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Welcome to Education Alternative's Series on Homeschooling!

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"Mom, do you think that NEXT year we might do something in science besides plant seeds, because we've done that every year since preschool?"

These are the words of our then 4th grader.  And they went right to my heart.  Both the hope and the dissatisfaction that they conveyed wrenched my guts.  This is a child who gets up every single day excited about what he can learn that day.  He has been that way since he was a toddler and is still that way today, at 15.  It became clear to us that if we didn't find someplace or somebody that would challenge him, and would feed this constant love of learning, that we would lose him, he would become bored, disruptive, and withdrawn.

This diary is an edit and rewrite of a diary I published in 2010 in response to a heated conversation about homeschooling that happened in a diary about textbook selection in Texas.  The story of our decision to homeschool, and the questions it raises, are still relevant today, as has been evidenced on Dkos lately where many people have questioned the decision by some liberals to take their kids out of public school and homeschool them.  Many responses have basically trashed liberal homeschoolers for not staying in the system and working from within for change.  I assure you, I did that without success.  I also assure you that the decision to leave the schools was not an easy one.  It's one I continually struggle with personally, and this is what I'd like to discuss today. Follow me over the squiggly for more...

First, a little history.  I am a product of public schools, and my father served on the school board in our town from the year I entered kindergarten until he handed me my diploma.  I fully support the Idea of a free and fabulous education for all.  I grew up in Southern California in the 60s and 70s, and I feel I got what amounted to a pretty fair public education for that time period.  The schools I attended were mostly white, mostly middle class, and although there was some Latino population, I don't think it amounted to a large percentage.

So when I had kids, as you can imagine, I never had any question that I would send them to public school.  Some unusual things happened along the way...

Before we had kids, my husband and I had custody of a niece and nephew for about 2 1/2 years.  They were 4 and 8 when they came to live with us, from my meth addicted brother, and they had been living in squalid and neglected conditions for most of their lives.  If you've had a situation like this in your family, you know it's always hard.

We got to "practice", so to speak, with public schools before our own kids got there.  This was in Northern California, on the Oakland border, in a fairly middle class but racially diverse school. It was considered a good school in a good district.  My niece had some challenges, as you can imagine, and I was shocked to find that I could not get any help for her.  It turned out that, since she was at about the 30th percentile in performance, she wasn't low enough to merit intervention.  Hmmm.  This was very frustrating and all I could think was, aren't we supposed to take them all and move them forward?  She had come from a very poor, very rural district in SoCal.  I quickly realized that she could read at a very high level, but with little or no comprehension. Due to her background, she was a consummate pleaser and was very able to fake her way through the early grades.  Things didn't get tough until about 5th grade, when she couldn't use her survival skills to fake her way through anymore.  I was promptly told by her teacher that she was just lazy.  Despite my continued explanations of her background, my getting myself on a first name basis with the principal, and volunteering in the school, I advocated for her for 2 years and was finally told by the principal that I needed to take her to a doctor and have her diagnosed with ADD, and then they could assign more resources to her.  But she very obviously did not have ADD.  She had some other learning disabilities, it was clear to me as a layperson, but as I wasn't an educator, or a parent, I had trouble negotiating the system (and frankly, we were dealing with an overwhelming number of other issues with these kids and their parents), and I was unwilling to get a diagnosis for her that would follow her and was clearly incorrect.  

I did, however, see a lot of good in this school.  Many good teachers, many parent volunteers (key IMO to a school's success), a caring community. I wrote the problems off as unique to our situation, and as the kids went back to live with a parent shortly after that, I let it go.  I learned many things that I figured would help me when my own kids got to public school.  My oldest was born in 1996, about the time that these kids went back to live with their mom.

My experiences with these children did change many, many of my preconceived notions of parenting, and were definitely the key reason why I chose to stay home with my kids rather than work and put them in day care. My husband and I adjusted our lifestyle; as an engineer, he makes a good living, and we quickly realized that we would have to leave California.  There was no way we could see how, on one income, to live in a "good" school district, have an affordable house, and not have a killer commute.  Two out of three was all we could achieve in the Bay Area.

So off we went to the Midwest, where we moved into a very upper middle class school district in Western Michigan.  A 98% of graduates college bound sort of district.  Expectations were high, there were projects and auctions to raise money, and teachers were complaining about too many volunteers and that they could not afford to live in the district they taught in.   Achievement naturally followed. This had its problems too.  I could see that the kids were going to get a good education, but what would the price be in terms of their social development?  Not to mention the religious pressure.  It's Bush-Rush loving country, the home town of Gerald Ford.  And, to top it off, one of my son's classmates had a Mom who was a principal in an urban district, just a few miles away, with 100% minority and 98% free and reduced price lunch.  I had a friend who taught in a rural district and described the needs of those kids.  I began to understand that we were in the wrong place.  This was early, kindergarten, first grade years.  While I wanted my kids to have this great education, I did not want them to grow up to think the whole world was white and rich.  Parenting is a learn as you go endeavor, and I have to admit that living in West Michigan in the Bush years also defined my politics and beliefs in much sharper terms than I ever had to consider in California.  As I like to say to people, we didn't like the climate in West Michigan, and I'm not talking about the weather!

Next up, my husband was offered an assignment to Seattle.  That was more like it.  Back to the West Coast, lowest religious observance in the county, diversity, progressives.  Yes, that would be great.  We chose a school and a district in Suburban Seattle, because of a magnet program that was similar to a program we'd been in in Michigan.  It's in a high ranked district, but a school with lower rankings, with much economic and racial diversity.  Perfect, I thought.  I jumped in with both feet.  Volunteering, joining the PTA board, I was even offered a part time job at the school.  And within months, I was horrified.  

