05 June 2009

Just For Fun.

The blog world has been buzzing with the inane rants of a certain ex-public educator. I'm still not sure why it was such a big to-do that he got somewhere in the range of 80,000 comments, 900 blog links and a partridge in a pear tree, but that's life in the bloggy world.

I come across innnteresting articles like that sometimes, but don't usually feel the need to link. I thought I'd link to this one to show you that it so happens that there are lotsa people out there who feel homeschooling is just ruining America, one deranged conservative wacko family at a time. His comments are in black, my responses in red:

"Christianity is of course a doctrine, and barring your children from arguments against it is indoctrination." I would respond to this argument, but I will have to check with my pastor first to see what I should say. I can't think for myself, you know, and I have carefully removed that ability from my children as well.

"Why, why, why would any parents prevent their children from getting sex education? Studies have shown that the better educated children are about sex, the better the know how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases." Has it occurred to you that preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases isn't the school's job? Neither is making sure the kid has enough blankets at night, is fed at home or is treated with respect. Report abuse when you see it, but otherwise, how about we let parents do that thing called parenting?

Actually, these classes aren't even so much a "doctrinal" problem, but the school overstepping its bounds. I live in a rather conservative area and haven't objected to the school's teachings in terms of what is presented for the most part. Rather, I opt my children out because I feel I can parent them better than the school can. Discussing wet dreams and bodily functions doesn't NEED to happen in front of thirty other young men, does it? So my older public school children aren't listening to that stuff in class, thanks.

"Lastly, I would very much like to see some statistics comparing the education of homeschooled vs. properly schooled children in the US."

Ok, I'm just laughing at that one. Could you imagine answering the unbiased questioner on the other end of the line asking whether your children are homeschooled or "properly schooled?" Funny stuff, wokka wokka, as Fozzie Bear would say. You just can't make stuff like this up.

Finally, a plea:

"Please, please do not homeschool your children. Give them the best chances in life by sending them to a real school. If the schools in your city are all bad, move or pay for a private school." My bad. Here I thought that I could teach my child how to read and write. Now I've just discovered that my house is not a "real school." I'm confused. Somehow the Catholic Church runs bunches of "private schools," and they indoctrinate children way better than I ever could (that's a compliment, all y'all Catholics, ok? I just don't agree with some of your theology.). But we should pay for a private school... why? Not getting it.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking.

    I can't think for myself, you know, and I have carefully removed that ability from my children as well.

    Though the irony is as thick as it can get (which I appreciate for laughs), I do think the real danger here is that homeschooling parents i) aren't always good enough teachers, and ii) do in fact end up not nurturing the children's ability to think for themselves. I am ready to change my guess/view on some evidence to the contrary (though not by anecdotal evidence, so save any "my kid is homeschooled and is now studying astrophysics at Yale" stories).

    Has it occurred to you that preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases isn't the school's job?

    Sure, I thought about it. But I don't see anything wrong with it, and I know they can do a good job of it. Besides, hearing that wet dreams and bodily secretions are normal in front of thirty other boys and girls is a good thing.

    Could you imagine answering the unbiased questioner on the other end of the line asking whether your children are homeschooled or "properly schooled?"

    Again, I appreciate your humor. I did not try to write this in a neutral way. And I don't think there's any question about what I mean when I say "properly schooled." Were I to ask that question in a survey, it would of course be phrased much differently.

    Now I've just discovered that my house is not a "real school."

    Of course you house is not a real school! Were you thinking it was?

    I'm confused. Somehow the Catholic Church runs bunches of "private schools," and they indoctrinate children way better than I ever could (that's a compliment, all y'all Catholics, ok? I just don't agree with some of your theology.). But we should pay for a private school... why? Not getting it.

    This was just a reference to that fact that in the US (other places?) you can't choose just any public school within driving distance, but you can choose any private school. I wouldn't suggest sending any kids to any religious school.

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  2. Oops, I wrote italic tags around the quotes, but everything here is italic. Every other paragraph is a quote from the main post.

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  3. First of all, I LOVE your sense of humor!

    Bravo my friend. I appreciate a subject intelligently argued, and you did quite well here. I think you gave him a run for his money;)

    I admit his post irritates me to no end. I myself attended Christian school for most my life, and am funtioning quite well in spite of it. Must be a fluke...lol.

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  4. Bjorn, usually anecdotes are all you have to go by when you discuss homeschooling, particularly in states like mine where people don't need to register. You have to get people who are willing to answer your questions voluntarily. That alone can skew your data, but too bad.

    Most of us (at least in my opinion, which I guess makes this an anecdote) are fiercely independent sorts and want the government out of our business. That includes many of my friends who are also homeschooling autistic children. Maybe the COPAA report that I contributed to that was presented before Congress last month, detailing the abuse of Elf and others in the public schools around the country is "anecdotal" as well. Maybe deaths of children in seclusion rooms, bruises and beatings are "anecdotal," but one positive thing I'll say about the Obama administration is that it looks like he's having the Department of Justice look into it. Looks like he'd be willing to change a few things for the good of all our children.

