Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeschool vs. Public School (not really)

The other day, my good friend and I were in an excellent conversation about school.

This friend of mine public schools her kids.
I homeschool mine.

We both value the pros of the other person's choice and each are respecting the fact that we're following what we honestly believe is best for our kids. Cheers!

This friend of mine also has really pretty legs because she is a dancer. Summers are good to her because she looks smokin' hot in her summer dresses and skirts.

One of the sub-topics in our discussion was about the pressure of comparison. In parents. It can show up in project assignments.

Some obviously are done by the kids only, others show signs of parental assistance while others obviously are done entirely by the parents.

I remember these three types of turn-in projects when I was in school.

So we got to talking and we both agreed that when an assignment is given in the public school setting, that it should be one that the student can accomplish all by himself.

I mean sure, "Mom, will you please buy me some construction paper?" or

"Dad, will you drive me to the library to check out a few books?"

Minimal involvement.

And the parents should feel more than welcome to help if they want to, but they should KEEP their involvement to a minimum.

"Hey, Son, wanna go down to the swampy area behind Grandma's house to collect tadpoles for your science experiment?" or

"Hey, daughter, why don't you read me your oral report while I cook dinner."

Being involved, keeping the kids interested in learning, encouraging a thorough and timely assignment but all the while allowing the children to complete it all by their onesies.

Otherwise Johnny gets an A++ for his homemade firework display that simultaneously pops popcorn and makes your grass green, while Suzy gets a B- for her flowers that turned a slight discoloration when she added food coloring to the water.

Johnny rode his bike while his dad took the day off work to do his homework for him, but Suzy did her assignment all by herself. But it isn't Suzy and Johnny who are comparing each others projects, it's the parents walking around looking at who's parents were heavily involved and how they did for their kids' grade.

Oh yeah. That happend. You all know it did.

I was thinking about how in the homeschool setting, the parent is, by nature of the schooling style, more involved in the kids' projects, but they still want the child to do it themselves. But there isn't really much of a pressure for the kid to do better than he normally would because you, as the parent, are giving the grade. So if I did Amy's homework for her, who would I show it to? Myself? My husband? "Look, honey! Look at how well I-uh, I mean, AMY did today on this project! She got an A."

But I was also thinking how there are plenty'o ways for we homeschoolers to compare ourselves with each other. And I mean, the parents...not the kids.

Do you have a homeschool room!? (all smiley and noddy) or do you just use your dining room table? (all downcast and bummer-like)

Did you buy a curriculum this year!?
or do you just buy workbooks at the dollar tree?

Did you buy a shmancy shiny new curriculum packet?
or do you go to the used curriculum fair?

Do you have a beautiful schedule that you follow to the minute?
or do you let your kids stay in their jammies till 2 and fit school whenever you can?

Even when asking if "your kid can read yet" isn't always showing an interest in the child's intelligence so much as it is gauging the homeschooling parent's dedication and focus for the year.

Now, I know that I'm being a smidgen extreme, but I'm not missing the mark when it comes to judging or comparing both in public school and homeschool. Parents do it. Why do we do it? Maybe because we want people to know that "we've got it" when it comes to our choices for our kids and what we provide for them and how well they'll do.

So we ask questions that will allow ourselves to feel good about our own answers. Maybe.

And of course, not everyone compares or is bothered by questions.

Like me! I don't ask them, I don't get bothered by them and I have never ever judged or compared anything or anyone ever in my life. Uh-huh. Yep. Never. Nope. Yep. Wait, what?

We're humans, we'll be comparing ourselves and our kids till the end of time, I'm sure. But we needn't. Easier said than done, I know. But it's the way we ought to live our lives.
Confident, secure and by the Lord's standards, not man's.
And what's right for our own kids and or own family.

And I know that whatever I do, I do it prayerfully and make decisions based on His reply.

Happy schooling!


Blessed Mama of 4 said...

I find myself in this little trap... I want to brag about our positive home-school accomplishments but would prefer to not discuss our lack of structure, schedule, curriculum, preparation... oh I could go on...

What a good reminder... we are only to focus on what the Lord calls us to. He already knows where we have succeeded and are failing, and he loves us just the same, and he will give our children grace for our weaknesses, failings and even for our over confidence.

ohhollyf said...

It's encouraging to remember Who our help comes from. Visiting from N.VA via athousandwords blog.

SuperDave said...

I remember a comedian, doing a stand up about school projects. He said, the nite before a project was due, you could find parents downtown in the bad section of town buying projects from "dealers". How bad do you want an "A", that's gunna cost ya 50 bucks. Oh it's due tomorrow? Make that 100 buck. Home schoolers just meet in a back alley and trade. Of course they go to different neighborhoods just in case...