The expectations for these kids were so much lower than what we saw in Michigan, it was laughable.  I sat in meetings with teachers who complained about not having time to teach science or social studies because they had to spend so much time on reading.  This is because of testing and because the kids were (and still are) so disadvantaged that they have to catch them up.  This is a school with about 40% minority and 50% free lunch, so not at the bottom, but with a lot of kids in a lot of bad situations.   It was supposed to be good for my kids to be there, we were supposed to be floating the boats, right?  We are progressive.   But my kids were bored to tears.  They weren't learning because they already knew the material.  I was there, volunteering and working part time and my own kids were falling through the cracks.  There was no one seeing them, challenging them, teaching them.

My oldest was in this school for two years and in 4th grade when, in a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me that his reading level was 4th grade.  Excuse me, I said, but before we came here 2 years ago, he was tested at 5th grade (when he was in 2nd grade) and he just finished reading the first Lord of the Rings at home.  And the 3rd grade teacher told me he aced the 6th grade test and she didn't have a higher test to give him.  So either they were wrong or you are wrong.  Sheepishly she said, well, I haven't really had the opportunity to test him independently because I have all these other kids who aren't at grade level, so, since I knew he was ok,  I just marked him down as grade level.  Would you like me to have the reading specialist test him?

I have story after story after story like this.  I was working directly for the principal.  I discussed these things with her and she blew it all off.  I talked to the teachers each year about some difficulties in my son's writing, and then was told by the reading specialist who tested him that, while he was reading at about 10th grade level, she had concerns about his writing.  Really, I said, does anybody around here keep a file or information from year to year because this has been a concern of mine since the day he came here.  No, I was told, the teachers don't have access to the previous year's information.  How can a child be here for 2 years and no one knows what his strengths and weaknesses are?  No one has an answer.  It wasn't just our oldest having struggles, but his situation was the most pressing.  

At this point, we began to search for options.  We looked at private schools, other magnet type programs, etc.  In discussing options, the oldest had asked to homeschool.  He explained it as wanting more time to learn what he wanted to learn, to be able to ask as many questions as he wanted in a day and get either answers or help to find the answers, and not to spend any more of his time with a bunch of kids who didn't want to be there and didn't care about learning.  Wow, when at 10, he articulated it like that, how could we ignore him?

In the course of this, I was struggling with the concept of homeschooling.  I had several friends who had done it, one short term and one whose kids had never been to school.  With my family background, I had this notion that to take him out of school I had to take all three kids out (at this point, he was 4th grade, my daughter was 3rd grade and my youngest was in kindergarten), and basically turn my back on the system.  My younger kids were doing ok in that school.  I knew that it wasn't the best situation, but they wouldn't be hurt by staying there while we figured things out, and I was terrified that to homeschool I would need to pull them all three out, and then what, how could I help the one who really needed it, and was asking for it?  Then, one day, I went to the mailbox, and my favorite mom-magazine was there (Brain Child, which is out of publication), and on the cover was a story about short term homeschooling.  I started reading it while walking back to the house, and was crying before I could open the door.  This article described our situation almost to a tee, and suggested that it was ok to take one child out of school and focus on meeting their needs, while leaving siblings where their needs were being met.  In an instant, I knew we'd found our answer, at least for the immediate situation, and in a sense for the long term too.  I had always considered my kid's needs sort of in bulk, and I realized that I needed to look at them independently and that they may not all be served by the same choice.

The following fall, my younger kids went back to school and the oldest stayed home.  Within 3 months, our daughter asked to come home, for completely different, but very valid, reasons.  Our youngest declared he would finish first grade and then he wanted to homeschool.  We transitioned over that year, which was 5 years ago, and have never looked back.  It started as a short term, let's figure out how to meet needs thing, and has continued because everyone's much happier and learning more, and while we look at each one's needs each year, homeschooling has been the best choice for each of them and for our family. (that's a whole 'nother diary!)

But I still HATE that we aren't there.  I hate that the system couldn't do what I thought it could, and what I still think it has a responsibility to do.  I love our life, but I struggle with the idea that we are not there, helping to make it better for all those other kids.  I hate too, the sacrifices we have to make to live this life.  And yet, do I let mine fall through the cracks for that?  

The issue I am trying to define is the struggle of urban and suburban progressives.   I think this is one of the challenges of our values.  How do we assure our own kids receive a good education, while adhering to our values?

White (and really any middle class,regardless of ethnicity) flight is real, but is it reasonable?  How can schools ever be equitable for minority and disadvantaged kids?  How much should I be expected to sacrifice my own child's education on the altar of social justice?  I have dealt with tremendous guilt in pulling out of the public system.  I want my kids to be there, but I don't see how they can be there and get the education that they need to get into college and to prosper in an ever more competitive world.  

I feel as if we did everything right, and yet the system didn't work for us.  I was there and advocating for my kids, and they still didn't get the education or attention that they needed.  What about all those kids who don't have an advocate?  They deserve to have me (or someone?) there advocating for them if they don't have someone on their own, but what price would my own kids pay for that?  When is it ok to be selfish and when should we be selfless?  What do I owe my own kids if I do choose to put them into this situation?

What is a progressive to do?  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

    by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:00:04 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure I see the conflict. (6+ / 0-)

    You still pay property taxes?  You aren't asking for 'vouchers' or anything, right?

    I'd say, by homeschooling, you're lowering average class size and increasing the attention teachers can pay to their students.  It sounds very progressive to me.

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:07:00 AM PDT

    •  I Work Out Of My House (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leu2500, k8dd8d, wishingwell, WarrenS

      I had a client here Friday. He stopped to look at these things I have on my wall. Diplomas. I had to explain my father went to college, University of Illinois, when he was 14. He got a PhD. My dad has a PhD. I have a MA and failed my parents not getting a PhD. We could have gone to any school we wanted, but public schools were all we needed. I need to write something about that. Public schools rock. I'll take my education I got against any Ivy League school.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:11:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for the comment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Chi, WarrenS

      I guess the conflict for me has been about the not being there.

