Monday, July 19, 2010

If you want them to come, build it right!

I saw a small flier about home schooling/unschooling in our town today. There seems to be a growing interest in it. I can imagine some teachers and senior education bureaucrates voicing their disapproval too, but there is a good reason why some people home school, or at least get their children out of state schools.
My only experience with schooling is in N.S.W, Australia, but it seems the situation is much the same in some other parts of the western world. The school is supposed to be there for everybody, but in fact it just does not suit some people at all. In this state schools teach a secular approach to life, and a tolerance of certain things, such as abortion, which contravene the teachings of Christianity and possibly other faiths as well. That is to say, the schools' position on some life issues is quite wrong to some people. Since we accept freedom of belief, and freedom of worship, the Christians can't impose their beliefs on others but others can't tell Christians - or Jews, or Hindus, or whoever we have - to their own. The state school system alienates some people by wanting them to keep their beliefs private while others are proclaimed as being 'right'. By whose authority are they right?
That's not the only reason why some kids do not want to be in schools, be they state or any other. Bullying has been a problem in school for as long as I can remember. Some individuals find a school to be a hostile place full of nasty hostility. In the last few years we've seen the pure horror of child or teenage suicide, the victim being driven to it by what happened to them in school. What's worse is, some school staffs appear completely unable to stop it - or is it unwilling, because it becomes so difficult?
Respect for the individual can involve accepting that they are different from a lot of people around them and need to live differently. I can completely sympathize with some parents who do not want their kids going to school, because they know just what hostile places schools can be for some people. There are times when school inmates gang up on a lone student like animals. That might be harsh, but look at what happens sometimes and try to be 'nice' about it. Come to that, this is just what sometimes happens. Excuses get made for the bullies, saying that they are victims themselves. Even is that is true, which I don't believe it always is, then saying it does not heal the injury done to the victims. It just gives people an easy way out. They excuse themselves having to confront the problem, and claim a superior social conscience at the same time.
If the community at large wants schools to be suitable for all, the community will have to run them properly. There needs to be effective measures taken against vicimisation that goes on, and an acceptance that kids do not have to deny their own beliefs and background when in school. Make schools work right, and at least some people who try to avoid them might like them better. That is NOT to say that everyone should go to school. Home schooling might really be better for a lot of individual kids. But for those who do go, they would be less off-putting if better supervised. Make them better, more people might like being there. Build them right and they will come to them.