29 May 2009

Homeschooling: Not Just For Crazy Fundamentalists Anymore.

It's in the news. The demographics, they are a'changin'.

More whites homeschool than blacks. Fewer poor people are joining the homeschooling ranks. Whoopdy-doo. Anyone oppressed in those two sentences there? (Not the whoopdy-doo one. That was thrown in for free.) Anyone NOT allowed to join in our reindeer games because of race, class, socioeconomic status or whatever? Ummm... not reading that.

Ok. So I've been reading in several different blogs about this shift taking place among homeschoolers. I don't see it, personally. What I DO see is that any time one speaks of race in an article, there's an unspoken implication. It's paternalistic, actually. If more white people get this or that, how are we going to help the black folks get their fair share? Or if whites as a group score in this range, how are we going to help black children score in the same range? Paternalism. Hellooooo, black moms and dads are allll grown up and can take care of their own children. If they need help, they can ask just the same as I can. Good grief. Perhaps I read too much into these little bits of "information," but whenever one separates the races to prove some sort of political point, it feels like instigating to me. JMO.

But of course, the Department of Education must always be correct in its findings. Many homeschoolers like myself have had wonderful experiences with the state and public education, so we're glad to help by taking this survey! (*snort*)

In any event, now it seems that zillions of Richie Riches are homeschooling. Most of the Richie Riches are white and suburban. There's something just wrong about them being able to do that, it's implied. Just read the comments in this article. Wow. We white homeschoolers are pulling our kids out of classes so they don't have to mix with them thar blacks and drink from the same water fountain! Sigh. Oh! My fave comment?? The alleged homeschool mom who is concerned about her children getting too close to a "condemn" machine. Bwa!

I think a bunch of jokesters got online and made this stuff up.

8 comments:

  1. So...white suburban homeschool = bad & racist, black homeschool = good? And white wealthy suburban college-educated = The Devil? Isn't it rather racist to call someone a racist because she is white?

    Oh, Mrs. C., just tell the truth. We all know that you homeschool because you don't want your precious snowflakes mingling with minorities. I mean, clearly, by choosing to educate your own children you are grooming them to be future Grand Imperial Wizards, or whatever it is those *KK idiots call their leaders.

    On a more serious note, and feel free not to publish this part, but I listened to a NPR interview from maybe 2-4 years ago. Some think-tank did a study comparing the attitudes of urban, mostly black parents and suburban, mostly white parents regarding whether schools should teach children moral/ethical lessons: be honest, work hard, etc. The suburban/mostly white parents tended to respond that such lessons were the responsibility of the parent; the urban/mostly black parents tended to respond that such lessons were largely the school's job. I was surprised that anyone could think that education ended at the close of the school day, but...I'm the product of white suburban parents, so what do I know? I'll try to find that study.

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  2. Mrs. C, I took your advice and glanced at the comments. I shouldn't have listened to you, friend, because I got SUCKED IN...and left my own comment in response to a stupid P.S. teacher. Here it is:

    I feel compelled to respond to Public Educator. First of all, I am a Black woman who was raised in an all Black town who went to all Black schools. My husband and I have 2 teenagers in public high school, 2 more (twins) who will be in high school next year, and 2 children under aged 3. We began to get very disillusioned with public school about 2 years ago, but decided that since our older kids are already in their teens we would stay with the status quo. However, we are finding that we must be ever vigilant to monitor and respond to much of what they are being taught. We also have many boundaries in place concerninghow much time they spend with their friends outside of school. They atmosphere is appalling, to put it mildly, and the education they are getting isn't all that great. we have "book clubs" at home during the summer as a fun way to encourage reading since the school system is not doing that, either. It's fun to read a book together and discuss what we think. We are constantly trying to come up with ways to spark a love of learning that has been severely dampened by the public school system. We are counting the days until our kids graduate and it is out earnest intent for our younger kids to NEVER darken the door of a public school. I will be homeschooling them. And yes, public educator, I think parents should "protect" their kids from the influence of children whose parents are too busy to bother with parenting and instilling values in their own kids. Girls are routinely pressured by their peers to engage in sex at earlier and earlier ages and the school system teaches that it's their "choice." As a member of a community and ethnic group with a 70% illegitimacy rate, I'll do all I can to shelter my kids from the likes of the average public school.

    The idea that homeschooling is only for the white, rich, religious crowd is a biased and unfair attempt to marginalize parents who dare to question whether Uncle Sam knows best. I tell every Black mother and father that I know that a public school is the LAST place you want to put your kids (and especially your sons). People like you make me very, very angry Public Educator. You claim to love kids, but you make every attempt to undermine the roles of the people who love their kids most, their parents.

    We make many sacrifices for me to be able to stay at home and raise our kids. We are not rich. We are NOT white. We have however, decided that we care more about our kids than we do about "stuff." I love my kids more than you ever will, and I love them without an agenda. If that doesn't qualify me to educate them, I don't know what does. My kids gain nothing from me giving them a substandard education. Why would I do that? You make no sense AT ALL.

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  3. [So...white suburban homeschool = bad & racist, black homeschool = good?}

    Of course not!