      If all the "above average" in a school opt out, or leave (white flight?), then the average is lower and the expectations are lowered.

      This is what happens in urban schools when those who can afford it go to the suburbs...suburban schools get better, and get more money, urban schools suffer.

      I have wondered whether fleeing the suburban school for homeschooling will have the same effect in the long run.

      Yes, I still pay property taxes, but in Washington, the way that works is that my funds no longer go to the local school district.  They go into the state general fund.  The schools get paid by how many butts are in the seats.

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:29:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a personal decision (12+ / 0-)

    You do what is best for your own children and your own situation.  People who criticize others' choices on their children's education need to mind their own business.  My two kids went to our public schools because we are fortunate that we live in a good school district.  However my daughter's best friend is homeschooled; that is her parents' decision.  Personally I could not have homeschooled my kids because I have no patience;  I was quite happy to see them get on the school bus.  But that's me.  We all need to accept others' choices and not be so absolute.

  •  My friend faced the same situation with her (5+ / 0-)

    daughter. Fortunately her daughter was able to enroll in a Gifted Program . But so many states are making deep cuts in education budgets and sacrificing these programs for gifted students. Prior to enrolling in the Gifted Program for her public school, the child was bored to tears and began to dislike school. After she entered the Gifted Program , she loved school, She graduated a year early and was awarded a full academic college scholarship.  

    Some public schools offer alternative programs for students whose needs are not being met.  We have a wonderful Alternative School in my hometown, completely funded by the Public School. But then again, the residents of that district do pay high taxes but it is worth it. But that could be because Penn State highly favors it and offer the opportunity for advanced kids to take college courses while in high school.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:20:55 AM PDT

  •  I so admire and respect your devotion to your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k8dd8d, Mr Robert, WarrenS

    chilldren's education and I wish you the very best.

    Keep us updated and thanks for sharing your story.

    I know someone who is considering home schooling her children for similar reasons but she fears her kids will miss out on clubs, sports, and socialization with classmates. But I told her there are ways to compensate for that......
    For instance, I do believe homeschooled kids are still eligible to play sports for the public school...Tim Tebow was homeschooled but played football for a high school.
    Does that depend on the state?

     A friend from college homeschooled her daughter but got her daughter involved in community activities for children like swimming lessons, ice skating lessons, and later competitive line skating and so much more.
    She had her daughter enrolled in YMCA activities.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:25:26 AM PDT

    •  Playing sports in public school while homeschooled (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k8dd8d, wishingwell, WarrenS

      indeed depends on the state and sometimes on the district. For example, there are many districts in Florida that do not offer that option but I understand that Jacksonville schools do. If she is basing her decision on the option of public school extra-curricular activities she may want to check with her school or the local home school organization (even if it's right wing it will know the answer to that question).

      Community activities however, are open to all children and work just as well. Seriously, socialization opportunities in public school aren't what they were when we were kids. A lot of schools have reduced recess in elementary, and put limits on talking even in lunch rooms. I suppose you would still have socialization in school hallways and such in middle and high school, but all too often those can be negative bullying situations rather than healthy ones, and it's almost impossible to monitor those well.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my kids don't feel they miss out on anything (6+ / 0-)

      and I feel like they miss the things I don't want them to have anyway...bullying, consumerism, cliquishness, all that nastiness that is middle school.

      Whether you have access to public school extra-curriculars is a state by state, and in some cases, district by district thing.

      We live in suburban Seattle, and here, there are tons tons of things for my kids to be involved in.  There are enough homeschoolers in the area that local businesses are responding with special programs for us.  The local YMCA offers a swim, gym and art program during the day for homeschoolers.  Many gymnastics, karate, dance, theater businesses offer homeschool programs.  These are all for a fee, so that is tough for some families, but in many cases, they are reduced prices to after school programs.  It's a win for the business because we are bonus money.

      In addition, there are tons of free stuff.  We belong to a homeschool support group and a homeschooled teen group that offer weekly activities, bike rides, game days, book clubs, field trips, etc.

      We also attend a co-op one morning a week that my kids take classes from other parents.

      We laugh sometimes that we have to work to stay "home" and put the "home" in "homeschool".  There are so many things available we could be out and busy with other families every single day!

      For us, this is possible because there is a large secular community of homeschoolers here.  In some places, when the only community of homeschoolers is the ones homeschooling to give their kids a Christian worldview, then the choices may be different.  Had we stayed in West Michigan, I highly doubt we'd be homeschooling.

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:41:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes that would work very well, but not in rural (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, FloridaSNMOM, WarrenS

        or small towns like where many of my relatives live. There are not activities for school aged kids unless they are church activities or public school activities.There are no other options for my cousin's kids in a small rural town.  It is school, church or family activities or going outside to play with the neighbor's kids. But so many of her neighbors are elderly.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:21:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if there are other homeschoolers in the area (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, FloridaSNMOM, WarrenS

          they can make their own activities, but, if those homeschoolers are not reasonably like-minded, it is much, much harder.  We've participated in one activity this year and last with a group of religious right-wing homeschoolers.  The activity itself has been very good, but the community around it is not ours and we realize that.  If that's all that was available for community, we'd not be homeschooling.

          We are fortunate in where we live, for sure.

          If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

          by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:28:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes exactly , that makes sense and that was (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            k8dd8d, WarrenS

            another reason my best friend was fortunate to have the Gifted Program and Alternative Program in her public school for her  daughter. She said all the homeschoolers in her neighborhood and locale were almost all right wing fundies.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:39:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll be writing a diary about our (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gareth, WarrenS

              foray into the right wing community in the early summer.  My son is participating in team policy debate, and that has been a really, really interesting adventure.

