11 July 2009

Homeschooling is "Her Thing."

Dana discusses the attitude of fathers toward homeschooling in the comment section of a recent post:

"In my own political activity last election, one homeschool dad I know was involved in trying to get more interest from homeschooling fathers. I’m hoping this isn’t representative of homeschooling as a whole, but it surprised me how many fathers basically responded with 'Oh, yeah. She homeschools but that is really her thing.' They were tolerant, not supportive of the decision."

Well, I remember what things were like on the PTA when I was a member. It was almost completely run by women. Women did almost 100% of the grunt-work volunteering. Manning the popcorn booth. Selling PTA memberships, T-shirts, spiritwear, coordinating the fundraisers, the BoxTops for Education (ok, really it was for playground equipment)... you name it, women probably did the whole caboodle.

It seemed to me that the men who got involved on these committees did so to build their resumes later. Oh, sure, they're there for the kids, and public education is important and blah blah blah. Then before you know it, their names are up for city commission or school board positions next election with, "PTA President, Rich Land Donor Elementary School," or, "Chairman, Blue Ribbon Committee on Deceptive 'No Tax Increase' Bond Issue" on the election fliers.

Almost NEVER would you see a man selling raffle tickets at soccer practice with the kids. And I'd wonder why people would want any man like this to be the stupid PTA president in the first place when he's an arrogant blowhard who pushes for fundraising pep rallies during school time (it boosts sales when you do it that way, and we want a successful PTA fundraiser! It's for the kids!).

It's almost as if people are going, "Oooh! A *man!* And he's involved in education! Sexy! Let's vote for him!" (Ever see the "Jingle All The Way" movie? 'Nuff said... well, except to say these men did not get my vote, I assure you.)

In our homeschool, D wants to be sure the children are no more behind at home than they would have been in public school had they attended. He knows that every student is going to have "gaps" and areas of strength, and he doesn't want, say, for me to be teaching first-grade level math to a fourth-grader if said fourth-grader is capable of fourth-grade work. Within that guideline, I have a fair bit of leeway.

Mind you, I am also the "point person" for public school-related concerns, and consult D only when things get really "big." Kid has a discipline issue in public school? I deal with that almost exclusively. IEP meeting? Me. I also go to the parent-teacher conferences with the children. I'm pretty sure I'm a... less-favoured parent. Then again, I'm not running for office. :]

16 comments:

  1. Being point person for dealing with the public schools was un numero uno reason for homeschooling. Joss' *behavioural issues* got soo bad I could no longer cope with the school so when Dearest allowed Dino to transfer to same school [against my wishes & better judgement {& about here I'd just like to point out I was right}☺] I refused point blank to have anything to do with any of it & made him deal with said school. Um, not pretty. No, not pretty at all.

    I think it's a dad thing. You know, mums deal with the kids & school falls in the kiddy basket. MInd you my brother does nearly all the homeschooling because she *just doesn't have the patience*. How often have I heard that sad old line?

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  2. Did you also notice people pay more attention to what men say? It isn't just in education. We went through a $262 repair that cost nothing after *D* got on the phone. When I called? Oh, that's just the way it is... Sigh.

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  3. It is sad that people tend to listen more to men. Except the kids--they listen to me. Its really funny. I imagine that DH will help with the homeschooling when the time comes, but maybe I am fooling myself. We just bought one of those Tupperware shape sorter balls and Cupcake loves it! She can do all the shapes, but she wants someone there to cheer he on. Yesterday DH was helping her with her shapes. About an hour later I came into the lounge and sat down. What did I find? A shape sorter ball hiding under the pillows on the couch where DH had hidden it. Too funny.

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  4. This one REALLY irks me. So when we went to buy our last car, bearing in mind Liddy was going to be a beginner driver & I would be doing most of the driving, the car had first to meet our needs. Now cars really, really aren't my thing & having experienced the *oooh gullible female* thing before we brought DH along as ballast. We told the salesperson Liddy was buying the car [homeschool exercise for real life experience] but Liddy wouldn't budge without my say so so the salesman tried dealing with me. I'm clueless so consulted with Dearest. The salesman tried engaging with Dearest, which he would much rather have done from word go, but Dearest doesn't talk to salemen & simply wandered off. It was a 3 ring circus act ~ but we got a really, really good deal on the car. I think they were relieved to see the back of us.

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  5. LOL Kids have learned Daddy's a softie, huh, Bonnie? Aww. You get to be the bad guy. Isn't that fun!??

