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Public School is a Resource, Not the Only Source

We have just begun our 16 year of homeschooling. In Utah and other high LDS population areas, seminary is taught in a building adjacent to the public schools on a released time basis, mostly by full-time church employees. When my children begin taking seminary in 9th grade, I encourage them to take a class or two of interest at the local school. This year Alana, my 16-year-old (and only child in seminary), is taking seminary and four classes at Timpanogos High.

As a part-time public school mom, I attend every parent-teacher conference. When I meet with the teachers, I almost always get comments from the teachers about how wonderfully involved I am and how such involvement is. (In truth, there are a few teachers I have never met because they never showed up in an entire school year.)

Back when we were on the “public school track” and served on the PTA, as a room mother, and on the elected School Advisory Counsel (SAC) one of the major concerns at meetings was how to get parents involved in the education of their children. At one typically hysterical SAC meeting, an advisor recommended that we could do that by helping the poor, harried parents who worked all day and were forced to come home, pick up kids from school, and then horrors! care for them. The suggestion was to add school cafeteria family dinners to the already provided breakfasts and lunches. I added that we could “help” even more by setting up little wardrobes and cots in the lunchroom so the parents didn’t even have to take their kids home at all. Then the parents could assuage any lingering guilt by having their daily allotment of “quality time” in the lunchroom before heading off to their adult duties. (No, that comment was not well-received.)

When our oldest was five, Sandpiper Shores Elementary sent out a notice about the sex ed classes (which started in kindergarten), so parents could come see the curriculum. Toward the end of the “open review,” Sam and I went to the media center. We were told that we were the only parents in the school to do so.

Last year, Sam and I went to Timpanogos on Parent’s Day. Moms and Dads were invited to attend a class with their student and then eat lunch with them in the cafeteria. I went to Alana’s class and was the only parent there ?and the teacher had no idea what to do with me. I stood toward the back of the room for some time before the teacher asked what I needed. I informed her about Parent’s Day. She told a boy to get me a chair. She didn’t say another word to me.

Sam wasn’t the only parent in Belinda’s class, there was another couple the teacher’s parents! Later, in the lunchroom, we saw less than a dozen other parents.

One of the most common “proofs” that homeschooling really isn’t so great when faced with overwhelming statistics to the contrary is, “Well, of course homeschoolers do well, because those parents have to be involved. We can’t make our parents get involved and most of them aren’t.”

My anecdotal experience aside, parental involvement seems to be an ongoing problem in pubic schools, at least if education journals and the like are to be believed. I readily admit that the cry about lack of parental involvement may just be part of the persistent NEA blame game, but there are plenty of articles dedicated to trying to drag parents into their kids lives.

The point being that a notion that most public school parents are terribly involved isn’t universally accepted by any stretch.

To the reader who was offended by recent comments in the forum and others who feel the same way I don’t think you need to be. Either you are one of the seemingly few really involved parents (in which case, kudos to you) or you aren’t (in which case, get off your backside and take responsibility). Using public school doesn’t make you a bad parent, but I contend that handing off the responsibility to educate your kids to any group with an agenda unrelated to teaching your child just might be.

When I began homeschooling, I expected people to wonder if they’d get a good education. But, to date, no one has personally questioned me about that. The comments I get most often in fact almost exclusively are about how homeschooling impacts the parents’ lives.

The comment I used to get most often was, “What about socialization.” Now it’s one of two things: (1) “I just could not be around my kids all day long” and (2) “I need me time.”

When some parents in my neighborhood found out my kids had opted to go to a school in Orem, instead of the one in Pleasant Grove most of the kids here attend, the comment I got repeatedly was, “Why do they go to Timpanogos? The bus only goes to PG?”

To me, taking a course of action because it’s easier for parents isn’t likely to be a sound parenting model.

These ideas all tie into self-reliance, dependency, government intrusion, and how we view the political system. When you get in the habit of depending on another entity to provide for you, it becomes really easy to let them do more and more. And it seems insurmountable to take back that personal responsibility. Most parents today can’t even fathom the concept of being the primary educators for their children. They don’t even know where to start.

When I speak at conventions, I give a definition of homeschooling that is unusual. It’s not about where you school, it’s about who’s in charge. In my experience, most parents who use public schools are really not in charge. They see schools as the educational source. They constantly complain about classes and teachers and schedules and fees and requirements but will not consider other options. And if you won’t consider options, you are at the mercy of whatever the school dictates.

