My bloggy buddy Shell has started "Pour Your Heart Out" Wednesdays and I thought I'd give it a shot this week. If you want to know more about it follow the button:
I've been thinking about education a lot these days. As most of you are aware I was homeschooled and it was a very positive experience for me. Because of this I've always dreamed of homeschooling my own kids. Matt on the other hand attended public school (and private school briefly) and is of the school of thought (pun intended) that public school is the norm and our kids should have a normal upbringing. After some back and forth we decided to homeschool Mallory this year since we didn't want her to have to change school districts in the middle of her first year of school. When we made this decision we didn't know where we'd end up moving but decided that we would make the public/homeschool decision based on whether or not the school district was a good one. Now that we know where we will be come September I've started doing some research on the school district and the reviews are not just mixed; they are downright polarizing.
While this is going on at my house my mother is struggling with an inner conflict at hers. She is currently homeschooling my three youngest siblings. I've talked before about my sister Hello Kitty's learning disabilities. I'm not going to recap all of that here so I encourage you to follow the link to see what she and my mom deal with on a day to day basis. At this point in Hello Kitty's education my mom feels that she would be better educated by someone else. The public school in my mom's district has programs catered to kids with HK's learning disabilities and also more experience then my mother in this area. So where does the conflict come from? If she would receive a better education from someone else it seems like a no-brainer, right?
Here's the rub. When choosing a school for your kids you aren't just deciding on their academic education, you are choosing what kind of social education they will receive too. The school that can offer HK education is the same school that my sister Diva attended when she first came to live with our family. Diva was only in the fifth grade and she was asked by a classmate to meet him in the bathroom for sex. During the same school year she had a first grader point out to her that there were two sixth graders having sex in the back of the bus. When the girl in question finished with the first boy, she moved on to the next. Now Diva was smart enough to walk away from those situations (and keep that first grader at the front of the bus), but HK is a sweet, sheltered, low-IQ girl who wouldn't understand that the kids inviting her to the bathroom aren't her friends and she could very easily be convinced to follow them. You could argue here that it's every parents responsibility to teach their children right from wrong and I would agree with you. You might also say that all kids are going to have to learn about sex sometime and I would agree with you about this also. Thing is I don't want my kids to learn about it at six or have the choice to become sexually active at ten. I would prefer that I have the opportunity to talk to them about sex first and also have the option of only exposing them to as much information as I feel is age appropriate.
The school district we are moving to isn't the same one as my mom's so the experiences could be completely different. However, my mom's school district is widely considered the best in the region. Which makes me wonder what kind of scale we are using to judge how good a school is? Is it based solely on the test scores of students? All parents would be pleased to know that their children are receiving a solid academic education. But since the pro-public school argument relies heavily on promoting socialization of our kids, I can't help but think that it's not too much to ask to know what kind of social education they are getting and to expect that kind of information to be a public record just like the academics are. It is my desire to raise my children to be well-rounded adults and I feel that requires a well-rounded education; academic and social.
I could go on about this issue and further expound on some of the things I've touched on here (like I said I've been thinking about this a lot), but I'd really love to hear some other opinions on this besides the ones rolling around in my own head.
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