And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, July 1, 2013

Homeschool Vs. Public School

Let's continue with the theme of encouragement today. If you homeschool your children then I'm sure you have days when it seems it would be SO MUCH EASIER to take them and drop them off at the nearest public schools. Surely you have days when taking them with you to the grocery store seems akin to torture at the hands of your worst enemy. Maybe you feel like you just can't do it anymore, like you aren't teaching them a thing, like it's just too hard. I have lots of those days. LOTS.

Now I want to give my personal disclosure before I delve into my review: I have many friends that send their children to public school. I do not fault them for that. Every family has different dynamics and scenarios. It is not my place to judge anyone for their decisions about schooling.

I first heard of IndoctriNation as the video documentary. I had heard it was interesting and gave some new insight to the public school system. I still have not watched the documentary however. It's on my list of things to watch "someday when I have a some time." That day may never come. ;) However I was intrigued enough to jump on the opportunity to review the new book by the makers of the documentary. So first of all it is a documentary type book. That means the purpose is to shed one thing in the most positive light possible (homeschool) and one thing in the most negative portrayal as possible (public school). So parts of it do seem harsh but that is the nature of such an undertaking.

Some of the focuses in this book took me by surprise and some did not. There is an entire chapter devoted to the over prescribing of medications for ADD and ADHD. 15 years ago I did an entire honors paper in college studying the same issue then. The number of prescriptions of Ritalin have increased DRASTICALLY in those 15 years. It was already a problem in 1998, it's an epidemic now. I am always crushed when I hear stories of bright, enthusiastic children put on drugs to "calm them down." They are children. They are not going to be calm. If they have social influences such as over-stimulation by violent video games, broken homes, lack of attention from parents, abuse, and/ or a diet full of dyes and chemical laced foods then they destined for failure in a traditional classroom. I encourage you to read at least chapter 2 of this book if you have a child in your life that has been labeled as ADD or ADHD.

The thing that surprised me the most but actually made the most sense to me was the talk of "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports." You may have never heard of this term. I had not but I immediately recognized the basis of it. This is the system that ignores negative behavior and focuses on positive behavior. This is the system that undermines actual discipline in favor of cheering a child on for doing the simplest things, even cheering them for doing things that they have or should have been doing for years. This is the system that lead to team competition with no scores and everyone receiving a trophy. I knew of this wild parental style but I didn't know it by name and because we were not involved in public school except for a few weeks, I didn't recognize how much this was used in schools. To be honest, I was SHOCKED to find a "discipline" sheet in our VBS last week that encouraged us teachers to use positive reinforcement and basically ignore any negative behavior that wasn't disruptive. I will say I read the page, laughed, and then treated the kids in my class the same way I treat my own kids. If they misbehaved they were given a stern warning. If they did it again they were pulled from the group so we could have a little chat. Thankfully I had a GREAT group of kids so there wasn't much discipline needed. Then we were watching the newer movie Parental Guidance (PS very cute and family friendly) and the parents in the movie were raising their kids on this PBIS basis and the grandparents come in and basically tell the parents how ridiculous their system is and the grandparents make some real progress with the kids through tough love. Yay for a realistic movie!

So what did I think of IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity by Colin Gunn & Joaquin Fernandez? I found it interesting. I took some time to research for myself some of the claims made in the book. And mostly I found it a great encouragement to continue our homeschooling journey!

Read what others thought of the book here. See a special preview here. And watch the book trailer:

This book is published by MasterBooks a division of New Leaf Publishing. They sent me a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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