Do you remember when you would rush out of school in June, fairly
bouncing with joy and enthusiam, feeling “free” to spend your summer
in bliss and have loads of fun? Then, by August (or September), you
would be getting “bored” and miss your friends? You would get excited
to choose some school supplies, get a few new clothes (or yard sale
purchases,) and return once more to school!
Melvin and I talked about home schooling due to a family he knows who
has chosen this form of education on Thursday at first break. We have
some doubts about the authenticity of his friends’ (who are parents)
concerns about public schools. I have had some sincere, recent worries
about my coworker, Keith’s daughter, Ashley and her poor Fall report
card from her internet studies. (All D’s and a couple of F’s, too.)
Both Melvin and I tend to wonder about how anyone would want to stay
at home to learn, while there are so many exciting learning opportunities
within the schools, with friends there, too. Even though I was a teacher
and am trained to know about the state content standards, have supervised
home-schooled children’s Fourth Grade, Eighth Grade and GED testings
I would not have wanted the total responsibility of writing and conducting
their home sch0oling program for my own children or my present
I tried to make my children’s early years encompass as many variations of
learning experiences on a “shoestring budget” and definitely stayed home,
helping them and my babysitting crew of five extra kids in those nine years.
But I would not recommend a full home schooling project based solely on one
person carrying out the role of “teacher.” ‘It takes a village’ to help raise the
students passing through the halls at school. One person, without a network
or team approach, *I believe* will not be able to handle the complete
responsibility and diversity that a public or private school offers in their
I have made a new friend who is in her late thirties/early forties, Theresa,
who recently started working at Advance Auto D.C. #23. She has become
close fairly quickly due to a dilemma or problem with her teenaged son.
He has developed an “attitude” towards school and a “bad habit” of walking
through the high school and out of it on a fairly regular basis.
Since Theresa started, she ends up telling me often, lamenting actually,
about Thomas. We find it to be a daily topic as we enter or leave work.
Also, sometimes when she comes in from the brisk weather, having
had a cigarette with other coworkers, she will stop at my friendly table
Somehow, one of those people outside, let her in on the fact that I once
was a middle school teacher. She also knows from me, now, that my
mother was a high school teacher.
Theresa often asks, plaintively,
“Would you please talk to my son about the value of an education?”
I hesitate, often deflecting the question, putting it to the group for
a consensus, or asking if anyone has a new suggestion to motivate
My feelings are that if you would like to have your child love school
and education, start very young. Be enthusiastic about new things
in nature, in your neighborhood, in your community and spread
the learning to all kinds of museums, parks, historical sights and
the summer library programs. I liked our Delaware County District
Library’s toddler reading program. I liked all the contests and other
programs that were available to take my children and babysitting
clients to during the summer so they would not fall behind. Now,
the programs are so much more encompassing in their subject
At public libraries, there are lots of entertaining, along with learning,
programs. On this past Thurs. November 14, they had great attendance
at their ages 6-8 year old Legos program for boys. I saw a few Dads in
there, helping out. They had a lively male folk singer earlier in the
month for all ages, singing and getting the parents to participate with
the program, too. I had totally forgotten about the song, “Jimmy
Cracked Corn (and I don’t care!)”
I feel if you missed the early years of getting your child hooked on
learning, due to a busy work schedule, then try to add any extra
activities, with adult participation, as soon as possible! Becoming
acquainted with the school, finding out how to help out at home,
baking on weekends, making cut-outs for bulletin boards, reading
to your child’s classn (use a personal day) or just being there by the
side of the computers in the computer lab will show you are concerned
and interested. By showing a respect for the teachers and schools, you
will be reinforcing your children’s learning.
Most of all, acting interested in every piece of paper that comes home
will be a good start. That backpack is a great source of information!
Lastly, I place a value on education by showing my family different
ways to contribute to society. There is no “right” way to go down the
path of learning. There are all kinds of avenues, they don’t have to be
straight paths from high school to college. Trade schools, joint vocational
schools, classes online, coursework that your boss or others suggest,
business school and computer work through JVS’ can serve their
purpose to further your career or your child’s future, too.
As far as home schooling, this takes a lot of joint effort with others
who have chosen this educational avenue.
Those who read my first post on this subject will understand, I was very
concerned about young 10 year old Ashley, being bascially unsupervised
during the day in her online training, the school being ‘relieved’ I felt by
not having to deal with the ones who had been bullying her. I was not only
concerned about her education, but her social life. Her activities needed to
be ‘stepped up’ a notch. This did not happen, I am sorry to say, she fell
behind in her 4 H project and workbook. Keith responded by not allowing
her to go to the fair.
Once I saw that poor report card, I would have marched her right back
into the school at that point, with an already planned “intervention” with
not only the grade level teacher, social worker but including the principal!
I refrained from too much expression of my spiraling depression over the
whole subject. I am sorry but this single father got pages of my (and your)
suggestions written out and I especially told him he would have to “network”
with other home-schooling parents! (On weekends and this means a lot of
extra effort but well worth the repayment in the end.)
There are a lot of valuable resources out there in this area and I gave
my best effort. I have my own six grandchildren and diverse activities
to stay involved in. My very worn out oldest daughter weekly takes my
now 9 year old grandson to Boy Scouts, is the Pack’s co-leader and
the chairwoman of the Popcorn Sales, which provides their Camp
Lazarus funding for day camp next summer. It is not easy, been there,
done that three times, as a single parent with one father who was down
in Cincinnati, then over in Dayton. All three kids belonged to sports,
along with the five kids I babysat for almost nine years. No pity party
for me, no sympathy anymore, sorry, for Keith and his one and only
I don’t place a value on the education, my mother would agree, and would
have a different way to put this: I will ask her sometime soon!
What you put into effort with your children or teens, will repay you greatly.
I place a value on the PERSON! I believe in my children and their judgment.
I support their choices. You need to do this, follow through and give your
best to them.
What my Mom added, in her recent phone call, that being a high school
teacher was challenging in the seventies, especially. She taught 30 years
so has a lot of history in those years to share. I liked her words,
“The value of an education is knowledge (no one can take that away unless
you let them!) The other key rewards are success, learning, pride and self-
confidence. You may find it in a trade, going to college, serving your country,
being a great parent, family member or a caretaker… All these are priceless
results of an education.”
I remember my Dad saying that,
“School is your job. You have a ‘boss,’ your teacher. That is your work as a
child. What you put into it, you will get vastly returned. Don’t use any
excuse to get out of something that you are interested in. Invest extra
time to learn all you can about what you love most. I did not get any free
passes out of my life, you will not be given any from your mother or me.”
I would not want or wish for anyone to “rest on their Laurels.” I would
expect personal growth and integrity. I would expect love and compassion.
I would definitely expect good or outstanding parenting! Because this is
another way to show who you love the most! Their future depends on how
you handle their childhood and teen years…
I will pass these words of wisdom on to Theresa and hope for the best.