Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Homeschooling in Bedlam?

General Mayhem's 6th grade Language Arts teacher confiscated his school supplies to save them in the teacher's desk "just in case" the General came to class without supplies.

Take a little time to wrap your mind around that concept…

Yes, this college educated man decided that General Mayhem didn’t need to carry pens and pencils in his book bag from class to class, ensuring that he’d be prepared for all six classes each day. He took all of the boy’s extra pens and pencils out of General Mayhem’s book bag and placed them in his teacher’s desk so that “just in case” General Mayhem arrived in his Language Arts classroom unprepared, there’d be a steady supply of writing utensils. Never mind the fact that by confiscating all of General Mayhem’s supplies the teacher was guaranteeing that General Mayhem would arrive at class unprepared each day. Never mind the fact that General Mayhem needs writing utensils in all of his classes and not just in Language Arts. Are all of General Mayhem’s other teachers supposed to give him a hall pass each hour in order to run to Language Arts to get a pen or pencil, or is Language Arts the only class important enough to require a student to write?

Our local middle school only hires the best and the brightest.

Standing outside of the elementary school yesterday, I listened to a mother explain how her daughter’s kindergarten teacher did not require her students to put a horizontal line on the top of a capital “J.” It’s too challenging for the young ones. They’ll be taught how to write a capital “J” properly in first grade, when they will be required to write a line across the top of the letter. I never noticed that this was being taught because Major Havoc has been writing for well over a year. He knows how to properly write a capital “J.” This teaching strategy begs the question, “How many years of school will it take for children to master writing capital “R?” Two? Three? Will they be allowed to write a capital “P” instead of an “R” in kindergarten? Will “Pichard” become “Richard” 18 weeks into his first grade year when the class finally gets around to covering “R?” I can see a room full of fourth graders running out of school one day, wildly exclaiming, “We’ve finally mastered W!”

Apparently, the teachers who cannot handle middle school get bumped down to the lower grades.

I have extreme difficulty navigating this nonsense because I struggle to get past the fact that I must deal with these insane situations. I cannot believe that I have to send an e-mail to a teacher telling them to return my son’s school supplies so that he can be prepared for class. I cannot believe that my local elementary school sets a standard for academic performance so low that it does not cover the bare basics, such as what a letter in the English language looks like. Supposedly, this is one of the better school districts in our corner of Kansas. Wrap your mind around that one.

Underneath those issues is the frustration that I feel when I haul my children to and from a school system that I do not believe in. I know I can do better. Placing that issue aside for a moment, I want to share with each and every one of you who are still homeschooling your children: on your hardest, darkest days, you are soaring above the clouds. When your child is giving you fits, starting his seventh hour of a 30 minute math exercise, you are doing more to ensure your child’s success in the future than 12 years worth of public education. Have faith. Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Have faith that God is leading you in the right direction for your children’s sake. I have written often of the madness of schooling in my home, but that was nothing compared to the madness I experience at the hands of the employees of our local school district. I long to return to Bedlam.


CrossView said...

He's alive, he's alive...

Sorry. That was my best Frankenstein voice. =/

kellieann said...

Good to see you blogging again! I plan to return someday. Probably over the summer. We'll see if Jack lets me. He's now in charge, ya' know.

Anonymous said...

What, did you used to blog and recently started a new one?
I share your frustrations!!! As for middle school, I call them rightfully "idiots" and "job protectors". Haven't met a single middle school staff member I would consider intelligent, though a couple do come close (until the "job protection" thing kicks in). So glad mine only have to step foot in there for the fluff stuff (that's REAL fluff, not MATH) like phy-ed and music and art, or band and choir. I don't do those subjects at home enough for their liking. I'm very glad that your wife already gave me all the nicknames last year, or I'd be a bit lost!
~Jill (Don't want to set up an account yet...)

Kathleen said...

At least your public school experience gives you much blog fodder!!

Which begs the questions: why are you no longer homeschooling?

Nikowa@KHA said...

That is INSANE! Can you say educated idiots? I found out that the PS's around here stop teaching cursive. That's right, no cursive AT ALL! Weird, huh?

Glad you're back! :)

Brownie said...

I'm glad you're blogging again!

To repeat the question above... why in PS?

Linda said...

Yippee, yahoo!!!

Reading a great book..."The Harsh Truth about Public Schools". Read will give you TONS of blogging fodder!! It's actually making me think about writing a post! ;-) Thinking.

Big Doofus said...

It's a tough call to make Arby, but you should also know that your children are still in the hands of a mighty God--even in public school. I know we've wrestled with it, too--having sent our son (15) to public school this year. It's been quite an adventure.