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homeschool post follow up

updated wed 19 apr 06


primalmommy on tue 18 apr 06

I wrote Joyce this morning and asked her not to approve the
homeschooling post I wrote in anger last night, but it was too late.

I am not worried about Elizabeth, who is a big girl, but I am concerned
that some of my phrases were chosen in anger and seemed overly
dismissive of traditional schooling.

My concerns with traditional schooling do not have to do with teachers
as a whole. I think teachers deserve combat pay, and are often unfairly
pushed into teaching group sizes way beyond what they can do
effectively. When I taught, it killed me that some kids just had to be
left behind because the system required me to get the maximum number of
kids to page 43 by March 4th. I didn't have the luxury of addressing
different learning styles or flexibility in timing and rate of progress.
And teachers don't operate by coercion and power because they are bad
people --it's the only way to teach while executing some crowd control.
I did it myself. The reward-and-punish structure is intrinsic in the
system. I know a lot of teachers -- especially those in more subjective
or creative areas - who hate grading, but it's the coin of the realm.
And what do you do with a disruptive kid, who is stealing time from the
rest of the class? It's an issue I dealt with in my own clay class
recently, and there's no easy answer.

People tell me my kids won't be prepared for "the real world", but the
real world is not like school. My kids may need to learn how to "do"
school themselves -- my oldest may go to high school, as he has
expressed an interest (probably for that fine academic reason, "to meet
girls".) They all plan to attend college.

But I reread last night's post and flinched at some of the words I used
to describe the conformity required of traditional schooling. I realize
I am very lucky to have a 1 to 3 student-teacher ratio, after years of
struggling with the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching school, and
the hoops I was required to jump through by the system (often at the
expense of my students.) It is unfair of me to hold up my small group
learning situation as ideal when that's just not an option for the
majority of teachers- or students.

So please consider this a retraction --not of my frustration with
stereotyping, but of the angry edge that seemed to condemn other ways of
teaching/learning. It's easy to become defensive when year after year,
total strangers (whose notions of homeschooling are outdated and
uninformed) feel perfectly justified in saying, "Why aren't you in
school? What about socialization? How will they learn to function in the
real world?"

My anger was with EP's broad brush, and stomping through my particular
minefield in hobnailed boots. Teachers, and parents with kids in school,
please accept this afterthought as an olive branch. I agree with David
Hendley that kids can learn and thrive in any school, any environment --
and would add my own assertion that good parenting means more than all
the other logistics involved.

Kelly in Ohio

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Elizabeth Priddy on tue 18 apr 06

Maybe she snagged it, as it isn't in my inbox.

SO perhaps you could send it to me directly and I can
respond offlist. I half wish I had not said anything,
but the post I was responding to sounded darkly
familiar and my experience is my experience.

I am not painting them all with such a broad brush,
but I am painting my local area group fairly
accurately having had discussions with several other
local teachers who also try to help them out. Maybe
they are just a bad bunch, poorly organized, or
whatever other reason there is for rude abuse of
people who are just basicly trying to help them out.
It would be nice if you all could self-regulate for
quality control in your more social endeavors and the
people like josh-u-a's shivering mom could be
contained by the other moms instead of me being set
upon by a 40-ish child.

I have seen both extremes, both here and in raleigh.
I consider it an option if schools here suck. I have
a good threee years to make a decision.

Sorry I messed up your lawn, but you are a big girl
too and we have known each other long enough to cut
each other some slack.

So whatever you said...whatever.

To each his own. As parents, in all decisions, the
best you can do is muddle through and hope for the

Good luck with all your endeavors, especially your


Elizabeth Priddy

Beaufort, NC - USA

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