There is usually at least one idiot counselor at every school who in spite of the laws to the contrary will try to tell me what my kids “have to” take. No matter how gently and politely I explain that they are wrong. We don’t “have to” take anything they offer. Period. We can choose what they offer, if it fits our family, if it’s a good program, if it will benefit our child. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

When conversing with other parents, I constantly hear the words “we have to ?” and I keep telling people, “No, you don’t. You can choose.” But when the “you don’t have to do what the schools say just because they say it” is attached to “you could do something yourself” it’s as if you are from another planet. They want things to be different, but they want someone else anyone else to do it: the school board, the NEA, the teachers, the administration. And if the only choice you’ll accept is one that frees you from responsibility, then you have, really, lost your freedom.

If that doesn’t fit you, then there’s no need to wear the shoe! If you see school as a resource, but not the only source, if you are willing to do what’s best for your child even if it’s more work for you, if you are open to the many educational options that exist in the world and aren’t tied to the 7 hours per day, 180 days per year, “because they said so” paradigm, then you can count yourself among the growing number of parents who really are in charge of education and don’t have to settle for whatever happens to show up at the local public school.

If you are already there, then you get it. If you’re not, it might be something to think about.

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Tinkerbell September 13, 2009, 6:55 pm

    Alison, what were the ages of your children when you started homeschooling?

  • Alison Moore Smith September 13, 2009, 10:29 pm

    When we began homeschooling Jessica was 7, Belinda was 4, and Alana was 1.

