Public School and Pinball an analogy

When I talk about homeschooling with parents who send their children to public school I hear the same things.

One is, “I could never do that!”

Another is, “Well, they have a good teacher.”

Of course they always ask me, “What about the social?” When I hear that question I always think, “Exactly! What about the social!?” But, that is a discussion for another day.

Today I’m going to analyze the second statement, “Well, they have a good teacher.”

While we were at swim classes today, (our 3 children are the only children in the homeschool swim class this session) we watched a junior high class getting out of the pool right before our children got in. As we did my stomach turned into knots remembering that time in my life. We watched as the boys yelled down to another smaller boy to go get the stuff they left in the pool to put away. We also watched a boy slap a girl across the stomach as he passed her. The teacher was there, but didn’t say anything except to yell to the boy who had been assigned by the other to jump back in. Isolated events all to common.

Thus the analogy was born by Jeremy. The teacher was there, his voice was there, but only on the periphery. He was like the flapper on a pinball machine only ever used to keep the balls from going out of bounds. What happens in bounds is a chaos of constant collisions.

Reflecting upon our personal experiences in a great many schools over a great many years, we saw a lot of commonality. The teachers were really only their on the periphery to guide and steer in general respects, occasionally, but there was a clear and constant social order being asserted and enforced every moment inside the chaotic box we call school.

Forgive me for believing I know better when parents tell me about the great teacher their kid has that is somehow an adequate substitute for them in their child’s life. Maybe their child’s teacher is an adequate substitute for what they have to offer their children but he or she certainly is not for what I have to offer by way of comparison, to mine!

Here’s an article published today by NBC Southern California that is a good report of just what we’re talking about. (The teacher didn’t even hear the BB gun go off or know it happened)


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. daddystractor
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 15:44:39

    SO true! I used to teach public school and now I homeschool my own children. There are so many things I love about it!


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