              He is qualified to Nationals in June, and I cannot write about it until after then.

              If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

              by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:42:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Clubs, sports, and socialization (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k8dd8d, wishingwell, FloridaSNMOM, WarrenS

      I'm sure it depends highly on where you are and how many homeschoolers are around, but for us involvement in clubs, sports, and socialization has increased rather than decreased after leaving school. Most of my homeschool peers tend to academics individually, but get together for exactly that:  clubs, sports, and socialization.  We meet regularly for our Lego NXT robotics and programming club, our book club, our soccer and futsal classes, and park days.  As we all get to know each other better, our kids spend more time together and more unplanned socialization happens.

      Of course, my son is only 7, and there are no school-based organized sports here at that level.  The comparison might be different in high school, but it seems that at all levels most of the teams in our community at any level are not school-based.  My son is on a swim team out of our local community center (none of our city's public schools has a swim team), and he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well (never gonna happen in a PS). On a weekly basis, his physical activity is way up, and we wouldn't be able to do it all if we had that big block taken up in the middle of the day, plus homework. Other sports he may end up trying are rowing and fencing - neither of which has a large presence in our public schools.  

      So I'd say that, given enough home schooled kids around, school could be something that gets in the way of clubs, sports, and socialization.

      •  I agree, especially that the quality (4+ / 0-)

        of the interactions and friendships are much higher than in school.

        When you go to park day weekly with a bunch of kids, and they don't have that bell ringing in 15 minutes that says they have to stop playing, and go back in to learn, they wind up learning a whole lot of other things.

        I have a great picture from my son's first day of homeschooling (the day school officially started in our district and he wasn't there).  We are at a park for our support group's Not Back to School Picnic...and a whole group of about 25 kids, aged from about 3 to about 14 are stealing up to a fence to watch some deer in the meadow beyond.  

        It was fantastic!

        If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

        by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:50:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, here's where we differ (6+ / 0-)

          I don't think you can say categorically that the "quality of interactions and friendships are much higher than in school."
          They can be, or they can't.  You never know.  My daughter is in 7th grade and adores her school friends.  She is having a wonderful middle school experience, involved in sports, drama, all kinds of activities.  My son, who is now a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, kept more to himself in middle school;  he did slightly better in grade school and high school.  It may be a girl/boy thing;  she is far more organized and outgoing than he is.

               I just think making generalizations is where we get into trouble.

          •  you are right, and I should (6+ / 0-)

            have said "can be" instead of are.

            My kids have friends who are in public school, and, in my daughter's case, several of them cry on her shoulder about how bad their junior high experience is.

            I lead a Girl Scout troop of 7th & 8th graders, more than half of who are in public school, and when they come to meetings monthly, they download all of their negative experiences.

            So I get biased without having a full sampling.

            If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

            by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:03:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes it really does depend on the child and the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            k8dd8d, Kansas Born, WarrenS

            child's needs and what suits each particular child.

            My friend homeschooled her daughter in the Chicago suburbs and it worked out wonderfully. She was very involved in community activities, community sports and local theatre productions.  

            Contrast that with my cousin who lives in a rural small town without any activities for kids except school and church and Little League Baseball  in the summers.  
            There is absolutely nothning for kids or anyone to do.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:27:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Looks to me like you did it right. (5+ / 0-)

    The schools aren't where they should be, most people acknowledge this.  Our society is engaged in a war on public education (although it feels more and more like a war on education...).  You can still fight the battle without putting your kids in harm's way.

  •  btw I'm sorry that your 4th grader was (5+ / 0-)

    planting seeds every year in science--that does sound boring and repetitive.  I work at Hands on Science in our school district;  we make the science kits that the elementary school kids use every quarter.  They only plant seeds once, in the 2nd grade New Plants kit.  4th Graders, for example, get the following:  Microworlds, Solar Systems, Earth Materials, Landforms.  All with a variety of hands on activities that are refurbished by us each quarter.  We just sent out the Kindergarten Egg to Chick kits;  each class gets incubators and fertilized eggs and they watch eggs hatching.  First graders just got Butterfly kits;  they watch butterflies hatch and let them go after a few days.  

         I love my job.  I also realize that not all school districts are fortunate enough to have these activities.

    •  that's great, and I tried to make something (5+ / 0-)

      like this work in our school, but was met with much resistance by the principal.

      She basically told me that there are two types of teachers, those that are good at math and science, and those that are good at language arts.  Her feeling was that moth math and science people teach at junior high or above, and most elementary teachers are more comfortable with language arts, so we couldn't expect them to embrace science in the way some people would.

      With that from her, my proposal and plan with the PTA did not get far.  They allocate their money to her priorities, and she wasn't willing to impose science on her teachers.

      Mind you, this district sits directly between Boeing and Microsoft!  And there are other schools in the district that have implemented parent led science programs or who have funded a science teacher through PTA, but she was not willing, at the time, to make it a priority, and neither were the other parents in PTA.

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:33:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's terrible (5+ / 0-)

        Ironically I wasn't even a science major, but I see the importance of it as an elementary school subject.  I might have been more interested in it as a kid if we had had hands-on tasks instead of learning out of a book.  

             Illinois has been having financial crises for awhile now and every so often the elementary science curriculum comes under scrutiny.  Fortunately it has survived.

      •  I Will Just Say This (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, wishingwell, WarrenS

        My father has a PhD. A teacher by his profession. He was not happy with how I was taught (this is in the early 80s). So he thought he'd run for the school board. I mean how could anybody vote against him?

        About the only votes he got was from my mom.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:47:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't have any problems with homeschooling (4+ / 0-)

    I think it's a no brainer that anyone who has the time, energy, knowledge, support, and the right type of child will almost certainly lead to higher absolute outcomes.  

