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Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Homeschool Rant for the Year 2008-2009

As a homeschooling parent, as well as a Christian, I am very careful to be respectful of other people's choices for thier children's education. I do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone, and though I have many friends IRL who homeschool their children, I have just as many whose children attend public or Christian schools. I would never in a million years, dream of telling them they are making a mistake having their child in a public school. I believe that the public schools need Christian teachers and students - the worst thing we ever did as Christians was to pull our kids out of public schools when we lost the right to pray in school. We are supposed to live in the world, without partaking of it. But that's another rant altogether.

I am constantly amazed by the attitudes of certain public school educators in our area who believe that we homeschoolers are lazy and that we only allow our children to be homeschooled because we don't want to teach them. Such is the case for one public school official from just across our city's border who deems that the decline in their public school numbers is due to "the tragedy" that is called "homeschooling".

His exact words were: "We are looking into the problems that we see. We know
that homeschooling is an issue, he said. We have about 120 kids that are
currently being homeschooled. I think personally that's a tragedy. I think most
of those kids are not truly being taught."

What he's really saying is that it's a tragedy that his school doesn't have higher numbers so he can receive more money for his school district. He went on to say,

"While they do that, it gives them a way of avoiding mandatory requirements," hesaid, referring to parents and students involved in homeschooling.


I take great exception to this kind of attitude. If you study the Stanford 9 test scores of homeschooled children versus public schooled children, you'll find that the homeschoolers in the state of Arkansas (where this man's school district is) ranked higher than kids in public schools in every area except for math.

Y'all. I often joke about being a "lazy homeschooler"...but that's all it is. A joke. Anyone who homeschools knows that amount of time and money that a homeschooling parent puts into their kid's education is an investment in their future - I want to see my investments grow and reap bountiful rewards for years to come. But I feel my highest calling as a mother is to instill godly principles and character in my children that will be passed down to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their children, and so on.

I know that there are families who homeschool who do not take the time with their kids necessary to ensure they are really learning the material. I don't understand it, but I know they exist. I can think of a family right now whose daughter is a teenager and can barely read. While I think that's extremely unfortunate, I submit this - who's to say that she would have been any better off in a public school? I also know several teens who have graduated locally and can't even spell or read. Which is worse? I don't know.

Please don't misunderstand me - I am not against public schooling. I think there are some incredible and talented, God-called teachers in our public schools. I think there are also some real louses - and as with anything in life, you get the bad with the good.

But I don't want someone else forming my children's opinions for them. Call it "brainwashing" if you like, but I want them to understand why we believe what we believe and I want it based on the Bible, not on some silly notion that the world began with a big bang and we all came from primordial soup. I believe that God created the earth in a literal six day span, that each day consisted of 24 hour periods, and that he rested on the seventh day. And I want my kids to believe that too.

But it's not just because of my spiritual beliefs. I believe that the country's future depends on our children today. In case you've not noticed, we're not exactly leaving them with something great to work with. I don't want to raise kids that are dependent on other "educated" people to explain current events to them, or tell them who to vote for. It is imperative that they decide for themselves after reading all the facts presented. I want them to be able to make good choices for their futures based on solid, godly principles. Have I said that before? Do you see a theme here?

I guess all I'm saying is that I think there are quite enough "educated fools" out there. I'd personally like to raise some without the latter part of the equation in their name.

/rant.

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20 comments:

dianne - bunny trails said...

It sounds like a case of sour grapes. Often when something doesn't fit a person's paradigm, they just knock what they don't know. Sad that their opinion is being tossed out there for others to "assume" is accurate. After all, he's a teacher, so he must know about education. Unfortunately, too many people don't take the time to find out the truth about all the options. Ignorant opinions can be very dangerous.

Sassy Gal said...

As a former public school teacher and currently a homeschooling mom, I've been on all points of this spectrum.

I was the last one to be convinced of the merits of homeschooling. Until my kid was in public school for 2 years and I was employed by the same district. Oh, boy, was my heart and mind changed.

It is amazing to me that the public sector is very unwilling to learn about and are outright opposed to HS'ing- without good reason. It is an insidious thought pattern that is woven into our minds as public educators- pre-kids-of-my-own, I had a passive/aggressive anger towards homeschooling in order to "fit in" with my peers. It is as if we feared being "one upped". Like kids can not possibly be successful without the expertise of my professionally trained self! How dare a parent think they know what their kids need more than me.....

And, until I educated myself- thanks to the soft and mannerly prompting of the Holy Spirit- I was sadly enough, probably more on your public school official's end of the spectrum.

I am so saddened that I was perpetrator of this ugliness. And that I held such uneducated opinions.

Your poor school official probably hasn't laid eyes on any statistics/research concerning homeschooling. Nor has he come to a place in his journey where he knows the knowledge and peace that being lead by the Spirit brings.

And, you're right, the most anger I have encountered has been from those who are concerned about losing "funding" due to my homeschooling decision.

But, you know what, I very willingly pay my taxes which includes a hefty benefit for the ISD entity. And, as we return from an October vacation, I will pay my taxes with the money we saved (by not traveling during peak times) and lovingly try to understand why these sad, angry people hold such an aggressive attitude.

And, because of God's grace and because I CAN, I will teach my children that sometimes people act ugly out of ignorance but we still have to love 'em- cause God loves me in mine (Doesn't mean we can't "rant"! ha!)

Ok, sorry this is probably longer than your post!

Great post!! You rawk!

Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home said...

You tell it, girl!

Jeni said...

I can't believe someone would publicly voice such an offensive idea. I would never in a million years call homeschoolers lazy! Like you said, I'm sure they're out there, but the vast majority of folks who homeschool put SO much time and effort into it!

