Recently someone said to me “SURELY YOU DON’T HOMESCHOOL!!!!” upon realizing that I do in fact homeschool.
Since I was in public, I didn’t really want to debate my decision to homeschool my children, I decided to simply answer yes and to react with grace towards this ignorant innocent person. It so happened, we were attending a birthday party when this comment was made so what do you do, right? Since this person continued on and on, I simply answered as best I could without going into details by saying we don’t like or agree with the principles of public education. Apparently one only acquires tact when homeschooled. This person just would not be quiet about it; many times I tried gently to redirect this conversation to no avail. As this person continued, the “shock and awe” began to spread about the room and I found myself wishing to be able to give a “rant” about public education. Being though that I was in public, among many public school parents, I found myself unable to begin to truly enumerate all of the failures of the public education system so I am going to do that now.
Let me preface with the following statements:
I am not at all “against” the teachers within the public system individually. There are those who do deeply care for the children they teach, though they are in fact few and far between. I’ve had the pleasure to know a few teachers who spend their time, money, and efforts making a difference in a child’s life and I think this is truly a wonderful thing. Not all teachers within the “system” are failing all of the children, I am simply speaking about the “system” and a majority of new teachers.
I once heard a very wise person say
“If you don’t like this message, I’m sorry. I’ve heard it said that if you throw a rock into a crowd of dogs, the one that yelps the loudest is the one you hit, so if you’re mad it’s probably because you’re convicted.”
Once upon a time, all children learned all that they knew at home; there was no public education system. Then, there was a public education system but no compulsory attendance laws. Children who attended the first public schools in our country, attended community schools which were taught by “teachers” who lived, worked, and cared about their communities. These teachers had very small classes, perhaps only 10 or 12 children ranging in age from 5 to 15 years of age. In these schools, which were most of the time also churches, children learned biblical principles and the three R’s. There were no “standardized tests” nor were there any “labels.” The older students helped the younger students and there was a great sense of community within the school itself. Bullying was handled not only by the teacher, but by heavy handed parents who literally “put the fear” into their children. Parents took pride in their children and the school; they wanted very much to see their children learn to read, write, and do math. The teacher would regularly visit the homes and have dinner with the students; this was a “high prize” in the eye of the family. These community schools actually were very much like homeschools are today, with the exception that there is no outside teacher. Home-life, school, chores, church etc., all are intertwined in a homeschool.
Today, school attendance is compulsory and many teachers teach simply because the hours are good and they get a three month vacation during the summer. Church is separate and there is no scripture taught in the classroom, there are no prayers said to begin the day, you cannot blend older students with younger because it is dangerous, and every public school teacher now bows to the “god” that is the standardized test. Gone are the days of parents of public schooled students who actively discipline their children, set high moral standards for them, and strive to train up the child in the way that he should go. There is no more pride in community and love of fellowship, we are now racing to get ahead of one another instead of preferring others over ourselves and this is helped right along by the public education system.
In public schools today it is a constant contest to see which child can regurgitate many of the useless facts that are the “SOLs”, it has become more important to know Crispus Attux was the first person killed at the Boston Massacre and that he was an escaped slave than to learn phonics. Everything is streamlined, now we teach sight-words instead of phonics or at least so few phonics principles that children now graduate high school reading on a 2nd grade level.
Student to teacher ratios are at an all time high. Instead of the 10 or 12 to 1 ratio that once was, we are now seeing double and sometimes nearly triple the number of students to teacher. Teachers are no longer able to give students any individual attention or instruction, studies have suggested that students recieve less than 5 minutes of individual reading instruction per day. Total that up, that is less than half hour per week. There is no wonder we live in a society of functional illiterates.
As an example I will use my own daughter’s experience with public education for the 2 months I was foolish enough to send her. The following is an actual exchange, though names have been changed to protect the ignorant, I mean innocent.
Me: How was school today? Did you do well on your reading test?
Daughter: Oh, he didn’t have time to get to our reading test today, group B took too long.
Me: What do you mean?
Daughter: Well, there are four reading groups and he doesn’t always have time to read with us or do our tests.
Me: I’m sorry, come again with that?
