Every year around this time, the same thing happens. Back to school stuff appears, forms from the school get sent in the mail, appointment reminders from doctors’ offices show up reminding me that it’s time to poke my child again.
And every year at this time, I come off a two-month stint of hanging out with my kids and loading them up in the car to go to really awesome places and see exciting things, and a tiny thought worms its way into my little brain: “If I home schooled my kids, we could do this cool stuff all year long.” I start to resent the local school system for snatching my babies out of my arms, and that makes me start thinking anarchy-type thoughts about how the government is taking too much control over the masses. Then I realize that if the government didn’t mandate education for our citizens’ children, half those kids would grow up to be knuckle-dragging mouth breathers.
About four minutes after thinking I could home school, a different image slaps the home school thought right outta me, and no, it’s not the brutal realization that we would never bathe or put on actual non-pajama-clothing ever again. It is the fact that I don’t know a single home schooled kid who turned out normal. Before you call me on the phone to gripe about that statement, you have to know that I spend a good deal of my day apologizing to various people for the weird-assed stuff I say, but I’m not budging on this one.
I admit it, some kids out there are home schooled for semi-legitimate reasons, like severe allergies to everything including air, and I’m not gonna finger point at those parents. You have to do for your kids, especially the things that keep them from dying. Other kids have mad ninja skills in some kind of awesome talent, like they were playing Chopin on their Fisher-Price pianos before they could support the weight of their own heads, so they get home schooled while they’re on tour. Okay, again, who am I to judge?
I’m even willing to admit that some home schooled kids would have been weirdos even if they had been given the benefit of a few rounds of All Skate through the public school system, but they would have gotten beaten up on a daily basis. I give it to their parents, those kids were gonna be socially inept no matter what you did for them. You might as well keep them home so you don’t have to wash the blood out of their shirts every day.
The ones that actually make me want to drive my car through a crowded play date of eleven-year-olds are the parents who proudly declare that their children are too smart for public school, that their children would have been bored. You know what? We’re all bored in school! I’m a teacher and I’m effing bored! If it wasn’t boring you wouldn’t have a reason to graduate!
Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher that I get so riled up on homeschooling. In my mind, it would be like me deciding that my appendectomy wouldn’t be fulfilling enough if I had it done in a hospital, so I’m gonna do it at home on my kitchen table with some tools I ordered on the internet, just to keep it fresh and unboring. How exactly did you come to the decision that any craptastic human with a pulse can be a teacher? Or can perform appendectomies, for that matter?
So I invite—nay, I urge—all of you to join me in aisle four of the local Walmart where normal parents will wrestle to the death in a retail cage match while trying to buy the last three-ring binder in town. Our kids will suffer through agonizing classes on our state’s history where they will learn useless information like all twelve verses to our state song; of course, there will be a test on this material, and probably a really crappy diorama to build involving lots of glue and popsicle sticks. And yet somehow, my kid’s still going to turn out more well-adjusted than the one you raised in your own private think tank. It’s one of the mysteries of the universe.
6 thoughts on “Your Kid Is So Freakin’ Weird”
My kids went through public school and were nearly beaten out of it– not by the kids but by all the people who work at the school who don’t teach– Guidance Councilors are a pet peeve of mind. They spend their entire existance rooting on the kids that are doing well. Their bonus is dependent on who they place. Screw the ones that actually need help with problems in school. If public schools had more teachers than administrators I think it would be a place of higher education. I’m through and stepping down from my soapbox.
This really was a great post to generate comments. And you are a brave lady to welcome flaming commentors. You’re also so funny I always sit down when I read what your mind generates. You’re one of my heros
I think homeschooling does have its place as do you but I think it is better for kids to be in school with other kids, to learn socialization skills if nothing else. I did home school my son for part of one year but that was out of desperation. I made a fresh plan for the next year and homeschooling was over with. I think that parents who think their children are “too smart” for school need a wake up call and it will happen eventually. In the meantime they are not doing their children any favors.
Regarding your being a teacher, as a parent I thank you. We need more dedicated teachers in our schools so that children will learn to appreciate education for its own sake not just as a means to an end.
YAH! Those of us who were consumed by guilt because we DIDN”T home school our children and actually made them suffer through 12 years of paralysing boredom salute you. Of course I am happy about the way my children turned out. One of them is an international journalist!
Give me a break! There are some weird kids in public school as well and some pretty weird parents all over the place. We home schooled our two boys. They’re pretty normal – whatever that is. At sixteen they each decided they wanted to give public education a shot. They both spent two years socializing and having fun while making straight A’s in advanced classes without cracking a book. They were surprised at the immaturity and lack of education of their peers.
My youngest is now a senior in state college keeping a 4.0 majoring in philosophy. He hangs out mostly with grad students because he still finds his fellow 21 year olds immature. My older son is in the workforce doing well in a competitive economy. They both seem well adjusted and happy. So if that is your definition of “Freakin’ Weird”, then all parents should be so lucky. I’m pretty proud of my freakin’ weird kids. They freakin’ rock!
It has its place, as I said. Sadly, of the families I’ve met one did it due to the child’s special needs (while their other children were not home schooled) and another did it due to paralyzing shyness in the child (I mean the kind where the girl threw up if people were looking at her). Both cases it was the best decision for the child. The crazy thing is I never meet parents who get very vocal about defending their choice to put their kids in public school, or even private school, for that matter. Maybe it’s because society is more accepting of those forms of education. But deciding when your child is four that he’s way too smart for public school may not be the best choice.
I laughed so hard, because it’s true. High-five!
But really, my mother is a 30 year veteran of the public school system here in Maui and is also a staunch advocate to public school education vs home school and/or private schooling … well actually she says give me a friggin’ raise, but that’s a different subject!