    That's a no brainer, because you are essentially talking about a one on one teacher student ratio.  

    If pure learning were the only thing relevant in school, it wouldn't matter at all.  

    I guess I have a problem with secession as a way to solve a problem.  If my son wanted to quit everything when he encountered a disappointment, I would be unhappy about that.  

    As for the teacher who didn't test, that's too bad.  That's a failure of the individual and the principal.  It's pretty simple to remedy that.  If the principal truly won't deal with it, you tell the principal that you will first contact the office dealing with assessment in the district.  After that, you tell them that you will tell the local media.  

    That problem will be solved in a second.  

    People homeschool for a variety of reasons.  

    I don't find "not voting" to be a reasonable response to disappointment with the results of the political process.  I also don't see leaving a school system as a viable response to disappointment in the school process.  

    The other thing I always remind parents I know is that every child is homeschooled.  Elementary students get about 4 hours a day of class time with their teacher for 180 days of school.  

    I also never know the full story when well meaning, liberal parents tell about the failures of their school to serve their child.  Sometimes, there is a lot more to the story that never makes the printing press.  

    How important is it to you as a parent that your child have the correct reading level listed on his or her report card?  The teacher was wrong to not assess your child, don't get me wrong.  However, reading is a multi-faceted skill.  My child was reading books like Harry Potter fluently as a preschooler.  He wasn't in an academic preschool, and he was always a holy terror in the classroom.  Classic ADHD from the get go.  I denied that for years, because I always (and still do) had doubts about the necessity of identifying it as a condition.  So we sent books to preschool with him, because it was the only thing that would get him to sit still for a minute.  I doubted that he actually was that difficult, but then I went back and watched video of him, and he was clearly unusual in his activity level.  Every place he went, he was a pain in the ass to the adults.  I felt insecure and criticized about his behavior.  So I was always prone to removing him from the situation to assuage my concern.  

    But you know what?  Even though he could decode text up to college level as a kindergartner, he wasn't reading at that level.  He got some information, because the ideas were beyond his developmental level.  

    His kindergarten teacher was objectively bad.  I mean, yes, she was a bad teacher.  She didn't have most of the necessary skills to manage a kindergarten classroom, and there was nothing she could do with a 5 year old who could decode higher level text than she could. I'm not making that part up.  A bunch of teachers and I were at home, reading one of her newsletters, and it was a sad, sad testament to her lack of... well... just about everything needed to be a teacher.

    And I wanted him to be out of that situation.  It was difficult for me, personally, to see my child have such a tough time.  One thing I figured out about him, everywhere he went, everything he did... he left an impression on the people who worked with him.  He was instructive for the educators who had to deal with him.  Whenever he left, I could see that the school make some changes to accommodate kids with similar issues.  

    Additionally, other parents saw that kids can do these sorts of high level things, and still be rambunctious, active children.  I frequently remind him that it is good to be useful.  Try to be useful to the world.  I saw him as a kid who was useful to the educators, kids, and families he was dealing with.  As a kindergartner, he got his class interested in trying to learn to read chapter books.  They would bring him chapter books to school to help them read.  

    Kids who are successful in elementary school often have a common experience at home.  They have enriching lives outside of the classroom.  They are exposed to art, science, theater, music, sports, and a whole boatload of other things that unsuccessful kids frequently don't have access to, because their family situation doesn't support it.  

    I don't think homeschooled children are less socially adept.  If a kid is less socially adept, but all other health and emotional aspects are in order, it seems to me that the social comfort level of the family is more at play.  That sort of family may be more inclined to homeschool.   It's important that it doesn't sound as if I'm using that stupid argument- the one that says homeschooled kids are socially out of sorts.  That said, school, in my opinion, is an excellent way for kids to be able to confront and overcome the typical obstacles of group situations.

    The most common institutional obstacles to individual success and happiness in a group situation are related to leadership failures and poor organization.  

    I learned to stop the urge of removing my child from unsatisfying situations where I thought he wasn't acting up to their standards, or if I thought they were not acting up to my standards.  Once, when he was 6, he pushed a drama teacher.  She was just a kid, maybe 21 or so.  My first urge was to apologize and just remove him from the situation.  I had no doubts that it was what I wanted to do.  But this very young woman took me and told me that my kid was going to come back.  I realized then that it was more important for him to overcome those social obstacles than it was for me to feel like every group situation worked out exactly how I wanted it to.

    Your children are obviously doing well, and I would never criticize anyone's decision on this serious issue.

    I am an educator, and I have been for going on 20+ years in one capacity or another, whether formally in public schools, or otherwise.  Yet, I learned from this young woman that it was more important for my kid and me to confront and solve the social and emotional issues, and develop the ability to respond in a reasonable, productive, confident manner.

    I am glad I overcame that urge,  because those issues will never go away for a kid like that.  Every social, emotional, employment, love... situation will always contain bits of those challenges.  I have always been thankful for that lesson.

    I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

    by otto on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:41:46 AM PDT

    •  One of the most important lessons (5+ / 0-)

      we can learn as a parent is to allow our kids to fail.  Failing teaches different lessons than success does.  IMO, they need to learn from both to be well rounded and well adjusted.  That, in a way, sounds a bit like what you learned from that young drama teacher.  Every situation can be an opportunity for just may not always be the learning we had planned, ie, you may have learned more in that situation than your child did (not ultimately, but that experience of HIS led to great learning by YOU).

      Early in your comment, you say it is simple to go above the principal to solve a problem, and here, I disagree.  First off, there were many, many, many stories I could have told, and I just chose that particular one.  My child's grade level did not matter to me, but what mattered is that he'd been sitting in that classroom for months with a teacher who had no idea what his strengths and weaknesses were.