  • facethemusic September 14, 2009, 8:46 am

    I really liked this Alison– very well said. I think that sad truth is, that too many people see public school as the only choice. It’s what we all grew up with and it’s all most people really know. And unfornately, when people DO realize the other options they too quickly dismiss them as undoable– partly because of the subconsciously entrenched notion ( by the public school system itself) that someone has to be a certified teacher with a degree in order to successfully teach their own children– which is patently absurd. But because they see the other options as “unadoable”, the public school choice feels to them, to be the ONLY choice. “I could NEVER teach my own kids, they won’t listen to me”, “I could NEVER teach my kids– I’m not smart enough”, “I could NEVER be with my kids all day, they’d drive me nuts”, etc,etc.
    I used to listen to Dr. Laura in the car alot while I was driving around doing errands. And its one of the few things I can actually say she taught me and helped me to see. (most of it was “duh” obvious to me) … that there are always more choices than we THINK we have. Usually the issue was mothers thinking they had to work outside of the home and put their kids in daycare all day– they needed the money and didn’t have any other choice. The problem is that we don’t think enough or expand our view enough to see the other choices available. OR we see the other choices as completely undoable or impossible, or just too much work, too hard, so we don’t even give them due consideration.
    Hope she doens’t mind my bringing it up– but Jennycherie was in that very boat. They needed the extra money, but she had little kids at home and didn’t want to be at work all day. So she found OTHER ways. She took a job delivering phone books and was able to take the kids with her. She taught Spanish lessons in her home to homeschooling kids. She worked the “late shift” at Walmart when her kids were home with Dad. Sure– it was a sacrifice– working into the early morning hours and not getting much sleep before the kids were up. But she did what necesary to do, AND what was best for the kids.
    So in the case of public school, Dr. Laura might say, “There are always more choices than you THINK you have. If for some reason public school was completely done away with, would you let your kids go through life uneducated or would you find a way to educate them? Maybe put them in a private school, or teach them youself? Maybe find someone who you know teaches really well and hire them as a tutor?”
    Public schools, in a good district, with good administration and conscientious, truly caring principals and teachers can provide a great education and wonderful opportunities for kids. Unfortunately for us, the district where we live is just too far down the drain for my liking and even though it’s been a lot of work and sacrifice, we’ve been able to use the other choices to better educate our kids. And they were choices that I NEVER would have dreamed would be possible for us.
    Twenty years ago, if you asked me if I was going to homeschool my kids, I’d have thought you were a nut. It never even DAWNED on me to homeschool my kids- and as I’ve mentioned here before, it all happened quite unexpedtedly when they said my son couldn’t go to Kindergarten because he turned 5, 3 weeks too late. I’d already been doing preschool kind of things with him anyway, so I figured “Well, intellectally, emotionally and socially, he’s ready for Kindergarten NOW, so I guess I’ll just do it myself. And he’ll just be that much ahead when he starts next year.”
    Well, things went so well, and he was able to learn SO much, SO quickly, BECAUSE it was just him and not a classroom of 20 kids, that when it came time to put him in Kindergarten the next year, I thought “why bother? He’s learning more here… and I don’t want him going to ALL DAY Kindergarten anyway.” (they had just switched from half day to all day that year)
    I ended up homeschooling him through 4th grade and added little sister along the way, and I had NEVER planned on homeschooling at all– it just sort of happened. But by the end of his 4th grade year, I could SEE that he NEEDED the classroom environment and the “positive peer pressure” to perform. So we put him in the local public elementary school for 5th. He was FAR advanced above his classmates, so the teachers had to adapt the work to his level- but it ended up being exactly what he needed. Then 6th grade came and he was suppose to go the middle school– but with my husband on the department, knowing the problems they have there, we didn’t want him to go. So then we had to consider our options again.
    At first, I thought I was going to have to homeschool him again because what other option was there? Private school? “Are you kidding? On a $60,000 income with 6 people to provide for? We could NEVER afford private school.” So I totally DISMISSED the idea, thinking it was “undoable” and didn’t really consider it a choice. But then I had Dr. Laura in my head– along with friends who had gone through the same dilemna– saying “At least TRY. See what you can do– see what you can work out– don’t totally dismiss it off hand without really giving it any consideration.”
    So I called the private school, told them our circumstances, found out about scholarhips, asked about possibly working in trade for tuition– and the next thing I knew, 3 of my kids were going to an incredible private school on a huge scholarship that paid half their tuition, a little help from our tax refund, and my earnings as a part-time preschool teacher and substitute at the school.
    That school has since closed and it was time for James to go to high school, so we had to re-evaluate everything once again. We still didn’t want James to go to the local high school, and though homeschooling WAS an option, it wasn’t the BEST option for HIM. So we put him into a private high-school, but we couldn’t afford to put the girls into a different private elementary (they didn’t offer scholarships and the high school tuition is twice as much as the elementary). So now we have one in private school, and I’m homeschooling the girls.
    Now we’re getting custody of another teenage boy who would NOT do well in a homeschool environment, but, we can’t afford to send him to the private school with James. That, plus the fact that we want to move to a better area of town (where we live now is considered “the hood”) will put us in a much better school district and the kids will be able to go the public schools. The great thing, is that if there was EVER a problem and I felt that one or more of the kids needed to be homeschooled, I know that the option is there. And, we could always try the private schools too– see what kind of scholarships they offer, maybe I could get part-time work there, etc. There’s also the option of combining sources like Alison does– homeschooling but taking some classes at the high school. In fact– we’re sort of doing that now. On Fridays, Emma goes to the school districts CODE program, which is a program for “gifted” students. So it’s all the best students (which generally are also the best BEHAVED students) from each of the schools. Mary’s waiting to test for it as well.
    I guess it just goes to demonstrate what you pointed out in the article– recognizing ALL the options and sources FREES you. We’re able to do what’s BEST for our kids in the current situation, because we RECOGNIZE the options and make use of them where needed. And what’s BEST for the kids differs from kid to kid.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 14, 2009, 12:30 pm

    Posted By: facethemusic“I could NEVER teach my own kids, they won’t listen to me”, “I could NEVER teach my kids– I’m not smart enough”, “I could NEVER be with my kids all day, they’d drive me nuts”, etc,etc.

    And I’m sure you’ve heard, “I could NEVER teach my kids, I don’t have the patience.” I have yet to meet a homeschooler who hasn’t heard this a billion times.

    Thanks for the great comments and insights, Tracy.

  • jennycherie September 14, 2009, 3:06 pm

    Posted By: facethemusicHope she doens’t mind my bringing it up– but Jennycherie was in that very boat. They needed the extra money, but she had little kids at home and didn’t want to be at work all day.

