Thursday, December 13, 2012

They called him Big P and he thought he was gangsta

A friend of mine who is a high school counselor asked that I explain what it was specifically that prompted us to homeschool our children.

Aside from the statistical evidence of a decline in the quality of education in the public schools, aside from the overreach of the Federal Government and its one size fits all requirements for schools (No Child Left Behind), there are several reasons.

I ask parents who are considering homeschooling who are concerned about socialization, "when is the last time, you as an adult, were in the same room with thirty other individuals your same age?" Education could be improved greatly if we returned to the little red school house model: a couple of teachers, 15-20 children of all various ages, and older children instructing younger children and setting examples. This would be a real life socialization model.

There are many more areas I find public schools lacking that I could discuss however I believe my friend was asking for the specific instances that happened with our children and why we pulled them from public school.

We found several excellent teachers in the schools our children attended (between the three of them, there were five different schools in two different school districts). However it was really hit or miss. My youngest daughter's first teacher was fantastic. A heart of gold and an obvious love for teaching and sowing into the children entrusted to her care. Our oldest daughter's first teacher, however, was a mess. Days on end the whole class would just read a book. No instruction, no math, no science, just quiet reading time for the whole day while she busied herself doing other things. When benchmark test time rolled around, this teacher would administer the test in advance and give the class the answers. She gave "teaching to the test" a whole new meaning.

The second teacher my youngest had broke her heart. She was in third grade and had been used to her first teacher who said goodbye to her with a hug everyday. When we moved and placed her into a new school, she came home crying one day, "my teacher doesn't like my hugs." I started to explain that not all teachers hug their students and she interrupted me, "no mom, she only hugs the girls that are the same color as her."

The second teacher my oldest daughter had was not up for the task of thirty fourth graders. She was an older woman who was not in control of her emotions. I stopped outside the classroom door one day to pick my daughter up early and heard this woman screaming at the class and having a melt down. I asked if this was normal and was told that yes, this is what she does everyday and it never works to get the class in order.

My son had an excellent sixth grade teacher for the majority of his classes. Except for her participation in Flocabulary. I found utilizing hip hop and rap music to teach to be a very odd approach. After reading the lyrics to "The Pony Gangsta," all I could do was laugh. What is this?

We did have a meeting with our son's seventh grade Geography teacher. There were a few things we thought should be clarified or omitted from her teaching, the Principal agreed. First, the Space Shuttle is not blasting holes in our ozone layer. Second, telling prepubescent children that the world will end in 2012 isn't a fantastic idea. And third, using global warming models published over a decade ago is a bit disingenuous.

Another of our son's seventh grade teachers asked our son for his gamer tag and friend requested him on X-Box Live without our knowledge or permission. After finding out that he was chatting live with our son, we arranged a meeting with the Principal and the teacher to express our disapproval. The man was confused by our concern and said, "it's the same as if I'd met up with him at the bowling alley." To which we replied, "no, not quite, had you met up with our 13-year-old son at the bowling alley without our permission this meeting would be taking place at the police station." That teacher went on to be retrained and our son moved to a different class.

In eighth grade our son's Pre-Algebra progress report listed a "D" which would have banned him from participating in the sport he was in. We knew something was wrong considering his previous straight "A" record with math. Turns out the lazy teacher failed to enter in the remaining 2 of 6 graded assignments into the computer. His actual grade was a 100% "A". That's forgivable, but shouldn't math, of all subjects, have more than 6 assignments in 4 weeks? Like, one every day?

In his eighth grade Reading class, our son had a solid "A" leading up to the final assignment that was worth 1/3 of the grade. After 2 weeks of knowing about it he spent 10 minutes working on it the night before it was due. He received a well deserved 41%. The next day he brought in 3 canned food items for their food drive and was awarded 5 points per can toward his grade. Then he gave the teacher $10 for an extra 20 points. Received an "A" for the final grade.

They were all honor students, making all "A's" and "B's" on their report cards. However I'd quiz them on basic skills they should know for their grades and it was evident they just weren't learning the material that met our standards.

I'm sure any parent could list irritations and frustrations with the schools their children attend. Public school really just became a fruitless waste of time for us and our children.

The fees and fundraisers actually had us spending more money than we do on books in a year to homeschool.

Politics has found it's place in our schools with fights over unions and liberal policies.

The feminism in our schools is rampant, and gone are the days of having more male teachers than female.

Our family's faith is not welcome therefore Satan is.

