I have always taken my roll as protector very seriously. I have been known to over-react to things when it comes to my kids. I feel such a responsibility to them to make sure their life doesn’t, well, suck. If they make bad decisions I want to make sure that it is THEIR decision and not something they do in response to damage I caused. I really think that God gave me three girls because He knew I would be diligent in raising them for Him. He has laid a burden on my heart to make sure they are not the typical girls that are released into the world today. Basically, to make sure they do not repeat my mistakes.
When my girls entered Kindergarten it quickly became apparent that one of them had some issues. I’m not going to bore you with the details but it turns out to be pretty serious learning/development based deficits. We moved to a different state just before Christmas and I enrolled them in the local school. It was quickly shown to me that they believed that she was “slow” and were going to treat her as so. During a meeting the school Psychologist kept saying things like “Well, she IS a low IQ child.” and “Who’s to say she will ever catch up?”
I’m to say.
The Monday after that meeting (within a month of enrolling her) I signed her out.
I realized that NO ONE cares for my girls the way I do. There isn’t one person in the world that is as vested in them as I am. So, why am I trusting them to others? Given the amount of time they are in school, they will be influenced by these people for the majority of their first 18 years! If the people that are responsible for their entire future (education wise) have the opinion “Well, she IS a low IQ child.” and I know differently, I CAN NOT leave her in that situation. (Note: one of the ‘things’ with learning disabilites is a gap in IQ scores and actual ability. She may score borderline mentally disabled but she really is not.)
But, how do people come to this conclusion when there isn’t an obvious issue like I faced? We are all in agreement that the public education system is broken. There is not enough money, too much politics and too many teachers that are beat down. I don’t know how we allowed the education of our children to turn into such a circus- but we did. You forever see news stories about sexual relationships between teachers and students (well, not relationships- rape) , bullying, gangs, drugs, violence and sex. Add in a bunch of progressives that think THEY know what is best for my child and *viola* a recipe for disaster.
Now, to throw in some statistics so I look smart, according to the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (yes, our federal government) Indicators of School Crime and Safety annual report for 2008 (latest sats available) says that there were 55.7 million students in public school in grades K-12. The key findings were, that of these almost 56 million:
- the rates of theft and violence were higher AT school than away (among 12-18 year olds)
- 10% of males and 5% of females (9-12 grade) were threatened or injured with a WEAPON at school
- 85% of schools reported a CRIME that happened at the school
- 62% of schools had to report a crime that happened at the school to the POLICE
- 20% of schools reported GANG ACTIVITY
- 22% of students reported that an ILLEGAL DRUG had been offered, sold, or given to them at school (9-12 grade)
- 32% of students (12-18 years old) reported being BULLIED
- 34% of teachers said that student misbehavior interfered with teaching
Keep in mind that 100% of homeschool Mom’s I know would say that student misbehavior interrupts their teaching! (Ahhh, the joys of teaching little kids.)
Being a product of public schools I understand the ups and downs of the system. And I understand the pressure that is thrown at kids on a daily basis. They no sooner set foot through the door and they are being bombarded with people trying to make them forget every value and standard you spent years teaching them. The autonomy of the life they live in school is dangerous. How many times have we seen a news clip where the parents say “I had no idea!” I just wasn’t willing to take the chance that I could be one of those parents.
I understand that not everyone CAN homeschool. I hear from so many women, “I wish I could homeschool my kids.” I know that this opportunity given to me was given from God, Himself. He has a plan for my kids and public school does not fit into that plan. That, simply, is reason enough for me to homeschool.
But, outside of religion, I choose to homeschool because I am the best teacher for my kids, because I know they are safest with me, because I know that only I can teach them what they need to know for life and because I know one of them has special needs- and I know that there is still prejudice against kids like her.
For those of you that have already taken this step, I want to offer support and encouragement. We have a HARD job. There is a lot of pressure and sometimes we question the sanity of our decision. Just rest knowing that we are doing the right thing. If you are struggling with the decision ‘to homeschool or not to homeschool’ I hope this has helped you make your decision- either way. And just remember, you will never regret it.