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June 14, 2009

Public Schools, Homeschoolers, Socialization

FYI: This post is a bit of a rant. So don't say I didn't warn you. What follows is MY OPINION! So please keep that in mind!

Every now and then I get this urge to truly share my opinions, this is one of those moments. Those that have followed my blog from some time know that I'm a newbie homeschoolers. Our kids did go to public schools. We are still friends with several of the families that we met via public schools. It's funny we purposely bought our house because of the public schools. We live in a pretty big metro area, in the middle of cornfields, and we didn't want our kids going to the neighboring public school district. The neighboring school district is a royal mess, so we knew we had to avoid that area, thus we bought were were are now.

As I have mention before I have always wanted to homeschool, but I didn't have my husband's support. Seeing I didn't have his support I couldn't pursue homeschooling. My husband's biggest issue with homeschooling was his fear of lack of socialization for the kids. He wanted to be sure they socialization with other kids. Which in all honesty made sense at the time. After all we had only 1 car, a car I could not drive, because it was a stick, and he took the car to work everyday. Even if I had found a group, I wouldn't have had a way to get the kids to the group gatherings. So we left it at that.

Then after 2 years of having our kids in the public school system. We realized that it wasn't working for them. It wasn't the best we could offer them. Homeschooling became an option that we would look into. We had 2 cars now. So I can drive the kids places. We also decided that we would give homeschooling a 2 year trial and if it didn't worked out we would send the kids back to public school.

As I've said we don't have an issue with public schools; it just wasn't what was best for our kids at the time. Why? You wonder. Well mainly because the teachers were teaching to the middle, which is what they have to do. As a result our kids weren't getting what they needed in certain subjects especially reading and math. DD wasn't grasping the math, and DS was being held back with the reading. It's easy to say just work with them after school, but it wasn't easy. The kids were "done" with school by the time they got home at 3:00 pm. We already had their homework to do, so trying to add on extra study stuff was an up hill battle with them. It really was because they were done with "school" They spent 7:00-3:00 pm @ school. It was a long day! It was the same way for kindergartners too.

The other issue we were dealing with was the "socialization" that they were being exposed too. Our DD (kindergarten) would come home wanting to know when she can start wearing makeup, getting her eyebrow waxed, and a bikini wax. Why was she asking us these things? She was asking because that is what her classmates were talking about and doing! Yes kindergarten girls were going to school with make-up on! They're moms had taken them to the salon for eyebrow waxings and bikini waxings. Was this covenant socialization that we were wanting for our kids? NO. I knew I had to deal with these things, but I figured that would happen in 4th-6th grade. I just wasn't prepare for that to happen at kindergarten and knew in our heart that there has to be something better....that something better for us was homeschooling!

This means that I have better control over how my kids spend their time. They can spend more time on those subject that they need more help with and less time on those subjects that come easily. It also means I have better control over who my kids spend their time with.

Does that mean I want my kids to only be around homeschoolers now? NO, of course not, and to be honest I'm really getting sick to my stomach with the generalized comments I'm reading regarding homeschoolers and public school students. Those comments include things like "homeschoolers behave better, you can tell when a child is homeschooled because they have social skills, they play better together"

I'm getting sick to my stomach with we are homeschoolers therefore we are better then you attitude that I'm seeing from fellow homeschoolers in my area. I've seen homeschoolers in my area that have seriously frown on kids being in y-care, so much so that they will not allow their kids to play at a playground just because those public school kids are there.

All of this attitude is sicking! Let's be honest! It wasn't the public school fault that my daughter's kindergarten classmates were wearing make-up. That came from the parents! It's not the public school fault that kids are into YouTube, internet, PS2. That came from the parents! A parents' involvement or lack of involvement is what shapes our kids. It's not the child's fault that they are in y-care or daycare. They are there because often the parents are working. Often because they feel they don't have any other options, especially if they are a single parent. Sometimes parents don't have options. Sometimes both parents have to work just to pay the bills, because of their income, debt, trying to keep up with the Jones. We don't know why both parents are working, nor should we cast stones and write off every parent that does work and/or send their kids to public schools as bad parents.

Just because a child goes to public school doesn't mean they are bad kids. We because of our local public school system have met several wonderful families. Families that we are proud to call friends. Children that my kids enjoy playing with...honestly to see these kids interact with each other you would never know it was a mix of homeschooling and public school kids. They ALL play well with each other. They ALL care deeply about each other. They ALL try to included the whole group! Why? Because that is how the parents are! We as adults care deeply about each other. We as adults have taught our kids to do that. It's not an result of homeschooling or public schooling, it's a result of parenting!

