Some things I read online veer into homeschooling/unschooling territory. As expected, a few are religious, a few are secular and a few are people whose smugness about being such "salt of the earth hipsters" makes me want to upchuck. But it is all about live and let live right?
I have always enjoyed the road less taken. The rebellion. So my rebellious heart finds a sort of kinship with these folks who chose to buck the system and take control of how the educate their children. Would I do it? Not necessarily, but I enjoy reading about their endeavors.
A lot of folks home school because they fear the "liberal" ideas of public education. I for one, do not. I wish sex education was the norm like Europe who has a way lower teen pregnancy rate than we do, but the religious right here would never allow such a thing. I don't care that religion is not taught in school, that is a personal choice, but if it must be taught, it should be World Religions not just Christianity. Better to know about all of them before following blindly or making an informed choice if and when you want to practice religion.
Other parents live in overcrowded school districts or their kids were bored or bullied. The point is, all of these people have valid reasons for not wanting to throw the kids in the system. But two things I never see mentioned on these blogs are sort of what bugs me about schools, public and private.
First is fundraising.
The amount of fund raising is mind numbing. I am not necessarily opposed to fund raising, but I am not a Rockefeller. My son's preschool has done about four little fundraisers and just had the big auction that raised over $15K. We are a small private preschool so what has been raised really helpful, but what about the more elite private schools? The ones that cost upwards of $35,000 a year host galas too. Makes you realize just how expensive education can get. That or people can't manage funds to save their life. See: US government, etc.
Second is school closures.
Seriously. I went to Catholic school growing up and in the 70's you went to school when it snowed. This is New Jersey after all. Not anymore. Our preschool follows the public school system. We had so many delayed openings and closures I turned to my husband one night and said, "How do these kids even learn anything??" Now I get that there would be lawsuits if a bus slid and whatnot, but come on. We don't even have virtual classrooms in place so the kids can still do their lessons when home. And what about working parents? My mother in law is in North Carolina. A state that shuts down at the sight of a small snow flake. She said that one day the buses picked the kids up, it started to flurry and the buses turned right around to bring the kids back to the bus stops. Um, what if no one was home for them or could not pick them up?
For all the hootin' and hollerin' about family values in this country, we offer NOTHING to assist families in these type of atypical situations. People probably lost jobs or were put on probation from having to leave early to pick their kids up or not going to work at all. People probably left their too young to be home alone kids doing just that because they had no other options. Maybe I sound like a socialist, too bad. No one should have to panic or worry about job loss because sleet is sending kids home early for a day. I can bitch all I want, it is my blog, I just wish I had a solution.
These two reasons make me actually consider homeschooling, but I do enjoy those few hours when he is at school. I can write, do laundry, shower, whatever. Our son has learned a lot and enjoys the interactions with the other children and the teachers. We really love that it is a play based program. Too bad that can't continue into grammar school you know?
I am not against traditional education, but I would like to see it improved and I don't mean with testing. There has to be a way to get more with less instead of spending or raising more for the same. The old institution has pretty much proven no longer feasible in this day and age. Things have shifted and education needs to shift with it. Can fundraising be done differently? Can we NOT have two superintendents in the same school district? Maybe just one principal? Can we get farms to donate foods and kids can cook their own lunch and learn a skill? Anything to help alleviate the need to send kids out into the middle of a street to raise money for a soccer team. I don't know, but while people bitch about college costs, I shudder at preschool/grammar/middle and high school. And if he does sports?? Oh man....
Off to follow up with my doctor now. We can revisit this some other time.