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Depending on the way you were raised and what core beliefs you have as a US citizen, I suspect that everyone who sees this will have different reactions to it. For my part, I agree with everything this guy is implying and out right saying about the American Education System. It’s broken. I’m fine if you disagree, I won’t disrespect you for it, but my personal experiences fit this far too closely to believe otherwise. Here’s my little school yard tale.

I started out in Christian private school. There was no home work assignments for grade schoolers and they used A Beka book curriculum, which has a legacy of being more difficult then the equivalent public school curriculum’s. It taught History and it mattered if you got the dates right on wars. Spelling was taught phonetically. Stickers were only awarded for work done correctly, and the pens had RED ink in them. We probably did have a school councilor, but I never saw them and didn’t know any friends who did either. Creativity was encouraged during art class, recess and for problem solving, not as answers for class assignments. When I had trouble with an assignment, the teacher would help me work though it during reading when the rest of the class was busy. Class mates were assigned to help eacher during this time as well, those who took to whatever it was faster were to help those struggling with it.

My mom tells me that in the second grade a class mate was pulled out to start homeschooling and I asked my mom if she would homeschool me. I don’t actually remember this, but I was shy and bookish and it sounds like something I would have asked.

Skip to the fourth grade; we had moved and now I was in a public school. I was nine years old. Everything was different. We didn’t study History, we had social siences. I don’t remember being quized on any of it. We had homework in every subject and my grades suffered because I didn’t turn it in even though my in class work was easy. I spent a lot of time doing free reading. The one exception was spelling. It was no longer phonetic it started being very hard even though I was reading years ahead of my grade. I was kept in from recess for repetative writing as punishment for not doing my homework at least a few time a month all year long. Even though this class was far smaller than the private school classes had been, I did not receive any special teacher aid. The other students mocked me frequently.

I began to get depressed. My grades suffered even more. I was sent to the school counciler. Nothing she did was helpful. Her advice was to sass the classmates who sassed me back. This only exasperated all of my problems. I don’t know if this teacher ever suggested I see a doctor or take pills, but this was a small town country school, so they very well might have been behind on the latest trends. I do know that they told my mom to put my next youngest sister on ritalin. She went from a happy smiley girl to a barely functioning zombie who never laughed in a matter of weeks.

Fifth grade. My mom started homeschooling me. While I still had trouble with spelling, my other grades improved, I made lots of friends with other homeschooling kids and my social skills with the kids in my neighbor hood improved too. I never turned into a very good speller, but some kids just aren’t. I remember my grandpa helping me with my spelling list and reteaching me to spell phonetically, it was still hard, but it seemed not as frustrating to me as it had during public school.

I remember Fifth grade being the best year of school ever. That summer mom took my sister off of her medication and the next year  both she and our youngest sister were homeschooled as well. What had been an extreme intervention on my behalf became just the way it was and from then until all of us graduated my mom never looked back or considered putting us back into a traditional school setting. Our socialization never suffered, (we were the popular kids with friends from every school in the city and we threw the best parties.) None of us ever entered a spelling bee. We each had the freedom and flexability with our time to get jobs at 14 so we always had money to spend during the time our penniless friends were slaving over pointless homework assignments.

Any one who regularely reads this blog knows I still pretty much suck at spelling, which is really pretty ironic for the average homeschooler reputation, but that doesn’t bother me in the least. I know I’m going to be homeschooling my son, in fact we started this summer with American Sign Language. This fall I’m putting together a preschool curriculum for him.

I’m so thankful my parents had the guts to be different. Nothing could have been better for my ability to think for myself, my creative development or my psychological health than to learn by being challenaged in the old fashion sort of way. Not that my grades were always perfect, or that my teenage years weren’t fraught with the general sort of strangeness that most of my generation had/have, but they sure as heck never required medication or professional counseling, I can only imagine how much worse they would have been in a public school being nannied by underpaid government employees.

I’m not saying homeschooling or private school is right or even an option for everyone. I don’t judge anyone who has their kids in public schoool, (I married a public schooler *gasp!*) but I am saying that the way our country does public school is not helping us as individuals or as a nation. I don’t think very many of you will find a reason to disagree.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow – you remember SO much more than I do…since I was so little when I started home-schooling. :)LOVE the article…Shade is gonna be a super duper smart little man! 🙂

  2. Too*

  3. Public school for me pretty much equaled complete boredom, wasted time, and WAY to much homework. They have kids for SEVEN FREAKING HOURS OF THE DAY! Why do they need to assign 2 or 3 hours of homework on top of that?! So stupid…And I can't spell. Ha, ha 🙂

  4. Nice 🙂


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