What Troubles Me About Public Schools

People often ask us when we will put our kids back into public schools. While some homeschooling families do make that choice eventually, for us, sending our kids back to public school life is unthinkable. It is simply not an option.

We spent many years in the public school system before we began our homeschooling journey. In fact, my oldest son was public schooled all the way through his elementary, middle and high school years with the exception of two years in a Catholic private school in Peru. It was the same for my oldest daughter, until her last two high school years, which she happily completed as a homeschooler through Liahona Academy's unique distance program. I pulled her younger sister out of middle school to homeschool her. True story #1: My middle-school aged daughter was trapped with the same group of her peers for every single class for the entire year. They rotated subjects and teachers together and they ate lunch together. There was only one girl in her class who would sometimes be her friend. Everyone else stuck to their clicks and would not let my daughter, who had not grown up with them, join in. After a year of this nonsense and my heart breaking every afternoon that my daughter came home in tears, I pulled her out and we have never looked back. My youngest son only experienced half of his first year of school. You can read his story here. It is the story of how we became a homeschooling family in the first place.

Even though my kids survived public school, they did not come away unscathed. Yes, some of their experiences were positive. Yes, some of their teachers were great. Yes, I was involved as a parent, but our experiences with public schools in three different states and two countries outside the U.S. and our experiences with homeschooling has taught us that the benefits and blessings of homeschooling far outweigh the positive aspects of public schooling. I say this out of respect for my friends and family who choose to send their children to public schools. I know every family is different, but for my family, for my children, public schooling just doesn't cut it.
True story #2: One wintry day, I accompanied my 6-year old son into the school building and to his locker where we proceeded to unwrap him from all of his layers of his snow suit and boots. As I was helping my son keep his balance as he stepped out of his cumbersome snow gear, a teacher approached me and rudely told me to stop helping my son, that he was old enough to learn how to take care of himself and did the front office know I was there? Wow! That was a last straw for me. That teacher had definitively crossed the line.
True story #3: Once my teenage sister was sent to live with us so we enrolled her in the local high school. My husband would drop her off at school on his way to work and I would pick her up in the afternoons. One afternoon, my sister never came out to my car, so I went inside and had the front office page her. Her first period teacher heard the page and let us know that my sister never showed up to her class. I asked the school why I wasn't notified. They replied that they were not required to give parent notification! They were under no obligation to the parents, whatsoever.
As far as the school is concerned, when my kids are in their hands, my kids are theirs. Theirs to command, theirs to mold, theirs to educate. There is no respect of the parent's role. No, I do not believe it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it takes a family to raise a child.
  • If I wanted to take my child on a family vacation during the school year, during the off-season for Disneyland, for instance, I had to first obtain PERMISSION from the school and each teacher and there was a LIMIT, usually one week, that my child was ALLOWED to miss school. Call me crazy, but there is something wrong with that.
  • If my child missed a day of school for any reason, I had to notify the school office immediately (there was a three day limit!) and give an acceptable excuse. Only then did the school EXCUSE the absence. But, only so many absences are acceptable each year or else you and your child are in big trouble.
Schools demand a lot of accountability from parents, but where is their accountability TO parents? As I see it, there is none, and that concerns me. So does...
  • Daily homework. Homework is a huge waste of time. It wastes precious family time and it wastes childhood. It sucks the joy out of learning. 6+ hours of formal education is more than enough for one day. Kids of all ages need time just to daydream, read for personal pleasure, interact with their friends outside of the school setting and they especially need quality family time. Homework is what kept me up for hours each school night when I should've been getting a good night's sleep. Homework is ridiculous and is not necessary to install good study habits. 
  • Bullies. Two of my kids were bullied to extremes in public school and in both cases, in two different schools, no action was ever taken to correct the bully's behavior. True story #4: My daughter was forced to apologize to her bully and take all the blame for his actions.
  • Profanity, sexual behavior and all-around-crudeness in the school halls. My kids have told me how much this wore them down day after day, and all of that distracts from learning. True story #5: A teenage boy, in a fight with his girlfriend, pulled his pants down in the hall, exposing himself to my daughter and a group of her friends. He was not disciplined. 
  • Exposure to drugs and alcohol. And, no my kids do not need to be exposed to these things in order to say, "no" and stand up for what is right. True story #6: Once my daughter was exposed to drug fumes in the girls locker room during a lock-down-drill. She had no choice, but to inhale the toxic fumes.
  • Sex-education includes everything BUT abstinence; birth control is free and confidential, undermining the parent's role entirely. I wrote a post about this. It is my responsibility to teach my children sex-education, especially since it includes our faith and values, both of which public schools care nothing about. True story #7: Condoms were freely handed out at my son and daughter's high school. 
  • God and religious values are not allowed, period. Evolution is boldly taught, ignoring creationism. Gay-rights are forcibly celebrated, but forget about traditional families and moral values. Public schools today teach a biased, purely secular, worldly education. For me, this is scary and dangerous. At home, my children receive a whole education based on the truth that the spiritual and physical aspects of this earth are intertwined. I wrote a post about this also. 
  • Don't even get me started on Common Core, textbook indoctrination, teaching to the test and state testing which proves nothing, data-mining, one-size-fits-all education, and all the other crap that the federal government has forced upon pubic education.
No thank you! I choose to keep my kids home with me where we can share our days together, where they can learn in a physically and spiritually safe environment, and where our values and beliefs are protected and embraced. If you want to know how my kids feel about being homeschooled, read this.

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