    Take a look at my sidebar, and you'll see that although I am a conservative Christian (Pentecostal, no less!), we began our homeschooling journey because of abuse in the public school. Elf would not function in a private school, either, I'm sure, because he panics in crowds. After what we have been through we also do not want state-run cyber school, though I recognize that as an option for many families. We just got to the point where the "help" our school was giving us was more harmful than good. How much socialization would YOU get in a locked 5 x 7 foot concrete room with a steel door? Does that sound like the "least restrictive environment" to you?

    But I also recognize public school as an option, and have two teens attending in spite of Elf's difficulties. And I allow them to go because they are happy there and because at present I feel the staff is acting in my children's best interest.

    But in answer to your question, no, I don't think my house is a "real school." I just don't think of it as a "fake school," which is what your blog post implied.

    Most parents want to steep their children in the worldview they believe in, but are not out to overly shelter their children. In fact, our school will not teach evolution in response to parental complaints. If my children were homeschooled, oddly enough, the subject might come up. :]

    Mykidsmom, I have never stepped foot inside a Christian or Catholic school. I've seen the kids in the uniforms, but never been inside one. BTW, you seem pretty normal to me! :p

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  5. Mrs. C., I know there are data out there on the effects of homeschooling on social abilities, so why not on other things? For example, purely demographic data about who homeschools and what their kids end up doing, etc., should be fairly easy to get.

    Remember, my original post was about the average effect in the whole population of homeschooled vs. traditional (don't know what else to call it anymore) school.

    Also, I am glad that you handle your kids the way you do, opting for the best choice for each of them. I don't really know much about what it takes to raise and school autistic children, but I'm glad that you take your kids out of school when they are abused there.

    P.S. Are 'Elf' and 'Emperor' their real names, or nicknames?

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  6. Bjorn, my children are certainly not average, and I would have appreciated the school's help in socialization for Elf if they were kind when he did not meet their expectations.

    I'm different, and my children are different, and your children are different, but adding all the different people and their educational outcomes, etc. and coming up with an "average" wouldn't speak very well for the whole community. Like public schools, homeschools run the gamut from extremely academic (and my kid now studies astrophysics at Yale LOL) to children who grow up and are unable to function in society. Which could very well happen to my younger non-verbal autistic child, but you never know. Emperor learned to read, write, and attain a second-grade level in mathematics within a six-month period when he was six. This, after attending a special-needs preschool.

    Sometimes I think homeschooling data (if there is any that is reliable) would be a bit off-kilter in the early years because of the propensity of parents of SPECIAL NEEDS children to pull them out of public school when the school is unwilling to work well with the children. Doubtless these are the same children that are "behind" on paper, but homeschooling did not make them behind. Would homeschooling keep them "behind?" I'm sure you'll find data that says it DOES. I say this because I have an older special needs autistic child who spells school "scoul" and Russia "Rrrusha" and struggles with the second grade texts we have in our home. The school tested him and wouldn't you know it? G can read and write on a fifth grade level. Curious, and if that's the value of a "standardized test," we might as well scrap public education and start over.

    Then again, do I fault the school for G being "behind?" No. G is making progress, slowly, and you work with what talents you've been given. I just ask for that same toleration and understanding when one is "evaluating" my homeschool. What would the average teacher say if I got the same results after homeschooling G? I guarantee, it wouldn't be complimentary. And I think that's unfair.

    In looking at the data (if you ever find any reliable data in this regard), you would have to differentiate between the difference homeschooling would make in the *same family.* It isn't enough to say that homeschooling makes you less apt to go far away to college (something you wanted to learn) if the family in question were insular and wouldn't have allowed their child to go away in the first place.

    And yes, I do know whole communities like this. Females are not to go to college, or if they do, it must be to (their denomination) college in St. Louis. The primary objective there would be to marry a nice young boy and start a family and go into ministry. It's not what I would do to my children, but I recognize the right of parents to do as they wish with their own money. And guess what? At 18, the people in question get to decide what to do with their lives.

    Which would bring me to question the entire reason FOR education. Is it to teach knowledge and skills, or to secure a career? And what would the role of the state be in ensuring the goal is met?

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  7. I would submit to you that the parents ought to be able to have full control over the education of their children. Perhaps I am overestimating the diligence of some parents. Perhaps, though, I've seen the evil that public school CAN do as well as the good, and want a surefire way of opting out and not being "accountable" to the same people who by state law can paddle and lock up children WITHOUT parental notification. Whose actions are BY LAW immune from prosecution in my state. (It's true! Incredible, but true!)

    I think when we evaluate the abusive or overly-insular homeschool, we have to weigh that outcome against the danger of the overintrusive state. I will acknowledge both as being a problem.

    PS. "Elf" is not his real name, but even at almost nine (next week!), he really thinks that he is a Keebler elf and makes cookies at the factory. "Emperor" has a familiar name to people studying Roman history.

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  8. I love you, Mrs. C! You rock the whole party!

    I was homeschooled and so were most of my friends growing up. Now in our 30's, we are engineers, nurses, doctors, teachers, artists, pastors, midwives, missionaries, social activists--not to mention happy parents of homeschooled children.

    Imagine what we could have been if we were "properly schooled." Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)