Looking Down Their Noses: Jamie’s Story

HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Jamie” is a pseudonym. 

I have been mulling something over for about a month. Pieces of this for much longer. There is something I have noticed and it’s kind of driving me bonkers.

As someone who has taught in Christian/private schools, home schooled, been home schooled and now a mom of a public school student, I feel like I have a bone to pick.

Growing up home schooled and going to a billion home schooling conferences, I heard tons of “horror stories” of public school kids/classes/teachers. Looking back, I am surprised that some of these speakers didn’t dim all the lights and put a flashlight under their chin while they spoke. Parents leave these conferences determined not to let their kid go to a public school ever. So they keep home schooling, and honestly? Some home schooling families have no business “teaching” their kids, because they are learning nothing. (Those are the ones that give the “good” home schooling families a bad name.)

Even if these poor moms are ready to quit home schooling, they can’t. There’s fear. There’s judgement. There’s a pile of canned, self-righteous answers for all their reasons. Generally speaking, there’s no money to send their children to Christian school, public school is “out” (in their minds) and so they muddle on. Done, but not done.

When I taught (in several) Christian schools, there would be comments from the admins and staff alike that would poo-poo the other Christian school in the area. Basically, gossip:

“ABC school handled such and such poorly, we would have handled it so much better.”

“XYZ school allows such and such to go on, we would never allow that here.”

It all pretty much follows the pattern of “they are bad because ___, we are better because ____”.

Building yourself up with examples that may or may not be true (or based on truth) and tearing another down. It’s kind of a manipulative way to keep your staff and students right where you want them, all the while jacking up their tuition so much, it’s almost (if not impossible) to send even one child, never mind more than one. But still looking down their noses at public school families and rolling eyes at home schoolers.

I’m pretty tired of the whole scene.

There are fabulous teachers in the public school system, just like there are fabulous teachers at the little Christian school down the road, and fabulous mothers teaching their own children. And, news flash —

There are horror stories coming out of all three.

The public school system is not the enemy. It makes a convenient target, because it’s big and vague. And just because you assign too much home work, make your students wear uniforms, and have Christian in your title doesn’t make you “better.” And there are home schooling families that need to put aside their fear and the lies they have swallowed for years and admit they are in over their heads. The bottom line should be your children’s education. My oldest has learned more this year in public school than she has the last 3 years I have taught her. It’s been the best thing for her. I can “just” be her mom, and it’s taken a lot of pressure off of me.

It kills me when I hear people say, “I got to hear my child sing praise songs while cleaning their room. Ah, the benefits of home schooling.” Or, “I just got to see my child read a chapter out of the Bible. Ah, the benefits of home schooling.” Really? Somehow my children will never read the Bible or sing praise songs because they are in public school? They will never play nicely with their sisters or practice the piano or go to AWANA because they are in school? Just because it happens at 10:30 in the morning at your house, doesn’t mean it can’t happen after 3:30 in the afternoon at my house.

However you choose to educate your child is your business.

But there is not one way to do it. And there is not merely one way for each family. Kids are different, their needs are different, and situations change. Being fluid isn’t being weak. It’s being open minded and honest and putting your kids first.

And isn’t that what parenting is all about?

To be continued.

3 comments

  • Jaime, yes! This is so true. I struggled with sending my oldest to Christian School – then when we could afford it, I home-schooled her. It was a year that will go down as one of the worst in both my daughter and my life! She and my second child are now happily enrolled in public school and learning and growing. None of the horror stories are coming true. They have amazing teachers. Yes, some grades are better than others. Yes, they have been teased. Yes, they have had to learned to stand up for themselves. But I happen to find those lessons very valuable to her growth.

  • Great article! I will only add one thing – the public schools my daughter would have to attend if we went that route give children her age about four hours of homework a night.

  • We are sending our 6th grader daughter to public school for the first time next fall. I am excited and a little fearful – she has special needs and we live in a small town. I am a city kid and small town culture is strange to me:-) I am hoping she will be very successful. If not we will pull her out. I think that each family needs to decide what to do with each kid. Good post:-)

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