Monday, December 07, 2009

School and Why I Get in Trouble When I Wander Around US Blogs Too Much

Every once in a great while I decide to surf...invariably it gets me into trouble...lots of it.  Now I have spent two nights wandering site to site and finding myself sometimes amused and sometimes wandering what in the world these strange people are thinking about.  I find it harder sometimes to identify with US citizens on line than other Hondurans or other Ex Pats...and it seems to get worse as time goes on.

My latest run in has been one about public school, homeschooling, divorce, and wild nonsense that would make most of us go bananas.  After months of talking about stuff here though I needed to read other stuff and now I could kick myself.

I came upon two cases of home schoolers.  I used to like home school parents and still do to some degree, but after these blogs I am not so sure that there is not a certain population of home school parents that are completely loony toons. 

I hear many refer to the public school system as Satan´s tool and wild things of that nature. Others say that they don´t want to expose their children to different world views that the reason they home school is to isolate the children from that sin filled lifestyle.  Then I hear others who just want to make sure their kids get a quality education and felt like they could not in the local school system.  The latter I can respect to a degree.

However, children should be exposed to certain things that we do not find so savory so they know how to deal with those life situations when they come upon them.  Face it people we cannot protect our children from everything and it is better to deal with the situations as they arise or discuss what is right and what is wrong before those situations come up instead of sheltering the child from everything one perceives as worldly or sinful.  Too much sheltering is a bad thing.

When I think about the home schooling that I did over the past year it wasn´t so much because I wanted to home school, it was because I had no choice.  The people of Honduras and Ex Pats know well that the situation was wild this year and children lost out on almost the entire school year.  I wonder how the home schoolers would feel about US public schools if they had to spend just one year sending their children to a public school in Honduras.  They might suddenly realize the fine schools they have before them and that they have been just a little too uppity about. 

One thing about US public schools...they are in session every day for 5 days a week from 7 am to 3 pm in most states and they do not miss time unless there is a drastic emergency during the school year.  Another thing US students can be sure of, if they are poor they get free lunch and their lunch is balanced.  They get free text books and get clean, well groomed schools that are rarely in the desperate shape that some politicians try to paint them as being in.  I wonder how many politicians from the US or parents would flat pass out of they took one look at the state of affairs in Honduran public schools. Lead paint, crumbling cement blocks, sometimes dirt floors, no windows, and text books...what text books? Then your child might find himself walking home several times a month because teachers just decided to go on strike because they didn´t like something or another about the government or their uniform, or whatever.  I will never complain about US public schools again!  US students have it very good and their education is something that is guaranteed and not something that is half baked.  I worry more about the parent that calls a US public school, Satan´s tool...being her kids teacher 8 hours a day than I worry about a public school teacher who is well trained and probably a Christian anyway.
I worry about the bloggers that went bananas over a father in New Hampshire wanting his 10 year old in public school so she could consider other people´s view points and perhaps open her mind.  They called him every name in the book.  I was certain this man was an atheist by the time they were done with him.  His own daughter claimed that she felt he didn´t love her because he would not follow her religion and thus was going to hell. That sent sirens off in my head that you cannot imagine..a ten year old doesn´t invent that junk on her own and normal churches do not teach this crap to kids about their parents.  I was again certain he was an atheist from those comments.  I found out he was a Catholic...I was speechless.  How did this child suddenly decide in her homeschool, with her mother 24 hours a day..that daddy was going to hell because he is a Catholic? Oh anyone else hearing fundamentalist cult whistles yet? I sure am.
The mother went nuts and hired ADF because she thinks that not getting to home school interferes with her religion..what? How does sending your kid to public school deny you the right to practice your religion? It doesn´t.  She goes to church on Sunday and if you church requires you home school and not go to worldly public school find another church...something is seriously wrong with a church that requires such nonsense or teaches that daddy will go to hell because he is a Catholic.

Ok enough ranting on that issue..and now my hats off to the public school system in the US.  While some of the schools have much to be desired there...the schools in Honduras and the teachers here do not hold a candle to the teachers there.  If they would stay in school the full year they might give US schools a run for their money, crumbling walls and all.


Richard said...

I discovered your blog through the other "Gringa" in Honduras. I found this post very interesting and though I never had kids myself, I see the two sides of the coin in my own family.

Two of my brothers I consider religious whackos but of varying degrees. One home schooled their kids and pretty much fall into the public school is "Satan" category. The other brother sent his three to public school.

Though all the kids are adults now I noticed the difference in the social development at a very early age. Each of my brothers had a son within months of each other. At a family reunion when the boys were about four this is what I observed:

Young Ben, who had been going to pre-school, was a social whirlwind interacting easily and eagerly with the other kids (we're a large family I being the first of seven sons) and adults most of whom were complete strangers to him. Ken, on the other hand, who was kept at home and away from all "Satanistic" influences, literally clung to his mother's skirts the entire time and mom didn't do anything to encourage him to make friends with his cousins. So sad.

All of the kids, two brothers and a sister in one family and two brothers and two sisters in the home schooled family turned out to be pretty good kids but when you're around the home schooled group you notice that they're about half a beat off the rhythm and, sorry to describe it like this, but just a bit odd. The three that went to public school, though, despite what I would classify as their unnatural religious zeal, are pretty much like "normal" people.

I haven't seen any of them for a few years but I wonder how much difficulty the one who clung to momma's skirts encountered when he joined the Army? He served two tours in Iraq as a medic and what medics have to deal with on a daily basis is something that will screw up normal and well-adjusted individuals. But he did his time and has been honorably discharged. The youngest of the two public school kids is currently in the Army as well learning how to de-fuse bombs, a choice he made through his religious convictions that he is on this earth to help and serve people rather than to damage them. In both instances their service to the country was based on helping others which I respect and support completely.

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