Monday, November 28, 2005

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know?

I’m very grateful to my friends and family with children in public school for their willingness to let their struggles show. I’ve got friends who serve on the PTA and volunteer at school. They put in long hours trying to make things better. They help their children with homework late at night. Their struggles are many.

For example, my nephew must do the practice exercise for his spelling words even though he gets them all correct on the pretest. It is a waste of his time and effort. He’s not learning anything from the exercise. If he doesn’t do the homework, then he can’t go out for recess. My niece in high school tells of teachers who don’t teach. Sometimes during class time they show R rated movies. (Her teacher actually showed “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” during class time.) I’m glad my niece got up and walked out. In a local school, the principal called the police when a 3rd grade student crawled in an open classroom window to get his lunch that he forgot. They lock the classrooms at lunch time and the kid would have gotten in trouble if he went to the office to ask the teacher to unlock it.

I am perplexed at why parents don’t say “enough is enough.” In the end, I think it comes down to this: They are afraid.

I have to ask myself, "Why does homeschooling look so scary to them?" Usually, the first comment I get after telling someone that I homeschool is “That’s great, but I could never do that.”

There may be some truth to that. I’ve heard it said that about 50% of homeschoolers washout in the first year.

Again, I have to ask myself why? Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know? I think we need to do a better job of getting the message out that most parents find homeschooling pleasant. I think parents already know how bad things are at school. Pointing it out doesn't make parents less afraid of their alternatives.

Any ideas how to do that?


Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

YOu pose a logical question that I have asked others for years. In truth, even asking that question to most gets them angry. Most people are very threatened by the question. It brings up so many other truths, about commitment and sacrifice, that they have to analyze. They hate to think about their unwillingness to give up the ease, be it financial or freedom, and find it is just easier to send them off. Somehow, that question makes them feel guilty. What always baffles me is how they can find the choice to homeschool unnatural, when to us, it is the most natural thing in the world!

Janine Cate said...

The thing that surpises me is how much effort some parents put into trying to make public education work for their child.

Why do people work so hard when they get so little out of it?

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Anonymous said...

comment 1. Children who go to public or private schools know how to adapt to all kinds of people. Hence will learn to work with all types of people because they have been exposed. 2. Kid who climbed into open window violated a rule. Society is based on rules and regulations if you break them you take the risk of being caught. 3.
Some homeschooled kids during my pre-K year olds library story time are the most obnoxious rude and cant sit still and have an attention span of a gnat. They obvioulsy have not learned how to behave in a group setting and must be extremely used to 1 on 1 attention at all times. Homeschoolers are raising a generation of brats

Henry Cate said...

My experience has been that children in public schools learn to deal with children their own age. Homeschooled children learn to deal with people from a variety of ages, from infants to grandparents.

I agree that society should have rules, but they should be rules that make sense. And the consequences should be reasonable. Calling the police was the issue. There was no need. I think it would have been far more reasonable to have the kid eat his lunch in the principal's office. He would have learned there were rules and you should follow them.

You have made a logical fallacy of jumping from I have one data point therefore all homeschoolers are brats. My experience is most homeschooled children are average, or even better behaved. There are also a ton of brats in public schools. The research I've seen finds that children who have been homeschooled are better socialized.