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Author Topic: Socialization in public schools
philnotfil
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We are strong supporters of homeschooling, but our oldest child (he is in pre-K) has some special needs that means he goes to a public school for a part of the day.

The public school keeps on bugging us to send him for the entire day. When we ask how that would benefit him, they always bring up the importance of socialization.

I really struggle to see how learning to act socially with pre-K kids is going to be a benefit in his future life.

This almost gets worse as the students get older. I don't see the benefit to learning how to interact socially with pre-schoolers, but I can definitely see disadvantages to learning how to interact socially with middle school boys.

If this is the trump card for the public schools, isn't that a bad sign?

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JoshCrow
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Maybe clue me in here, what are the disadvantages of learning how to interact socially with middle school boys? I happened to have made every one of my lifelong friends that way.
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Stevarooni
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
If this is the trump card for the public schools, isn't that a bad sign?

I'd say so, yes. If you're providing the education your son needs and have enough social contact with the outside world to provide a healthy ability for him to function in society then public school offers little for you.
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TommySama
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I have heard that home schooled kids generally grow up better socialized than kids at public schools. They tend to mature more quickly and interact with adults (and children) well.

Ed. Edited to remove redundancy

[ August 28, 2009, 09:53 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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If one combines homeschooling with partial public school attendance, one might attain the best of both.
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TommySama
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Good education, lots of education from parents, and drugs?
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RickyB
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"I really struggle to see how learning to act socially with pre-K kids is going to be a benefit in his future life."

Learning to socialize with his peers is important. If you don't feel that way, I respect the autonomy of your family. [Smile]

I think that unless you're rich and are certain you can provide your son with the ability to do what he wants independently, it's important both to learn to socialize with peers and to interact successfully with organizations that must be obeyed (like work, eventually).

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Wayward Son
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quote:
...and to interact successfully with organizations that must be obeyed (like work, eventually).
And wives. [Big Grin]
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RickyB
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She who must...
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"I really struggle to see how learning to act socially with pre-K kids is going to be a benefit in his future life."

Learning to socialize with his peers is important. If you don't feel that way, I respect the autonomy of your family. [Smile]

I think that unless you're rich and are certain you can provide your son with the ability to do what he wants independently, it's important both to learn to socialize with peers and to interact successfully with organizations that must be obeyed (like work, eventually).

I'm pretty sure that his co-workers aren't going to be pre-schoolers (or middle school boys).

[ August 28, 2009, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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manji
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
I'm pretty sure that his co-workers aren't going to be pre-schoolers (or middle school boys).

Some of them might be mean. Or bullies. Dealing with such people is a part of life.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by manji:
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
I'm pretty sure that his co-workers aren't going to be pre-schoolers (or middle school boys).

Some of them might be mean. Or bullies. Dealing with such people is a part of life.
Right, so shouldn't he be dealing with those kinds of issues in a way that will prepare him for adult life?

Bullies at my middle school stole lunch money, put kids in garbage cans, and played keep away with people's backpacks. What did the bullies at your middle school do? Do people do those kinds of things at your work?

At my middle school we had these people called teachers who had all power within the school walls, whose job it was to regulate those bullies. What about your middle school? Do you have those kinds of people at your work?

Can you see why I feel that learning how to deal with middle school bullies isn't good preparation for dealing with adult bullies?

[ August 28, 2009, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
quote:
Originally posted by manji:
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
I'm pretty sure that his co-workers aren't going to be pre-schoolers (or middle school boys).

Some of them might be mean. Or bullies. Dealing with such people is a part of life.
Right, so shouldn't he be dealing with those kinds of issues in a way that will prepare him for adult life?

Bullies at my middle school stole lunch money, put kids in garbage cans, and played keep away with people's backpacks. What did the bullies at your middle school do? Do people do those kinds of things at your work?

At my middle school we had these people called teachers who had all power within the school walls, whose job it was to regulate those bullies. What about your middle school? Do you have those kinds of people at your work?

Can you see why I feel that learning how to deal with middle school bullies isn't good preparation for dealing with adult bullies?

I'm not really grokking your point, no. While the things that bullies like to do aren't the same, some of the ways you might react to the existence of someone who wants to do mean things to you might be the same. And there usually continue to be authorities to whom you can appeal in some contexts (at least contexts where you can't simply avoid unpleasant people).

I think that if I had been more 'socialized' in my preteen and teen years I'd be better off in many ways. I think there are basic social skills that you pick up gradually that are hard to get later if you miss the boat. And I think I missed that boat in some ways. Of course, I actually attended public schools, so I'm not a good case study for showing that public schools actually help in this arena. I just think that there's a chance that not going to public school could contribute to not developing those skills.

