it was a good thing to do.

Moved from Northern California to Southern California. Had a stand out 4th grade teacher that was fabulous.

My 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers were worthless. Two of them were having an affair. They were forever sending us to deliver notes back and forth for them. The other was burnt out and only good to those he liked. I learned a lot of survival and coping skills in those years but academically, not a damn thing.

While in 8th grade, the principal (Mrs Green) shocked everyone by killing herself and her high-school age son one evening. She took a gun to her head and killed him in his sleep. He was a star athlete. We found out about it the next day. It was horrible. I think my teachers felt partially responsible as they were not very respectful to her. I think it was a case of adults bullying an adult. We were even aware of it as kids. Some of the kids thought it was kind of cool that they would disrespect the principal in front of the other kids. I was young but it felt it was ugly because you could see the hurt in my principals face.


In high-school (5,000) kids I had some good teachers and some bad. Some were hooked on drugs, most were burnt but the ones that were good were really energetic and loved their subject which means we did to.

So all in all, I can't say it was great but there were a few exceptions.
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#5 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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It was not the social aspect of it that made me consider homeschooling, although hearing all these stories makes me glad my kids aren't in school for that reason.

I had a pretty average time socially, I think. I didn't enjoy the social scene particularly, but I wasn't regularly abused either. Teased a few times. Treated very badly by one girl in middle school for a time. But mostly just ignored. I was very lonely in high school, although by the time I was a senior I had a good group of people to hang out with (that I'm still in contact with.) What really got me about school was what an utter waste of time it was. I still resent how much of this precious life was wasted listening to boring, pointless lectures and doing boring, pointless busywork, and being conditioned to believe that my own interests were less important and that the judgements that were made of me by those in authority were valid. It was depressing and repressive. My children deserve much, much better than that.
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#6 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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Elementary school, from K-3rd grade, was pretty good for me. I went to a tiny little public school in a tiny little country town, where everyone knew everyone and my biggest class had about 17 kids in it. The teachers were long-lasting at the school, known to everyone in the community, and very flexible.

That school was closed because it was too small and I was sent to a larger elementary in a different town.

That's when school started sucking. There were enough kids there for people to have cliques, most of the time parents didn't know the other parents or the teachers very well, if at all, and the classes were way bigger and therefore much more formulaic. I find it very telling that I remember all the teachers and most of the kids from my first elementary school but very few of either from my second.

Middle school and high school were a disaster. The social environment was a nightmare (and I wasn't even picked on that much, just completely didn't fit in with the vast majority of the kids), and everyone acted like high school was the be-all, end-all of life and that whatever happened in high school, whoever you were in high school, would determine your life forever and ever and ever. I knew better but couldn't convince anyone else of it. Plus, the academics and the discipline were a joke. I went to a very "good" suburban high school and I learned basically squat. I wrote a 20-page paper on The Canterbury Tales the night before it was due and got it back with "A+, Excellent work" written on it. Now, I'm bright, but COME ON! This was supposed to be an entire's quarter's worth of work and I could knock it off in 3 hours and get an A+? And the kids were snotty, smart-mouthed, and lazy, and the teachers did nothing about it. It was horrible, completely horrible, from start to finish.

So yes, my experiences in school do factor in to my decision to homeschool. So does my experience working at a textbook development firm and working with the creation of standardized testing materials. So does the fact that we are a vegetarian, Buddhist, transracial adoptive family with an HIV+ child. So does my desire to be with my children.

Namaste!
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#7 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 02:00 PM
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Most of my school memories about being incredibly bored...there were a few spots of true learning, but mostly I was bored. I actually got along well with most of my teachers, and except for first grade and eighth grade I did okay socially - I was one of the "smart kids" but pretty much got a long with everyone. I did go to a funky hippie open school from 2nd through 4th grade, and I was happier there, and I dropped out halfway through tenth grade, after spending most of the past year stoned.

I had a pretty rotten childhood, though, and by the time I went to school I was fairly... hardened. Rain, by contrast, was much more sensitive as a young child, and I was more worried about her being hurt by the disrespect and cruelty that is fairly central to more formal education for young children. Plus, I didn't want her to endure all of that wasted time... it is so frustrating to look back and think about all of the cool things I could have done while I was staring at the classroom walls wishing school was over, or filling in worksheets about stupid stuff.

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#8 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeseccup
I had similar experience as you, hated school because of peers, but I also had more "bad" teachers than 'good". 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. I was soooo horrifically abused by my peers all through my schooling years. It made me a stonger person, but it also made me more of a recluse as well.
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

Steph

Steph~~momma to Rhys 2002, Niamh 2004, Isla 2007 and Deirdre 2009
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#9 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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BTW academically I felt jipped. I was bored and was disciplined for thinking outside of the box so to speak. DS was failed academically as well, and again, got failing scores for refusing to follow the norm and doing things "outside of the box". So, schools both fail imo socially and academically .

