Friday, January 15, 2010

Are You Ever Just Amazed at Public Schools?

Do you ever think about the things that go on in public schools? Do you ever think about the things that go on in children's lives because of those public schools? Does it ever make you wanna just scratch your head in amazement that parents all over the country willingly send their kids off to these places without a second thought?

I have many books that give specific examples and research about all the negative effects public schooling has on children and on society as a whole. (You'll notice that there are no statistics and research on negative effects of homeschooling, because whenever homeschooling is studied, its results are always positive.)

We can read all we want, and shake our heads at the headlines that flash across our news every day about school shootings, pervert teachers, New Age indoctrinations, etc. But do you ever just think about all the ways that compulsory, government-controlled schooling is so wrong for children on the most basic, fundamental levels?

Charlotte Mason saw these problems with the schools back in the 1800s, before school shootings and Ritalin-induced comas were the norm. She saw the problems with the very concept of public schools.

What is the function of government schools? To mold children into easily-led public servants. To turn them into a great homogenous mass without any creativity or individuality.

What a horrible, horrible thing to do to our kids! Why would any parent want to send their children off to that?

Why would any parent want to send their children to a place where individuality is frowned upon, where questioning the norm is discouraged, where values are discredited in the name of tolerance, where even the basics of education - reading, writing, and arithmetic, are dumbed-down in an effect to make kids "feel" better about themselves.

Take the recent politial hoopla about taking more taxes from the "rich" to give to the poor to see how the government schools have indoctrinated our kids. We have a whole nation who doesn't bat an eye at the thought of hard-workers being punished for doing well and people who don't even try are rewarded in the name of making them "feel" better.

Do we really want that for our kids? Do we really want them to grow up conditioned to think that there's no reason to ever actually try to excel at anything?

I think about sending my kids off to public school and my gut-wrenching maternal instinct is to never, never let those people near my children! Why would I want to send them to a place where they won't be taught anything except the easy way (whole-language reading, inventive spelling, creative math) to "master" the basics, and as for 'electives', well, they're not really elective at all, are they? Not when you're required to take certain amounts of hours of them and only have a limited list of subjects to choose from!

Today I've been thinking about the staggering number of American schoolchildren who are drugged with medications like Ritalin and Adderol every day in the name of making them more "manageable" in the classroom.

Do you know that if my son, Jake, were in school, they'd have slapped him with the ADHD label before his first week of Kindergarten was over? Do you know that what he really is is an active, energetic, strong-willed little boy? But children like that cannot be tolerated in the public school classroom because the teachers don't have the time, energy, or often the knowledge to deal with them. So the solution? Drug 'em up! Maybe soon I'll do a whole blog on the dangers of Ritalin and why schools get away with convincing parents that their children need it!

When I think of someone trying to drug up my precious little boy because he doesn't like to sit still and listen, it makes me want to THROW UP! Here at home, his "schooling" is broken up into short spurts (never more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time). I watch him do his "workbooks" and think about how his work would be considered sloppy or even "wrong" in schools because he does MORE than what the page says. If it says "circle all the pictures that begin with the letter 'K'", not only will he circle those things, but he'll write down the beginning letter of all the other pictures as well, and often spell out the whole words. If the page says "circle all the pictures that rhyme with "dog", he'll circle those pictures and then draw his own rhyming word pictures around the edges. In school, he'd get in trouble for this!

Ugh, it makes me so angry!

I love what Susan Schaeffer Macaulay has to say in her book, For the Children's Sake...

"And so Charlotte Mason rejected the idea that what this young person needed was
molding. 'Their notion is that by means of a pull here, a push there, a compression elsewhere a person is at last turned out according to the pattern the educator has in his mind.'

"Charlotte Mason was, however, a realist. She accepted the little child exactly as he was. She did not romanticize him, but she appreciated him and looked with wonder at what she found

"The most prosaic of us comes across evidence of mind in children, and of mind astonishingly alert. Let us consider, in the first two years of life they manage to get through more intellectual effort than any following two years can show. [She proceeds to catalog the marvelous accomplishments that occur in the self-education of these young persons under two]...If we have not proved that a child is born a person with a mind as complete and beautiful as his little body, we can at least show that he always has all the mind he requires for these occasions, that is, that his mind is the instrument of his education and that his education does not produce his mind.'"

"...Twaddle. If I were to have to label much educational material today, I'm afraid a large percentage would definitely be twaddle. How colorfully and scientifically our generation talks down to the little child! What insipid, stupid, dull stories are trotted out! And we don't stop there. We don't respect the children's thinking or let them come to any conclusions themselves! We ply them with endless questions, the ones we've thought up, instead of being silent and letting the child's questions bubble up with interest. We tire them with workbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anybody's patience. We remove interesting books and squander time on a clinical procedure called "reading skill testing", using idiotic isolated paragraphs which nobody would dream of choosing to take home to read. The recording of testable features of a child's taught tricks ("skills") is held to be more important than the mysterious, exciting growth of a person.

"I feel profoundly sad that such things should be happening. It need not be so."

Why would we send our kids off to be bored to death and brainwashed or drugged into submission and brainless group-think mentalities? Why, when childhood (and even adolescence) so naturally lends itself to inquenchable curiosity and desire for learning? Why would we give them such mediocrity when we could be giving them the world as their classroom?

I shake my head in amazement that people send their kids off to these schools without a second thought, without ever doing research or examining the curricula or teaching strategies, without ever finding out more about the teachers or the other students their child will be surrounded with, without ever taking the time to make an actual effort to care about what kind of situation they are sending their kids off to every day, six hours a day, for thirteen years of their lives.

God help us all.

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