My first and primary job is MOM! I share that with any other mother regardless of where their kids go to school. I share that with any other mother regardless of she works or not. Being a mother is a blessing from God and when we embrace that blessing we see wonderful fruit. I know because I have people tell me all the time how thoughtful my kids are. Even my kids' public school teachers would comment to me all the time on how wonderful my kids were. How they were full of compassion, caring, loving attitudes.

I had my DS public school 1st grade teacher share wonderful stories with me regarding my kids. She would tell me how my DS, in May, would walk into the school with my DD. The two of them would go to his locker. He would put his stuff away, then would walk my DD down to her classroom. When they got to my DD classroom he would kiss her on her forehead and then walk back to his classroom.

I'm so thankful that my DS 1st grade teacher was a wonderful lady, a grandma herself, who could see the love my kids had for each other and allowed my DS to walk his sister down the hall to her classroom. All the teachers knew and thought it was so cute and great to see a loving big brother! A few times my son's teacher would watch them the whole time and realized that my son was doing it because he genuinely cared about his sister and it wasn't used to buy time, or to goof off, because he wouldn't play in the halls. Thus she allowed it all year, even the last day of school this what my son did. That is what also lead me to homeschooling. I didn't want my kids to loose that bound with each other. Clearly my son didn't get any slack from his classmates about walking his sister down to her room, but I couldn't guarantee that his classmates in 2nd grade would be the same way.

Socialization is always a hot issues. It's not a public school issue or a homeschooling issue. It's a parenting issue!! We need to be better parents! What social skills a child has or does not have is NOT a result of where they go to school, it's a result of the parenting that is done (or not done).

6 comments:

  1. WOW! Our family is just about ready to homeschool our Kindergardener this fall. I am on the opposite side of where you were. My husband is the one pulling for HS and I somewhat reluctantly want to "enter" that world. I just really wonder if I have the patience. I don't want to get into the whole "my kids are better than" or "they are so perfect b/c we HS" mentality. Oh and I refuse to wear those lovely holiday themed sweaters and denim jumpers...does that mean I can't be a good HS mom? (KIDDING and I know that probably just ticked someone off) I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your post. That is exactly how I feel and it helped me to figure out how I would be able to respond to others who may think that I'm "drinking the Kool-Aid" ya know? I would never want to come off as "better than" and would never really want to saturate my children in a seperate society of kids. It's very important for us to have them know all types of people. You are so right...it's not the kids fault it's the parents which probably annoys me the most. We just want to do what is best for our kids and even though I never thought we would be on this end of the spetrum- I'm willing to make ANY sacrifice to do what we feel is best for them.

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  2. Anonymous-Thanks for visiting my blog today and posting! I sincerely hope that your homeschooling experience will be a good one. NOT all Homeschoolers have this attitude that I talked about in my post. Like I said in the beginning it was a RANT, but there is some truth in in it. I have come across some homeschoolers with that attitude, just like I've come across non-homeschoolers with the same attitude "my kids are better because I send them to school".

    Of course I think my kids are wonderful, and can do no wrong, well because that's what all mothers think about their own kids right? (Seriously my kids can do wrong and have done wrong so don't take that last statement to heart).

    Anyway, Anonymous, I'm glad that you have found value in what I've ranted about. I wish you the best! You're right it's just a matter of doing what WE feel is best for OUR kids! I

    'm so excited for you that you are starting that homeschooling journey. I would be interested in reading about your journey! Take care and God Bless!

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  3. Great post! I have a similar one coming in the not-too-distant future. Coming from teaching K-2nd, library, and college--our choice is harshly scrutinized by some who know us. Everyone has an opinion about OUR decision.

    Unfortunately, I think the whole "my kids are better" mentality is a defense mechanism on both sides. From the ps-ing side I hear--how DARE you question the system? What, do you think you're BETTER than the public system has to offer? And just how many times do I have to hear about socialization. It's mind-numbing. Only when someone discovers that both hubby and I were professional public educators, ranging from Kinder to university, do they finally leave us alone. People can be utter lunatics over it--I remember one public school office personnel referring to home schooling as child abuse. Seriously, she was flapping her arms around and all red-faced over it. That can be scary stuff.

    Anyway, I can understand how some turn to the "my kids are better" argument out of anxiety, fear, and sometimes even resentment. We're the ones doing something different and unusual and we're in a very small percentile. Not saying it makes it okay to argue over who's better for whatever reason, but depending on the level of scrutiny and judgment being experienced, I can see it more easily happening when someone's feeling trapped between a rock and a hard place.

    Great stuff here. I'll be back!

    ~Shaye

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  4. Shaye-Thanks for stopping by; I'm thankful that you have found my blog enjoyable to read! I look forward to seeing you around....

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