      Secondly, in some situations, going above and bringing the district in only makes a bad situation worse.  Remember too, this was complicated because she was also MY BOSS.  If it were simply a failure of a teacher to test and a principal to respond, then I would have done it.  But the stories and stories and stories I could tell out of this school amount to a much bigger problem.

      Also, she was a darling in the district because she had started a magnet program and was bringing in much money to the district with kids from out of district waivering in for the program.  And it was too early in the program to show that it wasn't working (it wasn't, but that's another story and complicated as well).

      I think the struggle I am trying to address in this diary is that decision to secede.   It feels all wrong in not staying and not fighting to improve that school.  And my child was approaching 5th grade, I began to see that the fight for change would take longer than HE had.  It would take years to make any sort of institutional change in the district (let alone the system as a whole) and by then it would be too late for HIM.

      Our state recently produced some long term plan to make schools better.  I don't remember the details, but it was a 15 year or 20 year plan.  That means it affects kids who aren't even born yet without considering the jillions who are already in 6th grade or 9th grade, etc.  What about them?  How do we make it better for the ones already there?

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:02:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Learning from failure *is* important, (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, reconnected, Chi, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

        but even more important is how that failure is handled, and whether success is even possible. Sometimes the educational system sets up a child where they cannot possibly succeed. Or, the teacher is so hard on a child's self-esteem that it sets them back by years and/or amounts to bullying.

        When my son was in 2nd grade we had this problem with a teacher who came in halfway through the year. She didn't follow (or even look at I believe) IEP's. She didn't believe in making any accommodations, even though she was teaching a special needs class room. She sent home assignments that were not only impossible for him to do, but useless busy work, and when I sent a note back in with him that it went contrary to his IEP and he'd done what he could, she punished him anyway for not getting it done. This was 2nd grade, and a child who is autistic and had fine motor issues (huge problem with hand writing). She sent home a full page typed list of class rules that she wanted all the kids to hand write three times in one night. It took us six hours of one on one and fighting with him to get it done once. He wasn't capable of more than that. So, she made him sit through recess for the next week.
        Later in the year we were at the store and I asked him to get the WIC checks out of the diaper bag. He looked in the tiny key compartment on the side and said he couldn't find them. My other half said "Think about this logically, would the WIC checks fit in that pocket?" My son looked at him and said "I know, I'm stupid, my teacher tells me that all the time," in this really quite, depressed voice. The principle refused to do anything, refused to move the teacher (who was not certified for special education), refused to change his classroom because there was no other one suitable, refused to let us transfer schools. We home schooled him the rest of that year, until we moved. He never went back again.
        It took us several years to undo much of the damage that teacher did in two months.

        I don't understand how anyone could think leaving a child in that situation to 'learn how to deal with bad situations' is in any way good for a 2nd grade child, even one who was not disabled. And sometimes there is nothing the parent can do to change it other than home school.


        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:58:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This breaks my heart. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, WarrenS

          And makes me glad your state allows you to homeschool him.

          There are many, many special needs parents who are finding homeschooling a good option.  

          The smaller and smaller the public scjools define the boxes that kids fit into, the more people are seeking options.

          If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

          by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:05:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Principle (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reconnected, k8dd8d, WarrenS

            actually said when I asked he be transferred to a different local elementary school that had a high functioning autistic classroom that fit his needs better than the one he'd been in: "I won't authorize that because then my district loses the funding."
            Of course, me being the obstinate red head that I am said "Fine! I'll home school him and you won't get the funding anyway."

            We'd already discussed home schooling as an option of course, and had decided that in the event we couldn't work things out with the school that's what we'd do. But the look in that man's face was priceless.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:23:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  A caveat: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k8dd8d, WarrenS

          I know some kids can be manipulative and make up things and over exaggerate things at that age especially. But, a couple of points:

          A) He was not developmentally at the level to make up things like that due to his autism.
          B) While sometimes he could be paranoid or misunderstand things, it was always while he was in the situation and in a melt down. This was towards the end of a long weekend (or maybe spring break I can't remember exactly), but he hadn't dealt with the teacher for a few days, so wasn't in that aggravated state.
          C) When he was paranoid he was manic/aggressive/angry, in this case he was none of those things, and the way it was said was with such heart felt grief and despair, there was no mistaking it from truth.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:07:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Personal problems vs institutional problems (8+ / 0-)

      You make an important point:  it is very important for children to learn to solve their own problems.

      But what about when the problem is not really theirs?  What about when it's more of an institutional problem?  As you say, "The most common institutional obstacles to individual success and happiness in a group situation are related to leadership failures and poor organization.  "

      Should a six year old child be asked to resolve leadership failures and poor organization?  Or just suck it up?  Or be moved to a place that does not have these problems, where he can encounter and resolve his own problems without the mediation of a sick organization?

      Is it possible that in staying within an organization that suffers in this way you might tend to learn passivity in the face of injustice rather than an ability to resolve interpersonal problems?

    •  Thanks for sharing this Otto as you make some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      very worthwhile points and I think you are spot on.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:51:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unrealistic expectations (0+ / 0-)

    I think your expectations are unrealistic.  You want the school custom designed around YOU.  You do have to determine what is best for your children so I will not say you are wrong.  But they'll grow up to work with imperfect institutions, bosses, and co-workers too.  

    •  and they'll work better in those (5+ / 0-)

      situations for having a good education.

      school is not the only place that kids learn to deal with adversity or imperfection.

      I don't actually want the school customized for us.  I want a school system that works for how kids learn, responds to the needs of the kids who are there, and places a premium on differentiated instruction.

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:00:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your priorities (0+ / 0-)

        Sure - those are your priorities and you have the right to try to meet them but no amount of funding will make that possible for every parent in every district.  What I hear from teachers is that they're burning out from dealing with expectations from parents that can't be met leaving them with even less time to teach.