    Tracy – I don’t mind you using me as an example – I think I’ve tried everything at one time or another, although I’m not sure it was always the right thing to do. I mean, I wouldn’t give up my years at home for anything and I long so much to be back at home full time, but part of the reason we are in such a mess right now financially is because I did stay at home for so long. It would have been wiser for me to seek full-time work sooner than I did, even though I would much prefer to be at home now. And, even now, I see the truth in what you are saying (that we have more choices than we think we do) but I am at a loss to see where those choices are. Alison, I agree with your point – there are many different ways to educate our children and we shouldn’t make public school the only source, but I think that is a very easy opinion to have when you have the comfort of wealth to give you choices.

  • ksjarvis September 14, 2009, 3:24 pm

    It is really nice to know that there are other choices out there. If ever I thought my kids were not getting the education that I wanted them to have, I would definitely look into other options. Right now we are in a great school district. I love my son’s teacher and principal. At the parent-teacher meeting last week, of the 17 students in the class, 15 had either one or both parents there. Almost all of them signed up to help out in some way, either through chaperoning field trips, helping out at class parties, providing help for the teacher by bringing in extra classroom supplies, or providing the teacher help in preparing items for classroom activies (i.e. cutting stuff out, etc.).

    So now I’m left wondering, do I just live in a really strange school district that has very active parents? Or is the high level of activity due to the age of the kids (my son is in 1st grade)? Does parent participation taper off as children get older? Parent participation for his kindergarten class was similar. Last year, they had activities during school hours at least once a month if not more often where parents were invited and there would always be 7 or 8 parents there. Not always the same parents either. I am pretty sure that each and every child had a parent (or sometimes a grandparent) show up for at least two of the activities. I went to everything because I work from home and can arrange my schedule as I please, but I know that not everyone has that luxury.

  • facethemusic September 14, 2009, 7:55 pm

    I think that is a very easy opinion to have when you have the comfort of wealth to give you choices.

    A very valid point as well. It’s simply a fact that having more money opens up more choices. Believe me– if we had more money, we’d have all our kids in private schools right now! And even in a better school district, we’d STILL put them in private schools. :)

  • agardner September 14, 2009, 8:21 pm

    So now I’m left wondering, do I just live in a really strange school district that has very active parents? Or is the high level of activity due to the age of the kids (my son is in 1st grade)? Does parent participation taper off as children get older? Parent participation for his kindergarten class was similar. Last year, they had activities during school hours at least once a month if not more often where parents were invited and there would always be 7 or 8 parents there. Not always the same parents either. I am pretty sure that each and every child had a parent (or sometimes a grandparent) show up for at least two of the activities. I went to everything because I work from home and can arrange my schedule as I please, but I know that not everyone has that luxury.

    We’ve had kids in three different districts – in Utah, Louisiana, and now Michigan.

    Overall, I’ve been really pleased with the education they are getting and the level of parental involvement. Having said that, we’ve always lived in school districts that were middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhoods in the suburbs, and the resources there seem to be much greater both financially and in the amount of time that parents are able or willing to give. In most of my kid’s classes, the parents have been well educated and there were more stay-at-home moms than career moms. However, I still find that it is a core group of parents who really get involved and pull the weight for everyone else to create good experiences for our kids. Oddly, it seems like it’s about 20-30% no matter where I live who really get involved. It seems like another third don’t seem to care whatsoever (granted, I don’t see what they might do behind the scenes, so that might be unfair), and the other third will send in a treat if asked, or go an a field trip, but not necessarily really get in and get involved in decision making in the schools, etc. That’s just my experience.

    I think it does taper off as kids get older. I know just from being on PTA boards that we had no trouble filling all of our positions and having 40-50 people at all of our PTA meetings (in a school of over 600 though, that’s kind of sad!). I had a friend who was PTA president at the high school, and with an enrollment of over 2,000 they could only get roughly 10 people willing to serve in PTA positions and had maybe 20-30 at their meetings on average. As kids get older a lot of the little “fluffy” stuff that we do in PTA goes away – but still, there are opportunities there for great service.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 14, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Posted By: jennycherieAlison, I agree with your point – there are many different ways to educate our children and we shouldn’t make public school the only source, but I think that is a very easy opinion to have when you have the comfort of wealth to give you choices.

    Comfort of wealth? When I decided to stay home we made $14k. When we started homeschooling we were struggling in our first non-college-student job and found a tiny little house we could lease to own. How does Dave Ramsey say it? Beans and rice, rice and beans.

    The vast majority of homeschoolers I know live very, very modestly. The school fees I pay at public school for part-time attendance for ONE child are MORE than I spend on homeschool specific items in a year for all my kids combined.