The coddling over the special needs children at the expense of the average and the gifted is beyond reproach.

I could continue.

I present to you, The Pony Gangsta:

Pablo was the toughest kid that I knew,
Roughest dude in middle school; dude thought he was cool.
They called him Big P and he thought he was gangsta,
He would brawl and fight whoever, acting out of anger.
Wanted to be a rapper, but kids would hardly listen,
’Cause every word the dude spit was evil, it was vicious.
Big P was always peevish, in a bad mood,
"Yo, don’t even look at me, man!"—he’s always mad, too.
He dressed in gaudy clothes, bling bling, and flashy flashy,
Hoodies so bright orange, they were Laffy Taffy.
He didn’t want to be sweet; no, he was only acrid,
Meaning when he was rapping, dude was harsh as acid.
He thought he had potential, thought he could possibly be
In the future, richer than that game Monopoly.
Chasing a lavish lifestyle that he saw in magazines,
Ritzy life, fast cars, diamond rings.
The biggest braggart in class, he loved to brag,
Saying he was half gangsta, half thug, and half flash.
There was a flaw, a mistake in that math,
Pablo didn’t know that he had too many halves.
Plus he could hardly read; Pablo was illiterate,
Stealing things after school, I mean just a little bit.
Until one day his mama said, "Pablo, I can’t contain ya!
I’m sending you to my sister’s farm in Pennsylvania."

I’m Pablo, wow, I’m so hard,
Riding on my 20-inch rims, my Lord!
Riding in my coupe, I’m riding in my coupe, man.
Riding in my coupe, I’m riding in my coupe, man.

Pablo went from city streets to country life,
Wide-open vistas, views that were really nice.
At the farm, they had a barn; Auntie said, "Listen now,
I want you to figure out how to milk a cow."
Pablo said, "A cow, wow! Now I’m in utter shock,
If you think I’m going to make butter from this udder, I’m not."
Auntie said, "Would you rather brush the pony, kid?"
Pablo said, "Huh! Tell me what a pony is!"
Auntie thought of many clever answers and retorts,
But she just said, "A pony is like a little horse."
And so she led him out back along a path,
They stopped by the pony; Pablo almost had a heart attack.
Pablo was dumbfounded, he could hardly speak,
He said, "This is the cutest thing that I have ever seen.
Oh my Lord! Can I touch him? Will he bite?"
Nah, he’s docile, teachable and really nice.
So Pablo touched the pony and then his life changed,
He wanted to acclaim the pony, give it love and praise.
He said, "Yo pony, you don’t know me, but I want to be your homey.
Holy moly! Totally, you the one and only shorty for me."
Time passed, Pablo came back to school,
We were nervous; he used to make us black and some blue.
But now things were different, the kid was mad nice,
I said, "Yo Pablo, what happened to the thug life?"
He said, "That old gangsta thing, man that was phony,
Now when I ride, I’m on my little pony."

I’m on my little pony,
I’m on my little pony.

Update: This speaks for itself - parents, homeschool your young children. There are no good schools, there are no safe schools. Keep your babies in your charge, in your care, under your protection. It's the only decision that makes sense.


  1. Does your child go to an inner-city school?

  2. We live in a city of less than 100,000 people, 60% white with an unemployment rate of 6%. So, no.

  3. I think the Pony Gangsta is brilliant. But I'm with you on the rest.

  4. Brilliant? Tell me why.

    Now remember, this is 6th grade. Here are my homeschooled 6th grader's vocabulary words for the week: accrue, beneficence, context, crescendo, efficacious, excrescence, facile, facsimile, faction, mollify, pretext. Challenge words are: concrescence, convalescent, Creole, fluorescence, luminescence, opalescence, phosphorescence, senescence.

  5. How do you justify involving your oldest son their now? So many seem to not realize the problems inherent in the system and still have their children involved in it. You note the problems here, yet your son still goes there now.

    Is it bad or just something to be somewhat cautious about? I have become convinced that a factor model of schooling is only good for producing obedient workers for the State, not truly educated people. Yet few seem to realize that.

  6. I consider our oldest son a man now. We would have sent him to college this year if we didn't send him to the AP/college classes in the local high school. He also wanted to play sports and this method provided that opportunity. I understand the argument about never using the public school. However, what do you do with a 16 year old man that is ready for college? If you send him to college, it isn't much different. It's his responsibility to learn about the world now. He has the ability to get out in the liberal world and come home and talk about how to deal with morons. Especially morons that are in positions of authority.


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