The dilemma I have at the moment (besides the fact I have to keep correcting my spelling because I am typing so fast) is that there are so many positives and negatives to both sides of education. I say both because to me there are really only two choices: home-schooling and public education. I don't know that I can justify our savings on private school since most students (including college level) don't truly appreciate the opportunities that come through education until they are gone.
[[I do speak from experience on this- I wish that I had been less focused on work and my lack of social life because I worked obsessively, and more focused on what I was learning. It would really benefit me to have read all those required texts in college. I am just such a slow reader and it would have taken forever.]]
Consequently, I am left with the option of public or home. As a public school teacher, I feel that I can truly speak to many of the pros and cons, especially since I went through public education myself. I know I may sound like a crazy, paranoid, conservative lady here, but I was exposed to a lot of inappropriate, lude, crude, tramatic STUFF throughout my years in public school. No, I may not have turned out terribly because of it, but I would like to prolong my children's exposure to some of this stuff for a while if I can. Of course it does hit a point where informed citizens do have to know what is out there, especially so they can make informed decisions for themselves (so no, I am not trying to take away my children's agency,) but I feel like my kids don't need to hear about condoms, drugs, thongs, and such until at least middle school...am I crazy?!
However, here is where my personal experiences with public school really make it hard to say that my children will be truly successful and educationally aware to the extent that they will be utterly brilliant and incredibly successful individuals....(it will take me a minute to get to it, but I promise I will get to my point)...
Some of our plans (desires) for home-schooling our children is the ability to take them to museums and galleries and shows around the country. We don't have to worry about permission forms, inadequate bagged lunches, or whether or not mom can get off work to help chaperone. We can teach the history of wars and visit the monuments and memorials that accompany them to help our children understand the reality. I can teach the Irish Potato Famine and take them to Ireland if I really want to. I want to increase their exposure (to important life things) and give them the ability to grow through the experiences we are able to offer them.
I don't want my children to be those weird shut-ins that often result from home-schooling. I want them to participate in community sports, music, and dance if that is what they are interested in, so they can take lessons and be on teams and expand their talents that they worked for before they came to earth.
I want to have days that we get together with other home-schoolers and have lessons together and take field trips together, so they can be exposed to others and others' opinions. I don't want them to be shut off in a world with no diversity, but...public education gives a wonderful opportunity for diversity...
Various cultures, religions, ethnicities exist under the same roof and even within the same walls. My children would have the opportunity to interact with people of different social classes and various walks of life; they would be exposed to multiple opinions so they are not biased or restricted by simply what their parents and close friends think and feel.
Public education gives them the ability to share what they have learned with others and learn from the comments and suggestions of their peers. So often, during a lesson, my students will comment on something they felt or discovered while reading...something that never even occurred to me. How will my children be exposed to the various ah-ha moments that truly make group learning and discovery such a vital part of the human experience. Watching daredevil friends on the monkey bars, which later inspires unimagined and unpredicted adventure.
I don't want to take these experiences away from my children. I was educated through public education, and I turned out fine (...I think). Aside from all the crazy government influences on education, and the decreasing quality of teachers, and the radically obtuse exposure they will have to undergo...is public education such a bad option?
I just don't know...