    Of course money give you options, but maybe that is my point. If people think they have to have money to homeschool, they are wrong. I know people (ahem, including me) who work, exchange, barter, trade, etc., to provide costly opportunities for their kids (like Tracy did). And I know people who provide an amazing education on a shoestring (there are entire books on the subject).

    Angie, I would guess that the 20% is about what I’ve seen. I see lots more parents watch performances or concerts or athletic events. But I see few who do the “harder” stuff, like find out what’s going on in classes, monitor the curriculum, supplement or accommodate for the school’s weak areas, plan and coordinate events, etc.

    As for PTA, I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, but after serving two years on the board, I found it a colossal waste of time. Since then, whenever my kids have taken classes at school, I cross out the PTA line and do not pay the dues.

  • jennycherie September 15, 2009, 5:12 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithComfort of wealth? When I decided to stay home we made $14k.

    Yes – I know you’ve been there, but from what you have shared around the forum, that was a only for a few years. I’m not suggesting you’ve never done it, just that the fact that you have money DOES give you choices. That’s a blessing, Alison, so don’t pretend it is not the case.

  • jennycherie September 15, 2009, 5:14 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithIf people think they have to have money to homeschool, they are wrong.

    Homeschooling may not be expensive but it is not always possible, particularly when one of the parents cannot stay home. It’s not the schooling that’s expensive, it’s the teacher!

  • facethemusic September 15, 2009, 7:00 am

    I think that goes to what you said earlier Jenn

    “And, even now, I see the truth in what you are saying (that we have more choices than we think we do) but I am at a loss to see where those choices are.

    ” Even though the options are THERE, they aren’t necessarily open to everyone at every given moment because of other circumstances. Since I’m not working outside the home I’m able to homeschool the girls. But, if Bill lost his job for some reason and could only find part time work, or work that only paid half the money, it could end up changing things so much that I couldn’t stay home. So certainly there are variables that can affect one’s abilities to access the different options. The private school option was only available to us because of three things, I got a part-time job there, we had a large enough tax refund to cover a large chunk of the tuition, and the kids were given scholarships. But take away one of those things and we might not have been able to pull it off. I do have a “rich uncle” I could have asked to help, so I guess the private school option wasn’t “only” available to us for those 3 reasons. But I’m not really close enough to him that I’d ever feel comfortable asking. :)

  • agardner September 15, 2009, 7:03 am

    As for PTA, I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, but after serving two years on the board, I found it a colossal waste of time. Since then, whenever my kids have taken classes at school, I cross out the PTA line and do not pay the dues

    I agree with you in some cases. For me, it really depends on the school. In general, I don’t support a lot of what the national PTA tries to do by way of legislation and such, but on a grassroots level, they can be a great tool for giving opportunities to kids. Hate the fundraisers though. Hate, hate, hate the fundraisers.

    Our new school has a PTSO, haven’t had experience with that yet, so this should be interesting to see. It seems like they have some really good programs set up that I’m trying to learn more about to see what I can get involved in.

    Homeschooling may not be expensive but it is not always possible, particularly when one of the parents cannot stay home. It’s not the schooling that’s expensive, it’s the teacher!

    This has been the case with me too. At one point when we lived in Louisiana, I really wanted to homeschool. But my husband had totally ridiculous hours and was travelling all the time, and serving in the bishopric. Really, he was never home other than a few hours a week, literally. And I had to be bringing in at least some income. I tried to do a few things from home but that’s never been my strength…so I substitute taught, worked census, worked elections…basically anything I could do that didn’t have an every day 9-5 commitment. Childcare would have been unaffordable (defeating the purpose basically) so I kept them in public school and tried to do my best to get involved however I could while working. Everyone has such different circumstances, I think it’s really hard to homeschool long-term if both parents need to bring in income.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2009, 7:26 am

    Posted By: jennycherieYes – I know you’ve been there, but from what you have shared around the forum, that was a only for a few years.

    You might want to consider that “what [I] share around the forum” simply doesn’t include all the trials we’ve had.

