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September 14, 2011

It's Things Like This That Make Me Want to Homeschool My Children

I’m a big believer in the public education system, and there’s no doubt that’s the route I will choose for our girls. But sometimes I read things that just make me want to wrap my little sweeties in a protective bubble and not let them out of the house for about 16 years.

A very sweet friend of mine from high school has a very sweet daughter who just started kindergarten. Nicole is amazing…full of arts and crafts, bento box lunch creations, and neighborhood event organizing. Although I’ve never met her little ones, her three girls seem to be all kinds of awesome, too…smart and spunky and sweet and polite.

Nicole’s little girl came home this week and asked her mom not to put any more plums in her lunch box. “Why?” her mom asked. “Plums are your favorite.” She told her mom that the other kids had never seen a plum, and they made fun of her for eating it.

So many issues here…

It first breaks my heart that some kid made fun of that sweet little girl. Absent something nice to say, some kid chose to say something to hurt another kid’s feelings. And from the sound of it, other kids jumped on board.

And on a “housekeeping” note, it makes me shudder to think about something as benign as a plum being a point to pick.

It makes me giddy that our girls love good food. They often eat the crust from around a sandwich first (they have no idea that some kids refuse to eat crust altogether!). They ask for broccoli and Brussel sprouts by name, and have been known to beg for more roasted onion.

For so many reasons, I dread the day when some kid wrinkles her nose at my girls’ lunches, declaring that wheat bread isn’t cool, or suggesting they’re “gross” for eating spinach.

One of my reasons for supporting public education is that I think it’s indicative of the real world…we need to learn to work with all sorts of people, whose backgrounds and beliefs may be very different from ours. That’s what we must ultimately learn to do (or should learn to do) as adults, so let’s start understanding that from an early age.

And I know my job as a mom is to teach my girls to be secure in their beliefs, and to try to understand and respect others’ points of view.

But, wow…that’s a big concept and a daunting task…

Makes that plastic bubble sound pretty good, doesn’t it?


Deanna said...

Oh, that is heartbreaking...I know your friend probably wants to track those kids down and give them a good thrashing!

It is tempting to want to keep our babies in a protective bubble, where nothing can hurt them, ever. I totally agree with your thoughts on public education, though...we have to teach them to live in the real world. That can seem like an overwhelming job at times!

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

It sure does make the bubble sound GREAT! A plum...really?!!?

Kids can be so cruel...I think the little girl should ask for a few extra plums and then give those kids a taste of what they are missing...LOL...seriously though.


Anonymous said...

arg. this is the kind of stuff that gives me a stomach ache!! why do the kids have to be so mean to eachother?? seriously!

a plum? they should be sad that they have not had the opportunity to have plums. :(


Cuz I'm the mama! said...

So sad..we want to protect their hearts forever. I do agree with you -- that PE is the way to go, however. I am hoping these experiences are few and far between rather than the rule.

Quadmama said...

A plum caused that reaction? Wow. Preschool and kindergarten have definitely been learning experiences for myself and my daughters. My daughters are (usually) polite, sweet girls. I've had to explain to them that they need to stand up for themselves and each other when kids are mean. The first day of kindergarten one of my girls asked a classmate if she could do a puzzle with her. The girl called her a "doofus." I'm learning to keep my cool, though, as I know for the most part some of this is just kids testing boundaries, etc.

Julia said...

You hit the nail right on the head. To teach our children to be secure in their beliefs, while being respectful of other points of view. To seek understanding and to celebrate those differences, rather than ridicule.

And, ugh, you're so right---daunting task indeed! I like the bubble idea! I wouldn't have even thought of anything as benign as a plum, being a point of contention--to bully and tease the poor girl.

I, too, delight that my girls enjoy healthy foods. If I put one of them in this story---I feel my heart breaking (my girls LOVE plums!).

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I want to SLAP those mean kids.

Oh, I hate bitchy children - seriously. But I think you get them everywhere - private and public schools

Beth said...

Last school year Will was in Kindergarten. He has a pair of cowboy boots he loves and wanted to wear to school. The first time he asked was gym day, so I told him he couldn't, but the second time I couldn't really think of a reason to say no. That afternoon Will came home and told me that an older boy on the bus made fun of his cowboy boots. I was unprepared for just how hard that would be for me to hear. I actually had to step out of the room because tears immediately sprung to my eyes and I didn't want him to think it was a bigger deal than he had thought it was. God love my sweet boy, he wasn't really that upset, just shocked that someone wouldn't like his awesome boots!
To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't been teased any others times, but the idea of our precious babies out where we cannot protect them and they will likely run into a mean child at some point is difficult to consider.
At least as twins your girls will always have each other!

Johanna said...

How SAD that those other kids have never had a plum before!!! Maybe your friend can bring in a snack of plums for everyone one day?

Andrea said...

Oh sister...these are my thoughts exactly!! Being a parent is the toughest job of all!! I hope I can instill the same values in my 2! Great post Mandy!!

Barbara Manatee said...

seriously?? why would a kid pick on another kid based on the fruit in their lunch??? So ridiculous!!!

Olusola said...

It really scares me - that in the process of raising our kids to be polite and nice, they end up being prey for bullying classmates. Really sad and scary

Mandy said...

I agree whole heartedly, it's so silly. To a certain point, kids will be kids. I don't want to over protect my little ladies, but I certainly don't want them to suffer.

Sadly bullying is the least of my concerns with the public school system. My issue is learning where to step in and when to sit back and let them defend and figure things out for themselves. I certainly don't want to be that mama that is always around hampering their kids but the thought of them possibly being teased over something as petty as fruit breaks my heart.

I guess I'll work extra hard to make their lunches cute and fun, maybe a kick-ass lunch box!

Holly Ann said...

That is a really tough one. As an early childhood teacher, I'm usually the one in there trying to quell such behavior. It makes me so sad to know that some kids haven't even seen something as basic as a plum, and even more sad that they would say hurtful things like that at all.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

In my former career as a middle school teacher, I found that if a kid wanted to, they'd make fun of anything...even the dumbest thing. I relished the part of my job where I could get the kid who was poking fun to see how ridiculous it was.

The plus situation is clearly ridiculous to us, but meant a lot to the little girl...enough to mention it to her mother. It is a sad state when a plum is so out of the ordinary that it garners any attention.

reanbean said...

The fact that kids can be so cruel is just so, so sad. Tiny truly got her feelings hurt for the first time this week, and it nearly broke my heart (even though she recovered relatively quickly). The public schools around here do a lot with social pragmatics teaching and anti-bullying, but there are always kids who enjoy teasing or doing mean things just to be mean. I guess my goal is to do the best I can to teach Tiny and Buba to be respectful to everyone regardless of any differences, but also to be who they are regardless of what others might think. It's big job-HUGE-but I don't see that there's any other way.