"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What I Learned in Public School

Hi everyone,

Wow - has the summer flown by, or what?! And even though it's technically still summer, we started school last Monday. I know, I know...it's only the middle of August, but we've had his year's school books since last April (yeah - I'm a nerd! lol), and we were eager to get started on our second year of AO.  :)

Every summer as the new school year approaches, I am so thankful to the Lord for the freedom to home school my children. I love to see the excitement on my children's faces as we prepare for a new year. And buying new notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies takes me back to my days in public school, and the excitement I felt as a new school year began.  I also try to remember what I learned academically during those years. But I have be truthful and say that I remember very little of what I learned, from books anyway.

So if I don't remember much of the academics of public school, what did I learn?

In Kindergarten, I learned what it was like to leave that wonderful, secure place called home for a place where you were supposed to learn all kinds of new things....at an age too early to leave that security.
I learned that it didn't matter if I cried all the way to school, I still couldn't go home.
  I learned the only thing to do was play with blocks with bully boys or  play house with bossy girls.
I learned that coloring can be boring, especially if you do it all day long.
I learned that if you are on the swing that another little girls wants, you get pushed off (and laughed at) so she can have it.

In my early elementary years (1st - 4th grades), I learned that if you read to the teacher, she would smile. And if you couldn't read, she would frown, and you would have to sit in a special circle.
I learned to be afraid of a teacher that yelled at and belittled students in front of the entire class.
I learned that the smart, quiet kids got all the positive attention, but they were bored most of the day.
I learned that the busy, noisy kids had to learn to be quiet and still, even if was sheer torture.
I learned that if you needed extra help, you were an extra burden to bear.
I learned that teachers didn't know what to do with smart kids, so they gave them extra work or let them help teachers in the lower grades.
I learned that boys like to kiss girls at recess, and that some girls like to be chased.
I learned that you had to wear the right clothes or have right kind of hairstyle to have any friends at all.
I learned some things from the bad kids that I never knew before - and didn't want to know.
I learned that the teacher had lots of patience with the kids who wore nice clothes. And the kids who were the not-so-nice clothes got very little encouragement.

During my middle school years (5th - 7th grades), I learned to stay away from bullies at recess, and that the "slow" children in my class had to no place to hide from the constant verbal abuse of other students. I learned how to look the other way when those kids were picked on, for fear of the bullies coming after me.
 I learned that the popular girls "go with" the popular boys. And if you didn't want to "go with" someone, you were made fun of, and called "gay".
I learned about sex education - on the playground and on the bus, although I also learned about sex education in my early elementary years, too. And by sex education, I mean the most vulgar and profane form of it... and all the slang terms as well.

In my high school years (8th - 12th grades), I learned that the cheerleaders and jocks were the teacher's pets, and could get away with anything, while the "regular" students had to do every single assignment.
I learned to undress in the girls' locker room in front of girls (and teachers) that I had never met.
I learned to be on the look-out for a certain girl who took photos of girls undressing, then showed them  to other students.
I learned to get a B on my PE report card instead of an A because I refused to take a shower in front of those girls and teachers.
I learned to cram for tests, then dump the information.
I learned to hold my breath when I went to the restroom to avoid breathing in the cigarette smoke from the "smokin' cowd" that congregated there.
I learned to not make eye contact with certain people or they would think I was looking for a fight.
I learned that if a girl got pregnant and had an abortion, she could have an abortion, and still come to school the next day, looking very pale, and pretending as if nothing had happened.
I learned that you could get a big chunk of gum thrown in your hair by a bully, who meant for it to land in another girl's hair.
I learned that if someone didn't like you, they could jam your locker door and make you late for class.
I learned that you could get invited to parties at friends' houses where the alcohol flowed freely. And the hosting parents were ok with it. In fact, they provided the alcohol.
I learned who the drug dealers were, and who their clients were.

There is so much more that I learned. I could probably write a book. And I believe that as much of a sinner as I was (I was not a Christian during my school years),
 it's only by the grace of God that I escaped complete moral destruction.

I realize all public school graduates might not have had the same experience as I did. I can only speak for what I heard and saw. And as you can see, it isn't something I look back on with fond memories.

(And people ask why we home school? Seriously??)

But something good came out of my experiences: they make me even more grateful to be able home school my children.

And those experiences help me to persevere through the tough days, because as bad as it was for me, I can't begin to imagine what's going on in public schools in this day and age. From what I have heard on the news, it is horrific. And hubby and I don't want our children exposed to any of it.
So when I think I'm having a bad day, I just need to think back...and remember what I "learned".
That reminder is all I need to keep on keeping on.

I hope your school year is blessed beyond measure, friends!  :)

"Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.."
~ Psalm 34:11