Why is school a good choice for your child(ren)? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son had a pretty bad school experience in both kindergarten and first grade. By the end of first grade he was crying every Sunday night and begging to be homeschooled for second grade. Long story short, DH opposed homeschooling for both philosophical and practical reasons, so back to school he went. 

 

Second grade has been a completely different story. DS (who is dyslexic) is still behind in reading, but he's making steady progress and the teacher is pleased (the school doesn't give him services for reading because he's not far enough behind, but the teacher is aware of his learning difference and pretty supportive). The tutor he goes to twice a week after school is responsible for his steady reading progress, but a combination of an effective teacher, a good program, and some kind of key turning in his head is responsible for the huge jump he's made in math. At the end of first grade he still couldn't count to 20 consistently. Now he's doing simple multiplication, and math is his favorite subject. 

 

So I've made a big change this year from really wanting to homeschool to remembering why I wanted to send my kid to public school in the first place. DS's school in particular is pretty great overall. It has wonderful special area teachers who have spearheaded a stellar arts program. It's ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, but still gets good enough test scores to satisfy the bureaucrats. I like that my only role is as the parent who gets to provide homework support and cheer DS on as he makes progress in reading and math instead of the teacher who has to force him to slog through it every day.

 

All that said, since I have a foot in both the Evangelical Christian world and the attachment parenting world, I know an awful lot of homeschoolers. Some have always homeschooled, a couple pulled their kids out this school year, and a couple more plan to pull them out at the end of the year. They tell wonderful stories about how they can completely tailor each child's education, how their children can get individual attention in any problem areas and surge ahead in their areas of strength. They take vacations during the school year when the crowds are smaller. They put their kids to bed late and wake up late. Or they put their kids to bed at 8pm, start school by 8am, and are done by lunchtime. Even though my son is having a good year and all indications are that it will only get better, part of me wonders if I'm shortchanging my son by "groupschooling" him.

 

 Even when I wanted to homeschool my son, it still rubbed me wrong philosophically. I like the idea of professional educators teaching my child. I like the fact that my child spends the school day interacting with adults who aren't in his family and with kids who look different from him and come from families different from his. I like the fact that my taxes are helping fund my child's education. The public school system isn't perfect. I can think of lots of ways it could/should be changed, but I still lean toward it overall. If something changes and public school is absolutely not working and there's little chance that will change, I'd look at private school before considering homeschooling.

 

So I've started this thread just wondering if there are likeminded people out there. Have you chosen school for your child(ren) (be it traditional public, charter, or private) even though you could potentially homeschool? What do you like about school in general or your children's school in particular? What do you think are the positive parts of a "groupschooling" education? If your children are in public school, do you believe your child can still get a good education in the U.S. public schools? On good days, I'm sure of this. On bad days, I still really hope so :).

 

Just so any homeschoolers reading this don't get riled up, I should add that I am not opposed to homeschooling. I'm glad that there are lots of educational options and that homeschooling is one of them. I personally think there are very good reasons to send my child to school, though homeschooling has looked very attractive to me in the past for practical reasons and it's always in my mind as an option if school stops working. There are some kids who are such asynchronous learners that school would probably never work well for them. There are some families who want the freedom to decide exactly how their child will be educated. For those kids/families, homeschooling can be an incredible gift.


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#2 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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I see both homeschooling and public/private schooling as potentially good choices - potentially because in both cases I think it depends on the particular circumstances for the family, such as where they live, personalities of both parent and child, interests of parent and child, resources- such as whether both parents have to/want to work, etc. In my case, we have the resources to homeschool, but I'm not sure my oldest child and I would have a smooth homeschooling experience. We get along great most of the time, but we have friction sometimes when I'm showing her how to do things. She's a perfectionist and gets upset when I correct her on informational issues, like if she misuses a word or something. It's just a minor personality clash - not enough to upset our relationship most of the time, but I worry that it would cause problems if I were homeschooling.  Also, she is very social and really thrives on the school experience. Now, if she were having trouble in school due to any of a number of reasons, I might very well decide that homeschooling were our best choice and change that all up. But for now she and I are both happy. She's had a great experience at public school and is thriving.

 

My younger one is just in preschool now. So far she loves it. She does not get irritated when I show her how to do things, so I can see that we'd have an easier time together if I were homeschooling, but she is loving preschool and I think we'll continue unless she has problems.

