I spent many, many years saying those words to pretty much anyone who would ask. I have always believed that homeschooling was ambitious and fantastic – but not for me. I became a pro at giving homeschooling moms props at the same time I said I never would.
And then something strange happened. Our public school experience degraded into some sort of news story you might read on the national news. Little by little, our confidence in our school eroded until we felt we really had few other options.
First, let me be very honest here. We loved our public school. We volunteered and we were happy with the teachers and the administration. Every year we attended our Veteran’s Day celebrations with pride and said we were so thrilled that our kids were attending school here. The school felt like family to us. We really were blissfully happy at that point.
Then some things changed. Our school developed some new programs that reached out across the city and the dynamics of everything shifted. Suddenly a school that had ‘just enough’ room had not enough room. Teachers were packed with students beyond what they could handle and disciplinary actions began to go through the roof with a massive influx of new students.
Personally, we ran into problems of some sort with all three of our kids. My eldest dealt with severe bullying from a classmate that morphed into problems with a teacher. My middle child ended up with a teacher who systematically pointed out my daughter’s inadequacies and flaws to the entire class – making her an odd sort of pariah amongst her classmates. (The teacher was insistent that making these ‘issues’ public would force my daughter into changing them so she could ‘join the status quo.’ This really had the opposite effect – caused my daughter a great deal of distress. She loved school until third grade and then every day was a horrible struggle to get her to go.) The final straw for us involved a manipulated situation that landed my six year old son in the principal’s office for sexual harassment. Yeah.
I do need to say that the school did work with us on most of these issues, but we just got to the point where we were unable to justify dropping our kids off every day and being concerned for their welfare – far more than just their education.
We chose to homeschool and though it’s a struggle, we wouldn’t change anything about it now.