Once, a dear friend was explaining to me how the State school experience was better, and how her children were receiving the best education available.
Have you ever noticed how State institution school parents think they must educate us to this “fact” and we must bear it patiently, but the reverse seldom holds?
She was striving to explain her children’s bright future and perhaps she could not hear herself speaking. As I listened and tried to grasp what she was saying, I was astonished at the obvious conclusion.
Maybe it would be instructive to share it all with you.
Granted, her children were in the best State schools available in our small city. They were a wealthy family and had moved into a wealthy neighborhood for the expressed purpose of better State schooling.
That this fact was possible should be enough, alone, to terminate State education.
She wanted her children to be lawyers and she wanted them in the best colleges in the nation. I will also grant that she was a very dedicated mom, committed to performing whatever activity (except home schooling) necessary to raising up successful children.
She was misinformed, though, and not thinking about the entire scope of the picture.
To prove to me her commitment, she began itemizing the duties she undertook for her children’s education. This was a typical day:
- She drove her children to school, herself, to prevent teen driving troubles in their lives. They did not enjoy being the only ones arriving with Mom, but she was dedicated enough to insist.
- She was careful to deposit them at the school early, to give them free time to form friendships of their own choosing, so they would not be relying on whomever might sit nearby in class. This also allowed time for composing themselves before facing the day.
- She signed them up for sports, although they were not athletic, to help them overcome the sitting they must do daily, and to improve their chances for scholarships.
- After school, they had sport obligations, of course. She went to every practice and every game, with a video camera. She recorded every pertinent happening at these gatherings.
- During the day, she edited these videos, juxtaposing the skills of opponents and her child and his teammates, to show where more effort would benefit.
- After school, her children had oceans of homework. She was strict about it, allowing no play until all work was done. Since supper was prepared in advance, she helped with their homework, explaining things they could not get the teachers to answer adequately. She was their cheerleader, greeting them with encouraging one-liners, such as, “You can do it; one more hour ought to get it!”
- She showed them the sports videos, explaining her thinking in detail, so they could discuss how more effort would cause more success. Again, she cheered them on. (I do not know where their coach was.)
- Since homework reigned supreme in their home, except for a break for supper, the children labored until midnight or beyond, at which point Mom simply conked out. (She did ask me if I thought she was wrong to require them to continue until two a.m. or later, when she, herself, was unable to do so.)
- The next day they began again.
It was true that her children were doing well in school. They did not have as many friends as they might have liked, but they were receiving high grades in difficult subjects, and they were often on the first sports teams.
They were tired . . .
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