Let’s start with my laundry list: My dad was a public school teacher. My best friend is a school teacher and so is her husband and they are amazing! My step mother was a school teacher for over 20 years. I went to school to be a teacher! Most of my close friends have their kids in public school. And this is just ‘my side” of the family.
When you walk the dusty chalk line to my husbands brood the list triples in size. To name just a few, our cousin is such an amazing school teacher that we considered putting our kids in school for that grade; just so they could have a year being taught by him! Our Aunt is such an incredible award winning teacher that I dream of living closer to her. In fact, when she mentions a book, even in hilarious poem form, I rush out to buy it knowing it’s crucial to the educational growth of my children! There is a host of “greats” that have now retired. I just spoke to one last week concerning some of the ways we educate and was higher than a kite to have her stamp of approval.
But then the wind changed and people didn’t check their facts and now I’m clarifying because I can’t sleep with the idea that people are believing lies.
See, I believe that education is a personal choice and that there are a lot of good choices out there including, but not limited to: public school, private school, christian school, Montessori, Waldrof and homeschool.
Everyone loves a story:
My husband and I both went to public school and had really good experiences. I had never even heard of homeschooling until 6 years ago. My husband had 1 family that he knew that homeschooled and had no intention of shaping his family that way! But because we love Jesus and work to live according to what He has for our family a series of amazing events (to precious to share on a mere blog-lets have coffee over this one.. it makes me cry) unfolded and we jumped, both feet first, into homeschooling our own children.
Have Math Book, will travel:
I love homeschooling my kids (most days)! Being home with my children is one of the biggest gifts God has ever given me. When everyone else is heading to school in mid-August we are still going to the beach. In September when it’s spectacular in my neck of the woods, we are camping during the week. So, it appears that a natural bias occurs because we defy the “classroom” with our field trips and fun photo shoots. The truth is, my kids did school when they woke up in Yellowstone. Math books are heavy, but that’s why we drove the car. Good grief, at least a public school kid gets to be on vacation when they get a vacation!
I can hit my brother, but you can’t touch him:
I can knock on homeschoolers for two reasons. One, because they are crazy. Two, because I’m one of them! This has somehow disqualified me from having an opinion about public education. Most people assume I hate it because I didn’t choose it. That simply isn’t true and it never has been for me. In fact, I often find myself defending it.
Vague examples are good:
A family member has recently decided to put her kids back in school. A mutual friend commented that she must simply be “to weak to stand up amongst poor influences”. I quickly grabbed my boxing gloves and jumped to the defense with, “Education is a big decision and one I know this family makes with a lot of prayer, concern and consideration.” I put my gloves down because it ended the conversation. And it should have, because that remains the bottom line. What you choose for your family is your choice and who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to come against that. Unless you are terrible at it…
Concrete examples are better:
So, my recent post on facebook, aka the reason I’m not in bed asleep, went like this (cut and pasted from my actual facebook wall.. go ahead and read it, it won’t bite.. to hard):
Lip is bleeding! Sitting in the lodge and listening to people talking about how the teacher knows better than the parent. Their examples are killing me! And they’re all agreeing! #putyourthinkingcapson!
Let me set the stage, I’m out in a state park, sitting in the lodge, trying to have a day with the Lord. When the people behind me start talking stupid about education. Let’s pay extra attention to one phrase from above. Their examples are killing me! Do I believe the teacher knows better than the parent? Well, sometime yes. Have you met people? There are some daft parents out there! Some of them homeschool! (Tragic!)
This particular educator was actually doing public school a dis-service with her ridiculous examples of how the teacher knows best. Here is my sub-post: They are discussing the “at home/public school access” option. “Teacher says – if I your child fails the same math test 4 times, I’m going to see the problem there.” Really Einstein? It takes me, “The Mom” 1 test to see the struggles. Whoa… OK – earphones = happy place”
But there these parents sat bobbing their heads in agreement and reassuring this bafoon that she was making a very good point! I had to get up and walk out for fear that I would interject some logic into the conversation. See, I don’t know any school teacher that has the time to test a “drop in when you need help student” (her words, not mine) 4 times on the same math concepts. If this family is truly looking at schooling at home with access to the school for help, they should be seeing trouble long before test #4. Oh wait, they are seeing trouble, that’s whey they’ve brought their child into the classroom.. for help.
It’s America! My Opinion Counts!
A major flaw of public education is the parents idea that it’s the teachers job to do all the work and educating. When their kid struggles, it must be the teachers fault. See, when you homeschool, you have no one to blame but yourself. So, I naturally have a response to the above conversation because everyone has been derailed off the point. The point should never have been that the teacher would catch on (after 4 repeats) to the child’s struggle. The point was that this family needed to bring their child home, but needed to know how the school would be there to help. She was not a helpful advocate for the fine educators that fill most of our school classrooms. Her attempts to rise up the teachers ability over the parents ability were falling flat. But a pancake has two sides and I didn’t get her e-mail address so you only get to hear mine.
If Pete and Repeat were in a boat..:
Home education is the choice my family has made. We made that choice in favor of many things. We didn’t make it because we were afraid of or disliked public school. In fact, I direct a large homeschooling group in our community, and when I meet with new families that are interested, I’m always open with my belief that this is not for everyone. It’s an option and there are many.
What’s your horses name?
My experience is that homeschoolers in general have a bad attitude about any other form of education. They even like to argue that the way they homeschool is superior to the way another family homeschools. Some love to go on and on about the sinking ship of public education and how wonderful they are to have saved their children from the ensuing wreckage. I knock them off their moral high horse any chance I get.
I believe some of this comes from the unbelievable amount of convincing we home educators feel we have to do with our family and friends when we have our children at home. I personally faced attitudes of, “You actually think you can educate better than me? I have a degree!” Umm.. wow, no I don’t think I can do it better than you. When did this become a competition? I do however, feel that I am making the best possible choice for my family. I have a brain. I take it seriously. Mostly, I’m obeying the hard and high calling to do this work myself and freaking out that I might mess it up. Thanks for the love and support.
Now that I feel I’ve washed most of the mud off me, I do want to take the time to thank all you teachers out there. You’re working twice as hard and not for the money. Your passion is to see kids learn and grow. You understand that the future is held in the hand of the educator and you want to see it made brighter. The work you do is of the greatest value and upmost importance.
Did you read that last paragraph thinking of only public school teachers? Take a moment to examine your own prejudice and stop putting it off on me. For those of you who started the gossip train on my post against public school teachers; shame on you. You should check your facts and know me better than that. I accept your unspoken apology and trust you know better now. For in the end, we are all educators. What the world really needs is those who are teachable.
A child needs something to do and something to love. If we give our children a love of learning than we have truly educated them ~Charlotte Mason
(For you homeschool gooruos – we classical educate, but find so much value in Charlotte Mason, unit studies and more; but that is a conversation for a different day…)