I got a call at work one day from my daughter’s school. Her principal requested that I bring her a change of clothes because she was out of dress code. She was out of dress code because she was wearing leggings. Leggings. She was in the third grade. Why leggings are a problem ever, much less in the third grade, is beyond me. On a separate occasion, I was asked to bring a change of clothes because her shorts were too short. She was in the second grade at that time. You need to understand that this is the same child who had to see the school counselor multiple times a week because she acted out due to stress because of the rigorous testing that goes on in public schools; testing that in no way shape or form tells me anything about my child, except how well she answered questions that day. So, she was pulled out of class in the second grade, when she needed to be studying for her test, and told to get down on her knees in order for her shorts to be measured. Honestly, I think the making her get on her knees thing is what really sent me over the edge.
I could go on for days about the repercussions of teaching females that their clothes are more important than their education, that instead of teaching boys to respect girls, we teach our girls to cater to lack of self control in boys, or that their bodies are inherently sexual from day one. I don’t have to tell you what sorts of ideas this puts in little girl’s heads in regard to their place in the world and their worth as humans. I don’t have to, but I will tell you because it needs to be said over and over and over and over until it fucking stops. We are telling our daughters that their bodies are the only thing that matter to this world. We simultaneously tell them to cover up so they aren’t a distraction to boys, and if they don’t cover up then they are slutty and have no worth, and then fill their magazines with ads of half naked women and tell them that THAT is what men find attractive so THAT is what they should aspire to. Maddie said it best the day I brought her extra clothes to school. I told her that the school had decided that her shorts were too short and that was more important to them than for her to be in class learning and she asked, “If they’re too short for school, then why are these the only kind they sell in the cute stores?” Good point kid. I have no idea why society sets you up for failure like that.
Basically, I’m just over it. I’m over feeling like I have to deal with ludicrous standards and bullying because we’re told it’s our only option. There’s this stigma around homeschooling that makes people believe that it’s abnormal or that only certain types of families do it, when nothing could be further from the truth. I’m over being told that by removing my children from a situation that I perceive to be toxic, that I am sheltering them. There is a huge difference between sheltering and providing a nurturing environment for them to learn. And if it is in fact sheltering, then so be it. I am 110% fine with sheltering them from bullshit like that, because contrary to popular opinion, school is nothing like adult life and sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day isn’t the only way for children to learn how to function in social situations. Is it not bizarre to anyone else that in order to “socialize” our children, we send them to a place every day for 13 years that is nothing like any other social setting they will ever encounter?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate public schools and I certainly don’t hate public school teachers. I have loads of respect for teachers for all the hurdles they have to jump just to do their jobs. I have several amazing teachers in my own family, and over the years, the girls have had loving, caring teachers who gave everything they had to their classrooms. (I’m looking at you Ms. Horne.) Plus, they have to deal with mom’s like me who don’t do well with being told to jump hurdles. But, It just didn’t work for us, so we found another way. That’s all. And if this doesn’t work for us, then we will regroup and find a new direction then as well. I refuse to keep doing what I know isn’t working just because it’s what we’re supposed to do. More importantly, I refuse to show M and M that they should accept anything can’t be made better by simply taking a different path.
So, that’s where we are with education right now. I’m slowly learning how to teach them and they’re slowly remembering that learning can be fun; we’re all pretty nervous and excited at the same time. We might fail or we might succeed beyond our own expectations, but either way we tried, and that’s the real lesson here.