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#10 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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I was an early reader; my mother decided the best way to keep me out of her hair was to teach me early. Once I learned to read, they gave me books and manipulatives and made me do that stuff so I wouldn't bother my Mom. She had pulp fiction reading to do, thankyouverymuch. Thankfully, little kids love that stuff. I went into kindergarten reading on a fourth grade level, doing math on a second grade level and being a hellacious little brat. My mother was fairly impatient, immature and therefore abusive at home, so socially I was way behind. One spring day I was beaten on the schoolbus so badly by fifth graders that I had three semiconcussions. I had been reading aloud from a science book and it pissed them off. They took the hardback book from me and beat me ove the head with it.

When I entered first grade, they split my day between a first grade classroom, a third grade math class, and a fifth grade reading clas, to try to "place" me. The school was only K-5 so it didn't leave much room for improvement. They asked my mother that year to stop taching me at home. That left me with a mother who had no way to interact with me at home, and nowhere to "go" at school. My parents applied and had me accepted at a Montessori school but they wouldn't apply for the scholarship, and couldn't afford it.

In third grade, I was a straight perfect academic student, but a monster behaviour problem. I was loud, funny and annoying. I got beat up a lot. That year, they placed me in SAIL (gifted talented program) and that outsourced me once a week into a station-oriented interactive learning program. That helped, because this was the year my only sibling was born.

They continued us on the GT module through middle school, where you took one period per day of the independent study stuff. In order to stay in GT, however, you had to give up music. My parents were divorced this year, and that made it even worse at home. I was not allowed any extracuricular activities because I had to come home to watch my sister after school so my mother could work.

In high school, the district tiered classes according to the students' "track." For instance in math they offered: remedial math, algebra, college prep algebra, all classes I through IV. If you were GT you took AP math when you got to senior year. It was like that in every subject. As a result, I was in a public school of over 1500 students, but I effectively had a peer class size of 15-20 students. When I was in gym, or some other required subject with no collegiate track, I was pretty much socially tortured.

I bussed to school, and every day was torment. Every. Day. We lived in a section of town that wasn't bad, but the bus route took us through the HOOD. Guns, violence, drugs, you name it. I was "whitebread" and "crabtree" and whatever other name you want to call it. Someone hit me almost every day of my freshman and sophomore years. My mother refused to drive me to school despite it being on her way, because she'd have to go into work a little early, because school started at 7.20 and she didn't have to be to work until 8.00. Once, a foster child from a street over decided she was going to come "teach me a lesson." She stood on the street yelling until my mother made me go out. She hit me and pushed me in the ditch. My mother punished me, because I should have stood up for myself. She was "ashamed of [her] cowardly daughter." That's the support at home.

I was constantly praised by my teachers, afraid of the "other" kids who weren't in class with me, seemingly effortlessly outstripped others academically and dressed funny. I had no support at home, and no spending money. We couldn't afford anything "normal," from cable TV to going to movies to eating out. Needless to say, we had outdated, hand-me-down clothes and off-brand shoes. I was a very easy target for high schoolers looking to make themselves cool to their peers.

I responded to the exclusion by becoming very aloof and sharp-tongued. I turned to extreme Christian faith as a way to hold myself together, and that made me an even better target. I wouldn't fight back, and I had a few close friends but not a whole lot. Invariably the people who were kindest to me were exchange students, minorities, whatnot. If I participated in things like class trips, the teachers would pay for it on the sly, but that would get out. The "teacher's pet."

In the end, that saved my butt. The teachers were very clear about who and what I was. They constantly, almost every one I had, reminded me that this wasn't real (high school life), that the grades were my ticket out of everything bad in my life. It's weird, because my academic experiences in PS were very good because of the way I was shuttled. My teachers were very personally encouraging and were in large part responsible for me escaping a bad home life. The social morass of adolescent soup .... that was horrible.

I left high school and went to a private, exclusive woman's college. I was safe there, treated vastly different by my peers and my professors than I had been in high school, and I pretty much cut loose. I was no longer an academic, but it was also a positive experience. I learned a lot, I was no longer in any physical danger and I was finally, truly FREE to pursue my own destiny and write my own story. I gained a life foundation I had been missing. I observed my peers and learned about how they had been raised and educated. It helped me form my ideas of how my life would be and how I would raise my children.

