I was at a family picnic last weekend, in which on one side of the family, some of the younger generation, who were first time parents, were having a heated discussion on the advantages and detriments of homeschooling. In the detriment camp, the number one argument against, as I am sure you can guess, was the big socialization fallacy. The belief that the only way an eight- year- old can be properly socialized is by spending six to eight hours a day with thirty other eight- year- olds. I remarked to my husband that all eight- year- olds, are, by definition, fools, and the last thing a fool needs if the object is to someday bring him out of foolishness into maturity, is to spend all his time with thirty others who are as foolish as he is.
If you need proof that not only eight- year- olds are inherently foolish, but ten- and twelve- and fourteen- year olds as well, consider the problem of school bullying. Boys can often withstand a spate of bullying; it helps that God has wired them with testosterone and muscles and a protect and defend instinct. But what do girls do when they become the object of a bully’s hatred?
When I was in elementary school, there was a boy in my class who took great delight in bullying me. He threatened me constantly when out of earshot of teachers, followed me everywhere, shadowed me home from school, and generally made my life a living nightmare. I was pleading with God to help me, and one day when my parents found out why I had developed a sudden reluctance to attend school, all bullying incidents immediately ceased. Mystified, I chalked it up to answered prayer; only when I was an adult did I discover that my Dad had asked my older brother if he knew who said bully was, and my brother subsequently made it his mission in life to locate and deter said bully. The bullying stopped after a single encounter on the playground with my brother, in which said bully limped home bruised and bloodied. Thank you, God, for older brothers.
But what if the girl has no support at home as I was blessed to have? What if two girls make it their mission in life to abuse you non- stop, so that one day after a year of abuse you decide to come home and end your life? What if everyone in your school wore “I hate Olivia” bracelets, and you were Olivia?
Schools say they have a zero tolerance policy for bullying and violence, but I have never — NEVER — seen a school protect a victim of determined bullies. Others say that to remove the victim from the bully is to overprotect him. I say, some fools are malicious evildoers, and it is the parents’ normal responsibility to protect their children from them. And children can take karate and self- defense classes after homeschool, to build their confidence in a safe environment; they do not need to be terrorized in order to be socialized.
It is sad, and scary, and painful out there. Something that we , as adults, are able to handle. but children need to be protected and cared for and given a secure foundation. We don't just toss them off the boat and expect them to swim!
It is sad to think that there is so much bullying going on but it is true. My sister was tormented and bullied for most of her school years : ( We live in a small town and for the 10 years she attended school here before busing into the next town for high school were just awful and full of tears. Now that she is getting older and breaking away from some of those childhood friends/bullies and meeting some really nice ladies from church she is much happier and I am happy for her to that she has kind and respectful friends. It is a really nice change for her.
Amen to that. Don't get me started on that soap box. I also got sat in the front of the class for passing notes. Yep – I was only trying to socialize! I was ridiculed by the TEACHER and my friend's note was read out loud and she was sent to the principle's office for trying to socialize back! Strange, eh?
Last winter our son was in a local basketball league (6-7yo) which practiced at a local elem school. Prominently displayed in the hall was a bully chart. Incidents by week were noted on the graph which was never near the zero mark. My husband and I were disgusted at this and relieved they are at home. I could not walk by it, week after week, without wishing the victims, and the bullys even, were out of there too!
So true – I learned to be on the other side – picking on kids less fortunate than myself – cause if you aren't picking on then you are being picked on – it's rare to find someone of neutral status – at least that's how it was in our little small town school.
I recently posted a defense for homeschooling that I wrote for Christian parents – it is a series of questions that they need to ask themselves and then the Scripture and/or statistics that anser them – I would love to have you read through it and give me your thoughts – if you don't mind – it begins with the post titled 'Speaking of…' here is the link:
– I enjoy reading your blog by the way ( :
Politicked to Death says
I am in my eleventh year "teaching". This includes being a professor (from lecturer to department head) at public and Christian universities. I'm now in my second year as a Christian school teacher, this year in a school whose principal thinks that homeschooled kids are the best he has seen.
The politics are driving me nuts. All it takes is a couple of parents trying to micromanage the classroom by complaining to the principal, and I'm stuck writing an eight-page report in self-defense. I didn't slap a boy or ask a girl out for a date, I simply didn't assign enough written work. My kindergarten son goes to school for free, and comes home with fundraising materials, as if it's his responsibility to keep the school afloat. My wife and I are now seriously considering homeschooling, where we can concentrate on education instead of all this other stuff.
I found Christine Miller's Classical Christian Homeschooling site about ten years ago by accident, while I was thinking of adopting a local Christian school as part of the USDA'a Adopt a School program. I was a USDA postdoctoral fellow back then. They didn't seem like they wanted to adopt a private school, and my postdoc was ending anyway, so I gave up.
Anyway, it's a good thing that I found the site. I didn't even know what classical education is. And now, I'm going through some homeschooling myself, with Nothing New books, Memoria Press books, and more.
And next year? It looks like homeschool for our kids. I like to teach and to learn, not worry about facilities management, who will clean my classroom, will the school reopen next fall, and what parent I've recently offended–all in a Christianized version of the public school system.