To School or Not To School, That is the Question

I am considering homeschooling my kids. Like, seriously considering it. Mas Younon just rolled over in his yet unused grave.

See, here's my thing: I'm not the world's biggest fan of the concept homeschooling. I've nothing against it, per se, I just really want the public education system to work. I think it's important that kids learn how to sit at a desk in a room full of other people and work (that skill is 99.96% guaranteed to come in handy later.) I like that feeling of new school clothes, that smell of fresh paper, the field trips and the sack lunches. It's childhood, yo.

I swore I'd never homeschool my kids. I don't exactly like them enough to spend every day with them am NOT a trained professional. I don't cut my own hair, and I don't attempt to teach. But, honestly, after the events of this school year, I am changing my mind.

I know that I was really lucky to fall into the school I did in Denver. I choiced OUT of the rich, white, uppity school and choiced INTO the 75% free and reduced lunch, 30/30/30 racial split, 10% special ed, median income, low-to-average test scores school. This? Could have sucked. This? Did not suck in any way.

That school tried. The staff and parents worked together, and very hard, to create something amazing. Our school sits year after year on the chopping block in Denver Public Schools because attendance is low and the space is unused. Why? Because we refuse to give up the 3 special ed classrooms for more average students. We LIKE those students. We like all the diversity. It creates well-rounded humans. We avoid getting closed year after year because our poor, ghetto, half empty school crushes the competing schools test scores year after year. Our Bully Prevention System (PE Ace's) has been featured on every local news channel in Denver. Our PTA raises something in the neighborhood of $50 thousand dollars annually to hand over to the principal so we can keep para-professionals in the classrooms, so every child gets art and music, so PE is an every day class, not just once or twice a week, so we can devote time to getting Lights On After School Grants to provide free or amazingly low cost after school activities like science, band, etc to EVERY CHILD who wants it.

We fought for that school. For the staff. For the community. We believed in something, and we made it happen. It's happened, yo. This year, the school is at maximum enrollment. The snotty, rich, mostly white families are bringing their kids in, which sucks but makes raising $50K a little easier. And our community deserves that. The kids who don't have, who can't have, their parents still give time, which is JUST as valuable, and the parent who do have and can have give a little money, too. And that school is a home for people. All the people, not just one select group.

There has not been one incident of playground bullying in something like 10 years there. There are no violent incidents, there are no parents who don't know what's going on in the classrooms. That school breathes together. Problems are tackled head on, and even the most troubled students are helped to find some one thing that fills their void in the school day.

We got all this from a city public school who is in a budget deficit of $50 something thousand dollars a year. Who can't afford the paper for teachers to make photocopies. Who was told 5 years ago that gym, art and music were being cut.

We. Showed. Them.

And then I move to an affluent suburb of a damn near socialist country. Everyone has health care. The schools have everything they need and more. And my damn kid gets beat up 4 times in one school year. My son who was 1st chair in the orchestra since grade 2 can't play in the band until grade 7 here. He can't even TRY OUT. There are no after school activities. I have never once received a letter from the teachers filling me in on what my sons are learning.

I have been choked to death for cash, however, which I have given and then sat in a room listening to parents debate whether to spend that cash on board games or new coolers.

The difference? No one is fighting for anything. I am surrounded by a bunch of people who assume this is owed to them, or who assume that their job is black and white. I'm not saying this is a Canadian thing, because reading your responses in the last post, I see that this is fairly universal. What does your PTA do for you? What extra mile has your school taken for your child? Apparently, most people answer none.

Dude, I'm sorry, but that is not okay in my book.

Am I a trained teacher? No. Did I even bother going to college? Um, no. But I am smart, and I know how to read, and I am capable of learning. I can teach these kids, I know I can. I am working on algebra right now with them, just for fun. Why? Because I don't have 30 other kids hollering at me and I can take the time to see that 2of3 is already multiplying at 8, which means he can divide, too, which means he can DO ALGEBRA. It's not rocket science, it's just working with my child's abilities and strengths.

And so, I am considering homeschooling them. I know that I am blessed beyond all compare to be able to stay home with them, for the very idea of this to be even possible, and so while I can, I may. But I feel like maybe I'm missing something, or overlooking something big here. The socialization? The learned ability to co-exist with others, to respect authority? The scheduling skills? I don't know.

I would honestly really appreciate your input here.

PS: There's still time to put your name in for a free school supply pack from EZ School Supplies. Just sayin'.