I don't see how it would be detrimental, which seems to be what you are saying.

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RickyB
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"I'm pretty sure that his co-workers aren't going to be pre-schoolers (or middle school boys)."

You think he can avoid socializing contact for his entire childhood and then just learn to interact with adults from scratch? While it might be fascinating to observe such an experiment, I personally would think you would be doing your son a disservice. Again, with respect to your ultimate right to decide for your family (along with the missuz, I presume).

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philnotfil
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Where did I say I didn't want him socializing? I just don't see the benefit in him socializing with his peers until they are more like the people he will be socializing with the rest of his life.
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Mormegil
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Yah, I don't get the socialization thing either, in regards to public schools. Socialization is important, no doubt, but the kind I got in public school was rather useless. The bad or irrelevant far outweighed the good.

Whenever I mention home schooling and someone brings up socialization of public schools, I say "that's actually one of the reasons I *don't* want to send my kids there."

In the real world, as an adult, I have not had to deal with so much of the nonsense that went on in school.

Dealing with bullies in real life is far different from school bullies. In real life, if someone threatens you physically, you call the cops or fight for your LIFE. As an adult, I've hardly ever been involved in even a potential physical altercation.

So any bullies are psychological ones... and as an adult, I am much better equipped to deal with them than as a child. Because it's not like anyone ever HELPED me deal with bullies as a child, I didn't *learn* anything.

If anything, a lot of kids deal with bullies in school by just getting bullied.

Whereas if you've gone your whole life never getting bullied, you won't be used to it, and when some yahoo at work tries it, you'll think "What is this nonsense?" and fight back.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I just don't see the benefit in him socializing with his peers until they are more like the people he will be socializing with the rest of his life.
This is why my children, who will spend most of their lives with people over the age of 30, will not be allowed to socialize with anyone who is younger than 25.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I just don't see the benefit in him socializing with his peers until they are more like the people he will be socializing with the rest of his life.
This is why my children, who will spend most of their lives with people over the age of 30, will not be allowed to socialize with anyone who is younger than 25.
I'm thinking back to my childhood and imagining how dry and unfortunate it would have been had I not been allowed to play with other kids.
To a child, an adult is an authority, and another kid is... well, a peer. The interactions of both kinds (authority and peer) form a balanced set of experiences from which to draw upon. Later in life, your children may not know how to interact with other children (or even their own kids) as a result.
A telling example of a child raised in an adult world: Michael Jackson.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
I'm thinking back to my childhood and imagining how dry and unfortunate it would have been had I not been allowed to play with other kids.
To a child, an adult is an authority, and another kid is... well, a peer. The interactions of both kinds (authority and peer) form a balanced set of experiences from which to draw upon. Later in life, your children may not know how to interact with other children (or even their own kids) as a result.
A telling example of a child raised in an adult world: Michael Jackson. [/QB]

True, if I don't let my kids play with other kids. However, that isn't the plan. Public schools aren't the only places where kids get to play together. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in a regular school day, they spend more time learning how to sit quietly in their sits than playing with each other.
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TomDavidson
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Yes. I was joking. [Smile] I think the fear of allowing children to interact with children is a pretty ridiculous one.

-------

quote:
In fact, I'm pretty sure that in a regular school day, they spend more time learning how to sit quietly in their sits than playing with each other.
And then, for the rest of the school day, they try to squeeze in as much teaching each other bad habits as they can?

[ August 28, 2009, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
In fact, I'm pretty sure that in a regular school day, they spend more time learning how to sit quietly in their sits than playing with each other.
And then, for the rest of the school day, they try to squeeze in as much teaching each other bad habits as they can? [/QB]
It's more that playing with each other isn't high on the list of things that schools have kids doing. Teachers tell students to be quiet more often than they tell students to talk to each other.
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Mormegil
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quote:
I'm thinking back to my childhood and imagining how dry and unfortunate it would have been had I not been allowed to play with other kids.
Fortunately, the public school system doesn't actually have a monopoly on "kids getting to interact and play with other kids," even though they act like they do.
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hobsen
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In this case the fact you may strongly support homeschooling and the public school officials think it a bad idea hardly matters. The question is whether your son, who now goes to public school part time because of his special needs, would be better off going full time. That is a very different question, as he presently may be getting the worst of both.

So how does he feel about school? As a part time student, and one with special needs, the other children may be bullying him or shunning him. If he went full time, that might make him more acceptable to the group, or it might just mean he was exposed longer to contempt and persecution. Or he may like the school, and wish he could be a regular student, rather than being seen as different, and for that reason always the lowest ranked member in his class.