 

I think homeschooling has some great things going for it, like being able to tailor learning around your child's specific interests and abilities, and not having to sit at a desk as much. But at school, I feel confident that she's learning everything she needs to know at every given age level - that I'm not missing something. I am scattered and have trouble remembering things, and I'm afraid I'd just forget to teach her things she really should know. And our schools here are really good, and we haven't had bullying problems like a lot of schools seem to have. If we had a negative atmosphere like that, I'd either find a private school or homeschool. I wouldn't keep a child in a bad environment. I think the quality of public schools is very different from one place to another. I can't question people's lack of confidence in public schools because it's very possible their experience has been different from mine.

 

The homeschooling groups where I live are very conservative and religious, and we would not fit in there well. We'd be a bit isolated, and my daughter is too social to handle the isolation well. The public schools have a wider population, and I think socially it's probably a better fit for her.

 

My reply feels a bit here and there, but it's what came to me as I was reading your post.

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#3 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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Any child can potentially be homeschooled. I'm glad things are working out better this year. I'm also wondering why you feel the need for support???? Are you still feeling that unsure?
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#4 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kentuckymom View Post

 

 

So I've started this thread just wondering if there are likeminded people out there. Have you chosen school for your child(ren) (be it traditional public, charter, or private) even though you could potentially homeschool? What do you like about school in general or your children's school in particular? What do you think are the positive parts of a "groupschooling" education? If your children are in public school, do you believe your child can still get a good education in the U.S. public schools? On good days, I'm sure of this. On bad days, I still really hope so :).

 

 

 

We were all set to homeschool DS when a spot opened up for him at a charter school right before kindergarten started. It was definitely a tough decision for us but ultimately it was the social aspect of school that tipped it for us. While I admire a lot of homeschooled kids (very well adjusted, good conversationalists), I was doubtful of the social opportunities that I could offer to DS. We used to go to playgroups a lot but even then, DS preferred to playing by himself. He isn't particularly shy, he just preferred to be in the company of adults or by himself. I felt that there was a lot to learn by being with his peer group too.

 

Now looking back on hindsight (he is in 1st grade now), I know that I will not be able to replicate the arts program that his school has here at home. He is very academically bright and I feel that the arts offered in his school is something that can complete the picture for him. Unfortunately, I am highly challenged in the creative department.

 

I also like the shared experiences that he has with his peers with field trips, community outreach and such. My son is in a public charter school and I think he gets a pretty good education. There are some things that I wish could be done (like a more organized gifted program) but all in all, I think he is in a good place. He has had 2 excellent teachers who know where he is at and who knows what he needs and tries to meet those.

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#5 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 01:35 PM
 
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I don't homeschool my children because they don't want to be homeschooled. They have many happy-to-be homeschooled friends. They are in some activities for which homeschooling is the norm. They've both done a lot of homeschool curriculum on their own when wanting to learn things that weren't yet offered in school. Our county has a multitude of charters that offer independent study options and part-time classroom situations but no, never was an interest. My kids really like having someplace to go during the day. They like having other adult mentors. They like the leadership opportunities and activities that come from being part of a school. I should add that these are two kids who don't fit at all into the norm of who is generally best served in a public school.

 

I will say my kids have had some unusual public school opportunities... grade acceleration, subject acceleration, differentiation, foreign language immersion, unusual subject options like Mandarin/pre-engineering/film/instrumental music, early college and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Each have had a hard year or two but it was always fixable and never enough to shake their faith in the system as a whole. 

 

I have nothing against homeschooling if it's a good fit for the family but mine never wanted it. They are both quite happy right now. If that changes, homeschooling is always on the table. At this point though, I don't see them ever opting for that.


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#6 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Any child can potentially be homeschooled. I'm glad things are working out better this year. I'm also wondering why you feel the need for support???? Are you still feeling that unsure?

I didn't feel like my post indicated that I was looking for support, but apparently it did, so let me clarify. I know a lot of homeschoolers. I also know a lot of public schoolers. I know many other Christians whose kids are in public school, but not many attachment parents whose kids are in public school(mind you, I've met many more attachment parents since DD was born and some of them just don't have school-age kids). I know people on this board are all over the map in terms of religious beliefs, but generally lean toward attachment parenting. So I'm just curious to hear some experiences of people who share my beliefs in that area and have also chosen to send their kids to school instead of homeschooling.

