Dear Butt Ugly Truth Readers:
More and more parents are turning to homeschooling to avoid the rigors of what has become the public school nightmare. If you are a regular reader of The Butt Ugly Truth, you know that we are a military family and we’ve lived in Virginia, Iceland, Florida, Connecticut and recently retired to Southern California. Moving frequently hasn’t been our choice, but we have been able to deal with it quite well together. What we haven’t been able to deal with is the continued theme of demoralized and substandard public schools. The lack of text books available to my children. The lack of compassion from teachers who teach because they were called to do so. The increasing irresponsibility of other parents who refuse to reign in their bully children. The violence in elementary and middle schools. The sexual harassment in elementary and middle schools. The lack of committment from the administrations.
When did we become a society of parents that allows our children, and in some cases, encourages, disrespect of authority and may-the-best-bully-win attitudes? Whatever happened to the majority of parents teaching their kids that respecting each other, their teachers and authority is the right thing to do? When did teachers become the enemy? When did the age of entitlement start this massively unbalanced way of life in public schools? How do we end the pattern of abuse and violence in our public schools?
These are the things I have been thinking about over the last year. My younger two children have experienced all of the things mentioned above while all the while they have received a substandard education. It has become MORE stressful for them to SURVIVE at school rather than going to a place where they are safe & actually CARED for so that they CAN learn.
That’s a thought….The Butt Ugly Truth is that my children leave home in the morning with breakfast in their belly, a good night’s rest, they leave with love and encouragement and are then thwarted into a building of bricks and mortar where they are dictated to all day. Facing mean kids, mean adults and angry staff. Here are some questions that I have asked myself over and over about withdrawing my kids from public school:
- Am I really smarter than a fifth grader?
- Will my child be able to realize that work is work and home is home?
- What will I do if I don’t know the answers?
- How can I get organized?
- Who will help me if I can’t do it alone?
- What if my kids become isolated from their peers?
- What if my kids are unhappy about homeschooling?
- How will a homeschool schedule work since I also work from home?
- Will my extended family and friends support my decision?
- How will I keep my kids socialized properly?
There are several different answers to my own questions that spark even MORE questions! For my whole life I have entrusted educators with my little children. I’ve sent them off to school with thoughts of apples and pencils and straight A’s! I’ve dreamed of the Dean’s List and citizenship awards for my kids. I’ve dreamed of happy smiles and warm school lunches over laughter only to find that it’s merely, just a dream. What I have found is that my kids are afraid to ask questions. I have found that kids are left unsupervised in the shadows while also being overlooked due to crowded classrooms. I have learned that a $2.60 hot lunch consists of salty corn chips and low-grade taco “meat”.
My husband and I have worked very diligently to nurture sibling relationships instead of encouraging rivalry to the point where my kids are uncomfortable in homes where siblings argue and fist fight non stop. If kids are allowed to treat their family this way at home, imagine what they are like when they go out into the world when their parents aren’t around.
So, for us, homeschooling is a good choice. I think the biggest debate on homeschooling is how will you properly socialize your children? Wont they miss their friends? The butt ugly truth about socialization is that it’s up to me to decide who my kids socialize with. When my kids invite friends over on the weekends, do you think I allow them to invite the kid that is mean (and when I say mean, I mean sailor mean) the kid that steals or breaks their toys? Am I going to let them invite someone who hits them and calls them names? No, so why is it ok for me to let them go to school and struggle with that kid ALL DAY LONG? Do I really want them to socialize with those kinds of kids who have little to no parent supervision after school? The other half of that argument is “Well your kids need to be involved in that so they can learn how to defend themselves and stand up for themselves”. To me that means that the only way to resolve unacceptable behavior is to allow my child to engage in it. That sends a mixed message. You’ve heard this saying, in fact, I’ve even said it myself “You better not start the fight, but you damn sure better finish it!” How about figure out what the problem is and don’t fist fight at all! Why aren’t we teaching THAT in public schools? The schools say “We teach humanity and compassion as part of our health curriculum” So it’s taught, rather spewed out, but it isn’t implemented or enforced. Doesnt that mean that our schools fall short of teaching our children? I can regurgitate information all day, but that doesn’t make me an educator. Isn’t it BETTER to be able to control their socialization while they are still developing their own ideas, opinions and behaviors? Isn’t it better to give them strategies and tools they can use in the real world with peers who appreciate them? Dont we continue making friends and battling the bully throughout our lives? I would rather teach my children that there ARE good people in the world and how to find them in order to protect them at such a fragile time. When you’re in the doctor’s waiting room, for example, and one toddler bonks another toddler on the head with a block, the first thing a mom might say is “Oh I’m so sorry!” and then the other mom says “Oh it’s ok…enter rationalization here” It’s not ok. It’s the perfect time to bring the two babies together and teach – on their level – about simple human compassion. In school, that happens! But guess what….there is no time to address it. The information must get spewed first….deal with behavior second or third or whenever.
The rest of the questions are simple answers. There are so many strong homeschooling networks that have so many diverse support groups for the CORRECT form of POSITIVE socialization. Using public schools for the simple fact of peer socialization is like throwing the fox right to the hounds. Why would I want to do that to my children? Generally speaking, the homeschooling curriculums out there are more rigorous and designed to teach as fast or as slow as your child needs to go. No more bored students, no more confused students, no more students whose standards are measured against other children that have completely different IQ’s and learning styles.
Don’t confuse my butt ugly truth to be a slam on ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS. There are several very reputable public school systems, though few and far between, and education is always an issue during elections! We are fighting the same battles we have always fought, but now, kids bring guns and other weapons to the fights! The butt ugly truth is that our schools have not provided a strong, positive atmosphere that’s conducive to learning. The administrations we’ve dealt with can only do so much, the police can only do so much, until it’s too late and our children are lost to us. Here is the link to one of my previous blogs that tells the story of a young freshman who was killed as a result of bullying, even after being moved to another public school. https://thebuttuglytruth.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/stop-the-violence/ I’ve also posted several links about stopping bullying in my blogroll as well as more articles through October 2010. Check those out for more information and my perspective.
If you’ve ever had a reason to consider homeschooling, whether it’s faith-based or otherwise, there’s a reason those thoughts have been put in your head. Listen to them and know that YOU can do it and that your child deserves it! THAT is the butt ugly truth!
I welcome your comments and questions!! Please share your thoughts!