My Fitness

Monday, July 27, 2015

why we are starting to homeschool

I feel like I need to start with a disclaimer because of how easily offended people can be.

First, I want to make sure we're on the same page. I am not the boss of you. I do not recall you asking my permission or even my opinion on how you should educate your children. And even if you did, the best I would have been able to do is give you statistics and Bible verses. I don't know your child the way you do. I can't make this decision for you. So I beg you to please please please please please don't think I'm bossing your around. I am not the boss of you. I'm only writing this because I've had several people be surprised or angered over the decision.

My choices do not reflect anything about your choices or anything about you. What I do has nothing to do with you. My different opinion and actions should not threaten your choices and viewpoint. (Being a freedom-enjoying American, it always shocks me to hear about Friends and Brothers and Sisters being tried for the faith in the Middle East and Africa. Like really? Thought police? Does worshipping a different God threaten your tiny, insignificant allah so much that you have to kill people over it? He must not be too powerful. Similarly, anything coming out of North Korea and their tiny boy-man leader. If your position is so weak that you are offended by someone doing something different, it reflects more on you than the other person. Weak people threaten and harass; not strong people. Weak people are threatened by other's opinions; so be strong and read an opposing view and become educated not offended.) Also, if you homeschool, I still don't want you to think that this has anything to do with you. It does not.

[The only acceptable reason I can think to object to anyone else's choice is because they are going to harm another individual. It's your choice to leave your kid in the car on a hot day, but people will object and save the kid's life, for example. Most people who get offended that am homeschooling my kids are not thinking the kids are in danger but more like how dare I say that their way of doing things isn't good enough for us or some other silly accusation, which I never said and am likely to never say in the future.]

Why we have chosen to homeschool.

1. We love our kids. Loving our children is the basis of this decision. We're looking for their own best interest and if a public or private school was best, that's what we would do. We made this decision before we even had kids. Whatever is best for each kid at the time of the decision is what we would do. Even if that means changing their school at some point.

I want that.
2. We love God. In Deuteronomy God says, "You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Since we wish to follow this command, keeping the kids at home is the easiest way to ensure that this principle is followed. We desire to "pour Christ into" our children. We want God to be incorporated into all aspects of learning. We want to let our children come to Christ and we feel that public schools will hinder that due to the nature of not allowing religion in school.

3. I am more libertarian leaning. I specify here that this is just me and not necessarily a position shared by my husband. I've said many, many times and you've probably heard or read it: If you hand your children over to the government to educate, don't be so surprised if they educated them in a way that suits them best. That means, American history will be painted in a light that makes America look best. That means, they will be taught based on what some school board thinks kids should know - namely, to sit there and take commands. It means that if your kid is being bullied and defends himself, either the bully will get off or both kids will get in trouble. It means that your kid will have to read questionable materials and write reports on them. It means pledging allegiance to things, symbols, ideas, people, and countries that are not God or His Kingdom.

4. I used to teach in the public schools. I was a high school algebra teacher for a public school in east Texas. Here's what I learned from the principal: Our primary goal is to keep kids off the street because petty crime increases when kids are allowed to roam free. Our secondary goal was to never mark anyone absent because we wanted the money that came with having a certain head count. Thirdly, we needed to be fun because no one likes a mean teacher. Fourth, we had to be sure to pass the TAKS test. From my "supervisor" who mostly ignored me even when I asked for help (being a first time teacher): I was not allowed to reward good behavior or correct answers. I was not to go back and fill in major gaps instead "just give them a calculator". When it came to giving grades, "just give them a 70." Teachers didn't care about teaching. They cared about their paycheck. No Child Left Behind greatly affected everyone in education and ensured that MOST kids would be far behind where they needed to be. AND we had weeks where we did no learning because some test was being administered. And don't get me started on the special education aspects. Needless to say, they are severely lacking in the schools where I taught.

5. Because of how dumb most teachers in public schools are. Many teachers will be familiar with Twinkl, an online resource website. After having had many experiences myself when I was a teacher with my colleagues thinking it was funny how they didn't know basic high school material, not to mention the COLLEGE level material they had allegedly passed to get their teaching certificate, Twinkl's Facebook page thought it was funny to post sayings from teachers bragging about how dumb they were. It's not funny. It's true. I do not want an idiot teaching my child. It's fine to not know everything. I have no problem with an Engineer not knowing history facts. I have no problem with a sailor not knowing chemistry. I do have a problem with a math teacher not knowing math. I have an even bigger problem with a math teacher thinking it's funny that s/he doesn't know math.
Everything wrong with public school teachers right here.
(I have several good friends that are fighting to combat these poor standards in public schools. And that's great. My friends are good teachers too. I don't hate all teachers but I am very displeased with how easy it is to become a teacher and stay a teacher.) 