 

mamazee: I can relate to your reasoning with your older DD. While I'm sure I COULD homeschool my son if push came to shove, I know it would, at least in the beginning, be full of conflict. He's getting better as he gets older, but he has always been somewhat resistant to both criticism and direct instruction from me and DH. For instance, DH tried his best to teach DS to swim, but DS resisted. He learned to swim well and quickly when we put him in a class, however, and was then quite willing to practice with us. Of course, the argument could be made that homeschooling could grow our relationship and teach him important lessons, but he's getting a good education in public school and we're all happy with the situation right now. I don't think the lessons he would learn through homeschooling can't be learned in a different way outside of school hours with us.


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#7 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 02:53 PM
 
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I'm also a Christian and I generally dislike labelling parenting styles but I breastfed for over six years, bed-shared longer than that, and never spanked, so I probably qualify as an "attachment parent".  My daughter is thriving in public school (she's in fifth grade).  I appreciate that she's taught by dedicated teachers including "special subject" teachers.  I like that she's learning how to work in groups as well as on her own.  I like that she's encouraged to help other students when they need it and ask for help when she needs it.  While no schooling method is perfect, I'm convinced it's absolutely the best place for her.  Her test scores, as well as my own observations, indicate that she is indeed receiving a better-than-adequate education.

 

She knows what homeschooling is and is very glad she is not homeschooled (that was not intended as a poke at homeschoolers, whom I'm sure are also happy with their choices, just a statement that my child is happy with our choice and knows it is a choice).

 

Did you have specific questions or did you just want to know there are others out there?  There are.


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#8 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone! Feel free to keep posting, but I've been satisfied to read that there are others with a similar parenting style who have made similar educational choices. Our family is very happy with our choice right now, but it's just good to know we're not really weird for making the choices we've made :).


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#9 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 05:41 PM
 
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My kids have homeschooled and attended private school. One is currently attending our local public high school, and one is in community college.

 

I really like our highschool. It is an EXCELLENT school. It has so many possibilities and options that my DD can make her highschool experience what she wants it to be. One of the things that I prefer about schooling over homeschooling is the amount of independence my children have from me. They have their own lives and their own relationships, and they speak up for themselves. They are exposed to far more diversity this way. (back when we homeschooled, they thought that all children had two parent families and had a stay at home mom, because about 99% of homeschoolers are like that).
 

I am currently preferring public school over the private school my kids were in because the public school is held accountable and has a system of checks and balances. Every private school is different, but when they go bad, they can go very, very bad.

 

Both my children like having teachers other than me, and like learning in a group. They prefer learning to be a shared experience with peers. They also work a heck of a lot harder this way!!! 

 

I also really like that I have time to have a life of my own besides being a mom. I was really ready for that. This year I started working as a teachers assistant in a public elementary school, helping to support special education students who are mainstreamed. There is a ton of tailoring the curriculum to meet the needs of different students -- from kids who struggle to kids who go up a grade in math.


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#10 of 18 Old 02-18-2013, 10:09 PM
 
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I homeschooled for several years, but all of my kids are currently in school.  My younger kids attend a small charter school and my older kids attend the public jr. high. 

 

I love that my kids are taught by teachers who are passionate about teaching.  I find that my kids have much stronger friendships with their classmates that they see everyday at school than they had with their homeschool friends who they saw 1-2 times/ week at HS co-op or group activities.  I like that my kids are exposed to a larger, more diverse slice of life than they were when they homeschooled.  I love that they have opportunities for sports, fine arts, and academic endeavors all in one spot, without me driving them all over the place for spanish class here and music lessons there and halfway across the state to the nature center by noon.

 

I agree with Linda that I find it much more satisfying to have a life outside of my family, to have work of my own.  I also know that I am the kind of person who is externally motivated.  I'm a teacher, and I'm much more consistent with making lesson plans, finding fun things to do with my class, and get much less burned out as a professional educator than I was a homeschooling mom.


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#11 of 18 Old 02-19-2013, 05:05 AM
 
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We homeschooled DS K-2 and DD homeschooled for K and half of 1. DS goes to school because he wants to. He is very social, we live in an area with very little homeschooling and no options for co-ops or groups, and he loves playing sports and seeing his friends at lunch and recess. DD goes to school because she feels like it right now. She's planning to return to homeschooling in the future and wants to do the early college option. We were set up to school at home this year and she changed her mind 3 days before the public school started. I think she'll probably start virtual school sometime in middle school or junior high. We'll see. That could completely change :) So, for us, school is our kids' options at this moment and we support that.


