Why I’m Not Going to Bad-mouth Public School

Why I’m Not Going to Bad-mouth Public School
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As a member of the homeschooling community for almost a decade now, I hear a lot of public school bashing and bad-mouthing. Maybe that shouldn’t surprise me. I mean, as a homeschooler, shouldn’t I be anti-public school?

Oops. I didn’t get that memo.

Here are six reasons you won’t hear me bad-mouthing public school.

My kids could have gone to public school.

If, when I presented the idea of homeschooling to my husband, he would have turned to me and told me I was completely nuts and we were not going to do that, our kids would have gone to the local public school. If my husband and I weren’t in agreement about the choice to homeschool, there was no way I was going to take it on.

If I bad-mouth public school, it means I’ve forgotten that not everyone has support to be educated elsewhere.

My kids could still end up in public school.

We have always given our kids the choice to attend public school. So far, they’ve always elected to stay home, but who knows. They’ve got the option to change their mind.

I cannot see the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Who knows what situations our family will find ourselves in? Will homeschooling always work for us? Will something prevent us from continuing at some point?

I don’t know. The future is wide open.

If I bad-mouth public school, it becomes difficult for my kids to have a positive outlook about going should they ever want to or have to make that choice.

Public school really is a better option for some families.

I know that your family is safe and loving and wonderful. Of course it is.

But folks, that’s not every family.

There are families out there whose kids are safer in public school. There are kids out there who feel paid attention to when they are in public school. There are kids out there who, if left with their parents all day, would be immensely unhappy. And there are parents who would feel the same.

Can we all admit that we know at least one person who, if they suddenly announced they wanted to homeschool their kids, you’d respond, “Wait. What? Really? Um. Wow. You might want to think a bit more about that. Seriously.”

And I know some of you might think I’m being judgmental, but come on. We all see and hear things that happen in other families, right?

If I bad-mouth public school, I ignore the fact that some kids are better off in public school. Some kids actually prefer to be there, and some family relationships are better for it.

I know some really awesome teachers.

I attended public school for my entire education. Y’all, I had some amazing teachers. Some were amazing because of how they taught, some were amazing because they went above and beyond what they needed to do.

Those teachers didn’t disappear in the late 90s when I graduated. Those teachers still exist.

I have many friends who teach in public schools and they are busting their butts to make their corner of public school as amazing as it can be.

If I bad-mouth public school, I lose sight of the fact that even though it’s not everyone’s system of choice, there are some wonderful people working within it who are making a difference and changing lives.

My kids have a lot of friends in public school.

The thing about being in the real world (where homeschoolers claim to be raising their children) is that your kids will make friends with all sorts of people. Homeschooled kids and private school kids and public school kids. The world is big and wide and varied.

That’s the beauty of it.

Are we really benefiting anyone by sending our kids out into the world to look down at those who have attended public school? To see publicly schooled kids as having a sub-par education or being nothing more than trained monkeys filling in bubbles on a test form or not learning about anything that really matters?

Hint: the answer is no, we’re not.

If I bad-mouth public school, I’m skewing my child’s perception of those who attend it. 

I’m tired of us-against-them.

When you get down to it, the constant badmouthing of public school that I hear some homeschool parents spew forth does nothing more than perpetuate the us-against-them mentality that many of us are trying to get away from.

Do I agree with everything the public school system does? Nah. But I don’t always agree with everything that homeschoolers do either.

Do I think there are changes that can be made in public school? Yes. But do I think there are changes that could be made in homeschooling? Also, yes.

Remember, the children you are raising have ears that are listening and processing everything you say. It’s not us-against-them. Last time I checked, we were all on the planet together.

As a member of the homeschooling community for almost a decade now, I hear a lot of public school bashing and bad-mouthing. Maybe that shouldn't surprise me. I mean, as a homeschooler, shouldn't I be anti-public school? Oops. I didn't get that memo. Here are six reasons you won't hear me bad-mouthing public school.

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

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8 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Going to Bad-mouth Public School”

  • Absolutely agree with all of these reasons!! My two older boys did go to public school for a few years. There may have been a few bad apples but, overall, teachers & school were doing their very best given the current state of education. I was just chatting about this today! There’s no need for “us vs. them” mentality. We are all doing our very best to provide our kids with quality educations. It’s going to look different for different families. Let’s shrug off the guilt and shaming!

  • I completely agree with you. I taught in the public schools for 10 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom and my kids went to public schools up until 4 years ago when we decided to homeschool. I love homeschooling, however, I have a chronic disease that is making homeschooling my kids harder and harder over time and I’m to the point of thinking that maybe they would be better off at school. Very very tough decision but I want what’s best for my kids and for me.

  • Here’s the thing, for me, personally: It is not an “us vs them mentality”. It is the fact that, like it or not, our system has become a sewer. You would have to live under a rock to not notice.

    Bashing the system does not equate to bashing people. Junk is still junk no matter how Christian the workers at the junk yard are.

    It’s pretty disconcerting that parents are more concerned about the calling out of the system, than they are of what the system has become.

  • Also: to be honest, the only ones making it an us vs them and issue are the misinformed folks who cannot logically distinguish between discernment of a thing (system) and bashing people.

    If I say I hate lemons because they are sour, and you happen to love and use lemons, does that really mean I am bashing you and causing division? Come now. 🤔

    • I guess it all depends how you look at it or what your personal experience has been. Are there people who are too sensitive? Absolutely. But I’m guessing if someone walks into a church and declares to all members that they don’t like the “system” of church or religion, I’m guessing some people there might be offended and feel *they* are being trashed for belonging to that church or religion. Likewise, I am sure there would be all sorts of chaos if someone from outside the USA walked into a building and declared they didn’t like the “system” of American government. I have yet to meet a lot of people who would say that person is just voicing their opinion of “a thing” without attaching “we the people of the United States of America” to it. And, in my personal experience, I’ve seen many people declare their dislike of “homeschooling” (a thing) and have then watched homeschoolers flip out being personally offended.

      If you say you hate lemons because they are sour and I happen to love lemons, am I going to be offended? No. If you tell me you hate law enforcement and everything it stands for because you believe the system is completely flawed…and I happen to be married to cop…or work as one myself, “offended” might be a word to describe it. I guess it’s all in how you look at it and how close you are to the “system” that’s being talked about.

      • I’ve seen it become us vs. them. I’ve seen people totally put down people who choose to public school because they don’t like this or that about public schools, and I’ve seen others put down homeschool parents or families because they’re either uneducated about what homeschooling actually is or because they just don’t think kids should be homeschooled for this or that reason. Fact is, I went to public school. There were times I loved it and times I hated it. My child is homeschooled. There are things we like and don’t like about it. There are many things we don’t like about public schools, and we do discuss those things as part of a broader discussion of why we homeschool. With that being said, I don’t usually discuss those things with people who send their kids to public school because I think they could get offended and it’s not up to me to say anything about how they choose to educate their children. I do listen to the things they have to say about public school however (good and bad) and find it interesting that many of the things they talk about are the same things we discuss within our family or with other homeschool families. Great article.

  • I love this. I grew up in public schools and I know that there are so many factors that make any school decision successful. There are kids and families who need public school and there are people teaching public school for many of the same reasons I homeschool. Public education might be an institution, but like churches, it is made up of people and we can’t disregard people in the midst of how we understand the institution.

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