I have been doing a lot of research about homeschooling and about public schools and the pros and cons of each.
Homeschooling!? I know, I know. My kids will have "poor people skills", "no friends", "will not know how to function in society" and "will not get a good education". That's absolutely the case right? They'll probably growl and bite people too! "Beware, I am home schooled" signs will be a must in every window, door, and I'll have to make some collars too. I have read it all... really.
I will be honest and tell you that I have not had the best of experiences with my oldest child during his time in the public school system. I have been ignored, judged, threatened, and all the while at my son's expense. He was behind in kindergarten and I was told that he would do just fine in first grade; I was told that he would catch up. I was nervous and unsure but I trusted the judgement of his teacher over my own.
First grade came and I explained to his teacher that I feared he was behind in some areas and to please take note of it and give me updates. This teacher was very annoyed with me from what I could sense and no matter what I tried at home after his already exhausting, and sometimes humiliating, day at school nothing worked. So I sent a letter in to find out what the teacher's point of view was for my son's progress during the second half of the year. No answer after a week so I sent in another asking for a conference with him. To which I got a note back, on a post it no less. The post it was in reply and telling me that he would not see me for a meeting because they do not make time at the end of the school year for parent teacher conferences. This teacher also told me that Gavin would be going on to second grade the following school year and that he would "catch up". I understand "no child left behind" but pushing him into another grade he is not prepared for is not going to help!
We found ourselves upset and angry at the school system at this point for denying us the right to speak to the person responsible for teaching our child for at least 6 hours out of every day for 180 days a year! However, it was at this same time we found ourselves moving out of the school district over the summer and praying that someone somewhere in the new school system would listen to us.
They listened and felt the same as we did, that our son needed to be held back. We assured him that it was not a punishment and explained that we wanted to make sure he was learning everything that he needed to know. We explained that some kids need extra practice and more time to learn things and that it was absolutely okay. He wasn't thrilled about doing first grade again but he knows and understands it.
On to more details, in both schools my son was denied access to restrooms. Last year it was so bad that I actually had to write a note explaining that my child was coming home telling me he almost pooped his pants because he was not allowed to use the bathroom. I explained that he is not a child who can just HOLD it in! He has never been like that when he has to go, he has to go; look out because he is coming through!
So, you try to sit there and pay attention to what your teacher is saying while squeezing your butt cheeks together and tell me how much you remember!
Something else that is bothering me is that the children have snack toward the end of the day. That's not the issue. The problem here is that these snacks are full of sugar, for example rice crispies treats. For one thing my child does not care for those kinds of snacks. He says they are "junk". Yes my seven year old child is referring to sugary treats as "junk". I am so proud of him for this. So instead of paying for snacks he doesn't want to eat I started packing him his own snacks. Natural fruit and granola bars and fresh fruit. The teacher told him that he was not allowed to bring snacks in anymore. If kids are allowed to pack lunches why can't they pack their own snack? He has an undiagnosed sucrose intolerance. He knows that he has to limit his sugar or he will have adverse reactions courtesy of his bowels! Then here comes the bathroom issue again. Full circle. So I would imagine that I have to get PERMISSION from my child's DOCTOR (who see's him on average once or twice a year) stating that my child, who I raise and care for and know better than anyone else, needs to take in his own snack because he has tummy issues. Also second note stating that he needs to use a bathroom at his convenience not his teacher's. Seriously? Yeah... I'm guessing that is how they want to play their cards.
More issues? Yes, my child gets excluded from activities and punished but claims that he does not know why. He also knows that he does not get a second punishment when he gets home for something that happened at school and was taken care of. I will talk to him about it and that is the end of it. I like for him to know and understand the rules. Basically I am saying that if he does not know why he is putting his head down on his desk or being "uninvited" to activities how is he supposed to change his behavior to meet the necessary expectations?
Next year I will have two children in school and I am terrified. My daughter, who turned five in November, is in the bathroom twice an hour. I can only anticipate all the phone calls that she peed her pants in school. Mind you she still pees the bed at night and thus I believe she may have an under developed bladder or maybe it is teeny tiny. I understand that it will interrupt her "education" time to have to use the bathroom so much. Is there a way to change her? Probably not. So what is a mother supposed to do? I worry about all this stuff. I worry that she's not going to be able to keep up because she really does seem to need the one on one learning experience to understand.
I don't want to shelter my children from life or put them in pretty little bubbles. I just want them to succeed. I want them to be understood and respected just like adults (should) respect each other. If I had to use the bathroom while at someone's house I would not be told that I was not allowed to use that bathroom until they were done telling their story.
Social skills do not come from the school atmosphere they derive from the manners you are taught by your parents and how you apply them in real life situations.
Think about this... my son goes to school 8 am to 4 pm and those are the hours that we do all of our "out and about" things. We go to the stores and take care of errands. When my child comes home from school we are now considered to be home for the day. All our social skill improving activities are completed. So my child goes to school, comes home, does his homework, plays, watches some tv, eats, baths, and goes to bed. The home schooled child will have gotten to go out to the store/post office/the gym with his/her parent(s). Before, after, or between lessons. Kids are permitted to talk to other children during lunch time and recess. It is a controlled environment in which they only socialize with other children who live in the same area and are the same age. When do you as an adult find yourself surrounded by a group of 20 people who are the same age as you? Your office? Nah that's not right, hmm. At the beach? No that is not it either.. Ohh the class reunion!
As an adult how many friends do you have? I have a few good friends. I could most likely count them on one hand. Most vary in age by a few years. One of my very good friends today was simply someone I knew who went to the same school as I went to. My boyfriend went to the same school as me but not for long. He was home schooled and we're going on a 20 year friendship. He has a couple good friends as well. Friends, boyfriends/girlfriends an issue? I think not. I was there when we got pregnant with our son when we were only 16 years old.
To be quite honest my home schooled honey is way better with society than I am today. He tells me that I am a hermit. It's something I need to work on. Once I get out of the house though I am just fine. I do have a hot temper ooooh boy. I have a hard time keeping my cool. Now that I really think about it maybe it had something to do with being picked on and teased through school. Someone always had something mean to say or a dirty look to flash at me. Sometimes people will look at me "the wrong way" while I am out and it sets off that inner psycho and it's screaming RUN.
Home schooling is something that I am seriously thinking about. So tell me, is your blood pressure rising? Are you left sitting there thinking back on your childhood and your public education in the process of thinking about the future.
I love my children. I want them to enjoy life, make friends, have boyfriends and girlfriends, gain knowledge and experience through living and seeing. I want them to learn in the way that best suits them. I want them to be respected individuals.
Also.... I want to keep my sanity! To be continued...?