Daughter: Mr. Simplemind has four reading groups, four math groups and four spelling groups. He doesn’t always have time to get to all of them.
Me: Well how often do you actually get to read?
Daughter: Sometimes he gets to us on Wednesday.
Of course after this exchange, I immediately went to Mr. Simplemind and asked him about this and he confirmed that he did in fact not always have enough time to get to every group everyday. I must admit I was flabbergasted. I asked him what he did to “make up” for not getting to each group, the answer was simple; nothing could really be done. Essentially, if you happened to be in the group that didn’t receive instruction that day; oh well then, sorry for you luck. The most outrageous part of this story actually occurred a few weeks later, I was discussing the reading group issue with an instructor (holding a doctorate, instructing ed. classes for the college) and she is who informed me of the study indicating each child received less than 5 minutes per day of actual reading instruction. I’d call this a major failure, wouldn’t you?
Science and history have been reduced to 15 minute videos and a worksheet, just enough to meet standards and move on quickly to meet the next. There is no time for field trips to the history museum, no time for science projects or nature study, and absolutely no time to discuss real history or question scientific theories. Once, children learned about history by visiting historical places, reenacting historical events, and many other activities. Science was experiential as well, we all remember the “egg drop” experiment, and fun!
Children are no longer allowed to have fun in school; they now have a 40 hour workweek for 34 weeks each year preparing them for the 2 weeks of testing at the end.
History, as taught in the public system, has been altered to fit the political correctness of our day. Curriculum writers candy coat all history, the good, the bad, the ugly. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the public education system, what IS their fault is that they purchase and utilize it. There is no respect for truth; truth isn’t pretty.
Science, well all I can say is I am flabbergasted. Scientific theories are being taught as fact, scientific facts are being altered, it really is sickening.
The goal of education is lost; the goal now is to pass the test.
Today, teaching scripture from the Christian Bible as being fact or being the actual inspired Word of God would end in termination of employment. Tolerance is “god” of the public education system, not truth. I am not saying judgment is the way, I’m simply saying unapologetically that compromising the Word of God is not the way. There is such a thing as speaking the truth in love, and it ought to be done. Our nation was founded upon biblical principles, but our Godly heritage is being chipped away by the new way of tolerance and a “free to be me” way of life. God is unwelcome in the public school, at least the Christian God is unwelcome, and all others have a free for all. Diversity is king, truth is unwelcome.
Discipline is a dirty word, self-esteem is king.
I am not saying that children should be beat, berated and humiliated; I am saying that there is no discipline taught from the beginning. Parents no longer believe in teaching a child to behave properly, boys will be boys you know and that is just how girls are. I’m not sure; I believe though, that the art of discipline was lost after our great-grandparents generation. Abstinence is an unreasonable expectation today, manners are old fashioned, and all children are taught that they are the best thing since sliced bread even when they’re acting like little monsters. Parents are medicated to deal with their children and children are medicated to deal with their lack of discipline (hold your fire here guys….I am not referring to adults or children who are truly in need of meds). All of this in the name of “self-esteem”. What ever happened to teaching your child what “NO” means? Oh, that’s right….NO is a dirty word, it causes the child to believe there is something “wrong” with it or its actions. The public education system absolutely supports this theory wholeheartedly, the less time they have to spend on actual discipline training the more time they have to teach to those standardized tests after all. Teachers balk at the fact that children lack discipline, and yet they are unwilling to teach it and many of them lack it themselves. Today, there is a generation of juvenile adults who are unable to function outside of the realm of virtual reality and video games. Men are non longer taught to be providers., women no longer taught to be keepers of the home. There is more crime, more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions, and in general more irresponsible adults than in any generation before us. All of this because we want our children to have great self- esteems. What we fail to realize though, as parents and in schools, real self-esteem isn’t built on false praise; real self-esteem comes from working hard to accomplish worthy goals.
So many homeschooling parents attempt to emulate public schooling in their homes, but in my humble opinion it should be an exact opposite. The public system should take a look at successful homeschools and then take those ideas and utilize them in their system. It is truly a sad day in America when any parent of a public school child is so easily fooled that they would believe that the P.S. is doing a “great job”.
To Be Continued…