The other thing you might ask, even if he is happy with his present program, is whether and why his teachers think he is suffering from being partially homeschooled. If he has no friends, for example, they have a right to worry he may never develop the skills to make any in later life. And if the cause is simply excessive shyness, going to public school full time might indeed help. But if he is thought ugly, for example, nothing may ever help him fit in with the others. Some children just have a hard time in school, through no fault of teir own, and parents can do little more than encourage them as best they can.

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Stevarooni
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So to sum up...it's a good idea, unless it isn't. Eloquent, Hobsen. [Wink]
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Wayward Son
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Of course, that sums up most of life, doesn't it? [Smile]
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
In this case the fact you may strongly support homeschooling and the public school officials think it a bad idea hardly matters. The question is whether your son, who now goes to public school part time because of his special needs, would be better off going full time. That is a very different question, as he presently may be getting the worst of both.

So how does he feel about school? As a part time student, and one with special needs, the other children may be bullying him or shunning him. If he went full time, that might make him more acceptable to the group, or it might just mean he was exposed longer to contempt and persecution. Or he may like the school, and wish he could be a regular student, rather than being seen as different, and for that reason always the lowest ranked member in his class.

The other thing you might ask, even if he is happy with his present program, is whether and why his teachers think he is suffering from being partially homeschooled. If he has no friends, for example, they have a right to worry he may never develop the skills to make any in later life. And if the cause is simply excessive shyness, going to public school full time might indeed help. But if he is thought ugly, for example, nothing may ever help him fit in with the others. Some children just have a hard time in school, through no fault of teir own, and parents can do little more than encourage them as best they can.

The thread wasn't supposed to be about our case, it was supposed to be about public schools and socialization in general [Smile]

But, in our case, socialization is not one of the services that the school is able to provide for us in a meaningful way during the regular school day. There are two other kids in our son's class, and only one of them can communicate with our son. On the plus side, he does get to spend a lot of time with the teacher or the aide in an environment full of neat stuff, but that isn't what the school has been trying to sell us on as important reasons to attend the entire day.

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Viking_Longship
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There are plenty of other opportunities for children to interact with other kids. All of the home schooled kids I have known grew up to be perfectly capable of dealing with holding a job and interacting with peers.

I think a big part of what school does is get us accustomed to spending most of our day somewhere we don't want to be under authority figures that act before they understand and living by a time clock. Perhaps we could live with a few less people trained to be wage slaves.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
I think a big part of what school does is get us accustomed to spending most of our day somewhere we don't want to be under authority figures that act before they understand and living by a time clock.

That's a pretty good summary.
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TomDavidson
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I'm not remotely surprised that the crowd at Ornery doesn't perceive the value of public education. [Smile]
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Fortunately, the public school system doesn't actually have a monopoly on "kids getting to interact and play with other kids," even though they act like they do.
Virtually 100% of Kids go to school, and they spend about 7-8 hours a day 5 days a week for about 10 months a year in school. That's a bigger monopoly than Microsoft has.

Speaking from personal experience, I needed that kind of intense daily social interaction to make the lifelong friends I have made.

Any kid who didn't go to school would be a perpetual outsider, like the guy who leaves the cottage on the first night before 9:00 while everyone else gets to spend the whole weekend together.

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tonylovern
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in my experience, learning how to sit still and be quiet is a valuable skill that many, many kids need.

theres also the question of adaptability and learning how to function outside ones comfort zone.

unless you have around 200 friends, all with kids around the same age as your's, you simply cannot provide the range of experiences that an organized school can. i dont necessarily mean public school.

lifelong friends are pretty rare. most of mine didn't come from the class i was in. some are older, some are younger, so the argument that they need the peer group lacks merit.

what they need, in my opinion, is exposure to as many kids as possible, in a controlled environment, so that they can choose which kids they want to interact with outside of school.

as far as middle school boys go, thats the age where people start forming thier first crushes, and becoming truely curious about other people.

again, this is just my opinion, it's important for them to be able to explore other ways of thinking and discover these for themselves.

as an anecdotal side note, all of the parents that i've known who home schooled thier kids have been exceptionally controlling and sheltering. they were all arrogant enough to think they knew better than anyone else and didnt allow thier children the ability to decide for themselves.

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kenmeer livermaile
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There are many many ways to mature into an adult homo sap, and many many ways to thrive and prosper as such. There are many many ways to engage other homo saps socially, and they needn't be learned in school.

There are lots of kids for whom public school is a needless ongoing lesson in humiliation and alienation.

We create these two abstract categories: public school and home school, and discuss them as if the realities contained in those categories were homogeneous. They're not.

