Easy Question #2

This one is a two-parter.

What was your school experience: public, private, home, or mix (give an idea of the mix)?

Do you feel that your school experience improved you morally, damaged you, or had no impact?

As always, feel free to comment beyond simple answers.

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10 Responses to Easy Question #2

  1. Dawn says:

    Public schools for 13 years. 1 year in public college, 3 years in private college.

    Morally, I think the system may have caused some damage. I hated school and doubled up on classes to graduate a semester early. I liked it OK until 5th grade when a horrible teacher really soured me on the whole school thing.

    Educationally, certainly some damage. I played the game but retained very little. I could cram for a test, do well, and then dump everything out of my brain on my way out of the room! If I had had to take that same test a week later, I probably would have failed!

    Luckily, I am getting to relearn with my children on our terms and have actually learned that I enjoy subjects that I “hated”.

  2. I went to public school. I have been struggling to separate the values that I learned in school vs. the values that I was taught at home. In most, those values were reinforced in both places but especially in K through about 8th grade.

    I was raised Catholic, 7th out of 8 kids. My mother stayed home. There is no denying the influence of the Catholic Church in my life. By the time my parents got to the 5th kid, having all kids in Catholic school was just too much money I guess so the younger started out in public school. I split with the Catholic Church for many years but within the last decade or so I have called an uneasy truce with the Church. Troll and I wavered over putting the girls into Catholic school, but decided against it. We were married in the Church.

    Anyhoo – we never missed Sunday Mass as kids, unless we were seriously ill. I vaguely recall that even in our yearly camping trip in the Rockies, Mum found a church for us to attend. My family is dysfunctional as most families are. I have had to undo a few things as an adult. It’s a mixed bag – what I learned. Sacrifice, justice, compassion, patriotism, respect, forgiveness, fairness. Some were learned to a fault: sacrifice and forgiveness to name two. I also learned the ‘proper’ place for a lady. Those had to be re-worked as an adult.

    I loved school when I was little, mostly. Most memories are are happy. One that isn’t is a 1st grade memory: A classmate who sat 2 desks in front of me raised his hand to request permission to go to the bathroom and was denied. Twice more he raised his hand and was denied. The next thing I remember, a puddle of urine appeared under his desk. He got into trouble for that. I remember thinking how unjust that was. Some of what I learned at home was reinforced such as ‘sit down and shut up’. I’ve completely done away with that one! LOL.

    Looking back, I note a change. It’s little things. It was, probably, 5th grade. I would have been 10 – so 1973. First, sex education, which we had to have permission to participate in. The girls and boys were separated, and the changes that an adolescent goes through were presented. It was clinical. That’s it, and I have to say that I’m glad I got that information because I don’t think my mother would have been able to give it to me. My older sisters were pretty befuddled over all of the changes they had gone through years before. There are 2 more things that I recall from that year: A ‘Save the Whales’ movie and assembly about environmentalism. A horrid movie showing bloody car crashes and pushing the use of seat belts. Later on, the Pledge of Allegiance became optional. It was always said over the loudspeaker – you just weren’t required to stand for it anymore. There was an American flag in every classroom. The teachers didn’t take any crap from anyone in the lower grades.
    There was always an adult present – ALWAYS. Until High School.

    High school was an open campus, and in 10th grade I would hang on the loading dock and smoke with the bad boys for most of my classes. Or sleep late and schlep into school whenever I wanted. They passed me right through 10th grade, even though I hadn’t done a damn thing. Nobody really seemed to care. That was ’77 or ’78 I think.

    I believe that my early years in school were good. I was literate, ended up loving Algebra but hating Geometry, liked Latin. (There were 2 choices of language in the school at the time: French or Latin. I was completely turned off by French – I didn’t like the French at all. I wonder where I learned that??!) Although my education was adequate, I have realized that it could have been so much better. Teaching my daughters has been a HUGE eye-opener. The longer I do it the more disappointed I am in my own education.

    Most of what I have learned about life and how to operate as a grown up happened after I was done with school. I have noticed that the young people, in high school or in their first years of college, who I have contact with are completely socially inept. There are a few exceptions – a very few. The same was true for me at that age. I was a fish out of water when I got out of school. I went straight into the Army from school – and I had a bit of sense by the time I got out. I was a democrat back then, but as I’ve gotten older I have returned to the values that I was raised with. It’s been a long revolution right back to where I started. God, Family, Freedom, Strength, Human Rights, Humility, Honesty, Justice, Courage of Conviction.

    I do believe that most of those values were shared by all in my younger grades. The teachers and the other students had those same values. High school was a complete wash, though. A total waste of time.

  3. Julie says:

    I attended public school. I feel that I would have had a much easier time adjusting to adult life if I had been homeschooled.

    Home schoolers don’t need a simulation of “the real world”, which many opponents to homeschooling claim is provided by the public school situation, because they are already in the real world.

    I was a socially awkward kid who for many years was a socially awkward adult. I think that many of the socialization problems I have had as an adult would not have occured if my parents had been there to guide me through the process of learning to interact with others. This is something that can only happen if parents are there when their child socializes with others.

  4. April says:

    I am a public school product: 13 years of public school, 4 years at a state university. The result of my education can be summed up in a quote from C.S. Lewis’s sci-fi novel That Hideous Strength: “His education had been neither scientific nor classical — merely ‘Modern.’ ”

    I did “well”, i.e. I made good grades, but in many ways I just learned the system, I didn’t actually learn . I realized my educational deficiencies after getting a job where I was around lots of classically educated parochial school grads. So the waste of 17 years, yeah, I’d consider that damaging. I also “learned” all the other lessons of public education: how to keep your head down and stay out of trouble. How to figure out what answer the teacher is looking for and serve it up pretty.

