Why My Mum Chose Homeschooling
I was reminded today of the kind of nonsense that made my mother search out alternatives to the public school system here in the U.S.. My younger brother, Alex, was educated at home for the entire equivalent of the K-12 public system, while I only had to endure one year in “Pre-1st”, an experimental grade (at that time) intended for kindergarten-aged students who were more advanced than the standard program was intended for. The rest of my standard education was managed by my dear mum, and chatting with her today she mentioned one of the typical run-ins she had with a school official during my “Pre-1st” days.
About my mum
Allow me to fill you in on my mum a little before I go on: she has a degree in education from Cambridge University in England (she’s a native brit, and I’m lucky enough to share US and UK citizenship), approximately equivalent to a Masters degree here in the U.S. In addition, she spent a few years teaching in the UK before meeting and marrying my dad (now that is a fun tale I should get them to write down someday…), so she has practical experience to boot. When she arrived in the United States, she was informed quite bluntly that her education in education was not worth the paper it was so nicely printed on, and that was the first sign of the idiocy frequently displayed by the public school system in this country.
But the purpose of this little remembrance is not to bash the school system — I’m certain if teachers in the U.S. were paid more (and school administrators less) that would go a long way towards fixing some of the issues (perhaps excellent teachers would enter the public system rather than the private? Maybe people with star-teacher qualities would actually become teachers instead of entering other professions so they could pay the bills?), but I seriously digress.
Oh yes, the point
While chatting with mum about some similar difficulties she’s experiencing with parents of the children she provides care for these days, she was reminded of her conversation with the administrator responsible for health and nutrition at the public elementary school I used to attend. Her memory is of the administrator’s reaction when my mum enquired why ketchup was being counted as a vegetable in school lunches (never mind the obvious) — he acted as if his intelligence had been personally insulted, and told mum she had no right to question that sort of decision.
Many situations such as this occurred during my year at that school, and I’m glad they did, otherwise I might have spent 12 more years of my life in an institution that currently ranks 25th (Math), 12th (Reading) and 20th (Science) worldwide (source).
Have you had (as a parent or student) any similar experiences with the education system in your country?
This item was posted byon Thursday, March 31st, 2005.
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