I had to take a batch of cupcakes to the public school kindergarten in our town yesterday for a church member who couldn't get there for her son's birthday for various reasons. I was glad to help, but I have to admit I felt a deep sadness walking through those front doors.
I really, really liked school. I loved everything about it, especially in elementary school: new school supplies, bulletin boards, spelling bees, libraries, books, science projects, school picnics, field day, field trips, my own desk, recess, playgrounds, four square, maybe sometimes gym class...
Sometimes, even though I know the worldview taught in the public schools, I feel like my kids are missing out on something wonderful and fun. My son did attend for one semester before we pulled him out in our little town, where I am the only homeschooling family of elementary aged children, and I was in the classroom all the time helping. I saw firsthand that things were not getting done, my son was not challenged, and that all those first graders didn't even know their vowels from their consonants by January of that school year. So I knew we'd made the right decision to homeschool.
This choice was also confirmed on Sunday when the valedictorian of the high school class started her moving speech with, "The hardest part of giving this speech was not falling on my butt on my way up here." *sigh* THIS is the top of the class?? THIS is the product of 13 years? The rest wasn't much better.
BUT--School IS FUN. I know my second child, especially, who is so social and agreeable and friendly and smart, would have fantastic days in kindergarten. Are they missing out on some rite of passage for American children? Would I feel differently if I lived in a bigger city that had co-ops, support groups, and a church that had other homeschooling families? Is it just the isolation here that makes it difficult? Do I just wish I was "in the loop" with all the other parents, especially the church parents who send their kids and are hugely involved in the schools?
I don't know.