Some of you may be wondering why I decided to pull my kids out of school, quit my cushy job and give up my posh life of freedom at home in order to homeschool my kids. Well, sometimes I wonder the same thing, but every time I visit the school, I am reassured that I made the right choice.
(The checkbook, on the other hand, isn’t so consoling,but that’s why I’m lucky to be married to Daddy Warbucks.)
The decision to take them out came about as I was working at the school as a substitute teacher. If I hadn’t had them both in school, and been there myself, I would have never known how it was, and they would still be there, maybe. My decision had little to do with administration (not my fav), or teachers, or even the PTA (the institution of which I loathe, not the people). I take an avid interest in what my kids are taught. At school I became aware of what I’ll call “curriculum deficiencies.” The overall curriculum was lacking in any substance or continuity…with reality. Why should we waste our children’s days with things of little worth of consequence, filling their heads with things written by those with hidden political agendas, when we could easily teach them something useful? Why should my son spend his days reading about Bob and his red ball, or imaginary, talking animal conservationists in the rain forest, or listening to popular music when he could be learning about something real such as world history, current events or geography just as easily?
I was appalled to find that many students couldn’t locate themselves on a globe. Some believed Germany was a State. One boy couldn’t believe that Alaska was part of the US, and that it was indeed the biggest State, because he’d only ever seen it as an inset on a map. Bill Clinton was a stranger to them, like an alien they had never heard of before. 5th graders couldn’t read. Second graders couldn’t name the 4 seasons. Titanic was the name of a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio.
It’s really not the children’s fault. It wasn’t even the teachers’ fault. They can only teach what is approved curriculum. The educational system just wasn’t doing a good job. I was just tired of having the boys be gone all day and come home having learned nothing. I was also tired of silly assemblies taking up valuable instruction time, in the name of diversity or some other whack excuse for quality education. And let’s not even get started wit the PTA and it’s fundraisers.
As a society, we have let our children’s education slip through our fingers. It’s so much more than the debate over evolution or creationism, or prayer in school, or whatever makes the headlines these days. It goes to the very core of academic principles, namely reading, writing, and arithmetic. (Most kids don’t even know what arithmetic means.) We have fed our children educational fast food, empty calories, refined and processed into worthless fluff. And there’s no guarantee that they are even digesting or absorbing that. We teach them to pass tests, but they don’t really learn much. We hardly hold back those who don’t perform up to par. Instead, we send them forward regardless, perpetually unprepared for what lies ahead. Frankly, I wanted more.
I want my kids to love learning. (How many kids will you find who admit to that?) I want my kids to be free thinkers, willing to try anything, try new things, and find solutions to their own problems. I am hoping to feed my own children a well balanced meal, all types of food; complex, rich in vitamins and nutrients. I want them to be able to digest and process things, forming their own likes and dislikes, after having tasted a variety, not just regurgitate information to score well on a standardized test.
I’m not homeschooling because I am some sort of religious zealot. I’m not doing it because I want prayer in school, or the Ten Commandments posted in the hallway, or want them to ONLY learn about the creation, and not evolution. I’m not trying to shelter my kids, or remove them from society so we can all be weird hermits with limited social skills. (We’re engineers, we already have that covered.) I’m doing it because as with real food, the best way nowadays to achieve that variety is by home-cooking. Sure there are special schools with extra focus on important stuff, but that’s not an option for us right now. Homeschooling, like home-cooking, isn’t always fun. It’s not always glamorous. Yes, it gets tedious, and it’s a lot more work for me than sending them off to the local fast-food joint. But I know the benefits are priceless. And thanks to Daddy Warbucks for being so supportive. 🙂