We allowed our eldest child to attend Kindergarten. For first grade she attended the public school part-time. Then we moved from Colorado to California. Our new school district did not allow part-time enrollment. We decided to home school her full-time.
When she had gone to school in Colorado she only attended until lunch time. For one month she stayed two full days so that she could be involved in a play. At the end of the month the teacher (whom I think considered us over protective and our daughter shy) thought that we'd all want to continue that schedule once the month was over. However our daughter did not want to. She had several reasons but her main one was that one of the girls at her table bugged her all the time. She preferred to only deal with public school for two hours a day.
In California our second child asked to attend Kindergarten. In Colorado he had attended a private preschool that a woman from our church ran in her home. He had enjoyed it so much that he wanted to go to school. We were in L.A. and had reservations but decided to let him try.
Having previously lived in predominately White areas, where we had been concerned about the possibility of our children experiencing racism, we had no such fears in L.A. For the first time in our marriage we were not living in a city where we were in the racial minority. Yet after 5 days our son decided he didn't want to go back to school.
I recall him crying before school. I tried to coax and reassure him but as we got closer to the school he became more upset. Later, when we asked him why he didn't want to go to school anymore since he had seemed to enjoy it he said that one of the boys was making fun of him, calling him fat. (Which is ridiculous because he wasn't fat at all. Just a big, thick kid. At age 14 he is now 6'1" feet tall and weighs 190 lbs.)
We didn't make him continue. In our opinion bullying is a good enough reason to home school. This is one of the many reasons why we have made the sacrifice to school our 7 kids at home. Yes, sometimes I loathe home school, it is so challenging. But overall I am glad that we have kept them out of public school. Because of this they are not self-conscious and generally have great self-esteems. They are good, honest kids who are creative, modest, friendly, thoughtful, imaginative and loyal.
Had our children attended public school they would have been ridiculed regularly. Most public school kids are no matter what they look like. I was teased all the time for being skinny, dark, and having ethnic features. I was called "big lips," "burnt toast," "skinny-bones-Jones" and more. My husband was also teased regularly, taunted by the names "nigger lips," "Brillo pad" etc.
Since our children are friends with public schooled children they have had their features made fun of occasionally. But because they are not in school all day without any supervision this has been kept to a minimum. Had our children gone to school we are certain they would have been teased. One of our sons has big ears, a daughter is skinny and has hair on her arms, a son was a late reader, another daughter wears glasses, one child has a lisp, some of our children have gap-teeth, and of course they are all dark skinned. Any bit of difference is poked fun of in school. The slightest variances from "normal" are cause for bullying.
Bullying is being cited as the reason a 5th grade boy recently committed suicide.
Reading about this tragedy makes me grateful for all of the times that I have wanted to throw in the towel on home schooling and my husband has always encouraged me by reminding me of all the reasons why we home school. At the top of his list is that our children have special personality qualities because they have been kept away from the peer pressure. The next reason on his list is always the fact that they have not had to suffer through bullying. Thank God.
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