Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to School Rant

I try to be positive and look for the good side of things whenever possible.  I try to remember to always assume good intent in others. But, sometimes? I just need to vent and rant and this is one of those times. Expect me to return to my usual, upbeat self in this blog soon :)

We went to the school yesterday for "Meet the Teachers."  We went as a family, found their bus assignment, argued with Colin about joining orchestra, then headed to their classrooms.

The classrooms are nice-sized, bright and cheery.  The teachers seem nice. I know they'll be fine and I'm sure they'll learn new things and make friends.

But . . .

Colin's teacher made a comment to the effect of "By the time they get to 4th grade, I don't have to remind them how to find their bus, or lunch, or anything.  It's great!" So, I replied "Colin has always been homeschooled, so he may need a little prompting with those type of things."  And her response? "Well, don't worry!  I have an aide and I'll be here, and we'll get him up to grade level in no time, I'm sure!"

Ummmmmmm.  That's not what I meant.  I meant he might need help finding the bathroom or the bus -- not help getting him to "grade level."  His overall average in his online curriculum last year was high 90's and he scored above-average on the standardized tests.  I seriously doubt he'll have any academic issues this year -- but of course if I went down that road I worried that I would be immediately labeled as delusional -- since we all know that homeschooled kids are behind the curve. (even though the opposite is often proved via standardized tests and other means)

Okay.  Assume Good Intent.  Stay quiet. Plaster a smile on my face. Know that my boy will soon demonstrate that he is most definitely at grade level. Move on to the next classroom.

Where I let the teacher know that Nate has a stutter, but he worked with the speech pathologist on campus last year and his IEP is already on file.  We found out that her contract was renewed, and I sighed with relief as she was a wonderful speech therapist and helped Nate learn so many tools to improve his speech.

Then, I told this teacher that Nate had been homeschooled, but that he was looking forward to a new school year. To which she replied to him?  "Well!  You'll have recess!  That'll be great!"

I know I already ranted about this comment, but I just have to again.  I could almost forgive other stupid people for saying it. (And as a couple friends have commented on my Facebook status today -- "oooo, they'll get to use the restroom!"  "Hey! They'll get hot lunch!"  More inane comments, left just to make me laugh, which I appreciated.)

But, a teacher??  You're going to tell my son that the thing he has to look forward to in your class is RECESS? What about telling him about some of the things he'll learn this year?  What about letting him know what units are coming up? Those are the things that my kids would be excited to know about!

As homeschoolers, they had hours of recess each day.  That doesn't mean that they didn't learn, however. (Nate was also in the high 90's average for his online curriculum last year and also scored above-average on standardized tests.) My boys love documentaries. They love visiting museums and really learning about the exhibits.  They have many interests, from space to geology to history. Colin loves to read, and Nate especially loves to read non-fiction. 

They also love cartoons, Pokemon, Bakugan and video games.  But, we have always encouraged a balance and they truly enjoy documentaries and museums just as much.  My kids LOVE to learn.  It's one of the things I wanted to instill in them and so far I've done a great job at it.

Yet, this year I've sent them to school where everyone thinks they should be excited about recess. 

It's a bit discouraging. 

But, I'll continue to assume good intent and continue to do what we've always done at home. Expose them to lots of different things and encourage learning new things.  I am excited about a couple things at their new school, which I'll post about later when I share pictures from when they headed out the door.

1 comment:

  1. Mel, you know we had to do this last year after 5 years of homeschooling. You probably remember what a nightmare we had the first few weeks.

    My experience was that it took about 6 weeks for all of my children's teachers to realize that they weren't illiterate social retards that had lived under a rock their whole lives. We endured some *serious* discrimination and bad behavior from teachers those first few weeks.

    After 6 weeks though, every teacher had clear evidence that not only were my children AHEAD academically in most areas [my late reader was behind in reading, but they were ahead in literally everything else], but they were also FAR better behaved and more personable than their average public schooled peers.

    By the end of the first 9 weeks, my kids were all the favorites in their classes and we had no more trouble - my kids set academic records at their school and our family is somewhat "legendary" at the school at this point.

    I'm guessing you are going to have a similar curve - it will take the teachers a few weeks to realize that your kids are awesome. After that, it will be smooth sailing for the most part.

    And public school is not all bad - we have had some very positive public school experiences too and there are opportunities my kids have through public school that they did not have as homeschoolers that I am very glad about.

    But on the other hand - public school in my experience does NOT engender a love of learning - it engenders a massive neurotic hysteria about performing well on the standardized tests and that's about it.

    I'm guessing that your kids will continue to love learning for the sake of learning [as mine have] but it will be because of YOU and the environment you provide for them at home, not because of the public school.

    Because really, at public school, recess IS one of the best things they have to offer in many cases. ;)

    Sorry - didn't mean to hijack your rant! LOL! Just trying to commiserate.

    Your kids will do well - this bias will pass - and you are an amazing mom. Enough said. :)


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