10 Things I Don’t Miss About Public School

A homeschool mom’s reflections on her children’s time in public school

A homeschool mom's reflections on public school

If you live in the northern hemisphere, chances are that summer break is here! As always, I’m seeing so many different reactions from parents about this time of year. Some are relieved and happy to have their kids home for a couple months. Some are feeling overwhelmed and are scrambling to figure out how to keep their kids occupied for the next 12 weeks. And still others are, unfortunately, trying to overcome the obstacles that have been thrown before them (NY and CA, I’m looking at you) and are trying to figure out what will become of their children’s education once summer is over.

vaccine mandates

It is with all of these parents in mind that I decided to write today’s post, just as a reminder of what they’ll be “missing out” on these next few months (or indefinitely, depending on which parents are reading this).

10 Things I Don’t Miss About Public School

For those of you who aren’t aware, we haven’t always homeschooled. Several of my kids have spent varying amounts of time in public school. In fact, my oldest son graduated from public school. What that means for all of you is that I’ve had plenty of experience with it and remember all too clearly the inconveniences that seem to pervade its very existence.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.

1. The Annual Lice Epidemic

When I say “annual,” I’m being generous. Sometimes it happened several times a year. Unfortunately, our lovely school district takes the stance that “lice is not a health issue, but a social issue.”

What that means is that the school doesn’t bother to notify parents when a classmate has been discovered to be infested with these little critters. Rather than giving a heads up for parents to check their kids’ heads as a precaution, they’re completely comfortable with waiting until an entire household is overrun.

Let’s give a hand to our trusty school adminstrators.

Well done, school adminstrators. Well done.

2. The Train of Contagious Illnesses

As if lice weren’t bad enough, let’s talk about the number of germs running through a school building at any given time:

  • pink eye
  • colds
  • stomach bugs
  • flu
  • fifth disease
  • and more!

My kids were getting sick even more than they were getting lice – and that’s saying something! Never fear, though! School administrators were always happy to show concern…concern that my kids were missing too much school because they kept coming down with illnesses they caught in school.

3. Secondary Parent Syndrome

There is simply no equal to feeling like you have to answer to other people when it comes to your children.

Your child is sick? Better call and get permission for them to stay home! Family vacation coming up? Better get that approved – because we all know that school is more important than family! Looking into treating your child’s ADHD naturally? Be prepared to butt some heads with his primary parents the school who know for a fact that your child needs medication.

Sorry. This mom has no time for that nonsense.

4. Mandatory Overtime…Homework!

You know, it just boggles my mind that kids can spend 6 to 7 hours a day in school, and it somehow isn’t enough time for them to get all their work done.

Instead, like a good employee, children are expected to bring their work home with them, except they don’t get paid for it.

I would say, “What about family time?” but I think we all know that the school system doesn’t give a hoot about that.

5. Standardized Testing Culture

Because we all know that the true path to education is cramming a child’s head with useless factoids that they’ll never use again. All that matters is that they understand how to completely fill in the bubble.

That’s the key to success.

Standardized tests are a waste of time.

6. PC Culture

You knew this was coming. You had to.

Some of my last memories of the public education system involve me being recruited by both parents and a couple teachers to complain to the principal and the local news about the insanity going on at our school.

Whatever you feel about these holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day were all but banned. Christmas became a Winter Celebration and Easter became Spring Break.

Children were forbidden to exchange Valentine’s Day cards because it would take away time for test prep (I’m not even kidding) and a few teachers attempted to clandestinely hold “Green Day parties” as a cover for St. Patty’s celebrations.

There was, however, one holiday the school fully supported and actually held a full day celebration for: Cinco de Mayo.

What was that all about?

7. The Dreaded Early Morning Start Times

Some people are early risers, and that’s great if you are. In my case, getting 7 kids ready and out the door on time every morning when we were all half-asleep and cranky was, well, the pits.

I’m telling you, starting our homeschool day at 10 has changed our lives. 🙂

8. Walking to School in the Freezing Rain

I get it. A lot of districts bus their students these days. Our district only buses those students who receive help from the Intermediate Unit (I should add that my daughter was receiving speech therapy from IU, but for some odd reason, that didn’t qualify her for the bus).

I’m not going to lie. It was eternally frustrating for me to gather up all my kids and walk them to school in all kinds of weather while the neighbor boy who was in my daughter’s class got there by bus.

I am ever-so-thankful that we can now spend our winter mornings sipping hot chocolate in the living room rather than trying to make it to school without getting frostbite.

9. Let’s Not Forget the Bomb Threats and School Lockdowns

Like the lice epidemics, these happened pretty frequently. I can’t even count the number of times I drove past the school to see all of the kids standing outside, yet again. Sometimes they were fire drills, but, more often than not, it was a bomb threat. I’m honestly curious how many actual hours are spent in school, you know, learning.

And lockdowns? Pshaw. The little boy in my daughter’s 2nd grade class was an expert in getting that to happen. All he had to do was start hitting the teacher or ripping off her jewelry, run around the classroom dumping out all the bins of books, and throw a desk or two. There you have it – lockdown!

10. And Finally…Unexcused Absences

There is nothing that infuriates me more than the school’s assumption that parents don’t know best – they do.

Our school loved to throw out unexcused absences like candy at a parade.

Signed your child out early because of another bomb threat? Unexcused!

Street too slippery to drive up the hill you live on? Unexcused!

At the hospital being monitored and have no way to get your child to school? Unexcused!

Parents, listen up. Don’t let your child’s school push you around. Better yet, take them out of school and save them.

Do you have anything that you’d never miss about public school? Leave a comment!

