I recently went to the parent/teacher convention at my daughter’s school. I call it a convention, because I had to meet with all her teachers individually. I could see it was going to be an excursion from the giddy-up as all the other parents lined up to meet with the teachers as if we were runners waiting for the starter gun to go off. I got there a half-hour early to get the report, be it positive or be it negative.
I continuously kept hearing great things about my daughter, but there was one aspect of it that annoyed me. I was told that she and another girl talked too much in class. Talk about annoying. All of the teachers mentioned how bright she was and yet there was this issue about “greater potential.” Ever since one of my kid’s teachers described her as ‘brilliant,’ I’ve been looking at her like a Young Einstein. I need that person to rise and rule the nation one day!
Aside from the girly chatter comment, the curriculum of public schools has always bothered me as an African American that’s über proud to be Black.
There are some things that African American students need to survive that they don’t get. I despise how Black history starts with slavery and the true nature of our history is overlooked or compartmentalized in a month. This is important, as we are about to recognize a drunken, lost man named Christopher Columbus again.
Everybody isn’t lost.
I have been noticing that more and more African Americans are choosing to homeschool their kids so that they don’t have to endure the horrid school system that has taken over the United States. This post is not to condemn teachers, because I love teachers. I loved most of my teachers, except the racist ones that tried to stunt my growth or my third grade teacher that actually laid hands on my for being late. Both of my parents were teachers and many of those in my family are teachers. They knew how to handle teachers. The truth is, I once aspired to teach in the classroom, but I discovered the internet in the mid-90’s. Word to Christopher Columbus. But, I digress.
Schools are different now and those educators I know are consistently at odds with the system and their ability to teach is hampered, even by their own accounts.
For many parents it is time to unplug from one system and find a new power source.
A recent report indicated that approximately 1,770,000 students are currently being homeschooled in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This represents 3.4 percent of the school-age population. NCES said the break down is as follows: 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, eight percent are black, and four percent are Asian or Pacific Islander. The population of homeschooled kids grows by about 15 percent per year, says the NCES.
It may all just be parents going back to their natural instincts.
Parents are the first teachers to their offspring, so the act of teaching can be very natural if the parents are committed. The parent(s) have the opportunity to instill their values into their kids. This means competing for who has the freshest clothing becomes less and less important. I personally wore “bo-bo” sneakers until 5th grade, people! For African Americans, we are already twice behind in the school department, according to reports. The high school graduation rates for African Americans is about 51 perecnt! On top of that, there are ridiculous gaps in resources between wealthier school districts and poorer ones. Racism and classism is very alive and has been for years.
I grew up in Delaware and I watched firsthand as Black kids were dismantled in the system. Many were victims of pure bias and racism. Others were dumped unnecessarily into Special Ed programs. Moreover, they were essentially uneducated on anything that mattered in the real game of survival. Many of them resorted to street methods of getting over and were eventually caught up in another system – the penal system.
Now, homechooling is not just about what is wrong with the public (an in many cases private) schools. In many cities and towns, there are awesome support and network groups that guide parents and offer outings that help socialize kids with other homeschooled children. Students still have to show they are proficient in all the course studies that “regular” students to as well. Homeschooled kids tend to excel academically just fine when they integrate into institutional education, whenever that may occur. My brother, who is a great teacher, always stresses to me how there are different types of learning. Each kid thrives in a different way and its hard to determine when you have large quantities of kids per school.
My daughter is a public school kid even though we moved to an area just because it has a good school district. They cannot and will not do it all.
When my daughter gets home, I trying my version of homeschooling. For me, this means reading about African Americans, history (present and past), science fiction books, independent science projects and more. Make it fun. Even TV can be educational if you are watching something like “Unsung,” a show that chronicles singers/rappers that were overlooked by the mainstream. We also watch our favorite show, “Shark Tank,” a show where business people pitch investors there ideas. Since I am an entrepreneur, I want her to understand she absolutely does not have to be a cog in a machine. She can be the machine. They don’t teach that level of independence in school. My homeschooling could be teaching my child about managing money or even reading nutrition labels on food (don’t get me started on public school food). I know its not the same as true homeschooling but it’s my attempt to offset that which I don’t agree.
I doubt very seriously that my daughter will ever get homeschooled, but should I ever have more kids, I would consider it strongly. Our kids have to be ready for the long haul and its up to us to train them for the rigors of the real life rat race. Let the marathon begin.
If you are serious about homeschooling, click here for some resources that offer stats and further information.
Black Alliance for Educational Options- http://www.baeo.org
Facts about homeschooling – http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=91