Tuesday, February 2, 2010
So, I'm debating homeschooling once again. This is a choice that I've always struggled with, and certain issues (bullying, nearby school shooting, etc.) have brought it to the battlefield once again. Sometimes just putting my thoughts on paper helps, so let's see if this (and hopefully your comments) will bring me some clarity. Currently, Drew attends public school, but we enrolled him only under the pretense that he would be taken out if 1. he asked or 2. there were issues that couldn't be resolved through school leaders. When Drew started school, I was taking classes at UAH, so my selfish needs greatly influenced my decision to enroll him. We have already had several conflicts such as unprofessional substitute teachers, bullying, enforcing that our rules at home continue to govern our actions elsewhere even though others may act foolishly around us, and I've been forced to interact with some pretty pathetic, immature parents, but we've chosen not to pull him out of school yet and instead concentrated on teaching him how to resolve conflicts.
So, here are the main issues that I keep flip-flopping on:
1. In public school I have no influence over what material is being taught. We have balanced that by thoroughly discussing what he learns each day and resolving any moral or intellectual questions he may have, but I feel like there is so much more that he is capable of learning. They can only go as fast as the slowest student, and they are restricted from enhancing their repertoire with any form of spiritual education, so basically they are governed by the weakest students. I feel that at home I would be able to give him a more well-rounded education and be able to both customize it to his interests and move at his own pace.
2. I miss Drew while he's gone. Yes, it gives me time to work, run errands, and clean up with out 'mommy can I have a snack' and 'mommy I'm bored,' but I miss that bonding time and I truly feel like it is my responsibility to not only care for, comfort, and protect him, but to educate him in all aspects of his life. I hate delegating that responsibility, but I am also grateful for the beautiful gifts and talents that other women have been able to share with him.
3. I am super super busy. I juggle 1,452,879 responsibilities. I'm afraid I would have a hard time sticking to a schedule. It would be nice to not be confined by tardy policies and truancy laws, but I fear I might take advantage of the freedom.
4. Public school is free. The books are free. The art and music are free. The socializing is free. Homeschooling is not free. I have amazing ideas of little field trips and learning opportunities, and I'd hate to cheat his education because we're on a budget.
5. We have dealt with teachers calling Drew names, classmates making fun of him, hitting, and kicking him, we've held our breath as trashy parents smoke like freight trains in the car pool line, and have seen students rewarded as they misbehave, but we can not influence the world for good if we do not perform acts of goodness in the world. So, is it fair to submit Drew to injustices in hopes that he can be an influence for good?
6. He will one day be working with these people, and he can't just quit his job because they are dishonest, mean, or judgemental. He will have to learn to resolve conflicts and get along with people he doesn't necessarily like if he wants to be successful in life, but do I really need to let my 7 year old learn such hard lessons so soon? I don't understand why there is such a negative, competitive atmosphere at school. I can only imagine how productive our classes would be if they all worked together as a team, celebrating accomplishments and admiring each other's hard work and kindness. Why, instead, do they chose to degrade one another and act out in anger? Why haven't their parents taught them how to behave!?!
7. Schools aren't safe anymore. School has always been emotionally treacherous, but now it has the potential to be physically dangerous. The world in general is dangerous, but knowing that I'm sending my child, alone, into such an unstable environment every single day scares me. Watching the terrified parents on the news tonight... not knowing if their children were hurt and unable to get to them is a fear I never want to know. Discovery Middle School (where the shooting happened today)is a wonderful school in a wonderful city. It could have easily been Drew's school. Despite today's tragedy, I will try not to act out of fear. I will, however, continue to ponder and research my options, and hopefully I can make a decision that will allow my babies to realize their potential and find happiness in this crazy journey we call life.