Thursday, February 17, 2011
Re-Claiming Our Children Pt. 2
About a month after writing "Re-claiming our Children" I began home-schooling my son. We are in the second week and are loving it. It brings us together as a family in a way that is so unique. We talk about so many different things and from a wholistic perspective. He is 7 years old and I am so excited about the increased opportunities that will be available to him from the choice that I have made for his well-being. I am using an online school program and supplement and adjusting or changing as we see fit. I get this question every time that I mention to someone that I am home schooling: "Well, Why? What happened? How long are you going to do that?" The question is asked with fear and concern as if we are depriving him of something not adding something to him. I was watering down my answer just to keep it simple but yesterday I decided that I needed to tell people exactly why we chose to do this. It is not because my son is having a hard time in school, in fact he is an excellent student...ahead of his class. He is home schooled because I saw a pattern occuring over and over again with children all over the state that I interacted with on different levels as a teacher, tutor, mentor, advocate, family member etc. I saw children in the school systems going from healthy esteems and identity acquired and reinforced in their homes and family to vacant esteem, low esteem, suicidal thoughts and actions, violence, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, fear, and this is a short list. I saw so many symptoms of what could be classified in the DSM-IV book of classification of disorders in our children. These disorders manifest from somewhere. Our current schools do not nurture self-knowledge and development. They do not nurture self-love. Even if this is happening in the home, the effects of the school environment: the teaching methods and ideologies, quickly destroy the gains. I speak so strongly on this because I have seen it and with my own son, but he is not the only one. I know of at least 4 young boys in particular ages 6-7 who have spoken of killing themselves because of their feelings of hopelessness with regard to their schooling. These are children who have loving parents who talk to them, who have outlets and are bright and full of potential. These are not children who are constantly in trouble for one reason or another. So imagine what the children who do not come from loving environments or who have history in the juvenile system, deal with drugs, gangs, abuse and more are feeling!!! The morning that my best friend from high school told me that these words came out of her precious son's mouth, I made the decision that day to take my son out of school. I had seen the signs in my son as well...watched in horror as in 3 months he went from a child who was articulate, loved to help and teach others whatever he knew, a leader, confident in his abilities, loved who he was as a young black boy and his black people--to a fearful, unsure, self-conscious, self-depreciating, self-hating 7 year old boy! I could not believe how complete the change was and so quickly! This is happening all over the country ! Our children are not seeing themselves represented in the classroom, in the books and not being related to in a supportive reinforcing manner. I can get very specific on what's going on and what's missing but that is not my intent in this writing. But I will say that there is a training for teachers in Columbus Public schools that is done for Cultural Awareness and the woman who wrote the book that the training is done from is a white woman! Not only that but some of the language and thoughts in this book that is taught in workshop as fact and information to use in the classroom when relating to our children is blatantly stereotypical and absurd! One example is a statement that describes the type of environment that most "urban" children come from as loud, chaotic, lacking in the expression of intimacy and love...does this sound like something that should be taught as a guideline to teach our black children? And they cover up what is going on so that people swallow it and don't say anything about the nonsense that comes out of this book by having a black woman conduct the training as if to give it validity. I will end now, cause I think I have said enough...but this is by no means over. Wake up my people PLEASE!