Warning: I think this is going to be a long one. And keep in mind that all of this applies to my experience of public schooling. There are most definitely ones that this post does not apply to. To those of you that are home-schooled: YOU WILL PROBABLY BE OFFENDED. Or at least heartily disagree with some things I am about to say. I have never been home schooled. I'm sorry for my ignorance. Make my essay true with painful comments about it.
English journal 8/31/2010
"If you could change how you received your education, would you?"
In elementary school, I would have said no. In middle school, I would have said "Dear God, please." Now that I'm in high school, my answer is "No, not for anything." The past year (and now also a week) has been the best of my life.
Why? Well, first I'll talk about homeschooling. The academic bit.
I assume you gathered a vague idea of my views on homeschooling from "Kindergarten Blues." (and if you weren't there, it's okay- I'm going to explain it in a minute). Even the best parents/teachers have biases, and they don't know everything. With a full class, there are so many more perspectives,and so much more knowledge crammed together in one room. The only way to really see both sides of something is to talk to someone who lives on the other side, or to go online, and the Internet isn't as good as people. It's one thing to read about a set of beliefs/customs/traditions/whathaveyou, but it's quite another to talk to someone who lives it. With homeschooling, it's difficult (not by any means impossible, but difficult) to get that. With math and science, it's not so big of a deal, but when it comes to English and Social Studies, I think you need people. Intelligent people who are interested in the topic at hand. In short, you've got to take some honors classes (HELLO, BIAS. HOW ARE YOU?)
Yes, public/non-homeschool isn't the only way to find people, and I know you guys have honors society meetings and stuff. There's blogging, and clubs, and camps, and forums, and all sorts of other ways to reach out and discuss, and while I feel certain there are pros to homeschooling/private tutors/whatever, I believe "normal" schools are the best way to go. As a generality. All of that other stuff is GOOD, but it's better to have MORE. Especially since in school it's required to think and talk about the stuff. Not everyone goes online to talk about school-y things. And they've got to do a good job of it, because it's for a grade.
That's just the academics.
After the Hell That Was Middle School (which yes, is an exaggeration), I asked my parents if I could do school online, because I had/have a friend who was doing that. They said no, which I'd totally expected and was pretty much okay with. I asked them why. My dad said something like "Because school isn't just about classes. It's about learning how to deal with people. Most of the learning actually takes place outside of what the teachers tell you. *smirks* And how are you supposed to find guys to date if you're in the house all the time?"
Of which both points are very true, considering I don't go much of anywhere other than school and writing club, which I hadn't yet started at the time. Interacting with new people, or even friends-that-aren't-your-family-that-you-haven't-known-as-long-as-you-can-remember is TOTALLY different from interacting with relatives.
Besides, even if I'm not learning about people, I love the people I've met through school. Outside of school, I have two friends who are pretty much my brothers, and you guys at writing club. That's it. Because if I hadn't gone to public elementary school, my mom never would have started working there, and I wouldn't have become friends with some of the other staff kids.
There's also some stuff you just can't do outside of "normal" school. Like having a massive fake-trench warfare battle with bits of paper and using desks as trenches. You can't go caroling through the halls the day before winter break. You can't tell jokes for an hour after your band exam or play chess after a different band exam. You can't have massive round-table seminars in English.
And that is why I don't want to change my education. Because I've learned way more than I would have, and I love my friends-met-through-school and don't want to sacrifice them for the Non-existence of Middle School.