Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Public Schools vs. Private Schools

I felt disconnected from my teachers. I struggled in math and science, but my teachers passed me rather than helping me actually learn. I sat alone at lunch every day and acted like I wanted it that way. During breaks I sat in the hall and pretended to read my school books or do homework, as if I didn't want to be hanging out and having fun with friends. I was never invited to get-togethers or parties. Nobody talked to me before or after class. There were casual friendships that came and went, but few that were consistent until my friend Daneen went to school with me for a year. I didn't go to prom. At the end of my senior year there were no parties or festivities. I just disappeared. This was my experience with private high school.

I watched Lydia struggle with friendships in every private school she has been in. A child counselor once told me that in small schools like the ones she attended, there was usually one big clique. You were either in or out. Lydia strove to be in. She was gripped with anxiety every day on the way to school because she didn't know if she'd be left out or ridiculed that day. This year I finally switched her to a public school despite my fears of what I may be exposing her too. This has been the best school year of her life. Her grades are flawless despite the curriculum really challenging her. She's surrounded by friends who are like her and share her beliefs. They pray for each other. She goes to sleepovers and birthday parties and always has friends to sit beside her in classes and at lunch.

I will never put a child of mine in a private school again. I realize this is a personal decision based on a lot of factors and I wanted to put in my two cents. Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

Gail and Keith said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on public vs private schools. Yes, there are the cliques in private schools; Keith taught at one for 7 years and J. attended that private school K-4. There were cliques even in the lower grades, but not as pronounced. I am sorry for Lydia's experiences in those schools. It hurts. She's had strong support and affirmation from you and her extended family which helped her through those times. I'm thrilled she is happy and thriving where she is now. There are cliques everywhere you go, even in the eight grade one-room school I attended from 1st through 8th grade. I witnessed such cruelty toward new girls that were different than the ones who were born and grew up in that small farm community. These new girls were intelligent, bright, nice girls. The "old-timers" were closed off in their lack of social awareness of the wider world out there so they ridiculed what, or who, was different from themselves.
They grew up, remaining in their narrow community, still ignorant of the wider world around them. I am not discounting Lydia's experience nor your view, nor am I arguing for either method of education over the other. There are cliques that abound in homeschooling too. It is the parents right to choose the method of education that is best for his/her individual child. You've done that for Lydia. As parents we have to continually look to the Lord for wisdom to guide our children through the sometimes treacherous ice floes that are part of growing up, to love them and affirm them. In that they receive security and self-worth. G