6. Because I am really smart. All the way through college, that I started at the age of 14, there was rarely a class, or even an assignment, that I didn't get an A on. But I'm also well rounded. I was a math major who took a break to pursue my ballet career. I got a biology degree and was enrolled in seminary. I was on swim team and had professors beg me to be an engineering major. I paid very little for my education. My IQ is close to 150, unofficially. I'm an avid reader and formerly on student government. My first job outside of child care was a math tutor at the local community college when I was 15. I love baking and can change the oil in my car. I'm a fitness enthusiast who loves geeky and nerdy TV programming like Dr. Who and Planet Earth. I can play a variety of musical instruments, and have starred in church plays. I can sew, embroider, knit, and crochet and enjoy painting and sketching as well. And I can change a spare tire and troubleshoot my computer as well as type code although I dislike it. I am very knowledgable in all subject areas even though I'm not an expert. This might seem like bragging, but if you think that then my point is made: these are valuable traits. So Dean Lists and honor societies are great and quite easily attained, but more than that, a desire to share that knowledge is crucial to teaching. Teaching is more than a pay check to me.

7. Homeschooling is more efficient. Because my kids won't be wasting time EVERY DAY waiting on little Johnny to finally pay attention or little Suzy to stop spinning or bratty Brian to stop throwing blocks at everyone, my kids will be able to learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it and with much time left over each day to pursue interests and fun. What is especially important is that my kids will be able to see their parents every day as long as we live. I get to watch them learn and participate in the process. I've seen terrible examples of homeschooling and instead of saying, "oh NO! I will never homeschool!" I've decided to simply just do a better job at it. I've seen socially awkward people in public schools, so that stereotype doesn't hold water. Also, I get to teach my kids critical thinking and independent thinking and problem solving, whereas I've witnessed that these processes are simply not taught in public schools. Just fill in the scantron and hand it to your teacher. Just repeat what your teacher said. Do not think. Just do. Be a good submissive little student who will turn into a good submissive little tax payer (is my libertarian showing?). If your school is the exception to this, good for you. You're lucky! (I've noticed that many private schools and charter schools are very much the exception.) 

8. We can cater to our own tastes. Right now, I have a kindergartener and a pre-kindergartener and we take about 30 minutes to finish all subjects. Meanwhile, the public school want me to send my son to them for EIGHT hours. The school year hasn't even started yet, and I've taught my kindergartener to read and he is reading at almost an entire year ahead of where he should be. Luckily for me, he's really smart so that makes me job easier. Plus, baby Holly is watching all this learning happening and is actually learning stuff that no one has formally taught her, like her colors. She knows them all at 18 months. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so we got caterpillars and watched them turn into butterflies. We read Green Eggs and Ham and used food dye to eat green eggs and ham. And my three year old is learning to make scrambled eggs now. So independent at such a young age. We even get to incorporate their previous week's Sunday School lesson into each day's lesson. How cool is that?

9. I WANT to teach my kids. And this is really the most crucial point. If you want to home school, you should be allowed to homeschool. In this country, it's legal. I'm more than qualified...certainly more than most teachers I've met. And I'm able to homeschool. So, I do. 

10. MOST IMPORTANTLY...we get to go to Disney World while all the other kids are stuck in class! Okay, that might not be the most important point. But we are free to do whatever we want whenever we want and can just bring school with us. However, we could just go a week without doing any work and still be ahead when we returned. It also helps that we don't do summer breaks. Should we want to go to the ocean, we'll do a unit on ocean life. I get to interlace all the subjects so that they support each other. I don't have anyone to answer to in my state, but that seems to work out fine since apparently my standards are higher than the public school's standards anyway.

11. It's fun. Have you seen my school room? You don't need all this to homeschool. But I get everything from garage sales and craigslist and I have so much fun doing it! [8/8/15- I now have more fun stuff on the wall in the reading circle!]

12. The statistics show homeschoolers are in the lead. Enjoy this infographic (right click to enlarge):

And, no, it is not my kids job to go evangelize to the lost public school kids. My children are here on earth for their own purposes. Should any of my children express a sound decision that they feel a type of calling to go evangelize their peers in a public school setting, then I'll reconsider. But that's between them and God and I'm certainly not going to throw them in a viper nest and say "witness for God". That's mean. The principal where I taught even tried to get me to agree that the "good" kids should be left in the mix with the "bad" kids because otherwise it'll look like the school is failing...well, if the school looks like it's failing it probably is failing and I, for one, am not going to sacrifice my children for "bad" kids or risk my kids becoming one of the bad ones. RC agrees with me. Read this.

So, in summary, while I dislike public school and have decided that it just isn't worth it, perhaps it is worth it to you. You have to make that decision for yourself. I don't know you and I don't know your kids, and I don't know what kind of relationship or support system you have. Would anyone really try to guilt a single mother over her choices of schooling? I hope not. There are far more important things to do than to try to make people feel bad about themselves about how they choose to educate. Also, I want to point out the very important fact that education is highly dependent on the individual and mostly THE PARENTS. I've seen parents just hand their kids a book and say "go read this" attempting to "homeschool" and I've seen very involved parents in public schools. There's good and bad in both. So if you're a good one, choose well. If you're a bad one, then it doesn't really matter what you choose. 

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