        •  So we should all settle for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reconnected, WarrenS


          I don't think that expecting a teacher to know my child's strengths and weaknesses is unrealistic, sorry.

          If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

          by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:50:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  what I hear from teachers more often (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k8dd8d, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

          is they are burning out from dealing with unrealistic expectations of politicians and administration. That they are tired of not having control over how they teach and being forced to teach to a test that almost literally means nothing. I think teachers, given the leeway they were given when we were growing up, taught using many methods that they just aren't allowed to utilize any longer, and THAT is a huge part of what the problem is with kids 'having to have things individualized'.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:00:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Also, I will say as a psychologist and also as (6+ / 0-)

    a former teacher; it is very important than kids gradually spend some time away from their parents and that can be accomplished by activities, sleep overs,  girl scout camp, etc.   As kids age, they will long for time apart from the family to spend with their friends. That is very possible with homeschooling too. Good homeschooling parents recognize this; sadly some of those overprotective parents who shield their kids or will not let the kids out of their sight even when the child is 16 or will not let the kids date until they are 18....problems can arise for those kids. So much depends on the parents instilling and foster self confidence, independence and the ability to handle failures and disappiontments when they venture off into the world, to college or to the military or to a job.

    In my practice, the kids that had trouble leaving the nest and the parents who could not cut the apron strings and the kids who lack the most self confidence has nothing at all to do with their education but more to do with the family dynamic and the parenting isses.  

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:59:55 AM PDT

    •  great comment, thanks! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Chi, WarrenS

      If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

      by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:02:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Parents are incomplete role models (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even the best parent can't model or mentor what every child needs.  When we remember our favorite teachers it isn't all about subject manner.  We learned to love subjects that our parents had little interest in but we also learned attitudes, work styles, approaches to problem solving, different ways to solve conflicts, etc.

      •  Who says the parent is the only model/mentor? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, FloridaSNMOM, Chi, WarrenS

        I'm sorry but I'm frustrated reading your comment greenbell.  If you've been reading this homeschool series, or read any of the vast homeschooling experience out there on websites it should become evident that homeschooling involves exposure to the community/world that involves many types of people and experiences.

        Many of the comments here today list the kinds of activities families are involved in, which leads to interacting with other adults, kids, organizations, etc.  The best homeschooling is living life, it's not sitting at the kitchen table with a parent as the teacher, duplicating academic school.

        •  I'm just saying says who? (0+ / 0-)

          Who determines if this is true?  I love my parents and they did indeed expose me to many opportunities beyond school - what they enjoyed.  My 90 year-old mother still believes they were what I enjoyed -- but it was my teachers who introduced me to what I love.

          •  What do you mean, says who? (5+ / 0-)

            I'm confused about what you mean by "Who determines if this is true?"  I've lost what you're referring to...if what is true?

            You say that teachers introduced you to what you love.  That is great that happened for you, and I've heard that from many many people.  Are you saying that's the only way to be introduced to what you love?

          •  My kids get to pursue (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, Chi, WarrenS

            What they are interested in now. When they are interested un something, they have the tools and time to explore it.

            Honestly,  you and I didn't have the internet, and that changes dramatically what they are expised to (not just parent's intetests).

            They are involved in all sorts if stuff that are not my interest.

            Welcome to the 21st century.

            Who says?  They do!

            If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

            by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:12:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I went to school for 23+ years... (6+ / 0-)

            but still had my most profound experiences outside of school.  What a blessing to be able to interact with interesting adults at school who inspired your development!  What a blessing for me, not finding those inspirations at school, having them in the rest of my life outside of school!

            My goal is for folks to acknowledge that school is just one venue, one of many, where people can learn stuff and develop as human beings.  Real life is a rich spread of experience to be had if one can figure out how to make it youth-friendly so that young people can have compelling real experiences.  IMO, school, mostly limited to classrooms away from real life, is at its best, a discussion about life, rather than real life itself.  That discussion can be a compelling one, but I have a preference for those real life experiences.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:25:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  And I am in no way my children's (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reconnected, Chi, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

        Only role model.  They interact with a wide variety of adults in a wide variety of situations.  There may still be some people who homeschool their kids due to a desire to control the input.  In my experience, that tends to be the religious ones, but even they are not all that way.

        It can be argued that homeschoolers have a broader base for role models, because it's not only based on people employed by the school district.

        If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

        by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:48:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I too had a range of role models beyond parents... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k8dd8d, Chi, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

          Most of those role models were adults I interacted with outside the context of any school venue.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:27:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But are you objective? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know, I'm just saying who evaluates your performance?  And as a taxpayer - you think I'm going to keep voting for bond issues to support yuppie nirvana?

          You may be doing the best for your child.  But if you have  no commitment to the public school system don't look at me.  As it is, the other parents in the community wind up buying school supplies and paying the fees for the parents who can't and the taxpayers who won't.  It's all about me is killing community.  I've always believed in supporting public schools but lately this a la carte menu of magnets, home schools, and whatever has me wondering why and if you lose leftie like me no one is going to vote to be taxed.

          •  I don't understand your comment. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, Chi, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

            What do bond issues, yuppie nirvana and our choice to homeschool have in common??

            Honestly, why should anyone get to evaluate me?

            If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

            by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:37:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We are in transition (4+ / 0-)

            Okay, so you see options opening up that to you seem to threaten public school education?  If so, your comments make more sense to me now.

            I really don't understand what you mean by "yuppie nirvana" but it sounds as if you mean it in a negative sense.  "It's all about me" is what homeschooling seems to you?  In spite of the stories here full of parent's efforts to make their school work?

            Rather than killing the messenger, I think we should look to many factors at work and not fight each other...if you are truly "wondering why", the stories here should shed some light on that for you, as well as that fact that corporate power and politics are undermining community efforts.  We are also in the midst of tremendous change in the world right now...I absolutely support using public money to make access to the means of optimal human growth and development available to all but I don't see the institution of public school as it's currently configured being able to be that means.

