I was criticized on Facebook for posting what I believed was an innocent comment. The comment had to do with homeschooling. My comment was basically me sharing my joy at being a parent who homeschools. With CT’s various social issues and mental health problems, it hasn’t been easy to homeschool, but his 9th grade year has gone swimmingly, thus far. It’s a vast improvement from where we started back when he was in 2nd grade, when Ash pulled him out of public school.

Ash shopped around for another school, both public and private, before deciding that homeschooling was the best option. A series of discriminatory instances at his public school (damaging incidents that no child should have to endure), led to his removal from public school. They were sending his work home for Ash to ‘make him do’ anyway, so why bother making him endure such a hate-filled, negative environment, when she was doing all the teaching?

The options for other schools were slim around here. With public school, he could face similar, negative environments (the school had a special ed trailer parked in the school lot for crap’s sake!). The private schools in the area wanted Ash to sign waivers allowing them to physically discipline CT in any way they saw fit. With a child who has mental health problems, and most educators unsure how to deal with these children, we saw daily beatings in his future. That does not help kids like CT. It just makes them mad and they act out worse than they do when they are misunderstood. Ash realized the travesty of such a situation and wisely declined enrolling him at one of these establishments.

So, back to my comment.

Here is what I said: “I homeschool my son to give him a better education.”

In his situation, the best education he can receive is at home. He does a lot more work, work that challenges him and work that does not assume he will never make something of himself. He’s reading classic literature, taking high school level courses, and taking part in college prep. He’s not spelling cat, because his teacher assumes he is a moron simply because he’s socially awkward. He is expected to perform on a level befitting his intelligence, and it may not always be easy to get him to do so, but when he does, knowing we didn’t give up on him is worth it.

Well, this simple little statement set off a hail storm. The teachers on my friends’ list and those related to teachers vehemently disagreed. There were cries of, “who said homeschool was better than public or private education in a school?” I guess I can understand that. If I’d have spent years in college to get a degree, I’d hate for others to assume it was worthless. I tried to explain I was not saying homeschool was better than public school. I was saying it was better for my son. While I believe homeschool has the potential to offer so much more than an in school education can, I also realize some parents SHOULD NOT homeschool. Some parents cannot homeschool. Their children need public school and in these instances, public school is the better option.

The discussion spiraled out to discuss how unsocialized homeschool kids are (proven to be not true except when kids are kept locked up/sheltered by parents). Some who were homeschooled themselves spoke out positively towards their experiences. Others took my stance, that it depended on the parents, children and the school environment in the area. I am just amazed at how polarizing a topic like homeschooling children can make people. It just adds to my belief that people find it hard to get along with those with whom they have differing opinions; a trend becoming more and more common with these new, later generations.

That brings me to the point of WHY I am writing this blog post. My little Facebook comment explosion made me reflect upon all of the problems with public education. I wasn’t hurt, but I was disappointed that some people felt Ash and I were making the wrong decision with home educating. It is our job as parents to determine what is best for our child and to be told that isn’t right is insulting. So, I began to think about all of the problems with educating in a classroom and this made me realize, our children aren’t safe anywhere.

This really has nothing to do with home education. I was just led down this path in a very twisted way by my comment on home education. This is about the safety of children and how that has changed since when I was a kid. At school, kids are not safe. It is less of a risk to imagine a child being kidnapped by a stranger or another, demented parent, at the school, especially since so many schools have police on campus, metal detectors, etc. The real concern is with those working at the school. Not all teachers, but some, and you never know which ones until it is too late, party with their students, have sex with their students, and do other crude and lascivious things with their students.

I was browsing the web recently and I saw a blog post (with pictures) of the Top 50 Most Infamous Female Teachers Involved in Sex Scandals. There are so many sex scandals in schools that they are able to make a Top 50 list. All of these teachers were semi-recent (90s and beyond). These were just the female teachers. There is no count out on the males, especially since male teachers who engage in such acts with their students get far less press than the females. We are shocked when a female teacher does such things, but apparently, it should be expected of the males. Why would I want to send my teenage son who has no ability to say no, even when he knows he should, into such an environment?

The sad truth is that our kids aren’t safe anywhere. They’ve been kidnapped and harmed from within their home. They’ve been snatched up on their way home from school or during recreational activities proceeding school. Playing in their yards with no parent watching every single second can mean a child could be snatched. Stores, restaurants, and other public places are just as vulnerable as neighborhood hangouts. So, where are our kids safe?

It is amazing the way my mind works. It is crazy that my brain got to this place and this question from where it started…on the benefits of homeschooling. That being said, it is a valid question. I would love to say kids are the safest at home with their parents. In most cases, they are. In some cases, it is the parent the child fears most, because they are the abusers. For those of us who aren’t abusing our kids, we cannot be with our children 24/7. We have to sleep. We cannot keep them locked up forever and not let them experience life. These things can happen in a split second, and they do happen.

So, where are our children safe? In this world…nowhere. We just have to hope that in the event something does happen, we did the best we could as parents to prepare them to fend for themselves.

[tags]homeschool, child safety, abuse, parenting, education, children, home education, thoughts, family, environment[/tags]

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