Re: home schooling
From: Jennifer S. Stevens (
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 17:26:48 -0600

On Sun, 7 Mar 1999, Bitner/Stevenson wrote:

> I think it IS important to socialize children in public schools. 

I think it _can_ be important. I didn't mean to say that it was never a
good idea, just that I felt that there were many cases in which it wasn't,
or perhaps wasn't the best idea. Or that there were other ways to achieve
the same ends.

Take my 
> niece, for example. She was raised until the age of about 11 in San
> Francisco, and attended public schools. She went to school with just about
> every imaginable kind of kid. She is now in Pullman, WA, going to school at
> a "good" (read "white") school, where the students are closed minded and
> boring. She's hooked up with the few other interesting kids at school, but I
> have met them, and while they are nice enough, they lack a worldliness that
> my niece has, and they are far behind her in their political and social
> understanding.
It sounds like the two schools that your niece has attended are very
different. The amount of diversity within public school is an excellent
point, and one that i had neglected to mention. The particular schools
that i went to wern't so great, but i'm sure there are many others that ar

> As my sister has said, just about anybody can take a bunch of well taken
> care of kids and teach them how to read.  Children of good parents are
> practically reading by themselves when they enter school anyway.

*chuckle* I wasn't, but point taken.

> teaches them about how to get along with other people who are different, and
> there is no substitute for just plain being around different people.

I'm afraid that I learned how to be bullied. But every child and school
situation is different. And I agree that it's important to learn how to
get along with lots of different kinds of people who are different than
you. Other methods instead or in addition to public school might be sports
teams, clubs, etc.

> Standardized test scores are very misleading, since public schools have to
> take all students, not just the best. I went to school with all white kids,
> with great test scores, and I was very unprepared for life in the outside
> world.

I didn't mean to imply that public schools gave bad educations; i don't
think that I even addressed that. Some are very excellent, just like some
private schools are (and some not). I happen to have very strong feelings
about the school vouchers issue in Texas (and am very amused at the "low"
ratings that some of the new voucher schools are getting after being
forced to take the same diversity of kids that the public schools have
been for decades). I learned a heck of a lot in public school, i just
wasn't a happy camper. What I was arguing was that schools arn't
necessariy the best place to become socialized. But again, maybe my
friends and i just wern't mature enough for that till college.

> I, too, despised the upper grades. I couldn't wait to get the heck out of
> town when I grew up. But I think that elementary school is very important.

'pends. You learn more stuff that is hard for your parents to teach you in
hs, actually (i dont think that i could teach calculus :).

> And let's be real about cohousing-diverse it ain't.

Neither are many public schools, as you noted earlier. I think what i
meant to say is that school isn't always the best option. But I can
imagine many places in which it would be. I also have very mixed feelings
about public schools; my mom is a public school librarian. I don't have
children, so it's all quite theoretical right now. If/when I did, I don't
honestly know what I'd do; I suspect that my default would be public
school. But I do think that it's important to consider the alternatives,
and I still feel that the socialization benefits  of school are often

jen stevens

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