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hobsen
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KL hits the nail on the head in the post above. Some public schools do so well the local parents just waste money and time if they try to provide any other education for their children. Some do so badly that no responsible parent would send his children there.

And homeschooling has a bad reputation because a lot of parents who try it have indeed an unhealthy compulsion to control their children's lives without the skills to give them even an average education. But probably the best prepared high school graduate I have ever met was entirely homeschooled, at least nominally, in an Orthodox Jewish community which cooperated to provide an excellent education for its hundred or more children. And some close friends used to homeschool their four children with the aid of a homeschooling group involving 200 children who got together several days a week on leased premises. They certainly did not suffer from that regimen, but I thought the parents were silly to make such an effort in a community with few social problems where the public school sent 90% of its graduates on to college. Certainly they were conservative Christians, but so were more than half the students in the public school, which was getting in trouble with the courts for trying to teach creationism in the classroom. In such a situation any parent who thinks exposure to even a minority of other students with different backgrounds is a threat to parental values is in fact sheltering his children more than is ideal, and risking their resenting that, and also risking their having difficulty adjusting to college or the military or a work environment where they have to associate with a wider variety of people.

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LinuxFreakus
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Unless your public school options are bad, I really have no idea why anyone would waste time and money with home schooling when your taxes are already funding good schools. Personally, even if my public schools were bad where I lived, I would just move rather than try to do it myself. With only a few exceptions, every person I've every known who was home schooled ended up really screwed up IMO. The main reason I consider them "screwed up" is that although they know everything they are supposed to they just didn't seem to learn "how" to learn. I think the parents overdid the teacher role and took too much of an active role so the kids never really had to do much independently. Socially they are also wierd too, but over the years that diminished...it took a while though and I don't think it is necessarily great to have to spend 4 or 5 years to become "normal" even after college (even the ones that seemed fairly active socially as kids still were strange because they only were allowed to see a select group of approved friends. The worst ones were and still are complete spoiled brats, but I don't think that is a schooling issue specifically.

I do know a few that did just fine though. I think it all depends on how good the parents really are at teaching and how active the parents are about making sure the kids really socialize as much as they would in school.

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LinuxFreakus
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Another odd observation... most of the home schooled people I've met have basically spent their entire life since leaving home in academia just getting degree after degree for no apparent reason. Only a few have ever really held a "real" job for a significant amount of time.
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LinuxFreakus
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Not to say there is anything wrong with that if that is what makes them happy... just seems ironic that they choose to go into formal academia so heavily after their parents worked so hard to keep them away from it.
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TomDavidson
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I was home-schooled for about half my education, then public-schooled for the rest. There are merits to each, but the interesting thing is that what their proponents consider to be merits are often what their opponents consider flaws.
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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by LinuxFreakus:
The main reason I consider them "screwed up" is that although they know everything they are supposed to they just didn't seem to learn "how" to learn. I think the parents overdid the teacher role and took too much of an active role so the kids never really had to do much independently.

This directly contradicts my experience. Many of the homeschoolers I knew were 'unschooling' proponents, i.e. they free-ranged their children and expected them to pick up what they needed somehow.

I, on the other hand, was homeschooled with a combination of self-direction and oversight, and I don't seem to have suffered for it. I don't expect it's for everyone, but it worked fine for me.

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Gina
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Personally I feel like public school was a huge waste of my time, that what I did learn I had to wrest out of the hands of adults who for some strange reason wanted to give it to me only in chewed-up pellets. Most textbooks that I've seen are an absolute joke. Toss them in the can and go to a library, pick up almost any other book, and you'd learn more.

Some of my teachers even seemed to recognize the inadequacy. My 4th grade teacher fought to have me advanced to 6th rather than 5th grade. I'm forever grateful to her. I was put into an "Enrichment" program and heard for the first time a teacher say "we know you don't get what you need, this is a pitiful attempt to make up the difference." Ok she didn't really say that but that was the gist.

After college, I went back to my high school and took them to task for the little social engineering experiment they undertook called "homogenization" which eliminated Advanced Placement classes. Don't think they listened- the superintendent was a true believer.

All I ask is to have the option to do something else. I know not all kids could do what I believe I could have done, and what I hope to provide for my own kids. But I should be able to recoup some of my school tax payments in order to have the choice to do something better for my kids. All of this beside the fact that much of the public education infrastructure is antithetical to my religious values, and yet I am forced to pay for it.

[ August 30, 2009, 01:03 AM: Message edited by: Gina ]

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Viking_Longship
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From the Onion
Principal Hates Underachievers, Overachievers

I think this hits the nail on the head. For your average kid school is fine, but if you are in some way unable to fit comfortably into the mainstream the bad may outweigh the good.

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