Hi there! Ever the teacher here, I just have to throw in my two cents. 🙂
I feel lucky that I can (I think) see most sides of this issue, and commend those on all sides who know what they are doing, and why they are doing it. I taught in a public high school setting for 10 years, grades 7-12, students with everything from Mild Mental Handicaps to Learning Disabilities to Severe Emotional Handicaps (Behavior Disorders) to the kind of failure-to-thrive-academically kids who end up in programs like mine because they don’t really fit anywhere else. I know there are wonderful, responsible homeshooling families out there who are doing their utmost to teach their kids not only academics but also the moral and social framework they need in order to thrive in the world. I know there are teachers (I was one of them) who undertake to do the very same thing for the huge number of kids whose parents either are not able to do this for reasons of their own.
I know that there are parents who send their kids to public school, whose goals are directly in line with those homeschooling parents and good teachers, who do not the have ability to stay home and homeschool, and thus must do what they can in the time they have, and hope that the public schools will support and enhance their own goals for their children. Unfortunately, I also know so-called “homeschooling” parents who actually do not homeschool, but keep their kids home for company, because they do not want to deal with keeping their kids clean and clothed, or do not want to take the responsibility of dealing with their child’s misbehavior at school. It is too bad that this small minority sometimes give “homeschooling” a negative connotation, just as a few bad teachers can give “public schools” a bad reputation. I will say hats off to homeschoolers who take on their responsibility as seriously as any life commitment.
These are the kids who will go on to succeed, imo. I will ALSO say, hats off to school teachers everywhere. When I taught, I didn’t just focus on English and science. I spent a good deal of my time trying to teach kids a lot of skills that they *should* have learned at home: how to be a responsible adult, how to handle anger and frustration, how to speak up in a positive way. I worked with kids who were known criminals. I dealt for hours on end with a 15 year old rapist, and separately, with the girl he brutalized.
My goals: to help her in her recovery, and to try to help him gain some empathy and anger control so that he would not go on to murder his next victim. (Psychologists will probably tell you it is impossible to instill a conscience into someone who is 15 years old…I felt I had no choice but to try. Who else would be able to get through to a kid with virtually no guidance at home?) I listened to parents berate their kids, and spoke up for the children.
I dealt with parents who wanted ME to make their kids behave, because they couldn’t do it at home. And although it sounds like I am talking about ME here…I am not. I am speaking about the experience of practically every good teacher I know. So…I am just glad that this discussion has not become a diatribe against public schools in general. Teachers do not deserve a bad rap. Most of them are doing the very best they can with the resources they have, limited though those resources may be. And they are, all too often, the last chance for a very significant number of kids. And, although it won’t help anyone specifically here, I can assure you that in MY classroom, NO ONE was abused, put down, made fun of, or harassed. 🙂 Whew!
Every time I get started, I get all carried away. 🙂 Hope I have not stepped on anyone’s toes. Just wanted to add yet another view. Now, ask me what I think would be the *ideal* school set-up, lol…..