    I’m not suggesting you’ve never done it, just that the fact that you have money DOES give you choices. That’s a blessing, Alison, so don’t pretend it is not the case.

    jennycherie, I’m not even sure where to start with this. I already said, “Of course money give you options.” I have no idea where the implication that I’m “pretending” came about. Money simply isn’t the ONLY way we get options. I’d go so far as to say that one of the major reasons we’ve been “blessed” with some level of financial means–whatever that is–is BECAUSE we’ve been willing to see options and choices where most people don’t/won’t and been willing to do things most people won’t do. Oh, and take risks most people aren’t willing to take.

    Homeschooling may not be expensive but it is not always possible, particularly when one of the parents cannot stay home. It’s not the schooling that’s expensive, it’s the teacher!

    I’d say that’s another example of seeing things in a very limiting view. I actually have known ?hmm ? probably close to two dozen homeschoolers who have no parents at home full-time. Some of those are two-working-parent homes and some one-working/single-parent homes. I know a number of parents who work opposite shifts in order to stay home and/or homeschool, too.

    Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to “homeschooling” in the way I define it, is that people can’t see out of the 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, five days per week, sitting in a desk model to see what real education can be. If that’s all they see (or even most of what they see), then, of course, parents working during the regular workday eliminates that possibility for most.

  • facethemusic September 15, 2009, 9:15 am

    Hate, hate, hate the fundraisers.

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

    I know a number of parents who work opposite shifts in order to stay home and/or homeschool, too.

    That’s certainly another option, but then again, it’s also a matter of what parents decide is most important, what’s most crucial and/or more urgent for their particular families. Whatever a parent’s concerns about school are, taking opposing shifts means parents are hardly ever together, the familly is hardly ever together, which isn’t good for marriages or families either. Sometimes working opposing shifts may be NECESSARY, but if it can be avoided, then many people would rather deal with irritating and obnoxious school problems that can be worked around, rather than sacrifice the family time. If parents think the problems are bad enough, or if they can’t be worked around, then they may feel that working opposing shifts in order to homeschool is the lesser of two evils.
    Of course, then there are those who are in such financial straits that both parents are working more than one job….

    Either way– I think the main point of the article was succinctly put in the title– that public school is a resource, not the only source.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2009, 9:45 am

    Of course. The thing is, I’m not advocating homeschooling in some broad sense. I’m advocating parents taking back responsibility for education. For being “in charge” of what’s going on, rather than just accepting whatever the school doles out, based on the false notion that they have to follow marching orders from the school board. They don’t. You simply do not need what the school offers to be educated, successful, etc. You don’t NEED their classes, you don’t NEED their diploma, you don’t NEED their approval.

    Choosing to use a particular resource after sound research isn’t the same as thinking that there is a monopoly education held mainly by public schools, with the option of private schools for “the rich.”

    And I’d further like to quell the ideas that to homeschool as I define it you need to have money, excess patience, a teaching certificate, an elementary education degree (don’t even get me started!), a state-approved curriculum, a lot of space, the brain of a genius, etc. Those aren’t required either.

    But most parents don’t WANT that responsibility. They have spent all their lives having someone ELSE be accountable for educating their kids and they do not want it back.

    If the reason we have kids in school is primarily to occupy them so we can earn money, let’s at least be up front about what we’re doing.

    Also note that in the article I didn’t just say to do whatever the child wants. I said, “We can choose what they offer, if it fits our family, if it ?s a good program, if it will benefit our child.” As I’ve said elsewhere, Alana currently takes five of the eight periods at a public school! She’s there most of the day. But we take what is best for her, in the context of our family. You may not always be able to accommodate the “perfect education” for every single child, but I’m convinced that there isn’t likely a child on the planet who is best served by following the NEA–or who wouldn’t greatly benefit from personalization that can only happen if the parents are willing to look outside the school box.

    Lehi High (where my kids used to be “assigned”) had AP Physics taught by the cheerleading coach. I am SO not doing that. But I had close friends whose kids took the class–hated it and learned nothing–in the name of “requirements.”

    Around here the kids are required to sit through an entire term of some “adult roles” class just to take the term of driver’s ed. Why? Because “they” said so. And so a vast majority of kids do it because they think they “have no choice.”

    In most states, the kids spend 36 hours per year watching Channel One! Seriously? Our first exposure (2001) was when Jessica took a drama class at Lakeridge Jr. High in Orem, Utah. She came home and asked me, “Why do we have to watch Britney Spears dancing around half naked selling Doritos every day?”

    The answer from the school? It’s required. My response? No, it’s not.