I came away from public schools swearing my children would never endure them. I was graduated from high school in 1989, well before no child left behind. We had testing, but it wasn't as all-important as it is now. In my estimation the social problems have escalated in schools, and the child is expected to leave childhood behind very early. The teachers have been bound to teaching to the tests, and the children's social issues with which the teachers have had to contend, have led to hours of homework per day for very young children. For me, monitoring three hours homework per day for my child makes no sense when I could keep her home, homeschool for three hours a day and let her be free the rest of the time.

I believe in excellence in education; I no longer believe that is possible in American public schools. A child may graduate just fine-- but they're still being taught in a classroom system. I want my kids to learn experientially. I want them to have it all-- academics, music and art. I want them to use the restroom when they need to, to go outside when they need to. To be physically and emotionally safe.
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#11 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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I was bored out of my mind in school. This did play a role for me in my decision to homeschool.
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#12 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 04:03 PM
 
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Except for the social anxieties, I liked school. I liked LEARNING and I succeeded at it. Fortunately, most of the cool kids in my middle and high school WERE the honors kids-so there wasn't the being embarrassed to be smart problem. But KIDS ARE MEAN! I was too at times. It's not a nurturing place to be. And the teachers really are unaware of what goes on between kids I think.

Then there's the corrupt teachers-who I think are fortunately in the minority-but still... I had a chemistry teacher/basketball coach who was married and passed me sexually oriented notes in class. There was a football coach who allowed me and my boyfriend (the quarterback) to use his office for sex during a school assembly. I later dated that coach's son and found out that his dad regularly had affairs when his mom went out of town. Another of my high school boyfriends, a soccer player (I was into the jocks...), had a coach that told the team about he and his wife's sexual activities. Hey, there seems to be a pattern with coaches! There was a female teacher I had who didn't like me-hey wait, she was a coach too!-and she used her cronies-her favorite basketball team player girls-to bully me. Once she slammed into me on purpose in the hall. We called a meeting with the principal and my mom did some bullying of her own. A lot of this was due to the black/white issue in Texas. I dated black guys some of the time and white guys some of the time, and many of the black girls didn't like that. And many of the black coaches did... The worst bully I dealt with was Keisha-a tough cronie of the teacher/coach who didn't like me. She could've totally kicked my a$$. She just harassed me and made me nervous-until one day I had had enough. She'd been throwing peas in my hair in the lunchroom (in HIGH SCHOOL!) and I went over to her table and said, "LEAVE ME THE F@&% ALONE!" I was going through a very hard time about something else, and I'd had it. She did pretty much leave me alone after that.

My main reasons for homeschooling though, have to do with my SON'S experiences in both private and public school. I don't think they can meet his needs. He doesn't fit into the box of the ideal student-even though he does fine academically now, I think it would get a lot harder as he gets older. The social life-even in kindergarten-is confusing and stressful for him. When he is in a regular size classroom, he sometimes hurts himself (bites his hand or something) to deal with the stress. This is a part of his autism spectrum disorder-but he doesn't do it outside of school. The school is recommending that we consider anxiety meds for Jacob, but his anxiety is about school-not in every area of his life. I don't think he'll need anxiety meds since we're going to homeschool next year.
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#13 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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I didn't enjoy school. I was quiet and tended to get teased or lost in the crowd. I got in trouble more than once for reading ahead of the rest of the class. I was punished for not finishing busywork like writing vocabulary words x number of times each... no matter if I knew the words and what they meant without doing that. I was humiliated more than once. As time went on I was often bored and unmotivated. I loved college mainly because all the busywork and junk was gone. I chose what I wanted to learn.
I think I would have loved homeschooling.

Dh had issues with school too and finally dropped out. Later he got his GED and has gone on from there with his education.

Dh and I know what school was like for us and with dd's personality we feel she will learn and develop better outside that kind of environment.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#14 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 09:12 PM
 
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Like many of you, I too was bullied, humiliated by teachers, and extremely understimulated at school. I was very bright, yet afraid to show it. I

I HATED that atmosphere. I too believe the problem is the institution itself.
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#15 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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I liked school a lot until sixth grade -- I was a bright little girl who loved reading and learning and the teachers just ate me up. Then all that preadolescent bullsh*t started up and things just went downhill. Socially school was a big bummer -- no room there for smart girls -- and academically things got really, really boring. Like others here, my main memories of school are of being bored out of my mind, always the first one to finish tests and then just sitting there for the rest of the period.
There are a lot more programs for gifted kids these days I gather (I graduated from high school in '83 so we're going back a ways) but I'm still pretty anti-public school because of my own crappy experience. I can only imagine it's more boring now with all the emphasis on testing.
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#16 of 58 Old 03-19-2006, 11:52 PM
 
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I liked school (public) but I was bored to tears. Socially everything was great for me, but academically I needed a much larger challenge. I had wonderful teachers for the most part. However, they had to teach to the slower kids and I was left with nothing to do but daydream. I do not want that to happen to my kids. I also know that my boys may not be as lucky as I was socially. So yes, our experiences in school play a large part in our decision to homeschool. We live in NY where Regents exams are required. The amount of time spent in Regents review is enough all by itself for me to keep my kids home!

