Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You missed a “hot topic post” from me, didn’t you? Well, here it comes. Some time ago I was reading one of “Level A” blogs in my reader Our Worldwide Classroom, a blog that I usually enjoy, especially since it is written by a secular mom like myself. Kylie was sharing (without going into too much detail) why she decided to take her child out of public school, and she posted this quote on her blog. image

So now let me go on my own personal rant here. I am so tired of this kind of generalized disrespect towards public schools and people who work there. I am sure that people are trying to justify their decisions to keep their children at home. I can even see the wisdom of that choice in certain situations. All I want is to see some respect for the teachers who go to the classroom every day of the school year, rain or shine, and teach not just one child but 20+. I want to see some respect for your friends (including your blog friends) and family members who are making choices different from your own.

I am not sending my daughter to the thought-policing fascist government monopoly. I am trusting her to people who chose the life of service and, yes, to those who perhaps cannot afford to quit and teach just their own kids like some of the bloggers in the blogosphere. I also want to believe that through being part of a public school system our family can contribute more to the community we live in. I am actually pretty excited about the fact that my daughter will become a kindergartener pretty soon, and the whole wide world of “a real school” will be open to her. For more of our decisions on why not to homeschool, read this post.


Mom and Kiddo said...

I agree. And the war against teachers is so sad and destructive. How can they even survive when people are so hateful towards them?

My son goes to a wonderful school that nurtures the whole person and I would be a terrible homeschooling mom. There are good schools and poor schools just as their are good homeschoolers and poor homeschoolers.

People can make one decision or the other without bad-mouthing the other. (I haven't read the blog you mention, and am not passing judgment on them, btw.)

TheRockerMom said...

I agree that using such language seems like an attack on one's very personal decision. We are all making decisions for our precious children based out of our deep love for them and concern for their future.

There are many public school teachers in my family and I know that they dedicate their own time (not to mention their own money) to educate the children of perfect strangers. They deserve more respect than I can verbalize.

Even though we plan to homeschool, I don't think that this kind of bashing needs to occur on either side. I know that you care very, very deeply about your daughter's education and future, just like I do. Neither of us would choose to do anything to harm our babies.

Annette W. said...

Good post. Good thoughts. Needed thoughts.

We will also be using our public school. It's a purposeful choice...meaning we don't feel forced to due to work or finances. We are Christians, but like you, we look forward to joining in the community there. Though our girls are the same age, we have to wait another year.

Christy said...

I agree with you. I love blogging, and it seems that most of my blogging friends are homeschoolers, and most of them are very respectful and don't push statements like this. When I do see things like this, I get very upset. Public school isn't perfect, but neither is homeschooling, or private school, or anything else. We have been fortunate to have some amazing teachers for our children and they have made a huge impact on the lives of our children (and us) and there are so many things I love about our school that I can't imagine not having it. Like Annette, choosing public school is purposeful for us - I don't work and could certainly homeschool, but we have decided that our public school is the right fit for us. I know that some homeschoolers post nasty things about public schools because they have been attacked for their choices, but that doesn't make it right. I respect individual choices and I am so happy to live in a country where those choices are available.

Discovering Montessori said...

Yes I did miss your hot topics :) I totally agree with you on this. I read the post and after reading the quote I felt disturbed as well. I am going to homeschool two of my children this year. The oldest still will be in public school. The two children that will be homeschooled will eventually return to a traditional school setting. I have been on both sides of the fence. What is good for one child dosen't make it good for everybody!! Thank you for this well worded come back and for sharing.

MaryAnne said...

Respect on this issue is SO important. My sister home schools her kids, and we've discussed my decision to try out public school SO many times (she is respectful of my choice, as I am of her, but we're taking very different paths). It's interesting to me, that we each had the same combination of public and private and home schooling growing up, and our perceptions are so different. I had so many teachers who changed my life for the better, and that is a huge part of why I'm making the choice to send my kids to school. My sister had the same teachers without the same effect, even though I remember those teachers caring a great deal about her. I thrived in the social challenge of school; she did not. We both experienced bullying; to me it was worth it. Not for her. What is right for one person is not right for the next.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

So happy to see a hot topic! One thing I like about your hot topics is we can disagree, without getting mean. The post you quoted does seem a little extreme, and could be taken as mean spirited, but I think that she's just stating an opinion - when you say public school, you're referring to the good things, to dedicated educators, potential new friends for your daughter, good experiences, and new oportunities for learning - so it is kind of tomayto, tomahto. She apparently has not had the same experiences with the public school system, and was expressing a sense of being fed up. Those are not the reasons I homeschool - it was simply something I wanted to try as soon as I heard about it. But, I can see some truth in the quote - schools do seperate families (some might view this as a good thing) I'm quite certain my children would not be as close, if they were seperated all day, and encouraged to socialize only within their grade, and usually only within their gender. Some of the other statements probably depend on the school, and teacher, but individual creativity does necessarily have to be capped a bit, if only to allow a teacher to handle so many students at once, and that can probably be seen as both a positive and a negative, too. Children do tend to be buttonholed fairly early, into learning levels, again to make teaching a large group possible, but at the risk of leaving some potentially bright students behind. By its nature of being a public school, it is under government control, which again could be viewed either as a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your political views. As to brainwashing - that can be a part of teaching, and there will be some of that at home, as well, except at home I get to be the one doing the brainwashing :) She probably wouldn't be homeschooling though, if she thought everything was great with the public school system - since she was explaining why she homeschools - well, now you know.

Phyllis said...

I have to agree that the quote is a bit extreme, but I can understand the frustration that probably caused it. It is wonderful if you have not experienced any of this with your daughter and her schooling, but there are many schools across the nation that are just awful. I am sure that many of the teachers are dedicated and earnest, but the school experience that I had and the one I was seeing was available for my children in this area was shockingly close to that list. Much closer to that list that I was able to live with.