I still have a few years to decide what kind of schooling we'll try first for my Girlie, but I'm strongly leaning toward homeschooling - for the reasons you mentioned. I want my husband and I to be her primary teachers, so that she will be raised with an understanding of & respect for our beliefs.

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

What a horrible thing for that admin to say, and terribly unprofessional! I have much respect for homeschooling families. In addition to curriculum concerns, I worry also about some of the children they will be exposed to (not that this goes away in adulthood, of course). I have a few years to make up my mind.

Good for you to stick up for your beliefs. And in this case, you are certainly right and justified!

Sprittibee said...

Here here.

Virginia Democrat Mark Warner states:

"... the Christian Coalition, made up of right-to-lifers; but it's not just the right-to-lifers, it's made up of the NRA; but it's not just that, it's made up of the home schoolers; but not just that, it's made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of different views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to them and what it means to be an American."

Why can't people just let other people live their lives?

Here's what I believe:

"He who is threatened by another's faith, is not secure in his
own." - Sheila Matechuk

Monica said...

Great post!!!

Headless Mom said...

As you know, I'm not a homeschooler, but I absolutely agree with you. I have a tremendous amount of respect for those of you that make that sacrifice. I have considered it but so far my children seem to be thriving in our local school. Thankfully they have gotten fabulous teachers that love the Lord and nurture my children. I do not believe that this is by accident-I continually pray for my children's teachers, current and future placement. If/when the day comes that homeschooling becomes a necessity for us I am thankful that I have friends that have blazed the trail before me and I can go to for advice.

As an aside, how would that guy account for all of the recent spelling bee champions being homeschooled? What a fool.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

I'm reading, dear, rant or no rant. Your feed just takes a sweet forever to get into my reader. :-)

chickadee@afamiliarpath said...

at our local high school, seniors are required to do a scrapbook instead of an mla style documentation thesis (not thesis but you know, the word just isn't coming to mind). a scrapbook for pete's sake. and they think we are doing our kids a disservice by teaching them at home.

i'm constantly amazed at what the public school gets by with as far as what they call "education."

and that's my rant.

Audra said...

It is crazy to think that there are people out there who are so lax about their child's education the child graduates unable to barely read or spell... Although I honestly think that there are probably far more public school parents who are guilty of this than home school parents.

My little guy is still to little to make an official public vrs. home school decision- but eaither way I am already trying to work with him at home to give him a good head start to his education so I LOVE reading and and all advice you have to give!

LeAnna said...

I concur and a hearty amen! Having been home schooled all but the 2nd grade (and planning to homeschool my own) I have witnessed this attitude often. Oh, how little do they know. Just like you said, it reaches beyond the core spiritual issues (which do play a big part) into the very heart of teaching what is common sense.

rachel whetzel said...

WOW. As an adult product of homeschooling, I have to say, I'm SO GLAD I had such lazy parents. :P

Mzzterry said...

nice stance you have on your soapbox there! good post!!

Anonymous said...

A lot of opinions are based on previous experience, not ignorance. I know home schooling works for a lot of families out in the world. However, I know a lot of children that have been home schooled and can't function in life as civilized people. That's my experience.
I am one of those people who call homeschoolers crazy. Not those I don't know mind you. But it is a word I use to describe the two families on my street who home school their children. And with the exception of one family, all of the families I knew growing up who homeschooled their children.
I have a hard time buying into the whole thing when the 8 year old can't read as well as a child who is in first grade. Call me crazy, what an expectation.
I also have a hard time when they can't fit in with the social norms of every day life including sitting through our christian church services at least as quietly as the 3 year olds around us.
No I don't have my "own" children. Yes I am a (gasp) public school educator. But you can't tell me that there is one right or wrong way and I won't try and tell you that either.
I hope all of your children whether home schooled, in public school, or enrolled in some other type of schooling get the best education they can with your help.

Also, please remember I'm christian, I went to public school, and I have great values and character. Since when is it a teacher's or school's job to educate children in those areas? I thought those were always left up to parents... Oh wait, since the parents aren't teaching them... that's when it became my job.

Madeline said...

Amen!! As a student I went through all three systems: public, private, and homeschooling. Homeschooling was by far the best decision my parents ever made. I plan to homeschool my child from the get go, and I am grateful that it is an option. I pray that people like the man you referred to don't destroy it as an option for my children.

MelADramatic Mommy said...

That's too bad someone in that position would use those tpes of inflammatory words.

Dana said...

Yikes. If he took more the attitude of, "Well, we are examining our policies and teaching in order to find ways we can better serve all our students..." he might actually find a solution.

And not so many people would feel the need to leave the school system.

Who really has sympathy for that kind of rambling?

Marilyn - A Mixed Bouquet said...

Great post!

I've heard so many remarks over the years. I've become very good at inwardly rolling-my-eyes. Once you have a student in college with a high GPA they will back-off a bit. ;-)

Those I've listened to are:

1. Ignorant of homeschooling - They don't know why or how this works.

2. Feeling guilty for whatever reason - I've had several tell me that they just want their "mom time".

3. Narrow-minded - They believe that the traditional way is the only way. Umm...homeschooling occurred long before a government school was built. They are judging all of us based upon a few homeschoolers they know.

I won't be like many of them and lump everyone into one group. There are always exceptions, ya know? I also realize there are exceptions to my list. I just haven't met them yet.

Bloggers said...

Great post!! I am currently taking my 15 year old son out of the public school system and am going to be homeschooling him and I am getting the bad treatment by his teachers. You would think that I was contagious!!