Melissa~I graduated in 1997 and was in the advanced programs. It still wasn't much of a challenge (aside from my advanced biology class...I lived for that class and the challenges it presented) and I went to what was considered the best public school in our county at that time. I'm not convinced that the gifted programs are enough even now (as opposed to when you graduated.)

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#17 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 02:07 AM
 
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I didn't hate school, school hated me

I had some good times, but .... my teachers were 'overly human and not very comptetant' my mom now is teaching at university but she used to go on and on about getting kids who were taught simple things like fractions incorrectly as their grade school teachers couldnt' pass the grade 8 course themselves...

Abusive...if not to me to other children, I've seen many teachers unfairly target students. My grade one teacher was violent (not to me but the the slower kids in class when they couldn't answer a question correctly with rulers, pens stabbed into heads... it was horrid) got to hear how we'd go to hell for not wearing a rosary...took us out of catholic school only to hear all about those evil murdering catholics by my teacher...he thought it was a public school therefore no catholic kids....little did he realise...there were 5 of us...

I remember my mom often having to go down to the schools for something or another. I was often called lazy (I was a straight A student who just did my work then usually read a book wasn't interested in colouring, or busy work, extra work), then the girls oh my! But I did like school... it was not an emmotionally safe place, but it was also a different time or so I thought..then my dd went to school and I ended up having the same meetings with her teachers like her grade 2 teacher that teaching a unit on diversity did not entail pointing out that my dd was the only 'brown kid' in the class 'with brown skin'.... her teachers defense to that? well its not like I pointed out how WHITE PEOPLE EVOLVED from.... yeah hold me back! (dd is half asian hardly close to brown in any sense of the word...but since she wouldn't tell the teacher/kids her background they decided she was 'negro'....)

sigh.
DS1 really wants to go to school but I am so conflicted and doing my research. I didnt' keep dd home as she's high special needs and I would have burned right out.....

8 might be enough
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#18 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 02:47 AM
 
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Our family moved a lot, so I went to a total of 7 schools, 5 public and 2 Catholic. I hated them all. I was advanced and bored to tears with the busy work, I hated the stupid arbitrary rules, and I was a social outcast. I didn't have any friends to speak of until I was in middle school, and I was targeted constantly by other kids.

I mostly hated elementary school for the social parts (yes I was "that" kid, always eating lunch by myself, reading a book at recess, last to be picked for teams, etc.) but the academic part was okay except for being boring. In high school my social situation was a little better (still being targeted but I had a few friends and the bullying was no longer physical) but I really started to hate the academic parts. Not only was the work tedious and pointless but I interpreted things unconventionally which was of course "wrong." I hated that I lost points when I got the right result but used the "wrong" process.

College was not so bad. I think that, to the extent that schools should exist, they should be more like colleges--take the classes you want, no busywork or "socialization," get evaluated by result rather than process.

But this experience didn't inspire me to want to homeschool. I thought of schooling as something that just had to be done, one way or another, and I thought that outside schooling was less unpleasant for the child than school-at-home. It was only when I learned about unschooling and non-coercive living that I realized it doesn't have to be that way.

And this was all before "No Child Left Behind," school shootings, and homework in kindergarten.
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#19 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 03:13 AM
 
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#20 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 08:08 AM
 
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HI Double Oven. I'm glad you had a positive experience.

For the record, my parents were very postive and supportive. We lived in a very "good" school district. The public school I went to was considered excellent by everyone's standards.

Still -- the bullying scarred me for life, I was bored out of my mind, teachers didn't know what to do with me because I wouldn't conform to their mean. And I was in four AP classes. Emphasis was on learning just the right material to pass the test -- not really knowing a subject. Etc.

I want flexibility for my children. I want them to think outside the box. I want them to learn at their own pace. I want to protect them from bullies (which teachers cannot control, not matter how strict the policy). I want to make sure they don't BECOME bullies. I want them to truly love the learning process. I want them to be able to pursue what really interests them.

None of the above can happen in the institution known as school.
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#21 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 09:33 AM
 
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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.

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#22 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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#23 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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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

Steph
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!!

Ahhh tea the essence of life.
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#24 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 12:48 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 01:03 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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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!
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#27 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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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
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#28 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 03:41 PM
 
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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.

Writer, teacher, and mama to Rhiannon Morningstar 6/28/05
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#29 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 03:47 PM
 
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RedWine,

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.

Cheers!
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.
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#30 of 58 Old 03-20-2006, 04:01 PM
 
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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.
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