Homeschool.com Blog

by Amy Tjaden

Homeschool.com News Editor

 

Examiner.com is having their contributors debate homeschooling. As I said in a previous article, I do not see the reason for a debate. We all have choices and we make them. Does every issue need to be a debate? I, for one, think we should just all be happy we have all of these choices when it comes to education and let everyone decide for themselves what works best for their family.

 

However, one article stood out. The article titled Worst Reasons to Homeschool is worth sharing because it points out the best reason to homeschool. I’m going to break it down point by point.

 

The author, Heather Siladi, discusses two reasons that should not be used as reasons to homeschool. Those two reasons are teasing and religion. Heather says in her article:

 

Teasing is a terrible thing, and it should never be tolerated. You’re not going to hear a “kids will be kids” argument here. As a teacher, I have brought tears into the eyes of bullies by reading them the riot act in front of the class.

 

Does this bother anyone else? Siladi goes on to say:

 

But even bullies are just kids, and once a teacher makes teasing shameful and embarrassing, it is amazing how nice kids become.

 

I have a huge problem with a teacher humiliating a child in front of the class. She admits she has done this to the point that children are brought to tears. She admits that she uses shame and embarrassment to correct behavioral issues. I do not care what the child has done; he does not deserve this kind of treatment. There are right ways to go about discipline and this isn’t it.

 

She is basically stating that by the teacher bullying the child, the child miraculously becomes nice. I find that interesting since most kids that act out do so because they have been humiliated, shamed and embarrassed.

 

I’ll admit that few teachers have my knack for turning bullies into softies…

 

All I have to say is I certainly hope this is true. I hope it is the rare teacher who uses those kinds of tactics to discipline her students.

 

How does Siladi think children should deal with bullies?

 

When my own four-eyed and very sensitive second grade son came to me with playground woes, I told him the most politically incorrect thing you can tell a child. I said, “I can’t make other kids respect you, and your teacher can’t make other kids respect you; only you can.” That’s right, I said, “go for the nose!” Problem solved.

 

So, a public school teacher says the answer to school bullies is to perpetuate more violence. I find this hard to believe, especially in an era in which any type of physical contact, including hugs, can lead to a child’s expulsion. Is it really smart to encourage kids to solve their problems with violence? If there is a problem with bullies then action needs to be taken by the parent, teachers and school administrators. It should not be left to the child to defend himself. Most bullies run in packs and they target those they deem weakest. Do you really want to throw your child to the wolves?

 

I also find it interesting that Siladi equates physical violence to respect. The way to earn respect is to punch someone in the nose?

 

Strength of character is something that can’t be taught; it can only be mastered through practice. Telling kids to run away from bullies (by pulling them out of school) will not prepare them for life. They will have coworkers who are bullies, they will have bosses who are bullies, and they may even have friends who are bullies. They will no longer need to “go for the nose,” but they will need to stick up for themselves, and that will be really tough if they have no experience doing so.

 

Strength of character, in other words punching bullies in the nose, is better than running away. If we homeschool our children it doesn’t mean we’re providing them with a better learning environment where they can concentrate and relax without the presence of bullies. No, it means we’re running away and not preparing them for life. Being prepared for life means being prepared for bullies.

 

I have never been mugged, raped, been a victim of a hit and run, or had my house broken into. These things do happen. They are part of life. Tell me, how does one prepare themselves for something like that? Is there something I should be doing so my children will be prepared should something like that happen when they are adults? Should I hire someone to attack my children and steal their backpacks when walking home from school? That way they will have had the experience and can handle it even better when they become adults.

 

Exposing your children to bullies so that they’ll be prepared to handle bullies is the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard for keeping kids in public school, and I’ve heard some doozies.

 

Siladi then moves on to her argument concerning religion.

 

I watched an interview with a homeschooled teenager once, and he said that he didn’t want to go to school because all the kids there were drinking, doing drugs, and having sex. What? This kid has been given a completely warped view of the world outside his home. He thinks it’s Sodom and Gomorrah out there! And what his parents don’t realize is that when he eventually gets out into the real world and discovers that the people there are just normal people, everything his parents ever taught him will come into question.

 

Apparently, where the author lives there are no kids drinking, doing drugs or having sex. She must live outside the realm of reality. These things do go on and they happen at alarmingly early ages. I may have graduated high school some years ago but I can remember the teen pregnancies, the kids who were busted for drinking in the bathroom during lunch, and the kids who used to skip school to get high. As someone who used to work in the school system, I can recall elementary school aged kids talking about pimps. One little boy pushed a girl into a corner and started rubbing on her saying he wanted to “get his freak on”.

 

Siladi goes on to say that keeping your children home for religious reasons is doing them a disservice because you are shielding them from differing worldviews. Her point is that just because you are of one religion doesn’t your children shouldn’t be exposed to other religions. I have to ask, how much religious education takes place in school? Oh yeah, that’s right, zero. So where are these kids getting these differing worldviews while in the public school?

 

Families that homeschool for religious reasons do so because they want to implement religious studies into their children’s education. For some families it is important to have a religious foundation from which all other education springs. This cannot happen in the public schools. This, however, does not mean that these families are not exposing their children to differing worldviews. I am at a loss as to why anyone would make such an assumption. I also think it is more likely that these children are getting a much bigger worldview because they are homeschooled.

 

If this is the kind of thinking and discipline that takes place within the schools then I know I’ve made the best choice for my family; not that I had any doubts before this article but this sure reinforced my beliefs.

 

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