articles / Family life / Homeschooling

I do not hate public school or the government

I was not homeschooled. I went to good ole’ public school and rode the bus for several years before I started riding with my brother and started driving. How was my education? It was good enough. I learned what I needed to know and succeeded in college without dropping out. Do I think I could have learned more? Yes, I’m learning a lot of stuff now that I feel like I should have learned then. Is it public educations fault that I didn’t learn it? Not really. There were many things — OK subjects — that I despised and could barely sit through without daydreaming and squirming. Those subjects would be science and history. They were boring to me. They didn’t appeal to me. It’s really sad because now I have a huge interest in history and science.

It’s interesting because I’ve noticed that sometimes when you tell people that you’re homeschooling this is what they hear: “We are homeschooling. We are against all other forms of school and look down on those that don’t love their children enough to sacrifice and homeschool them.”

I became a member of a conservative Christian homeschool group on Facebook a few days ago. It said under their “about me” stuff that they were a conservative homeschool group and were against public school, private school, and Common Core.  *Sidenote: I’m not 100% against Common Core. I think there are positives and negatives just like anything else. Also despite disagreeing with this group I am a conservative Christian.* Once I started looking at the posts in this group it was very clear that they were not lying about being conservative. Actually, I’d probably put them more close to extreme than just conservative.

From what I could gather, there was never negative discussion about the list of standards passed down from Common Core or even the new methods of teaching (which aside from anti-CC websites I’ve not seen anything that suggests they are handing out a new way of teaching, just new standards). They were basically saying that because this is a federal thing they weren’t going to support it. It was very anti-government. Several of them were frustrated about the forms they had to fill out for the public schools because it contained information like their phone number or email. They were basically saying that the government needed to stay out of their business. There was even a discussion going on against Sunday School and Children’s Church because it was pretty much the same thing as a public school classroom. No one explicitly said that they looked down on parents who send their kids to public schools, but their comments were suggestive. All I could think of while reading all these comments was, “Public school is the devil!” (Waterboy reference if you didn’t catch it.)

I left the group because I could not agree with them. I do not hate public school. If it weren’t for public school I wouldn’t have an education at all. Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. There are many successful people that went to public school and loved it (well except for junior high I’m sure…maybe high school). I don’t think it is right for homeschool parents to be so negative towards public school in the same way that I don’t think it is right for people to be so negative about homeschool. We homeschool because it is what is right for our family. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. It shouldn’t matter what anyone else is doing.

I guess it really bothered me that they seemed to have this attitude that because they homeschool they are better and because they are stay at home moms they are better (in their defense they may not have intended this, but it was the vibe I got and I’m a SAHM). I’ve only been a stay at home mom for seven months. I used to be that mom that worked and didn’t see her kid most of the day. My kids were going to go to public school. I made myself feel guilty enough that I wasn’t staying at home and homeschooling. I didn’t need anyone else making me feel guilty.

The biggest reason I left the group was the anti-government notion. Like I said, it seemed like the number one reason for hating Common Core and public school was because it was something regulated/created/monitored by the federal government. They didn’t like having to send paperwork into the schools showing that they were homeschooling. Now, there are some states that are heavily monitored and that makes homeschooling difficult, but I don’t think it is too much to ask that you send a piece of paper to the school stating that your are homeschooling and that it have your email or phone number on it.

This is going to be a bit off topic (yet still on topic) for me, but people have to be careful about anti-government talk. Here are a few things that the federal government is responsible for:

  • Our military — This is essential for protecting our country from attacks such as Pearl Harbor and 9/11. You may not agree with war, but I’d rather it be far away than in my back yard (paraphrasing The Patriot).
  • Student grants — College anyone? Most students have to get grants if they want to go to college. Not possible without the federal government.
  • Student loans — As much as I hate them federal student loans are the reason I have a degree and didn’t go bankrupt trying to get it.
  • Money — Do you realize that the paper in your pocket means absolutely nothing without the gold, silver, etc that the federal government has to back it up. That’s why Confederate money is worth just as much as Monopoly money when it comes to buying groceries.

Those are the big four that I can think of. There are other things (some are more controversial), such as WIC (Women Infants and Children) program, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP (or food stamps), unemployment, and all the other federally funded programs.

I do agree that there are times when the government tries to help where they are not necessary, but they are not bad. I do not believe that the government has it out for us or that they are all setting out to make us mindless drones and take over our children.

If you are a homeschooling parent or stay at home mom, please be careful not to be the opposite extreme (anti-public school advocate) of what we face everyday with people being negative about homeschooling. If your children go to public school, do not feel bad or feel like anyone is telling you that you’re wrong/less of a parent for not homeschooling. If someone has told you that, ignore them. That’s what we do when someone tells us we should send our kids to “real school”. Don’t let a few ignorant (literal use of the word, not a derogatory statement) people try to convince you what is best for your family. Do what is best for you.


6 thoughts on “I do not hate public school or the government

  1. Aaaah, thank you for this. What a breath of fresh air! I know there are plenty of other homeschooling parents with your moderate views, but I was raised k-12 in a stifling anti-government, conservative, fundamentalist, Christian homeschooling circle, and it was like a big echo chamber of these sorts of things. This is a pretty oppressive culture to grow up in since, as a homeschooler, it is easy to be completely isolated from any views outside of the group’s. It’s taken me years to try to recover from that, and I’m still working on it. I can tell you, these sorts of groups aren’t just strange… they can be downright toxic to the the children raised in them (see Homeschoolers Anonymous if you ever want to see how far down that rabbit hole goes)… even worse if you don’t fit the group’s idea of “proper” morality (trying to explore things like sexuality, gender identity, changing religious views, or even just career opportunities is hugely daunting when you are under such a powerful influence and have access to so little information or resources.)
    So kudos to you for doing your own thing. Homeschooling can be a great educational option for families, and I am happy to see it is still thriving. I just hope that it continues to expand with people like you, and I hope that my brand of homeschooling fades into obscurity.

