For those of you who read my column or know anything about me, you know that I am homeschooled. Not only that, I am a strong supporter of homeschooling and never hesitate in criticism of the educational system in America. Therefore, you may be surprised at what I’m about to tell you. This past Wednesday, I started my first day at a public school.
Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? For me, there were some personal reasons, and I also wanted to play sports, but I have a feeling I need to give public school a try from a first-person standpoint. Who knows? I might leave by the end of the semester and go back to homeschooling, or I may stay all four years.
All I know is this decision, I’m quite confident, will reinforce all my current beliefs on public education and I hope will provide a more interesting standpoint to you, the reader.
Education is a big issue for me, and I’m sure this decision will not only add to a more experienced view, but will also help prove what I’ve believed all along: One of a biggest problems in education is systemic.
I opined on this very subject in my book, “Seen and Heard”: “This is what happens: Around 7:45 a.m., millions of children from around the nation pack up their backpacks, grab lunch (if their lunch is even made at home), get on the bus or drive off to their local government education institution.
“So, school starts around 8:30. They go from class to class, like robots in a factory, until around 12 p.m. Then, thanks to the very generous legislators on Capitol Hill for spending our money, they eat government food that is mandated by the school lunch program. Afterward, they go back to the routine from class to class, sometimes taking in knowledge (other times not), and then 3 p.m. finally rolls around.”
I have already seen examples of sorely misplaced priorities afoot. The majority of the focus in the school goes to going from class to class, and within the classroom, the majority of the time is spent on announcements, questions and most of the time attempting to get the class to shut up.
I have been in public school for almost a week now and I am already seeing what I wrote almost a year earlier: “They repeat this process five days a week. It starts early. Students are thrown together with hundreds of schoolmates at the tender age of 5. Their lives are run by mandated tests, mandated curricula, mandated educational topics, mandated class times and even the mandated food they must eat! It’s like a processing factory. You have so many classes that take up so much time and homework that must be done at a certain time as well as required reading and work.”
It’s obvious that with a system like that, the real goal is to pass a class, not learn a thing. This is one of the reasons I have always been a huge proponent of homeschooling: The only one required to please is yourself – you’re not tied down by daily goals set forth by some teacher. Thus, the real goal is learning.
Therefore, as I have made this decision and have entered the government educational system of America, I am very confident that my opinions will not change; rather, they will be reinforced by the anecdotal evidence gathered daily. Moreover, this is not evidence that can be discounted, simply because the system of education I now go through everyday is the same system they use in New York, in California, and in Florida – there’s no major difference.
In conclusion, nothing is really going to change. My biography on the bottom might change, but my column will stay and my opinions will be reinforced with personal experience in public schools – something I hope to share with you all in the future.