Public School Education
I was raised Catholic, 7th out of 8 kids. My mother stayed home. There is no denying the influence of the Catholic Church in my life. By the time my parents got to the 5th kid, having all kids in Catholic school was just too much money I guess so the younger started out in public school. I split with the Catholic Church for many years but within the last decade or so I have called an uneasy truce with the Church. Troll and I wavered over putting the girls into Catholic school, but decided against it. We were married in the Church.
Anyhoo - we never missed Sunday Mass as kids, unless we were seriously ill. I vaguely recall that even in our yearly camping trip in the Rockies, Mum found a church for us to attend. My family is dysfunctional as most families are. I have had to undo a few things as an adult. It's a mixed bag - what I learned. Sacrifice, justice, compassion, patriotism, respect, forgiveness, fairness. Some were learned to a fault: sacrifice and forgiveness to name two. I also learned the 'proper' place for a lady. Those had to be re-worked as an adult.
I loved school when I was little, mostly. Most memories are are happy. One that isn't is a 1st grade memory: A classmate who sat 2 desks in front of me raised his hand to request permission to go to the bathroom and was denied. Twice more he raised his hand and was denied. The next thing I remember, a puddle of urine appeared under his desk. He got into trouble for that. I remember thinking how unjust that was. Some of what I learned at home was reinforced such as 'sit down and shut up'. I've completely done away with that one! LOL.
Looking back, I note a change. It's little things. It was, probably, 5th grade. I would have been 10 - so 1973. First, sex education, which we had to have permission to participate in. The girls and boys were separated, and the changes that an adolescent goes through were presented. It was clinical. That's it, and I have to say that I'm glad I got that information because I don't think my mother would have been able to give it to me. My older sisters were pretty befuddled over all of the changes they had gone through years before. There are 2 more things that I recall from that year: A 'Save the Whales' movie and assembly about environmentalism. A horrid movie showing bloody car crashes and pushing the use of seat belts. Later on, the Pledge of Allegiance became optional. It was always said over the loudspeaker - you just weren't required to stand for it anymore. There was an American flag in every classroom. The teachers didn't take any crap from anyone in the lower grades.
There was always an adult present - ALWAYS. Until High School.
High school was an open campus, and in 10th grade I would hang on the loading dock and smoke with the bad boys for most of my classes. Or sleep late and schlep into school whenever I wanted. They passed me right through 10th grade, even though I hadn't done a damn thing. Nobody really seemed to care. That was '77 or '78 I think.
I believe that my early years in school were good. I was literate, ended up loving Algebra but hating Geometry, liked Latin. (There were 2 choices of language in the school at the time: French or Latin. I was completely turned off by French - I didn't like the French at all. I wonder where I learned that??!) Although my education was adequate, I have realized that it could have been so much better. Teaching my daughters has been a HUGE eye-opener. The longer I do it the more disappointed I am in my own education.
Most of what I have learned about life and how to operate as a grown up happened after I was done with school. I have noticed that the young people, in high school or in their first years of college, who I have contact with are completely socially inept. There are a few exceptions - a very few. The same was true for me at that age. I was a fish out of water when I got out of school. I went straight into the Army from school - and I had a bit of sense by the time I got out. I was a democrat back then, but as I've gotten older I have returned to the values that I was raised with. It's been a long revolution right back to where I started. God, Family, Freedom, Strength, Human Rights, Humility, Honesty, Justice, Courage of Conviction.
I do believe that most of those values were shared by all in my younger grades. The teachers and the other students had those same values. High school was a complete wash, though. A total waste of time.