School Is Where the Mind Is
It's back-to-school time, and you know what that means, right? It means the homeschoolers are out in full force, looking down at the rest of us with undisguised disdain.
Don't get me wrong. I'm going to say this loud and clear: I think homeschooling is an awesome thing. I am literally consumed with respect—and not a little bit of envy—for people who do it, especially those who do it well. But ...
Clearly, you've made a careful and reasoned choice, you homeschooler, you. Clearly, you think that you can provide educational opportunities for your child that a public school can't. What I don't get is why that isn't enough. What I don't get is why you then feel that it's OK—even necessary—to talk about regular schools as if every child in them is being damaged. What I don't get is why I'm not supposed to be offended by your comments about children being warehoused, institutionalized, systematically brainwashed and forced to the lowest common denominator. Especially since I've chosen—yes, chosen—public school for my kids. With my intelligent, loving, fully aware mind wide open.
My children are incredible. My daughter loves to be taught, both at home and in school. I love the fresh perspective brought by her teachers. I adore seeing which way she's going to grow next, as she's exposed to things I would normally shy away from. I expect to feel the same way about my son when he enters school.
Are there negatives? You betcha. Nothing's perfect. I struggle with time constraints and social issues and the occasional academic shortcoming. But none of these is overwhelming. School isn't a vacuum. I don't think she's getting enough depth in science? I add that to our home life. I'd like to see her reading more advanced books? I go to our never-ending bookshelves and pluck something off to add to the stack of books next to her bed. I'm part of the PTA; I volunteer in the classroom; I follow through at home. I play with my children and teach them and discipline them. I am no more—and no less—a parent than you.