            So we are far from a consensus on what education should mean...I think it's complicated and I wish I had better answers for how to shift things in a better direction.

            BTW, your original question about evaluating performance is a thorny controversial one right now in the the public school arena.  I think the best evaluation is looking at the young person...are they happy?  Do they get up everyday looking forward to the day?  Are they engaged, motivated, able to pursue their interests, learning what they what to learn, do they have access and exposure to a variety of technology and activities?  (If some people think happy and engaged means lazy, lying about, goofing off all the time then they don't know what it looks like.)

            •  Individual decisions have public consequences (0+ / 0-)

              If it were my kid I might do the same.  But what about the kids who don't have highly educated yuppie moms with the luxury of time to customize educational experiences?  I see public schools in a death spiral.  Good parents make good schools and demand funding for good schools.  Take them away and you have what you see already in too many districts.  When public schools become welfare don't think there are enough progressives to save them.

              •  I think you've hit on the core conflict that (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FloridaSNMOM, Chi, WarrenS

                I was thinking of when writing this diary.  I understand I have a responsibility to public schools, as a citizen, as a liberal, as a parent.  But I also have a responsibility to my own children, and the limited amount of time they have to be educated in their childhood.

                What happens when those are in conflict?

                Obviously, I've chosen my own in our situation, and I certainly recognize that there is a bit of privilege in that, but there are lots of people making alternatives work who do not do so easily.

                I wish the public schools were good.  I continue to vote and pay my taxes, and I hope someday to get back involved so they can be good for my grandchildren.  But I recognized that the changes that need to be made will not be done in the next 3 years before my oldest graduates, and so I've had to make a choice to put his needs first.

                But I don't like that I had to do that.

                I don't get you thinking this is all some sort of yuppie privilege that you are somehow paying for.  That doesn't make sense.  Society is always going to pay when people are uneducated, but I would submit that there are a lot of people profiting from public schools right now, and a lot of people profiting from public schools' failure.

                If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

                by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 03:05:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is your decision (0+ / 0-)

                  Again, I am not saying you are wrong but I am wondering if it won't be even more difficult to reach consensus in the future with such an emphasis on individualized education and the socialization that goes with it but perhaps that is inevitable given other social changes.

                  I do think the middle west has the best schools for the money.

              •  and BTW, I don't fit the definition of yuppie (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                reconnected, FloridaSNMOM, WarrenS

                if it truly means young urban upwardly mobile professional.

                Neither does just about anyone else I know who homeschools.

                If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

                by k8dd8d on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 03:06:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I take offence (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                reconnected, Chi, Leslie in KY, WarrenS

                at being called a yuppie. I have never in my life been a yuppie. I may be highly self-educated and have an associates degree, but yuppie I am not. I'm closer to a punker/alternative type, even if I can't afford the clothes any longer.
                As for luxury of time, if you call being home anyway because one is disabled a 'luxury' I guess I'm guilty of such.
                You seem really good, greenbell at trying to fit all progressive home schoolers into this little box you're comfortable with. However, home schoolers come in a GREAT variety of people and economic privilege. I guess you missed my article a few weeks back on home schooling on a shoe string.

                As for good parents making good schools, only when the school is open to the influence of the parents. Too many are not. This is fact. Funding, again, only goes so far. Too many schools are willing to fund extravagance for their sports teams while neglecting things needed in the class room, like text books and computers. Too many laws of late restrict what teachers can do, how they teach and what they teach to allow them to reach children who need a bit more than cookie cutter test prep.
                Public schools had deep problems well before most of us even had kids, let alone decided to home school, and it will take longer then the school career of our children to fix it. This doesn't mean we stop working towards that, it means we don't leave our children to be 'left behind' while we do.

                "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 03:10:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you won't fix it (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't expect people without school age kids to bother.

                  •  I Like (0+ / 0-)

                    How you ignored my entire last paragraph.  I think you just prefer just to troll and throw insults without ever intending on fixing anything, kids or not.

                    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:22:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I was thinking about this today (0+ / 0-)

                      A lot of folks have said the same thing as greenbell, basically 'if you take your kids out of public school, you're taking your good influence away from our public school system.'

                      But the people who influence our public school system the most - Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emmanuel - neither attended public school nor send their kids to public school.

  •  This expresses my viewpoint also. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gareth, k8dd8d, FloridaSNMOM, Chi, WarrenS

    We faced this choice with our 8 year old adopted from Guatemala.  Our first responsibility is to provide him the best learning opportunity possible.  This is his only shot at being educated, and at 8 years old, one should become a pioneer only by choice or by the absolute dictation of circumstances.  In his case, homeschooling did not work as it had for our other child, and we had a second choice-bridge to cross.  He now attends a wonderful, small christian school that incorporates the small classes he needs with a very child-centered staff.  He will pick up the foundations of his political leanings (whatever they may turn out to be) and practice his social discernment skills within the walls of our home.    This is why I am so put off by the whinings of the cry that prayer is taken out of the public schools.  I live the situation in something of the reverse, and feel perfectly confident that I am anything but powerless to influence this situation.  Tell a child to learn math and reading during school hours, and let them know you and they are free to use the other 16 hours of the day at home for anything else you darned well please!!!!

  •  Very well done :-) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k8dd8d, Chi, WarrenS
  •  Good piece... one more personal anecdote... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, k8dd8d, Chi, WarrenS

    making our larger case about needing many paths for human development!

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:33:59 AM PDT

  •  So sorry I got to this diary late... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...excellent material here!

    After the middle of May I will have some time to write for this series, and I'm really looking forward to it.

    Thanks so much for making it happen!

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:07:27 PM PDT

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