We decided to homeschool Skyler when he was still just a baby. The first reason we ever considered it was because of his special needs. His medications require monitoring in the sense that if something happened to him that was stressful on his body he would need an emergency dose of prednisone. Which means he would have to have someone with him at all times who was trained in administering his meds (oral or intramuscular needle) and who knows how to judge what causes his body to become stressed, they would also have to track the administration of the meds and communicate with us so we don't over/under dose him at home. Plus they would have to be trained to work with a child with low vision (and at the time we made the decision he was still blind). The chances of having a good EA who is trained in all that and with him consistently are very low. Then on top of that, he is small for his age and having an adult follow him around will inevitably make him a target for bullies. Coupled with the fact that I have worked in several schools and seen a lot of nasty things that happen behind the scenes.
Aside from our worries about Skyler I had my own concerns about my school experience and my husband's as well. Public schools are full of unpleasant experiences that don't contribute to a positive learning environment. There's bullying, drugs, peer pressure, teachers hitting on students, teachers who shouldn't be working with children (we had one who used to jump on top of the desk and smash things while screaming at us. He also made the boys wear dresses and run races while he videotaped it..), school shootings, bomb threats, and the list goes on.
Then when we examine the learning environment of the "traditional school", we find even more reasons to home school. I'll put them in list format to make it easier to read.
-Schools assume that everyone learns the same way, they use a one size fits all approach. Children don't all learn the same way. Some are auditory learners, some are tactile, some visual or a combination of the different types.
-Learning periods are set up in such a way that keeps kids from getting too interested in a particular subject. As soon as they start to enjoy something a bell rings and it's time to change subjects.
-Teachers don't have any real interest in your child's future, they do their job to get a pay cheque.
-Teachers are overloaded, they have 20-30 kids in a classroom and can't spend individual time with each child.
-If your child is behind or ahead they get left behind as the class moves on or they sit there bored if the class is behind where they are.
-Most school systems force teachers to teach to test because their funding gets cut if the kids don't pass.. Which means your child is memorizing mainly useless facts and learning how to take a test, not getting much real education out of it.
-Subjects are decided by the school board, the child and you the parent get little to no say in what your child is learning.
-If a child is fidgety (who wouldn't be, when forced to sit at a desk for several hours when all your body wants to do is move) they are labelled problem children or ADHD and often teachers will try to get you to put your kid on drugs to make them more manageable.
-Children need time outside in nature to play, make connections and calm their bodies, most schools have cut back on recess and outside/play time in order to cram in more test-based learning.
-Children spend most of their 5-6 hour school day waiting, including waiting for other students to settle down before the teacher can teach, waiting in lines, etc.
-Lots of schools are now implementing weird and unnecessary policies in order to prevent law suits. These policies don't help our children. For example there are schools in TX where children are not allowed to touch anyone (no high fives, no hugging, no handshakes nothing). Some schools even force kids to wear tracking devices that only work on school grounds. Those are only two examples I'm sure you can find a lot more.
-Children learn best by hands on experiences and they create more meaningful memories and are more likely to retain knowledge gained this way, however schools provide very few opportunities for meaningful hands on learning.
-There is little to no flexibility in scheduling. The staff have to follow what the school board sets out for them.
I know there are a lot more points I could make about this, but I don't want to come down as completely hating public schools. I know they serve their purpose and for some families they are a good fit. Next post I'm going to move on to the positives of home schooling. But for now I am going to go rest because I'm fighting off a nasty cold.
And on an unrelated note, Adriel signed his first word today and stood unassisted for the first time!