My son is turning 5 this summer, and I’ve gone back and forth about his school options. My father really wants me to homeschool our kids. I have an English degree and even tried out teaching in college, but it wasn’t necessarily something I was passionate about. Still, I know I could homeschool our kids fairy successfully if I choose to do so. However, I have had this internal debate going on for some time.
Personally, I adore the social benefits of traditional schooling. A classroom setting can do much for young minds. At the same time, I have almost just as many reservations about sending my little ones to school. It’s a decision that my husband and I have been thinking about a lot lately. To homeschool or not to homeschool? That is the question!
My first experience with school was incredible. I went to a private elementary school on the campus of a college. Students of the college could have their children attend the elementary school for free if the little ones were accepted into the program. There were tests and stuff to pass to be accepted, and it was a pretty big honor.
Both my big brother and I were accepted and went there while my mom took a few college classes. It was so amazing, and I still talk about the lasting and positive impact that it had on me. When my family moved to a different town, we had to move schools too. Things changed and not for the better.
Bullied from a Young Age
My brother was already out of elementary school when we moved, and he was able to find a good group of friends. I wasn’t so lucky. The first school I attended after our move was in a rural area, because we stayed at my grandma’s until we got a new house closer to my dad’s new job.
The elementary school I went to was small. Everyone knew everyone, and the library was a trailer. I was a 3rd grader and bullied a lot. I was bullied because of my eyes and glasses. Kids were also pretty cruel because we didn’t have a lot of money, and I didn’t have brand named clothes- think Limited Too from the 90’s. There was one 5th grade girl in particular that made my life hell.
This queen bee would put notes in my cubby that called me a “poor bitch” and would say I was a “blind freak.” She and her friends would sneak inside during recess to plant the notes, so I tried to catch them once. The mean girl stepped close to my face, and spit on me. I punched her right in her nose, and it just happened to break.
I was suspended, but she wasn’t. Honestly, I was still bullied, but the kids knew to stay away from me for the most part. After that year, we moved into town more, and I switched schools again.
New School, Same Shit
The elementary school that I went to for 4th and 5th grade had a lot more wealthy kids than the other school. The bullying was even worse, but I had a few neighborhood friends who made it more tolerable, because we could play after school. The hardest part wasn’t the kids this time. I knew how to handle myself. I struggled more with a teacher.
After the debacle at the previous school, the new one put me in counseling. They brought up my anxiety issues and put me in programs. That was all fine and dandy by me. There was one teacher in particular, my 4th grade teacher, that made me cry almost daily. This woman was awful.
Once, she asked me if I was “retarded” in front of the whole class, because I got an answer wrong. The use of that word has always made me angry, so I couldn’t understand an adult using it. She would call me poor and tell me I’d never amount to anything. I kid you not, this woman tortured me verbally every week.
Before this woman went on to be a decorated teacher and run a middle school in my home town, my mother gripped her up and told her if she was ever cruel to me again, she’d lose everything. The bullying from her was the worst, and eventually she couldn’t lie her way out of it anymore. She was fired after calling a middle school girl a slut for wearing a skirt. The girl’s mom slapped the teacher in her face and called the district.
My Worries as a Mother
Obviously, I know that my kids probably won’t have the same bad experiences I did growing up and moving to 3 different elementary schools. I still fear for them though. Bullying is everywhere, and when I was kid, my parents just taught me to fight for myself. Now, kids can’t fight back without facing major consequences.
I went to teachers about being bullied, and nothing was done. It just scares me. On top of it, the shootings and the state of our country scare the shit out of me even more. That’s why my father wants us to homeschool in the first place. I know I can’t let fear dictate every decision I make as a mom, but it’s still challenging.
My sister-in-law is a teacher for children with special needs. She’s my go-to about the school system, because she’s worked in a few different schools in our area. I love that she helps me with my questions, and she assured me the importance of elementary school for developing little ones. There’s still a lot for us to think about though.
To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool
Honestly, I think that we send our kids to school too early. Now, there’s preschool programs for toddlers and babies. Luckily, as a WAHM, I didn’t need any type of daycare or program, and we decided that our son will start with kindergarten rather than a preschool. Sure, he doesn’t have that jumpstart, which is probably another reason I worry.
Did I stifle him by not following the status quo of sending your kid to preschool? He’s such a social butterfly and can make friends easily, but I still worry. At the end of the day, I just want my kids to thrive and be happy.
What are your thoughts on schools and homeschooling? I’d love to chat!