Yeah, you read that correctly. After a year and a half of frustration and disappointment, I decided to say adios to LAUSD in March of 2012. Nope, my kid will NOT be returning to any of your schools today, tomorrow, or next year. From now until…whenever, we’ll be homeschooling. And here’s why – in no particular order:
1. Freedom of play: I decided to walk my son home from school one day last month. We chatted the whole way home, and this is where I learned that he NEVER has free reign of the playground. Each class is assigned to a different play area every other day and that is where they MUST play that day.
Um…huh? I distinctly remember having my choice of what I wanted to play during at least ONE recess during the day. If my friends and I wanted to play handball after lunch, we scarfed lunch, checked out a ball, and hoped the best court was open. My kid? Had to choose between hula hoops, jump ropes, or hop scotch three days this week (non of which are on his top play list).
2. The Homework Trap: Some education board out there (see how I got out of siting this one?) has decided that children should only do 10 minutes of homework per grade level/per night. Z could easily spend 45 minutes to an hour on his, not including the books I have him read before bed. My kid spends 6.5hrs a day at school, 5 days a week for about 9mths….is that not enough time to drill in a concept? He’s got to bring this madness home, then get docked when it doesn’t all get done because, you know, we have lives…
3. Support: There were 28 kids in Z’s class, one teacher, and (thanks to a crappy budget) no teacher’s aide. I’ve never been a fan of the big class sizes, but the classes are getting bigger and bigger. I don’t know if this is district-wide or just the limits this particular school has set. There are 22 kids in each Kindy class, max. 1st-2nd grade can have up to 28. 3rd-5th can have up to 32. No wonder kids are being left behind! Who has time to stop and help those that are behind, when 95% of your class is doing just fine. Or at least, are faking it really well….
4. S.T.A.R.: I have HUGE issues with standardized testing. Including the fact that I think they mean NOTHING when it comes to measuring how well your child is doing, and I think that rings especially true for minority children.
5. Letting Kids be Kids: TOO MANY times have I walked across the campus playground to pick up Z from school and heard 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10yo boys cursing each other out and calling each other “faggot”. Their female peers are already wearing tiny skirts, leggings, and thigh-high boots with heels. Um…WHAT?! How is it they think this is ok? How is it their parents think this is ok? These are not the peer influences I want my child to have.
6. The Big Wide World: I’m still trying to figure out what I learned IN CLASS that prepared me for being an adult. Outside of reading, writing, and simple math, who’s got something for me? School didn’t teach me squat about time-management, caring for my family, writing a resume, maintaining relationships, navigating the post office or grocery store, paying bills, or any of that other grown-up stuff that smacks you in the face when your parents stop claiming you on their taxes.
7. Religion: I half looked into private schools when it was time to start Kindergarten. But the most affordable ones were Catholic schools (which we’re not), and the closest ones had zero diversity and even less actual biblical teaching. I gave up the idea of a Christian education when I was unable to find a local, affordable school that taught, not just about the bible, but about how God had His hand in history and how He works in everyday life, and should be considered in everyday decisions.
8. Learning Styles: Z was 4yrs 10mths old when he started Kindergarten in the fall of 2010. He was expected to sit up straight, be quiet, stand in line, and pay attention for longer than his little body and brain wanted to. All of a sudden my star student was disruptive, unruly, and talked too much. During after school conversations with his teacher, I could feel the letters ADHD rolling around on the tip of her tongue. It took me a while to realize that my kid is a visual, tactile, kinetic learner. He MUST move, talk, sing, and touch his way through an assignment. Apparently, this is frowned upon in public school.
9. Personal Preference: I never once had the desire to send my child to public school, and was only ever half interested in private school. I admit to being quite the ‘granola-mom’, and having my children schooled at home always just seemed much more…natural. A few months ago The Mister and I had a conversation about the state of local schools and some new legislation from Governor Brown. I mentioned homeschooling, really in passing, and he surprised me by saying that he would fully support me and understand if I wanted to homeschool from then on. He didn’t have to say it twice, and my mind was made up right then and there.