I enrolled my 3 older kids into the local elementary school a few weeks ago after years of homeschooling them. There have been a few things that have surprised me about public school. Not all of the things I’ve learned about public school are negative.
Things I’ve Learned About Public School after Years of Homeschooling
I’m surprised at how much my kids enjoy public school.
Even though my oldest is having problems tolerating some of the prejudiced boys in his class, he likes school overall and is loved by his teachers. He did awesome on the CRCTs (standardized tests) and has impressed his teachers and the “good” kids in his classes.
My 8 year old son was Student of the Month last week.
He was presented with a special award and commended for his exemplary conduct and effort. I was very proud for him. (He has also developed a crush on little Mamacita in his class named Jasmin, but that’s another blog post!)
Schools are very good at positive reinforcement.
My oldest was taken by his music teacher to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the historic Fox Theater in Atlanta. They have something called “Eagle Bucks”that the kids earn for good conduct and hard work, and they can spend these dollars at the end of the week. My 8 year old came home with a love note from his teacher, commending him on his hard work the first week.
I also really like the school administrators and staff.
I think they’re awesome people who are doing really well to do their jobs with integrity and care.
One thing I don’t like is the abundance of candy offered. It seems my 6 year old comes home with a lollipop almost every day. Um, not pleased. What happened to stickers or pencils or other non cavity inducing stuff like that?
And does this contribute to my daughter being so darn moody after school?
I’ve noticed the kids fight with each other more.
I’m sure it’s because they’re a bit overwhelmed and tired at the end of the day. My 6 year old has picked some kind of accent from her peers, as well as a very fierce way of talking. I don’t like it.
I had lunch with my oldest last week and was shocked at the behavior of the 5th graders. When I was in school, we had to have decorum in the lunchroom. We could talk and have fun of course, but the volume had to be kept at an acceptable level.
This lunchroom was deafening and overwhelming for me – an adult.
Not to mention, some of these kids are huge. Some of them were bigger than me. In comparison my son looked so small and vulnerable. It really made me nervous.
My son experienced racism for the first time.
He is the only blue eyed, blonde, Caucasian child in his class and in one of only a handful in the entire school. He experiences discrimination from boys in his class.
My children do not classify people as “black” and “white” and have not been taught to pre-judge. (In fact they call anyone with a shade of skin different from their own “brown”.) And usually they call people with lighter skin “beige” or “light”. Living in a majority-black area (Atlanta), most of our friends are black and our place of worship is integrated. It’s a non-issue for us.
My youngest is the only Caucasian in her class and couldn’t care less, and the aforementioned girl crush of my son? She is Latina.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the way I (and my kids) do about race.
My oldest child is referred to as a racist by one of the little punks in his class, for no other reason than he is white. For my son’s tormenters, white is automatically racist.
Interestingly, several of the black girl students came to my son’s defense in this issue, and they even asked him to sit with them at lunch (the boys and girls sit separately, by choice).
They knew the accusations weren’t true, and the main accuser was basically being an idiot.
I told him the boys were probably just jealous of his smarts and popularity with the girls and using the racist thing to try to get at him. Thing is, it is getting to him a little bit. The other day he stomped a kid on the foot for being verbally abusive to him about race. I think he had taken all he could take. The teacher wasn’t overly concerned about it, because it was out of character for Caleb to act out.
I’ve decided not to send him to middle school next year.
Everyone I speak to says that middle school is worse than high school in terms of the behavior of the kids. He’ll be back home with me. He’s such an independent learner, he requires very little from me by way of instruction anyway.
Caleb has a very difficult time with the language his peers use, the jokes they tell – in short he has been raised to think about pleasing God in his daily life. He is literally offended by much of the behavior he sees, and it wears on him.
His teacher has told me that he is free to leave the classroom at any time to take a 5 minute breather, grab some quiet if he needs to.
I’m ok with the middles going back to public school next year.
Ilana will be in 1st grade and Julien in 3rd. Julien still struggles a lot with his reading, but I think that Jasmin and the positive peer pressure of the other kids has done some good in helping him to work harder. His teachers are impressed with his good conduct.
School lunches aren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be.
The meals are actually quite well balanced and the bread is whole grain, there are no desserts served and there are veggies and fruit with each meal. But the milk is low fat, which bothers me. Doesn’t everyone know that children should not be on a low fat diet?
I don’t pack their lunches anymore because they don’t want me to, and they were not eating half of what I packed in there. They kept begging me to let them eat lunch like the rest of their class mates, and so I relented.
But the WASTE… oh my goodness.
There are no longer real silverware and reusable plastic cups and lunch trays. Each child is served a disposable tray, a plastic wrapped disposable fork and knife combo, and EACH bit of food is in a disposable plastic dish. It’s sickening to think about how much waste ONE school creates each day from school lunches.
Another thing that surprises me?
I actually like getting up at 6:30 every day to drive the kids to school.