EvolveIntoBirds asked, "if the bullying you experienced (me too) affected your decision to home educate your kids?"
In a word...yes. Though that is not a complete answer and certainly not the most compelling reason we decided to homeschool.
There are many who feel that the emotional and psychological bumps and bruises that one experiences in a public school setting are all a part of growing up. That they make one a stronger person and build character. That they toughen you up for the real world and provide the experience necessary for sticking up for yourself and learning to be your own person regardless of peer pressure. For some people, maybe for most people, that is precisely what happens. But it doesn't happen that way for everybody. Sometimes the hurts suffered can damage the young and developing individual, warping the person they might have become.
I grew up in a small town population 900 with a graduating class of 20 students (10 boys, 10 girls). More than anything else, school was about fitting in with the group. The main issue being of course, which group you belonged to. I have no idea how membership was decided. It would have been a fascinating thing to observe from the outside. But as I look back on who was friends with whom, groups were established almost from the very beginning with very little variance between them throughout our 13 years together.
There were 2 girl cliques in my class: the cool kids and the nerd herd. From about 3rd grade through 6th grade there were a variety of wars: factions split off, insults were exchanged, feelings hurt, and backstabbers crossed back and forth between enemy lines. Teachers and the Superintendent would be obligated to intervene several times a year when emotions got really out of control.
To add to that delightful mix of squabbling, the class ahead of mine was populated with jocks, jerks and jackasses who took great delight in making the life of the underclassmen a living hell, mine in particular but not exclusively. The class below mine was populated with losers, lame-asses and lemmings who would follow along and join in with the aforementioned upperclassmen and participate in the haranguing of anyone coming into their line of fire.
School sucked. Pretty much every single day for 13 years. And the lousy education that I received did not make up for it.
Does everyone experience school that way? Nope. In fact some people have marvelous experiences in school and receive an outstanding education. Good for you!!!! I am genuinely happy that you made it through the system unscathed.
Some parents are able to ride close herd on the school and insure the quality of their child's experience. Some just throw their kids in the pool and hope for the best saying, "It was good enough for me, it's good enough for you." But there is no guarantee that a child will have a good teacher or receive a quality education. I want that guarantee. So, I teach my kids and their education falls on my shoulders. Well.... mine and the Kids' Dad. Our kids, our responsibility.