Thursday, April 22, 2010

The One Where I Ramble About Stuff I Don't Know Anything About


Confession: I am now going to talk about something I know very little about.

Homeschooling.

In fact, I can sum up what I know about homeschooling by referring you to the TLC show "19 Kids and Counting" with the famous Duggar family. That's it.

I have always been a huge champion of Public Schooling. I, myself, am a fine product of the public schools. And my family and my husband and his family. I have never been a huge fan of private schools. When I lived in Virginia it always just felt like another way to segregate, because only people with money can go to private schools. Don't have to hang out with the riff-raff poor, and certainly don't have to pass bills to pay for that public school funding. I don't know, it just always bugged me a little. Religious schools were a little different. I could get how a family might want to immerse their child in a religious education. But, again, I have always believed that educating children in an atmosphere accepting of differences and tolerance was a good thing, and again... the whole segregation thing.... well, private school just never was my thing.

And Homeschooling? Well, that was what people who were too paranoid to go to private school did. It seemed really really fringe.

Until recently....

I am a member of multiple special-needs child message boards and websites. And regardless of whether the children have autism, learning disabilities, speech delays, or other significant medical and developmental needs, I have noticed one consistent trend....many of them are homeschooling their children.

I mean, A LOT!

Based on the stories I read, it is largely due to an overwhelming sense of frustration with the school systems, especially related to getting appropriate services for their child. There is this general sense of acknowledgement by these parents that the school either:

A) are not up to the task, or
B) don't care about their child's needs or even understand them, or
C) won't listen to and partner with parents, or
D) all of the above.

So they pull their children out, teach themselves to be teachers, and take on schooling at home. And although I am still a fan of the public school system, and although I believe they can be great, I sorta get these parents.

I guess you can only fight so many fights before you can't fight those fights anymore.

What I wonder is this: Do school districts care that these families have so little faith in them that they choose to do it themselves? Do the administrators worry? Do they reflect at all on what their mission is and how they have lost the faith of these families? Or do they chalk it up to "crazy parents"?

I don't know, but it worries me. There is a lot that is wrong with the educational system, and people WAY smarter than me can discuss it ad nausem. But I want to believe that at its core it is still good. And slowly, my faith is being tested.

2 comments:

Beth's Brood said...

With many reservations, we're planning to send our Apraxic daughter to battle the world in public school this Fall. I've agonized over this choice, but feel it's the right decision...for now. I, too, grew up in the public education system and have family members who are teachers/ administrators, but would definitely consider home schooling in the future if I thought it was the right choice for my daughter. Just as an FYI, I've heard great things about Groves Academy http://www.grovesacademy.org/ It's pricey, but might be worth keeping on your radar.

Pia said...

Thanks for the reference Beth! I have seen it before but didn't realize its mission! I am gonna keep it tucked into my brain just in case. Good luck with your girly this fall... I hope to hear good things!

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