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#12 of 18 Old 02-23-2013, 07:38 AM
 
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One of the things that I prefer about schooling over homeschooling is the amount of independence my children have from me. They have their own lives and their own relationships, and they speak up for themselves. They are exposed to far more diversity this way.

 

 

We have almost homeschooled several times and did do a little homeschooling co-op for preschool. We live in an area with a large secular homeschooling community and have known many of those families for years. One of my kids' best friends is homeschooled. For us, though, the main advantage is what Linda said above — the amount of independence. My dd1 struggles with anxiety issues and would at times cling to my side and never try anything new if I let her. For her, especially, going to school is a way for her to stretch herself and work through some things that she really just wouldn't be able to do with me nearby. We have her in a small charter school now and had her in a small private school early on so going to school wasn't too overwhelming for her. She did go to a year of public school last year before she got in the charter and that was okay. I think the charter is a pretty good fit right now. It's big enough and independent enough that she can grow w/o me, but not as overwhelming as a large public school. There are about 150 kids there 6th-12th as opposed to the more than 700 kids who are at our local public middle school or the 1300 kids at our local public high school. 

 

The local elementary is more diverse than the charter. There is not as much diversity at the charter as I would like, but there is some, and it does feel "safer" for dd1.

 

Dd2 is at our local elementary and we've really been pretty happy with it for her. There is a lot of diversity there. She is around many kids who don't have English as a first language and yet is part of a local community — goes to school with a little girl down the street who is in her class, etc. I think she really enjoys the social aspect of school and really likes having somewhere to go every day. There certainly are things she doesn't like about it like getting up early in the morning and some of the busy work they do, but overall I think she enjoys more than she doesn't like. 

 

For me, personally, I am not sure homeschooling would work great for me because I am pretty introverted and I think the kids would need more social stimulation than I would feel comfortable giving them. I think I could do a pretty good job as far as educating them at least at the elementary and middle school level, but I would probably lean more toward the unschooling side of things and then would feel worried that I might not be doing as much as I should. We do a LOT of helping with homework with dd1 (she has math anxiety, too) and it's just a lot better than we're not the ones requiring the work. I think I would give up and say, fine don't do it, if I were homeschooling, but since the assignment comes from the teacher we are able to get through it. Dd2 (3rd grade) doesn't need any help right now.


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#13 of 18 Old 02-24-2013, 08:00 PM
 
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I'm a homeschooling mom at heart, but school is currently a good choice for three of my kids. For my 19yo because she requires specialized training and a community of fellow gifted learners for her chosen career (classical music performance: orchestral, chamber music, and solo performance). For her, college is the most efficient, most affordable, most multi-faceted way to get that training. For my 16yo and 14yo school is a good choice right now because they appreciate an academic structure and accountability that comes from outside the family, and the mentoring of some pretty amazing innovative outside-the-box teachers. They've also taken on big leadership roles within the youth community here, now that they are plugged into it through the school. Grant-writing, board of directors of charitable societies, that sort of thing. Good preparation for adult life as an pro-active citizen, I think.

 

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#14 of 18 Old 03-06-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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School is a good choice for my oldest, because that's where she wants to be. The added bonus is that it's built in childcare for my spirited, high needs child when we have baby number three in the fall (though if she really decided first grade was not for her, we'd welcome her home).


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#15 of 18 Old 03-06-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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I had a journey as well when it came to fully embracing school, especially public school for my child. I went from wanting to be a public school teacher to swearing off school for a few years when my DC was really young. In those early, idyllic years I just couldn't imagine sending my LO to school. But, time passed...

 

We tried for a small pre-school in the country we were living in at the time. It was a disaster. DC hated it and I wasn't the right parent to help encourage her to stick it out. So we just did our think for a few years. I don't think kids need school during that time so I didn't consider myself homeschooling but at the same time building school was just not on our radar. 

 

We moved back to the states without thinking about school (DC was 5 by then). One day on a bike ride I saw the cutest little school. Just a regular old cooperative pre-K and we went to visit and enrolled DC for the spring. That school was transformative for us. DC thrived there. I loved it and we made so many friends.  