    • We are conservative and we are Christian and raising our children that way, BUT it is about living like Jesus not coming up with a bunch of crazy hard to follow rules. I’ve read a few things from HA and while it is good to see what can happen, it also worries me that too many of those stories without positive stories will feed the fears of those against homeschooling.

      • Almost all of the people who have shared on HA have made it clear that they are not anti-homeschooling (and even ran a series on positive experiences), but that they do believe that the homeschooling community needs to be made aware of the abuse that can be hidden in its ranks. In my experience and many others, homeschooling was believed to create the perfect safe and Christian child (not immoral, will never leave the faith, will not be gay, will not experience peer pressure, will not suffer depression, will not self-harm, will not suffer eating disorders, will not become an addict, will not divorce, and will be protected from a lot of pain.) I think, in a lot of ways, many of the “crazy rules” people had all good intentions to give their children a good life. However, you and I both know that this idea of homeschooling is a big fat lie. Sheltering your children and oppressing them will not prevent them from experiencing the world and making their own decisions as an adult… or if it does, it is only out of fear and control.
        That’s why I think the stories of HA are so important… so that people recognize that the “perfect Christian child” homeschooling myth is just a myth and can learn to make this educational choice without false expectations that lead to bad behavior. The negative stories are so important because, until the last five years or so, pretty much the only narrative in the Christian homeschooling community was the false, rosy one. So I think it’s time we shouted our honest experiences from the rooftops. I also support some forms of homeschooling regulation (as you said, it’s not too much to send a piece of paper to the school and, in some states, you don’t even have to do that) and preventing someone who has been convicted of child abuse from homeschooling definitely seems reasonable to me.
        So yes, this is garnering some bad press for homeschooling (although not half as much as Gothard and his ilk have managed single-handedly). But, in my cause and the hundreds of others on HA, that bad press is warranted. And if the pendulum ever swung too much in the opposite direction and the government wanted to threaten to take homeschooling away, you can bet that I’d be fighting just as hard to keep it an option, along with the rest of you. 🙂
        Anyway, as I said before, your post was a great breath of fresh air, so thank you. And just to clarify, my intent was not to dis conservatives or Christians who homeschool in my original comment, but rather to call out the conservative Christian homeschoolers like the ones in that facebook group who are, unfortunately, a very large and loud voice in all things homeschooling. It is difficult to find words to make the distinction, but I am not averse to people of any religion, any political spectrum, or any educational method (although I will have my own beliefs that may, of course, disagree). I am, however, averse to control, sheltering, isolation, fear, and power plays. All the best to you!!

      • I totally agree that because of bad people a little monitoring of homeschooling is necessary. And I do think people need to see those stories on HA to be reminded why there are regulations. I just hope people see positive examples of homeschooling, not just the negative ones. And I didn’t think you were dissing conservative Christians. After reading your comment I realized that I didn’t clarify in the article that the conservative Christian part of the group wasn’t bad. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was talking negatively about that. I’m thankful we have the opportunity to homeschool, but hate that some people take advantage of it.

      • Yes, agreed. But I do see things changing and I am grateful for that. 🙂 Just think… your kids are going to be a shining POSITIVE example for homeschooling to start over-writing some of the negative stuff that my generation is speaking out against. And I really can’t wait to see that.
        And, to be fair, I am happy to showcase the positive side of my experience. I got a wonderful education and I’m currently working on a PhD in Astrophysics at UMN (which I won’t credit ALL to homeschooling, but it did lay a fine foundation). So it’s not all bad! I just wish that education hadn’t been mixed with so much toxic nonsense.
        One thing I can say though: homeschoolers are tough. So keep it up, and I’ll be sending positive thoughts to your family!

  2. I think you may be misled on the roots of some of these complaints from many homeschoolers. I cannot speak directly to that particular facebook page, however, I hold some of those beliefs too- and let me clarify. I DO NOT HATE. I don’t hate those who send their children to public school, but they should be aware of some of the deceptions that happen the school systems
    I recently became a follower on my rss feed. I like your blog posts and will continue to follow. Having said that, please don’t be offended by my beliefs which differ from yours.
    As for common core, if you want to see how they are actually teaching things differently, you should search youtube for a child solving a common core alegebra problem. It’s not the easiest or best way. I don’t think that these concepts are evil, just grossly overcomplicated.
    As for reasons to love our government? I’m not so sure I agree.
    military? our troops being in foreign lands protects us from attacks no more than if we stayed out of it. In fact, we are only rocking the boat in some of those countries. Meanwhile, our rights and liberties are quickly being taken away because of “terrorism”. Benjamin Franklin said,”They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    We do not live in the same free country our fathers fought and died to defend. This home schooling family fled Germany in search of asylum and educational freedom. Obama turned them down.
    And that’s one example of many.
    Student grants and loans? Our public education system is a joke to any other country. And when it comes to getting a degree, 60% of college grads can’t find work in their field right now.
    Which brings me to your next point. Money? Our money hasn’t been backed by gold and silver for years. America – its government, businesses, and people – are nearly $60 trillion in debt, according to the latest economic data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. And it’s only even possible because we are printing money that is not backed by gold or silver and because we are funding wars in other countries that we can simply not afford.
    All of those government help programs are things that we simply-and our children’s children now-simply cannot afford. We need to go back to the times when neighbors, churches and family members helped those in need rather than making future generations pay.

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