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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Public School Opportunities Your Child Will Miss Because They Are Homeschooled




It's back to school and as we watch teary eyed moms wave goodbye to their babies as they hop on the yellow school bus for the for the first time, it's so hard to not be at least a little bit envious of them.  If you're starting homeschooling your child for the first time and they have never been in the public school system before, you might feel a little bit cheated.  There are no school buses for you, no getting your kid perfectly polished with perfectly styled hair and brand spanking new clothes, no backpacks filled to the gills with everything on the "list" that was given out ahead of time.  All of these experiences are fun for parents, especially if this is your first time and you may feel like you're missing out on all these things. 



Today, for day 2 of the 5 Days of Back to Homeschool, we're going to tell you why it's okay to miss these back to school opportunities.

The School Bus

Along with red apples and books, the yellow school bus is one of the symbols most commonly associated with public education.  It's also the one symbol that holds the most interest for younger kids who have never experienced riding on a bus before.



However, while exploring the specific dangers faced by children utilizing the school bus system, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has found increases in violence on school buses, including verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual violence between students. The study goes on to show that school buses are the second most likely location where students experience bullying and harassment.

There is also the question of the lack of supervision on the bus.  Drivers are not educated in childhood behavior and are paid to concentrate on driving, not defusing situations that occur while the children are on the bus.

But there are other dangers that are avoided when homeschooling.  There are many cases of children being abducted while waiting for the bus, children's injuries and death due to accidents involving buses, children being hurt due to negligence of the bus driving in allowing them to cross the road in front of busy traffic and even allowing students to get off at the wrong stop.  There have also been reports of gunmen firing upon school buses and buses being hijacked with children in it.

Instead of being envious, pity those poor moms who are rushing around the house, trying to find that missing shoe and begging their kids to hurry up and finish their breakfast so they can be out the door before the bus arrives.  Enjoy sipping your coffee in a somewhat relaxed manner at 9am  and know that your children are safe at home, under your care and that you don't have to worry about getting a phone call informing you there has been an accident or incident.

School Pictures

We love documenting how our children grow and change each year and many parents have 13 years worth of school pictures documenting from Kindergarten til Graduation hanging on their walls.  The cute pictures of Cap and Gown when our children move from Kindergarten to First Grade, pictures from 2nd grade with huge gaps in their toothy smiles, 6th grade pictures showing their braces. Yes, these are all wonderful mementos to keep as a visual documentation of your students journey from child to adult.

They are also very expensive.  My oldest daughter is in public school and we always have to budget ahead of time knowing that the first week of school means a 70 dollar package of overpriced photos that are quickly taken without much thought to composition, stray hairs and blemishes.  Wouldn't you be thrilled if you paid an obscene amount of money only to receive the pictures to the left?  Lets face it, the pictures aren't that good.

Does that mean you have to miss out on school pictures?  No way.  One of the fun of homeschooling is we're almost always allowed the time to do what we want. If that means grabbing a chalkboard and making a cute sign for your child to hold stating he's in 2nd grade or going outside and spending a good hour setting up props like an apple on top of a stack of books for your child to pose with, you can.

School Supplies

The National Retail Federation expects that families with school-age children will spend an average of $635 on clothing, shoes, and supplies this summer as students go back to school.  Even with 50¢ sales on a box of crayons, 17¢ on spiral notebooks and 5¢ on pocket folders, we're still spending obscene amounts on school supplies.  Then many teachers have items on their back to school lists to help cover other students, pushing these costs on to you. Rather than buying 4 glue sticks for your student, you commonly see 12 to 24 glue sticks on the list. 

Think of what you can do with an extra 635 dollars in your pocket right now.   Maybe you've been eyeballing that really great Switched on Schoolhouse 3rd grade 5 subject curriculum for $450.  You've still got nearly 2 hundred dollars left to spend on some great supplements to go along with it.

Not only that, but your kids aren't worried about making sure their clothes aren't the current style or being ridiculed for wearing last years jeans or a pair of  thirty dollar Wal-mart sneakers when everyone else is wearing $180 dollar Nikes.  If your kid wants to wear the same shirt for 2 days (or 2 weeks) straight, so be it, nobody is there to tease them about it.

Fundraising

If you have friends, family or co-workers who have children in public schools, then you'll know what I'm talking about here.  Without a doubt, you've at some point been given a brochure for Krispy Kreme donuts, cookies, nuts or wrapping paper.

Fundraising at school has become the norm.  As budget cuts hit school funding hard, schools are having to rely on turning students into door to door salesmen in order to help cover the costs of books, supplies or to refurbish the worn out gym.  Not only are we spending much more on school supplies for the classroom but we're also having to haggle our friends and family for money to help pay for what isn't covered.

Last year, my daughter brought home 7 different fund raising campaigns that ranged from donuts to
T-shirts to help cover various expenses that our tax dollars should be covering.  That's 7 fundraisers in the course of 10 months of school. I find it embarassing to sit and ask family and friends to pull out their checkbooks or hit the ATM to buy a $10 dozen of donuts, a $20 bake your own Little Caesars pizza kit, or a $30 box of candy every month.

Now, I can understand doing fundraising for activities such as sports and clubs in order to help offset the costs for families who are involved in those projects but when the entire school body is bringing home packets begging for money to cover books, it speaks poorly for the school systems.


Thank you for visiting my Day 2 of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop brought to you by The Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection.   You can find all 56 participating blogs by clicking here or visit some of these suggested blogs :)

Rebecca @ Raventhreads
Annette @ In All You Do




8 comments:

  1. I'm a photographer and I do Homeschool Photos twice a year for a super low rate! So no missing out on school photos here!