  • jennycherie September 15, 2009, 4:53 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithI have no idea where the implication that I’m “pretending” came about.

    bad choice of words – forget it. I was cranky yesterday and it seems like you emphasize “When I decided to stay home we made $14k” far more than you acknowledge that choices ARE more abundant when money is not a concern. As I’ve thought about it more, it’s not that we don’t have choices, just that most of them are not currently acceptable to us. We done the both parents work opposite shifts and that is not acceptable to us. I won’t go through the rest because it’s not important, but when I am feeling particularly cranky (and I was home with the flu yesterday – always a bad time to try to post anything coherent!), it’s easy for me to be over-sensitive about this issue. I will say that as I have thought about this more, I can see the blessings in having fewer acceptable choices for the time being. I would NEVER have chosen where we are right now if the other options weren’t MORE unacceptable for the time being. . . BUT there are good things that have come from our situation that we would have missed out on. I had a really positive meeting with the principal and guidance counselor at our middle school this morning and I see my daughter thriving at a school where I thought no such thing was possible.

    ANYway, your point is right on – it is important for parents to take charge and truly be responsible for educating our children in whatever way we determine is best.

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithAs for PTA, I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, but after serving two years on the board, I found it a colossal waste of time.

    I’ve been involved in PTA for about 7 years now. . .and my experience was much the same for the first few years. After a few years of trying and getting frustrated and giving up and then trying again, I finally got involved enough to see SOME benefit. I think a lot of what PTA does is meaningless. What I find valuable is the opportunity it provides to meet other parents and work with them closely enough to get to know them AND to associate with the teachers and principals outside of the classroom. THAT has been invaluable but the rest of it. . . not so much. And the fundraisers, I have always hated them, then I ended up trying to take charge of fundraising last year (hoping to inject some common sense to the process) and I hate it even more now.

  • jennycherie September 15, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Posted By: jennycherieWe done

    okay, seriously, time for me to get out of the ghetto!

  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2009, 5:34 pm

    :rolling:

  • facethemusic September 15, 2009, 6:27 pm

    Sho ’nuff, yo!!! Where you stayin’ at foo’ ? You be crankin’ out sum dat gangsta hip hop like youz a sista or sum-m, G! Girl, you best be hedin out da do’ fo ya endup 6 unda, yo!

  • jennycherie September 15, 2009, 9:05 pm

    :clap: well done :tooth:

  • Alison Moore Smith September 16, 2009, 12:21 pm

    I feel like I’m in Jordieland again…

  • ksjarvis September 16, 2009, 1:24 pm

    You guys are awesome! I so needed that laugh today!

    I hate PTA fundraisers too! I have recently just begun asking the person in charge of the fundraiser how much they were trying to raise per child and then just donating that amount of money. Saves so much time.

  • facethemusic September 16, 2009, 2:22 pm

    Okay– you stumped me Alison– what’s Jordieland??

  • Alison Moore Smith September 16, 2009, 4:10 pm

    Place in England. The dialect was so strong I could not understand a single word. A lady bumped into me and said, “Ah doomie ahm loov.”

    Any takers?

  • agardner September 16, 2009, 6:40 pm

    I’m guessing the last word is “love”? As in, “sorry, love”…except I have no idea what ah doomie ahm would be!

  • Lewis_Family September 16, 2009, 9:58 pm

    is third word arm?

  • Alison Moore Smith September 16, 2009, 11:22 pm

    Basically, it was, “Oh, dumb I am love.” As in, “My bad.” :smile: But my companion had to translate it for me.

  • jennycherie September 17, 2009, 7:51 am

    wow – I would never have gotten that in a million years! Then again, I checked out a cookbook from the UK once and could not begin to decipher it!

  • Alison Moore Smith September 20, 2009, 4:19 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about jennycherie’s comments and her point should not have been so quickly dismissed. We all learn in psychology 101 about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I don’t agree with all of it, but it brings home an important point that she addressed

    Of course, if we don’t have our basic needs met, we aren’t going to be addressing “higher” needs. If we are actually struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads, then looking for the very best education for our kids isn’t really on the map–particularly when their is an education that is at least adequate available without looking.

    My concern lies more in the fact that in such a generally pampered and wealthy country, we have elevated all sorts of things to the “need” level and, thus, put them ahead of things that, perhaps, should be priorities.

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