Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a public-schooled kid has to say about home schooling

I'll continue with the topic of time management with computers, but first I wanted to tell you about my cousin, Elizabeth. I first met her when she was about 6 weeks old, when I spent a week with her family. Over the years since then I have enjoyed watching her grow-- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Elizabeth has been public-schooled her entire life, including some of her college training. On the surface, she appears (to those who don't know her) to be a career-minded person currently working on her doctorate in music. She is very talented in piano and is working toward the goal of being a concert pianist. She is also teaching piano. She is single, she travels the world, and has the world at her feet, so to speak.

But there is another side to Elizabeth. Actually, I don't think it's "another side." I think it's the real Elizabeth. You don't have to spend too much time with her before one characteristic begins to stand out: she is very family oriented, and would love to have her own husband and children with whom to love and serve God. If and when God chooses to bless her with a godly husband, she plans to be a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom. I asked her recently why a public-schooled kid would be so positively FOR home schooling that she would be against any other kind of education for her children. Here is her answer:

#1 I want my children to learn about God, Jesus, the Bible, and to not feel afraid to pray out loud, and worship God as we were created to do. And I certainly don't need the school principal suspending them because they have infringed on their peers "freedom of religion"

#2 While every child needs to know how to function and get along in the real world, there are a few things I think my kids can go without learning about until they are older. Such as? Well, violence, sexual promiscuity, bad language, etc. I can share several stories of children saying things to me as a kid that caused me to learn about things no child should be learning about. In fact, at one point, a group of boys I went to school with were threatened to be suspended from school because the things they said to be on a day-to-day basis were so terrible. I remember HATING waking up in the morning and going to school because if I stood up for myself, the teachers would reprimand me, instead of the people verbally abusing me.

#3 Children have a right to wake up, go to school, learn, and never be afraid that the school might blow-up because someone brought a bomb to school. Think I'm exagerating? No! I have memories of sitting on the school hill-side in Michigan, on a regular basis, because of bomb-drills, waiting to make sure the school wasn't going to blow-up, before we could go back inside. About 6 years after that I was living in WV where book-bags were either not permitted, or only those that were see-through or mesh. We also had a team of police officers that swatted us down as we entered the school doors, to make sure we weren't armed. And when we did have actual bomb or other violent warnings at school, we were not permitted to call our parents and be picked up. Instead, we got out of classes early to sit in a gymnasium for a pep-rally, led by the school principal, to convince us that whomever was making the threats couldn't scare us or keep us from going to school...not very comforting!

#4 Kids don't need to wake up at 6am, go to school from 7-3, and then spend all night doing homework. It makes more sense to me to teach school, and get the homework done by evening. This way you can actually spend family time doing other, music, going to a museum, taking a walk, doing things kids like to do, like going outside to play!

#5 The home-schooled people I have known have always been smarter, on average, than most public-schooled kids I have known. I think it's fair to say a lot of home-schooled seniors (in high school) are smarter than most college grads I know. They also seem to have better work-ethic when they are on their own. Maybe part of this is because many public schools have eliminated having to read entire books, and writing essays. Everything is so dumbed down that many college students don't even know how to write a college-level paper.

#6 Home-schooled kids are only sheltered if parents make them that way. They can have social skills equal to public-schooled kids, as long as the parents make an effort to involve them in church activities, home-school umbrella groups, and other activities. They get to develop social skills without parents worrying as much about their kids picking up un-Godly habits.

#7Children spend less time sitting in class while the teacher struggles with the "troubled students" and more individual attention, helping each child meet their potential.

#8 More flexibility with scheduling. If the family wants to take a vacation, have a reunion, or whatever, we can take our work with us, and pick up when we need to. We don't have to worry about driving to school on bad snow days, or getting behind on school work because of it. We can work things around our schedule, instead of the other way around.

I probably sound very idealistic explaining my feelings. I realize that kids will pick up bad habits, do things they shouldn't, and just be kids, no matter where they go to school. But, if I can do something to assure that my kids grow up happy, healthy, safe, and with a knowledge of God, they have a greater chance of being happy, healthy, and most importantly, Godly, adults. And while I was public schooled, and yes, obviously had to work through my issues, there are many things I wish would have been different from my school-days. The grass is always greener on the other side, but in this case, I think the grass actually IS greener.

Oh yeah, lastly, #9 I think home-schooling will be fun, and educational for both them and me!

I couldn't have said it better myself. If you want to learn more about Elizabeth, visit her blog here.


yoshi3329 said...

good for her I too wished I had been home school in my earlier years. Their is so many things in school that I wished I did different and some things I wished I never learned or experienced. Your cousin makes very good points about home schooling.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Cathy for supporting me. I didn't mind at all that you shared this with others. You are a very special relative to me, and your example of parenting has had a big influence on how I see parent's roles in their kid's lives. I hope I can be 1/2 the mom you are when it's my turn :)

Sharon said...

Thanks so much for your comments supporting Elizabeth in her homeschooling views. I have so much enjoyed watching you both grow in the Lord and standing for what you both believe in. If I had it to do over I would have tried to do homeschooling. I believe it has made a bigger impact in today's minds than in my generation.

Love you bunches Cathy and all those beautiful children at your house. ( yes, that sweet Tom of yours, too! )

Aunt Sharon ( Elizabeth's MOM )

Anonymous said...

I would agree in general, except number 5. A smart and industrious child will learn well regardless of the setting. A child with a poor teacher (even if that teacher is their parent!) will struggle. I know bright and struggling children from both sides.