26 March 2007

Real School

The weather has been warm lately, and the kids have been outside more.  When we are in our back yard, we can see the elementary school playground, and so we can, of course, see the kids outdoors for recess.  Last week, Lukas told me that we needed to have recess at home just like "real" schools have.  Each time it came up, I kind of ignored him until today. 
Today, after the kids had been outdoors for two hours, I pointed out to Lukas that kids who go to "real" school only get about 20 minutes of recess each day.  The rest of the day they have to sit at sterile desks in dusty classrooms while teachers pay attention to other kids who are being more demanding of their time in one way or another.  Okay, so I didn't go quite that far, but I did tell them that most kids spend the greatest part of their days sitting in a desk in a classroom.    I also mentioned that if those kids finish their schoolwork early, they don't get to play with monster trucks or have an extra outdoor recess, and, instead of kindergarteners having 2 hours of school and 5 hours of recess, they have more like 6 hours of school and maybe (I'm being pretty generous here) an hour to play each day.  I'm only considering the school hours here, obviously.  I just wanted to give him a better picture of what "real" school is like.
Don't get me wrong here.  I know that some of my readers don't homeschool their kids.  I loved school when I was growing up, but school isn't like it was 20 years ago.  It isn't anything like it used to be.  Teachers are overworked, underpaid, and expected to work miracles in overcrowded classrooms where special needs students are "mainstreamed" with gifted students all in the name of self-esteem.  While this works for some students, it holds others back and causes teachers excessive stress.  They can't do it all, and they shouldn't have to.  Plus, there is the issue that many parents don't really parent their children the way they should.  There are so many "don'ts" in parenting that few parents feel like we have a grasp on what we really need to do to help our children succeed in life, and too many people don't really want to work at parenting, so they never discover the key to their children's success, which is firm discipline.  If responsible, loving discipline were a part of every home, then maybe the classroom would be a safer haven for America's children.
Since I'm already on my soapbox, let me address another issue.  Public schools are teaching our children whatever the government decides is appropriate for them to know even if it hasn't been proven or is completely opposite of Biblical truth.  Public schools teach evolution.  They are teaching it to your kindergartner.  Are you taking the time to teach your 5 or 6 year old the truth so that they can be armed appropriately when they are told that dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago rather than the thousands of years ago that are accounted for in the Bible?  Most children believe what their teachers tell them, and if parents aren't telling them otherwise, then why shouldn't they believe it?  My kids were watching an episode of Sesame Street last week.  I had never seen this particular episode, so I sat down to watch with them for a few minutes.  In the first 5 minutes of the episode, a dinosaur puppet made references about the earth being millions of years old 3 times.  3 times in 5 minutes, and that was enough of that episode for my kids.  Lukas knows the truth, but Ava is still too young to understand.  This is the same reason that shows like Stanley, which often touches on evolutionary theory, have been outlawed in our house for years.  And there are countless other shows that do the same thing. 
Kids are very impressionable.  We need to be teaching them the truth from the time they are born and guard them from the deception that the world would have them believe.   I have very much enjoyed teaching Lukas about dinosaurs.  I even pointed out to him that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible, which he thought was really cool.  BUT...he knows the truth about the age of the earth and the time of the dinosaurs. 
I also love that he has time to be a kid.  He has time to run, play, relax and simply be what he needs to be right now.  I am so grateful that my children are home with me and that they don't have to endure 7 hours of schooling each day.  I can't imagine letting someone else spend more time with my child each day than I do.  Homeschooling is a calling, and I am so glad that God gave me this calling.  I am so very grateful for the time I have with my precious little ones.
So, I guess this was written more or less to suggest that parents work diligently to guard your children from false teaching.  It is everywhere, even in some homeschooling curriculums if you aren't careful.  Whether your children, or children you know if you aren't a parent, are in public, private, charter, or homeschools, they need to know the truth. 
"Real" school involves a well-rounded education in which we equip our children to be life-long learners and prepare them to succeed in a difficult world.   If your child is getting that in the public realm, I would say that you are very blessed and living in a community that is rare in our times.   For our family, "real" school takes place at home, in the van, at the zoo, at our co-op, at sporting events, and anywhere else we may go.  It's all in your perspective.
"Teach them in the way they should go, and they will not depart from it."

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