You have Choices!
by Ronnie Ugulano
I am a regular reader of John Rosemond's column. Every week he writes an article connected with child care/parenting issues.
"I am a regular reader of John Rosemond's column. One week, something he didn't say stuck in my craw."
One week, something he didn't say stuck in my craw. This particular week's article was concerning a teacher that runs her classroom along rather strict lines, but when she tries to enforce any kind of discipline, the parents come out in droves, with their lawyers in some cases, to pressure her and/or the principal to back down.
Actually, I'm rather on the teacher's side. We as homeschoolers know that a classroom setting may not be ideal for some, but if you are going to have 30+ students in a classroom, you have to have a few rules. Parents have to support classroom discipline in order for the teacher to get from point A to point B in the learning cycle. This particular teacher could be completely awful, but for the moment, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, because her skills are not at issue here.
What did pique my interest was that Mr. Rosemond recommended to the teacher that she could either stay and do her best with the students that did want to progress. . .
"Or if you can't take the heat any longer (and I wouldn't blame you if you decide you've had enough), resign and find a job at a private or parochial school that welcomes teachers like yourself. It's not like you don't have choices." (emphasis mine)
OK, this is what got my goat. He's telling this teacher that she has CHOICES. She can either stay with a troubled school system, or she can leave. Either way is fine with him.
"Parents are convinced that this is The Way Things Are."
The thought came to mind: "What about the children and their parents?" Are the same choices implied in the system today? No, usually they aren't. The public school system implies that there really aren't any school options. You can send your kids to public school, or you can send your kids to public school. Oh yeah, if you are rich, you can send them to private school, but the average kid, come what may, must accept public school. If they don't fit the mold, it's still good for them because they "learn to deal with adversity". That adversity could be bad teachers, the school bully, drugs, guns, whatever - but it's "good for them". It "builds character" - even if it only makes the situation worse.
Then to add insult to injury, parents are convinced that this is The Way Things Are. How many times have I heard "Well, we considered taking him out of public school and putting him in a private school, but we wanted to support the public school system. If all the good parents take their kids out, who will be left?"
It used to be that only the really hard-core types would seek out homeschooling. Homeschooling has had a reputation for being the refuge of the religion-crazed and tree-hugger types.
Over the past few years though, I've seen a different type of homeschooling family emerge. At first, just a few brave souls that just wanted to be with their kids and have the privilege of teaching them themselves. However, more and more I'm seeing parents with children that have exhausted the system.
"Over the past few years though, I've seen a different type of homeschooling family emerge - More and more I'm seeing parents with children that have exhausted the system."
They've volunteered in the classroom, or at least in the school, they've joined the PTA, and showed up at every school conference in the hope that they could make a difference. When it didn't help, they'd go to the principal, or even the school board. Only after they have exhausted all other options in the public school have they given serious thought to homeschooling.
What completely surprises them, is that they find that the homeschooling option has been available to them all along.
"You mean it's LEGAL to homeschool? All I've had to do this whole time is click my heels together three times?"
"Yes", we homeschoolers tell them. "jump in, the water's fine!"
As few as 3 years ago, John Rosemond criticized parents for choosing the homeschooling option - because supposedly public school builds character. Last year he changed his stance when an article of his came out with the header: Two Incomes Don't Always Add Up, where the main point of discussion was that he felt that the family could do better emotionally and even financially by subsisting on a single income. In that article, he also noted that many parents that have consciously chosen to live on one income, are also choosing to homeschool. He acknowledged that these parents feel that their children are doing better academically and socially, than when they had been in public school. He even made the comment:
"It's not like you don't have choices."
"Learn to live on one income, consider putting the freed-up time to good use by homeschooling . . ."
One of these days, someone's going to write to John Rosemond complaining about how their child's school doesn't make the grade. They are going to explain how 'they've tried working with the school, but aren't making any progress, what can they do?' And someday, Mr. Rosemond is going to say:
"If you can't take the heat any longer (and I wouldn't blame you if you decide you've had enough), exit the public school system and consider a private school or even the homeschooling option, where many families are finding good success. It's not like you don't have choices."