Ticia said...

I read the statement and tended to think of it as a sarcastic thing and funny, but I can also see how it's needlessly antagonistic. I think it's probably an overly defensive reaction to nonstop questions from family, friends, and neighbors about homeschooling.

Like everyone else has said "different strokes for different folks," what works for one family won't work for others.

I have missed your hot topics, this one feels a bit more angry than others, but I think that's because you took that post and a few others recently very personal with Anna being about to start school.

Wonder Mom said...

I have really enjoyed reading everyone's input on the above statement, and what I want to add is this:

Aren't we BLESSED to be in a country that allows us to educate our children in a variety of ways? Whether it is homeschooling, public, private, or a combination of the above, we get a CHOICE!

I am so thankful that we are all able to choose what works best for our families- AND that we can discuss it openly in public forums (like your blog) without fear.

EXCELLENT "hot topic!" :0)

Kim said...

We've already 'talked' about this, but I just have to say thank you to Wonder Mom for pointing out how lucky we are to have the choice!

Debbie said...

I am so with you on this Natalie. I am very thankful we have people who truly want to be teachers, and schools as not every child would receive an above average education at home. I have many friends who are teachers and even am good friends with a school principle. These people are very dedicated to their work and they give their all to teaching children.

I have at times spoke of the possibility of putting Selena in public school, at this time I choose to homeschool, but I am so glad that there are options out there for my family. While we can all see things that are broken in our school system, but if we look hard enough there are things that are broken in our homes, within society itself.

I suppose I truly see the decision on to homeschool or not to homeschool as a personal choice, but I am with you why attack teachers, schools and society. I know I can respect you for your decision and reasons, and I know you respect me for mine. That is all that needs to be said.

April said...

I am guessing the blogger who posted that has had experiences that made her post that, but I absolutely get tired of reading comments like that in the blogging world. I am not planning on homeschooling and I am planning on working full time as an elementary school teacher. So I feel like comments like those are directed at me and my lifestyle (even though I know they are not!) I would never post something criticizing people who choose to homeschool, that is why I don't appreciate those comments when I read them. But I guess that's the thing about blogging, you can put your own opinion out there regardless of how other people might react!

Joyful Learner said...

I have to respectfully disagree. When I read that, it was like someone giving voice to something I experienced as a teacher and now as a parent. I consider it part of free speech. I remember you writing that you rather have your child in school because of one particular person you admired was public schooled. You also mentioned one homeschooler you knew who was awkward and only interested in one you didn't want your daughter to turn out that way. It was a judgment you've made. Same with the person who wrote the quote. The beauty of our country is that we can practice free speech. When I read it, I didn't think it was disrespectful of teachers. I assumed it was talking about the system in general. I do think people read into things based on their own experiences. One thing for sure, there is no one right way. I was public schooled and I turned out fine. I choose to homeschool because I feel we can do better. But we'll have to see how it goes. Time will tell what's best for each individual family. No offense taken when you take everyone's opinions for what they are...opinions.

I'm glad you are excited about Anna starting public school! It sounds like the school in your neighborhood is good about meeting various needs. Consider yourself privileged too. :)

And whatever you do, please don't quote me and then write a whole blog post about it. I'm here to state my opinion but not to be the cause of your rebuttal. That makes me feel uncomfortable.

Joyful Learner said...

Amen to Wonder Mom!

Kelly said...

I read your post this morning and took the day to think about it. This is a great "hot topic" to respectfully discuss without pulling our emotions in as best possible.

It's reminiscent of the "mommy wars" in my mind and I think it comes back to respecting the choices we make for our families. I would love to have my kids home with me most of the time, but I don't think it is what is best for them, but it might be what is best for another family.

We've been fortunate to have a great school system and teachers. I know Little J's teacher wanted the best for her students last year and did her best. However, we still found ourselves extending activities at home. His classroom was open to parents just about anytime, his teacher even had a (trained) parent leading one of his gifted reading programs.

I’d like to think that my husband and I are our children’s primary teachers and are partnering with the public school system to educate them.

Little Wonders' Days

Raising a Happy Child said...

@Kelly - I fully expect to continue "afterschooling" when Anna goes to K just as we do today. In my mind good education doesn't come just from school alone - it's a sum of many parts. And I totally agree with you that a parent remains the child's primary teacher and a role model for many years to come.

Susan @ learning ALL the time!! said...

I'm coming into this conversation pretty late, I know, but I'm glad to read all of the other comments. There is a lot of value in each comment...I don't think there is any one right answer that fits every family, so it is so wonderful that we do have a choice!

I don't think it's OK to bash anyone, but I do understand the sentiment behind the quote causing this discussion. Our personal experience has been in line with that quote, unfortunately.
I am very glad for all of the people who do have wonderful experiences with their public schools...that is great! I truly wish I heard more of those stories. One of my sisters is a teacher, and I definitely respect the profession. Our choice to homeschool, though, is the best for us.

Julie said...

I'm coming into this conversation very late - it's been a busy few weeks! But I felt compelled to respond. I am actually quite offended by that quote. I think it's fine to say you don't feel the public schools in your area are good enough for your kids, but to use those descriptions is just plain rude to people who do send their kids to public school, in my opinion.

I went to public school and I think I'm a pretty intelligent, successful, professional who can think for myself and make good decisions for my family. My decision is to take advantage of the excellent public school that's down the street from my house. I like to think my kids are fairly intelligent too and I fully expect them to do well in school and eventually get advanced degrees in college like my husband and I did. I don't think their public school education is going to suppress their intelligence and creativity, or make them become worker-class citizens. And I think statements like that are more likely to divide society than a public school education would. I can see why you wanted to rant after reading that.