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    1. I've resorted to taking my own photos as well.. Saves a lot of money in the long run.

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  2. Me! (Raising my hand) Me! I was one of those kids who was picked on at the bus stop and on the bus without the driver ever knowing. To the point I would get myself sick until my parents finally determined the cause.

    School Supplies...yesterday as I was meandering the aisles just trying to find a couple notebooks and glue to finish off our new year, parents were frantically tearing past me with lists in hand with a cart full of things--I even heard them calling a teacher--"what on earth is a stock of paper???" I was asked myself if I knew where certain things were. Forget buying things just for your child...you now are buying for the WHOLE classroom! 4 boxes of tissues? 3 reams of computer paper? It's all about community sharing now!

    And fundraising. Ugh. Our schools are ripe with it! Cookie dough. Suckers. Candles. Donuts.

    no thank you!

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    1. All of it gets ridiculous. Between the hundreds of dollars on supplies to trying to raise hundreds of dollars in fundraising, to the bullying that goes on almost constantly.. And then people wonder why the school system is failing so badly and homeschooling is becoming so popular

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  3. This comment probably won't be popular, but I need to rebut these. Yes, I'm a homeschooling parent, but I'm also the parent of a child still in school.

    1. Not every school district even buses. We have several local districts here that don't, because of their size. There is no "But what about the bus?" because there is no bus. Even if there is, there's no rule saying you have to use it! My daughter's district buses, but her pick up time is 6:30 am. School doesn't start until 8, so I drive her. It's not a big deal, because we don't make it one. Besides, she'd rather sleep an extra hour anyway.

    It's nice to have a "soft" start time (one of the things I love about homeschooling), but I see plenty of homeschooling friends who have to be at a class or a co-op etc. at a certain time and are dragging kids out of bed or hunting shoes at the last minute.

    As for bullying -- we experienced more exclusiveness and bullying within the homeschool community groups we joined than in the school we came from.

    2. School pictures can be expensive, but that's because of the photographer. ALL photographer pictures are pricey, even the mall-chain photographers. There's no rule you have to get them.

    I probably spend more on pictures with my homeschooling boys than my daughter's once-a-year picture because I'm also taking pictures of day-to-day activities, a cute face they make sitting next to me, etc.

    3. I find the current "I'm only buying for my kid" mentality incredibly sad. It only perpetuates the "It's all about me" phenomenon. I would hope that if my kid needed a pencil or tissue in February, somebody would share one with her. I used to think 10 glue sticks for the year was crazy, but you know what? As a homeschooler, we can use 10 glue sticks in a month, especially if we do a lot of cut-and-paste activities. (I like them because they work on fine motor skills as well as academics, which is the same reason her teachers like them, too.) And all of those cut-and-paste activities need paper -- even at 1 math and 1 language worksheet a day, that's almost a whole ream of paper there (and we go through far more than that as homeschoolers). SHOULD a school provide paper for the teachers to use? Well, ideally. (Especially my daughter's school, since I'm paying tuition.) But it doesn't, so we pitch in and buy a ream. I have to say that in my experience, schools are much more careful with resources when parents send them, because they don't want to have to explain why they need more mid-year.

    4. Fundraising - it's not mandatory. You either sell stuff, or you don't. Usually, we don't. If it's something that I want to contribute to, I'll write a small check and then the school gets the whole thing, not whatever portion the company is willing to give up. (And I'm not stuck with a pallet of pizza.) My friends/family have an agreement -- tell me what your kid is selling, and if I want it, I'll buy it. If I don't want it, I won't, no hard feelings. There's no "I bought from you, you have to buy my kid's...." Sometimes, I want/need something that another is selling, and I'd rather buy it from them and the school get something instead of it all going into a conglomerate's pocket.

    Yes, there are down sides to public school, but homeschooling isn't perfect either. I feel like this post doesn't uplift either student and only drives the wedge deeper.

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    1. I agree about the wedge. Everything within me cringed as I read this. We need to encourage each other as parents in our choices, not live with the attitude of, "Look at your poor choice and how great I am for choosing xxxx." I was drawn in by a "share" on FB because of the title, but am saddened by the overall tone. I am sure the original intention of the author was good.....

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    2. Having had my 3 oldest children go through public school, I have to say, I do agree with the post here. I really don't feel it is driving a wedge. No, homeschool isn't perfect, but it is much better than public school.
      No, not every public school buses, but most do. And living a good distance from the school, we did use the bus, because I was not going to drive round trip twice a day, especially in the snow. And there was a lot of bullying on the buses.
      I'm not sure that the buying for one's own children mentality is a new one. Growing up, my mother never had to supply things for the class, only for me. When my children were in school, we only had to supply for them, not the class. So, yeah, this is a new mentality, because it is a new thing. We already pay school taxes, why should we also have to pay for what the school should be supplying.
      Fund raising may not be mandatory, but usually there is a goal the children are working toward, and those who don't participate will not get to do whatever everyone else gets to do. So there is a lot of pressure on both the student and the parents.

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  4. Having had my 3 older children go through the public school system, I have to say, these are definitely things I am not missing now that we homeschool the younger children. No waking up and getting kids on the bus at 7:15. I get to watch it drive past while the kids are still asleep. No more bullying on the bus and in school. No fund raisers. We take our own pictures. You are right, those packages are atrocious. Yes, we spend money on curriculum and supplies, but at least we know it is going to our children.

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