Home School vs. Public School?
As the daughter of a 5th grade teacher I have always had the utmost respect for our public school teachers. I know the dedication, sacrifice, and utter devotion good teachers have for their jobs and “their” kids. I was lucky enough to graduate from a small, engaged school system in a white-collar neighborhood. With only 59 kids in my class, being college-bound was the rule, not the exception. I had all the academic and extra-curricular opportunities available from elementary school through high school.
I was very lucky.
Times have changed. I never would have thought I would have ever considered home schooling my children. Not because I think it’s less of an education, or because I have misconceptions about what is involved in home schooling. But, simply, because I am a product of a public education. I know the value (and the pitfalls) of the public classroom and the social and emotional growth it offers. It’s familiar. And, I have misgivings about my abililites to be The Teacher.
I see a lot of Moms making the choice to home school for a variety of reasons. The Home Schooling community has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades. There are about 2 million school-age students being home schooled in the U.S. today according to the National Home Education Resource Institute (nheri.org). It’s obviously working.
So, why am I considering home schooling?
First, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT had a significant impact on me. The senseless murder of those innocent children (and school staff) haunts me. Why Sandy Hook? Why not my daughter’s school? Who is next? I cannot fathom it.
Second, the Governor of the State of Maine recently released a statewide grading system that gave every public school a letter grade. The state average was a C. My daughters’ school received an F. This new grading system has brought a lot of attention to public education in Maine. I know there are a multitude of reasons for such poor marks including the socio-economic status of different areas, parental involvement, teacher certification, and other concerns. What I don’t know is how are we going to fix it? And when? Are my children going to see the benefits? My girls are mortified that their school got an F. They know that would not be accceptable if it was their own grade.
Third, the city we live in has just requested a State of Emergency as we have unbelievably suffered 5 suspicious fires in less than a week. The disturbing part is that at this point, two of the fires have been deemed arson. Two suspects have been detained for the two separate incidents. Both of them are twelve year old boys. These boys are the same kids my girls go to school with. The same kids that are impacting the education level of their school…yep, the one that got the F. I think there are much bigger issues at play here. Whether or not they are finishing or understanding their homework seems ludicrous when they are burning down apartment buildings. How do I demand a quality education from a school that is getting handed kids like these two boys?
I have to be the best advocate for my children. As a parent, it’s my responsibility (and hope) for my kids to have a quality education that they can depend on and be proud of. Our elementary school is hosting a parent meeting next week to address concerns and explain the details of the new grading system. My hope is I will at least have more information to help me make the right choice for my kids. They don’t deserve an F.