If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that the kids went to school for the first time in their lives in February of 2018. They asked to go and I have always made it their choice. It was very difficult for me because of the school we are zoned for but I took a leap of faith. It’s now March of 2018 and it is time to tell you why I brought them home. I know that was fast, but we tried. We really did.
Why I Brought Them Home
To be clear, this won’t be a teacher bashing posts. The teachers in the school systems are doing the best they can with a broken system. For some people, putting their children in school will be for their best interest. I can only speak to our experience and what we have walked thru.
I heard stories about the school system “teaching to the test” or constantly testing the kids. I had no idea just how much this was true. Testing dominates the entire school day. If you aren’t taking a test, you are prepping for one. In fact, the homework said, “Test prep day 90 or 93.” While I understand tests can be a great tool to measure where a child is at, they should not dominate the life of a child.
In fact, the tests came with a great deal of pressure. The children and teachers were quantified based on these tests. Because of this, kids were often threatened that they would lose special classes such as Art and Music if they didn’t test well. They were also often told how their testing would directly impact the school’s grade and that they needed to make the school look good. This is not healthy pressure to put on a child.
I won’t bash the teacher. That said, the material and the setting they have to teach it is not conducive to quality learning. Classrooms are overcrowded. Teachers are fearful of tests and limited in what they can and can not teach. While all children aren’t one type of learner, the curriculum and standards are set to teach to the average. If the child is ahead or behind, they will be overlooked.
My children were frequently passed off to other students to have them teach them things. The teachers had too many children and if mine were not understanding something it was up to another student to teach them. If they had a better understanding of something they were expected to teach other students. This meant they weren’t getting their work done. For kids who are used to an environment where they ask for help and get it, this was very overwhelming.
For years everyone has told me that my kids need to go to school so they can be socialized. In the 4 weeks they attended the school my kids were punched, kicked, choked, and had many other physical attacks. They also had children cursing at them, threatening them, and tearing them down. For those 4 weeks the kids couldn’t wait to get home and call their friends from years of homeschool groups and talk thru some of what they went thru.
Neither child made a single friend in the school. They were both treated with so much disrespect and maliciousness. This wasn’t helped by the teacher who used “competitiveness” as a way to teach. That really means the teacher vocalized their weaknesses so they would work harder. This gave kids plenty of ways to attack other kids.
If this is socialization, I would rather not. My children were better socialized as homeschoolers than they were in the school for a month.
As I mentioned above the teachers used shaming as a way to “motivate” the kids. My daughter was called a failure and shamed on a daily basis. I refuse to teach her that because a person is in a position of authority over her, they have the right to disrespect her. I am all for accountability and teaching in a way that grows someone. I am not about treating a child like they are less because of the way they score on a test or answer a question.
In the school my kids were in, History wasn’t taught at all. Science was optional. The main focuses were anything that could be tested, quantified, and labeled. We have been learning history since they were small. Science has been a pillar of our educational approach. I am not ok with education that removes these things.
What is the plan?
We plan to bring them home and start homeschooling again. We may tweak some of our academics and I am happy to share those with you as we figure out what that looks like. I will be adding in some sort of testing occassionally so they have that life skill. We are not sure what Fall will look like. They are applied to a few charter schools. They may go. They may stay home. We will work this out as we work with them in the coming months.
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