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Back to School - the bad bits

I can't believe it! Here we are, the day before Term 2 already! I've purchased (gah!!! the expense!), washed and ironed winter uniforms in readiness. Loaded up bus passes. Maybe I should check school bags for bananas in the bottom since last term? (a good reason I never send bananas for lunch!).

I wrote a while back about the good bits of sending the kids back to school, and there have been good bits, thank goodness, because otherwise, all the $$$ spent on school fees and uniforms are for naught.

But, as you might expect from a family who has seen the light (aka: homeschooling), re-entering the formal school system is not without it's downsides! So, before you go thinking we are traveling along swimmingly, here is my list of things I don't like about going back to school:

Assignments - without a doubt, for me (and I would think for them) the worst aspect of high school is the bloody assignments the teachers assign to assess the students. I used to be a teacher and I used to have to hand them out and mark the bastards too, so I'm not a big fan of the assignment methodology of working out what our kids know and can do. They are a MASSIVE drain on the family time. I have spent two weeks of school holidays nagging the shit out of my kids. I have spent massive amounts of MY free time (limited as it is) helping, prodding, encouraging, teaching the kids how to write essays, do powerpoints, etc. I have wiped up tears and snot, reminded, cajoled, and even out and out bribed them to sit and finish the *(&#. I want our kids to learn how to manage their time, but there are SO MANY of these out of class assignments it's a little overwhelming (for them and me).

Subjects you aren't interested in - sure, as a homeschooler you have to tick boxes to say you've covered all the compulsory curriculum. But we can be creative in how we achieve those outcomes and many of them are covered by life learning. In the school system, my kids spend many, many hours "learning" a bunch of subjects that they will drop like a hot potato once they have the opportunity (P.E. anyone?). Why Year 10 students need to spend half a term learning the intricacies of BADMINTON is beyond me!

Waiting for the class to catch up - balancing chemical equations, graphing parabolas, explaining what a metaphor thing for sure is my kids learned a lot in our homeschool days! They learned it quickly and deeply and we were able to move as fast as they needed. In school...not so much. Very frustrating for them!

Dealing with the administration - before we started, I had a meeting with the Inclusive Learning director, who assured me that both the giftedness and learning difficulties would be managed. Why then, would you put Wombat Girl, who, fair dinkum, runs circles around me mathematically, in the "Intermediate" maths class??? Just as well we were paying attention! I've also had to chase up special provisions, so Video Boy gets a bit of extra time in exams. It's all a bit of a pain in backside...

Lunchboxes, uniforms and notes - good LORD! I'm working full-time and getting up early to make healthy lunches that don't go soggy, filling in notes for the next fun-filled activity at school and ironing uniforms. The relentless pull of everyday life. Meh.

I miss my kids! - I miss spending time with them (that doesn't involve nagging or late nights writing an essay comparing world religions). I miss knowing what they are studying. I miss finding ways to help them understand concepts and practice skills. I miss hot chocolates on the couch watching and discussing documentaries.

I miss the homeschool community - I've all but taken myself out of the online communities I spent so much time with. I miss visiting other homeschool families and watching the kids hit it off and talking about homeschooling with other mums.

Having whinged about all that though, I asked both the kids whether they thought we'd made the right decision in going back to school, and despite the downsides, both said "yes". So we work through assignments, we nag and we look to the bigger picture of why we are doing this :-)

What's the thing you hate/d most about the school system?


  1. You have described the most common school problems among not only schoolchildren, but among college students too. Boring difficult assignments and uninteresting subjects can have a bad influence on educational process. Especially hard for children is math. It's always easier to do homework with someones help, it could be teacher, parents, friends, you can even do math homework on - math website with online calculators and different tools for math students. Any kind of help would be useful :)


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