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

16 thoughts on “10 Things I Don’t Miss About Public School”

  1. And this isn’t even touching on the things our kids don’t miss! The one I hated the most was the way the school treated me, the mere, insignificant parent. It was like I was in their way. I needed their permission to be there with MY child. One morning I walked my 6-year old son to his classroom and started helping him out of his snowsuit. A teacher had the nerve to tell me I shouldn’t help MY child and questioned if I had a right to be there! I was furious. That was one of the final straws for me. I am so glad I pulled him out a short time later. We have never looked back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve homeschooled for 7 years and not one of these things was on my reasons why!

    Good grief, your school sounds horrible!! I’m so sorry your experience has been so awful and don’t blame you one bit for pulling your kids out. My son’s school is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful…and it’s public! We are alerted about lice, they celebrate ALL the holidays, the only time my boy has homework is when he misses more than a day in a row, we get bused, our Christmas pageants are even Christian! The only thing I can vaguely relate to is the calling in to excuse my son, but they always excuse him when I call in! Even if I’ve just decided to keep him home on his birthday 😊 But I guess this is the fruit of living among so many Christians in a “Bible Belt” community that most of the world seems eager to get rid of…
    My reasons for homeschooling had to do with time, volunteering, close connection with my children and a firm belief that WE are responsible to teach our own children. Next year I’m taking a break and they’re all going back to public school, but I am expecting to get right back to homeschooling the following year.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absences, excused or not, were a JUGE problem when my kids were in school. And we just had to deal with 5ths disease for the first time this past Feb-Mar it is one of the worst things we have ever had. If we had been in public school we would have most definitely seen a visit from the truancy officer/CPS.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my children went to PS for a short time but then went to a private Christian school for another 6 years along with his siblings. My issue was with the private school but I’m sure PS parents have experienced this too: My son needed an inhaler for asthma and one of the office staff (a receptionist, not a nurse…and I am a nurse) repeatedly decided that he didn’t “need” to use his inhaler. Finally after months of battling this, having increased asthma issues because of it, talking to the principal and sending in repeated doctor’s notes, he was allowed to use it when he NEEDED it and according to the doctor’s instructions! Another thing was the HOURS of homework each night. Even our kindergartener had well over an hour per evening. The student handbook said that a kindergartener would have 20 minutes but she was assigned oral reading for 10 minutes, playing a word game with a family member for 20 minutes and filling in worksheets which usually took another 30-40 minutes (and some other timed thing for 10 minutes). When added all together it was clearly more than 20 minutes and when I brought it to the teachers attention, she just shrugged it off and said that’s how it is. When I talked to the principal, she said the same thing. ARGH!!! 😦 We’re in our 15th year of homeschooling, have graduated our first three children and have an 8 year old and 11 year old to go. We LOVE homeschooling and the FREEDOM that it brings!!! I love having the freedom to do things the way WE want and not answering to anyone but God!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Standardized testing is a big one for me ,but this whole list resonates. I’m not willing to be relegated to second string parent . The school literally has legal rights over your child . You might get lucky and get a good (not power hungry) school , or not. I’m also a boy-mom and I don’t think boys get treated fairly in school . I don’t want my boys drugged or subtly taught that being a masculine boy is bad .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes and my sons are well aware of the negative messages even though I never said a word and they are homeschooled. I do my best to counteract the lies but I feel bad that this is the political environment they’re growing up in.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I watched your last video about evaluators having to come by and all that’s required for the government to check in. That is craziness! We live in Georgia, and I can’t say they’re wouldn’t be a real uproar if that was enforced here. All we have to do is send a letter of intent to school then test them in 3rd, 6th, etc. Since we still can’t comment on your videos, I figured I’d comment here. But you did a great job keeping a portfolio, Shelly! I’m just saying that’s craziness to us down South!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, our laws are strict, but, believe it or not, they’ve gotten easier since 2014. We used to have to give the portfolios to the evaluator and the school district. Now just the evaluator gets it. We also get to choose our evaluator. Mine homeschools her own kids and leans towards unschooling, so evaluation time is a breeze. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Shelly, I just found your site and it’s been a huge encouragement. Although there are a lot of homeschool families in our area, unfortunately not a lot of them are interested in connecting and the co-op groups are sadly, very “cliquey. I’ve been homeschooling my son since the middle of 4th grade and he’s about to enter high school. Like most folks on here, the school district crossed the line too many times with us. When things got very serious with how our son was not dealing well with being in a brick and mortar school, the district was asking if everything was alright at home. One of the intervention teachers began to journal with him about “what was going on inside” without telling us. I’m still mystified how we had to get permission to take our son out of school for the day to the Philadelphia Art Museum and then another time to the Franklin Institute…. all this is just the tip of the iceberg! Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is infuriating that these school districts find the need to constantly infringe upon our parental rights. It’s all a part of the agenda. I’m glad you could identify with my post. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As someone who is still in school (Because my mom believes every homeschooling myth other than [until further notice] they are dumb and can’t read or anything), I know why we get so much homework despite the fact that we are in school for 7-8 hours. It’s because sometimes, we take notes as a class where we fill in blanks on a one sided sheet of paper while looking at a slide (who needs pre-filled notes when there’s busywork to freaking bore us to death and mentally kill us?). Is shouldn’t take that long, but sometimes (mostly in my history class) they drag that 5-10 minute task to the entire 49 minutes!!! Because of that, we don’t have time to do work at school, so in return for THEIR actions, we get our lives taken away (figuratively). I understand some people learn slowly, but it’s still a waste of time, even for slow learners.

    Liked by 1 person

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