A homeschooling mother shared something at one of my homeschool support group meetings. She said she keeps a three-ring binder with newspaper clippings and magazine articles relating to education and issues and problems with public schools that she comes across while reading. She said she simply tears them out and places them in the binder.
The articles she saves each reinforce to her, one or more reasons why she is happy that her children are not in the public school system. The articles could be on the over-studying to take the standardized tests instead of learning new things, or on cheating on said tests on behalf of school staff. They could be about an element in the school’s curriculum which she disagrees with teaching at that age, or a bullying story or about drugs in schools. The articles are also local, showing problems in her own town's school system. She said that in a short amount of time the binder has become quite thick.
She said that whenever she begins to doubt herself and to question if enrolling her children into public school is something she should do, she takes out this binder and reviews it. She said it works every time, as a reminder of why putting her children in school is not a good idea. That bit of reality helps her regain her confidence and to push on with homeschooling, until she gets back to that “happy to be homeschooling” attitude.
We all had a laugh out of the idea of it (for some reason when she was explaining it, it came across as really funny and even she was laughing). A couple of mothers said they planned to start such a binder.
We all have days of self-doubt and the good times and fun times far outweigh the times of self-doubt or stress. We all use various techniques to get through the self-doubting stage; we may call another homeschooling mother, attend a homeschool support group meeting or read some “homeschooling propaganda” or some things that tell the bad parts of public schools. Other times we may feel personally exhausted and the idea of just waving goodbye as our children step onto the bus seems so much easier than what we’re doing. We do what we have to do to get over that hump.
I was inspired to blog about this because I have been reading so many articles in The Wall Street Journal which are negative in tone about public schools that I thought I should begin a binder in place of leaving the torn-out articles laying around the house. I had planned to try to blog about each of these articles so I was ripping them out to reference while writing, but I just haven’t’ have the time to do it yet.
(I know one specific friend of mine who reads my blog is thinking now that we should all only concentrate on the benefits of homeschooling and not put energy into thinking about the problems with schools. However, I feel that some of the benefits of homeschooling are the avoidance of some of the negative's of the American public education system. This is similar to those who feel that people should only talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and should not talk about the real problems that can happen from using the second-best baby food: baby formula. To make informed choices about the course of our children's education we should be aware of both the pro's and con's of schooling and the pro's and con's of homeschooling, then use that to make our decision.)
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