 

So, we were on the bandwagon for school and began a search for kindergarten. We looked at private and public and opted for our neighborhood public school. I didn't like it and DC didn't love it. It was super traditional and I felt they had resigned themselves to some less than ideal practices that I wasn't ready for. But we had many friends at this school, including a super close friend of DC. It was difficult to be the only person I knew who was really dissatisfied. 

 

About two weeks in I got a call from a public parent cooperative. I went home and listened to Dylan's "Forever Young" cried and decided to pull my DC out and transfer schools. DC had the teacher of the year in the district for her kindergarten class (until she left to have her own baby). It was a great year and another confirmation that building school, and perhaps public school was right for us. I would have loved if DC could have completed her elementary school education there...

 

But, we moved "back East". We moved to Baltimore, which I knew had great schools but also some schools where I would not want to send my DC. So, we entered the charter school lottery from California and got into one of the most desirable public charter schools in the city. It was awesome! We also hadn't chosen a home yet so we were able to move close to the school. It was an adjustment for me/us to transfer from this very privileged cooperative community (racially diverse and culturally diverse but not economically diverse) to a Baltimore City public school. But, I was ready!  There were a few things that were an adjustment but I felt my DC was ready for that experience. That it would help her see the world better and help her understand people better. Not only that, this school was a far better fit for her academically than the cooperative. They identified her reading struggles and were amazingly helpful and supportive of some somewhat unconventional choices we chose to make. I can honestly say that with the exception of a fairly poor lunch meal, none of the criticism of public school apply to DC's school. I just love it!  

 

And now we're like 100% public school lovers. I've looked at 11 public schools for middle school for my now 5th grader. dizzy.gif I liked each and every one of them. Not all of them are a great fit for my DC but they're all good schools for enough kids to fill the halls. The trick in my city is that they have this elaborate school choice process that is filled with uncertainty. We do a good job of insulating DC from the stress but I've taken a lot of that on. We find out in 2 weeks if DC gets a spot. And then I guess come September we wait and see if we made a good choice or not. I can't say that I'm not a little nervous about middle school. But DC is really looking forward to it so there's that. 

 

I like to hear the stories of really thoughtful building school parents. I mean, all my DC's friends have thoughtful families but we're often obsessing over middle school together and don't get to think about the choices we've made in the past.  

 

Thanks for a great thread...and something to do while I put my new little school kid to bed (she's 2) and LOVES taking her sister to school. love.gif


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#16 of 18 Old 03-06-2013, 05:51 PM
 
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Oh, and I'm sorry, you were also asking about parenting style...

 

Yea, I think I'm fairly "AP". We do all the homebirth, BFing beyond infancy, babywearing, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, and all that. I find that there is a little less that sets me apart from others as my oldest got older...I mean, a lot of the "AP" stuff is in the past but we still focus on developmentally appropriate expectations, kindness, gentleness and etc. 


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#17 of 18 Old 03-10-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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I have put a lot of thought into every decision I have made with my children including their educations.  I did think about homeschooling when my oldest started kinder, but figured we would give school a try.  After the first year of school, I realized that my educational goals for him were not as high as the school's and he learned so much more than he would have with me.  I am not a teacher, haven't had any training and am honestly impressed with all of the strategies and methods that the school uses.  My children are getting a better education in our public school system than they would have from me.

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#18 of 18 Old 03-12-2013, 02:19 PM
 
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Idyllic is right.  I think the school I want doesn't exist: public schools with shorter days, longer lunch, small teacher to student ratio, lots and lots of hands on learning, lots of physical activity through out the day, lots of relevant field trips, vegetable gardens, real lunch food for pity's sake.  Wayyyy more communication with me from teachers.

 

I thought about homeschool but it never was a serious option.  I could never handle it. Much too impatient and disorganized. 

 

I did seriously consider Waldorf, Catholic school and even started to enroll dd with an Episcopal private school.  At the time I was listening to Dr. Laura, who was telling people to make whatever sacrifice necessary to keep your kids out of the big bad public schools.  Well, we might have been able to afford to send one child to private school, but we have two children.  And that made me realize actually, I don't think public schools are ruining our nation's children's morals.  I don't think public school teachers are out to brain wash our kids. I looked around and realized we live in a very good school district.

 

So why is public school a good choice for my kids?  It's free (mostly) and my kids are getting a good quality (mostly) secular and socially diverse education. I love that.  My kids will learn much more from teachers than from me. 

 

I do think the food public schools provide is shameful. 


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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