    White, suburban homeschool = bad & racist whacko religious nut who are raising children who are socially inept "dumb as mud" righties.;0)

    My husband sent that link to me last night. I thought the reporting was rather shabby... but the comments were rather fun.

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  4. Actually, what bothers me most about the USA Today article is their statement that more homeschoolers today are "wealthy." When you scan on down the article, you discover that in 1999, 60% of homeschooling families made less than $50,000; today, 60% make over $50,000. Would you define an income of $50,000 in today's dollars as "wealthy"? I wouldn't!

    And incidentally, though we have been homeschooling since 1999 ourselves, we have gone from under $50,000 to over $50,000 in that time frame. Wonder how many other middle-class one-income families have made the same jump in the same time frame? I notice the USA Today article doesn't tell what the change in family income has been since 1999. I'd be willing to bet it has kept pace pretty well. I could be wrong, but my bet is that if they really analyzed the data, they'd find exactly the same kind of people are homeschooling now who were ten years ago.

    Just my 2 cents' worth as a long-term homeschooler myself.

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  5. Way to go Terry!!!! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Public Educator read your comment. We have chosen to homeschool our children (21 mos and 11 mos) when the time comes--not because we are wackos, but because we love our kids and are deeply concerned for their lives and futures. We made that decision before we moved to a country where individual achievement is practically non-existent. You know games that no one wins. Grades don't matter because everyone passes. It's pathetic. We also have some of the worst numbers for school bullying in the world and a teenage pregnancy problem that is practically an epidemic. So, we want to have more say over who are kids are friends with, make sure they don't come home with black eyes, and teach them that its okay to push yourself to the best. If that makes us right wing Christian crazies--then sign me up!...Bonnie

    PS--our kids are bi-racial and we make $55,000 a year not even in US dollars.

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  6. Allison, interesting little sidenote on the NPR. I'm *imagining* that people who answer phone surveys are just telling the listener what they think he/she wants to hear... and that in the "black community," it's one thing and in the "white" it's another?

    Guessing. Guessing the white families in the black areas answer as their neighbours would, too, and vice versa. :]

    Terry, my friend, you totally, amazingly, thoroughly kick rear end in that comment. Here's hoping your public school teacher is literate enough to read it LOL.

    Ok, that was mean of me. I have to wonder if she really teaches ps and if she does if she really encounters homeschoolers who transfer in. Most ps teachers have mixed or positive feelings (the ones I have encountered), but the most frequent concern is lack of uniformity with what the district teaches.

    Which to them is a valid concern, because they're teaching uniformly. But wow. That was one comment I must have missed this morning... too busy laughing about the "condemn" machine...

    I'm also guessing that aside from some melanin, sickle cell/melanoma type minor differences in biology, that we're pretty much the same. But I don't have a fancy study to back myself up, so I *must* be wrong LOL. It just bugs me when minor differences, mostly because of culture/history and whatever, get blown up so big and divide people. Yes, not to say that racism doesn't happen, etc. but do we have to hear every week about what ELSE those black people can't do without help from their Uncle? I am not black, but *imagine* that that would feel very demeaning. And because I imagine this, I am insulted and perturbed when I hear this.

    But you know, honestly, my children are NOT exposed to other races and cultures. I'm going to admit that right up front. It's a side effect of the way we are homeschooling right now... how difficult it is to get out with everyone. :]

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  7. Whew... so much to say...

    Julie, I'm wondering how well you're able to raise those racist wackos in your house. IMO you guys are awesome and your blog just shines with your love for your children. Just watching David and Beverly growing up... I just can't believe it's been over a year... *sniff*

    Deanna, I also wondered about the $50,000 mark. I mean, having six kids $50,000? Or having one kid at $50,000? BIG difference, though I suppose economy of scale kicks in there somewhere.

    Bonnie, you are going to homeschool, but not because you are wackos? Is that an admission of wackiness, or are you denying being a wacko? :]

    PS I have to wonder aloud... forgive the ignorance... Are there many biracial children in NZ? What little I saw of it in the airport was white. Very, very white. (Of course this was 30 years ago!!) Are you concerned about racial violence or just plain old nasty kids smacking other kids for fun? Curious.

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  8. Way to go Terry - I loved your comment. I have had two sons in Memphis City magnet academic schools for several years now. One just graduated, the other is now homeschooling. In the case of all three schools, elem, middle, and high, there was an "optional" program as well as a "traditional" program. Many times, I have been in the school offices and observed the way students are treated by the office staff (who are almost all black). When an Asian or white child comes in, the secretary is all sweetness and helpfulness, but when a black child comes in, it is just amazing to me how the secretary's whole demeanor changes. She scowls and growls at the poor child. I cannot tell you how often I have observed this! I know that there is no way I would ever consider having my child in Memphis City Schools if he were of color! I belong to a large homeschool support group here and it is at least 75% white, but we gain more black (and hispanic) families every year. Many of the black moms I know express the same types of experiences I've described with the public schools. There is also at least one homeschool support group in the city, Ebony Homeschoolers, that was organized by and for black families. So homeschooling in Memphis is definitely not just a white suburban thing, and I expect it to be even more popular with black families here as time goes on and the word gets out.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)