    I’m still working to correct my education by joining the “great conversation”, but it’s not an easy road and being the mother of 4 young children takes priority to quality reading time. I hope to offer my children a firmer foundation and a richer understanding of education than just getting gold-stars. This is one reason we home educate.

    Public school did expose me to a diverse population, but in such a way to highlight the divisions and walls. My challenge is to expose my children to a diverse population and highlight the beauty in the differences and a clear reason for our beliefs and values.

  5. Sopater says:

    I attended public school until I was expelled in 10th grade. At that time I transferred to a parochial Catholic school. I was raised Catholic, but obtained most of my moral influence from my friends at school. I became heavily involved in drug use and nearly ruined my life by living a highly self-destructive lifestyle. My school “experience” had a HUGE negative influence on my morallity.

    I eventually went to a state university and graduated with a B.S. in electrical and biomedical engineering.

    Since finishing college, I have become a “born again” Christian. I have restructured my moral belief system to align with the Holy Bible as I understand it, and am continually adjusting my morals as I learn more about the Bible. I see the Bible as the absolute moral basis for life.

    Looking back, I can see a heavy liberal, humanistic, and socialistic influence on my education. This is not the way that I want my children educated. I was taught that this country was ‘bad’ and ‘immoral’. I was taught that pure communism was ‘good’ and never quite completely attained by those who attemped it. I was taught that science had disproven the Bible, and that it was not to be taken literally. That idea alone allowed me to choose what I wanted to accept from the Bible and what I wanted to discard.

    Overall, my public school experience has done a great deal to allow me to harm myself by making poor decisions based on the belief that if I were careful I could avoid the negative consequences of my immoral actions, and even that some actions that I had been taught were immoral, were in fact ‘normal’ and ‘natural’. Today’s public school system is so much worse now than it was when I was in school (HS class of ’83) that I shudder to think of what my children would become as a result of a public school education. I even seriously bothers me to know that when they are grown, the large majority of their peers in the work place are going to be the product of a public school education.

  6. Lisa says:

    I was raised in public school from age 4 to 17. PS didn’t improve me morally. The education wasn’t bad, but there was so much more I could have learned. I will say that being away from home those long our as a child provided experiences and indoctrination that was in total opposition to what my parent’s teaching and example.

  7. Jen says:

    I was completely publicly educated: K-12, then 4 years at a state school. The K-12 was a complete waste, and harmful to me. I was very shy, and the structure of public school just served to make me an outcast at the bottom of the picking order. I am very intelligent, but I was never pushed or challenged by the material I was presented with. I was also dangerously labeled as learning disabled in grades K-3. I had problems with hand eye coordination and small motor skills, and I was so bored by the school material that I would rather look out the window and daydream than do the school work. My school’s solution: label me, and stick me in the lowest level reading group. So, the only learning I got in those years was listening in on the activities of the highest level reading group, and reading all the way through to the back of the textbooks by myself. My dumb teacher said that all work had to be done in the order she said, and the first assignment of the day was to take a list of words that she wrote on the chalkboard, and write them on my paper in alphabetical order. Since I had weak fine motor skills, it hurt my hand to write that much. It was also boring, and seemingly pointless. So, I never did it. Since I didn’t want to go against my teacher and do work out of order, I didn’t do the other work either. Fortunately, my family moved in the summer between 3rd and 4th grade, and my records did not make it with me. So, I got a clean start in the 4th grade with a teacher that paid attention to my individual process, so school was much better. But, soon afterwards I learned how to work the system: how to get an A without trying very hard. So, I learned far below my potential, and I was never pushed to develop good work habits. College was a much better experience. I went to a very large state school and therefore had a lot of autonomy in structuring my educational experience. I also got saved in my freshmen year of college, and I spent a lot of time doing ministry and going to Bible study groups. I almost think I spent more time on this than my actual classes!
    My oldest child is now 5, and I look forward to building a homeschooling program for her that helps her learn to her potential, develop good habits for self-learning, and deveolop spiritually. I also look forward to reading the great classic literature that was completely neglected during my school years.

  8. terryd says:

    I went to public school. I didn’t think it harmed me too much, but now that I’m watching my kids navigate middle school, I’m not so sure. Jury’s still out, but we are considering homeschool

  9. Mia Zagora says:

    I went to public school first grade through fourth grade. In fifth grade, I started going to a very small Christian school in our church that used ACE curriculum. Although I could read well (thanks to my Mom) I failed math the first semester. However, after that, I really enjoyed the curriculum and made straight A’s. I loved that school! The grades 6-12 were in one room. We sat at a long table with dividers – kind of like cubicles. We each worked at our own pace, with help from an instructor if we needed it. I loved working at my own pace. I do remember wishng we had a library, so I could read more on some subjects, but that was the only negative thing about the school.

    Because Christian schools are expensive to run, our small church couldn’t handle it anymore and they had to shut it down after I passed sixth grade. From there I went to a traditional Christian school. It’s funny, after 25 years post-graduation, I really don’t remember that much about what I learned in my classes, but I do remember what I learend from particular teachers or particular chapel services.

    When our oldest child was around three or four I started checking out the area schools, including asking some of my neighbors about the schools. I didn’t get good news. I just couldn’t send my precious daughter into a violent, toxic environment.

    We have been homeschooling for six years now.

  10. tdbwd says:

    Mia,

    We’ve had similar experiences — I went to a tiny Christian school in 7th grade — 60 students, two grades per teacher — and loved it. The only thing I would have liked more is homeschooling, but my parents had never heard of it.

    I think there would be a lot more Christian schools if people would realize that not every school has to be a big production. Lots of little schools would probably be better than fewer big ones. Small schools could join with one another for activities like sports and even art and other extra-curriculars.

    Thanks much for commenting.

    Tammy Drennan

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