01 June 2008


Recently on Dana's blog (anarchy link at left), we've been discussing how the teaching establishment is very threatened by the continuing overall success of homeschoolers. Oh, sure, they can trot out the occasional homeschooling "failure," like the case where a parent already in trouble with the district for her children's truancy pulled them from the rolls and then murdered 'em. I'm sure lots of homeschool learning took place beforehand and no way anything bad could have happened to these children if only they had been enrolled in an accredited public school ... but anyway, generally speaking, real homeschoolers (you know, the ones who actually homeschool their children) on average are showing the "professionals" that they can do just as well and better.

That has some people a little nervous. We wouldn't want "educational anarchy," would we?

The California NEA is throwing that spurious insult out at homeschoolers. Some on the homeschool circuit are claiming that because "anarchy" by definition simply means the absence of government, that it's a good thing to be called.

Well, what if I were to tell you someone's opinion were kind of QUEER? Maybe NIGGARDLY. Perhaps it MOLESTS our inner ideas a little strangely when we think about it. OK, did you just recoil at all those words in caps? (I kinda did, writing them.) "Queer" doesn't mean anything but "strange," really, and yet it isn't something you would call your best friend. Nor yet "niggardly." You sure would be careful when you claim something has "molested" you, I should hope. But when you're "molested," it doesn't always mean you're molested if you know what I mean.

Do you see how connotation and meaning are two very different things? Actually, I don't think the differing opinions on Dana's blog are "queer" or anything like that; I was just illustrating how something can mean two different things at once. Have you noticed sometimes that we insult each other with things that are perfectly true? The NEA and its ilk are wonderful at this tactic, pointing out that homeschool parents are "uncredentialed." It's true, but the implication is, of course, that me an' Bubba an' Cletus done never figgered out how to read and what-like, and we cain't do near so well as them-thar what has been to them eddication classes in college.

It's odd that the education establishment sets itself up as the authority on the education of OUR children. Then when we want our children out of the public education system because we don't believe in it, we're anarchists.

Yeah. Maybe I do want to be in anarchy. I wonder whatever happened to my old Sex Pistols album?


  1. I think anarchy implies diversity...and God forbid there is diversity of thought in the United States. Our schools were put in place so that no one would have an original thought. I guess they're too dangerous. :-)

  2. Not having seen Dana's blog, as a teacher who investigated this issue many years ago, I would like to comment.

    I can't see why teachers would feel threatened by home schoolers.

    In the mid-1980's, in Colorado,while getting my teaching certification, I actually investigated this issue. In Colorado, home-schooled children have to take a state-mandated test each year to be sure they are "keeping up" with minimal standards.

    I asked about how the home-schoolers do, especially since I was expecting at that time that the answer would be "worse." In fact, the answer was/is "better," in almost every case, according to the state office who was administering the tests at that time. It was a surprise for me.

    But now having two decades of teaching experience under my belt, I can understand why. How much individual time can a teacher of 30 children spend with each child? Not much. How much can a mother spend with her child? Usually two or three hours daily. It makes sense.

    I have had several home-schooled children enter my class in Grade 3, never having been to school, having lived in remote regions of my Middle Eastern country, and having studied at home with their parents. There were some adjustments that had to be made, a few deficits in certain areas, but those are usually resolved within a year or two.

    I also met a kid who lived on a boat for two years with his Dad, sailed around the Carribean, studying from correspondence courses, and taking his monitored tests in designated locations at various ports of call. He did really well, and got a very good education.

    Best regards,
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)

  3. Eileen, I think part of it is a control issue. What if more people follow this movement and are not "accountable" to anyone? What if some of them never really teach their children, but use homeschool law as a shield so that they can, say, make their child work or hide abuse? I'm not going to say that can't happen, but to my mind it's a bad reason to set policy or even opinion. There are a few bad parents in every bunch. Many of them frankly send their kids to p.s. for the free childcare and could care less what they learn.

    I'm trying to hash out my opinion on public schooling. Seems they take my money and aren't "accountable" to me when I have issues with curriculum, etc. They abused my son. You don't really hear the stories on the news but it happens more than anyone cares to admit.

    Then again, there ARE some instances where a "professional" is needed. We homeschoolers don't like to admit this. For instance, baby J is almost 19 months old and cannot talk. I am going to have to at least consider sending him to "special needs preschool" for speech therapy and the like when he turns three. Generally speaking it's preferable for kids to stay home, but what to do when you have autism or developmental disabilities is a tough call, which I do on a case-by-case basis with my kids.

    I think I can acknowledge that ps can do great things with the money they have. But it's a lot of money - at minimum 25% of Missouri's budget! I wish I had 25% of my husband's money to spend just on homeschool! I could hire a speech therapist AND some OT for all my kids and keep them home. ;]


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)