    LOL Ganeida... please, please catch stuff like that for YouTube. I need lessons on good car buyer/ bad car buyer/ silly teen who wants something red but not in a bright colour LOL.

    Ahh... too funny.

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  6. For five or six years I was both a working Mom (I wore a lot of hats, but my longest gig was as a Youth Program Director for U of M extension) as well as a homeschooler. This only worked because Gary was on night shift and could be there on the days I couldn't. I laid the lesson plans before I left and checked it when I got home and played catch up when when I was off. It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't smooth, but God blessed our children with bright minds and he blessed me with a supportive husband. He cheered me on while I worked and cheered when I quit because we could finally afford it.

    While I was still working, a homeschooler from our community commented that she wondered how Gary did all the homeschooling and held down a full time job while I was off doing my "little part time thing" (like, you know, burning the candle at both ends was just tons of fun and that "little part time thing" often had me working fifty-hour weeks). I informed her that he wasn't doing it alone and she reacted with surprise. "I just assumed he was doing it all." I asked how she'd reached that assumption and her reply was, "Well, I just don't know how you can do it with two people. My husband is no help at all" and she acted as though that was how it was supposed to be.

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  7. hee hee... I love our sassiness. It's so awesome. I'm sassy too. Believe me. I just don't get away with it.

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  8. Both home education and schooling generally ghetto-ize everything to do with child care as "women's work" (so does churching btw.)

    Our sons and daughters grow up in those memes and learn it all from us, and so it goes on.

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  9. Mary, it sounds like you were BOTH working doggedly hard. SOMEtimes out here in the Midwest, there's this expectation that you need to do all these extra little things for your children like basketball camp, etc. And for some of us, just getting by is hard enough. I know it is for us, and I stay home full-time!

    Virginia, I don't "get away" with it... it's more like, people learn eventually that you get the tone back you give. Sometimes I think you are too loving to people who use this character trait of yours against you. Um, maybe I'm telling you that upfront because I know you'll still act all loving to me LOL! :]

    JJ, I hadn't thought about church and child care! Come to think of it, I had always thought that that was because men were afraid of being accused of molesting kids.

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  10. My dad read to us before bed, but it was my mom who taught us during in the day--because my dad was at work. When our work was done, we'd go off to play and she'd do her thing (like, starting a small homeschool business [smile]).

    I certainly feel the pressure to "stop slacking" as a guy. I "only" go to work. Then I come home and "bum in front of the TV" (even though I don't watch TV). I feel a tremendous responsibility to overcome the stereotypes of the man who sits in the den and waits for my wife to do everything.

    I want to be involved in my kid's lives and education, but it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out with me working 40+ hours a week. I mean, I'll certainly be reading to them before bed like my dad did... but I'm not sure there will be time for me to do much more than that.

    But I don't know. I'm not there yet. Still waiting...

    ~Luke

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  11. For better and/or worse, as young adults we tend to "live what we've learned" as kids. Which makes big personal change tough enough, never mind sweeping cultural change!

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  12. Luke, I just forwarded an email from your MOM about getting Dad involved in homeschooling LOL! Hopefully you will not have to wait too much longer. I have been wondering how things are going, but figuring not well since you have not updated. :[

    JJ, areya saying that men being slow to volunteer, loud and obnoxious and eager for credit and titles is something that needs cultural change? LOL Ok, I'll agree, though most men aren't like that. Just lots of the "successful" ones. Bummer.

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  13. (I wrote this on Christy/Zimm's Zoo's blog since she linked to you, but then I thought I'd better hop over here and comment, too!!)

    My own husband is very supportive of me homeschooling, and has been my greatest encouragement and defender plus the supplier of funds. But it's still "my thing" in the sense that he is not involved in the kids' education, and it even annoys him when I correct grammar at the dinner table. :D To me, learning is lifelong/daylong, and to him, school stuff is done during school time. However, if that's our biggest conflict, I think we're doing well as a homeschooling family!! And, actually, I'm OK with his apparent uninvolvement, because there have been things that he's been interested in having a say in (dating back to my bridesmaids' dresses!!) that I'd prefer to make the decision on my own. It's important to me to be trusted, greatest of all by my husband, and the fact he implicitly trusts my hs'ing decisions (because he's been very pleased with results) is a huge pat on the back for me. That's the kind of involvement that's valuable to me, way more than him reading to the kids, or doing math with them, or whatever.

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  14. Karen, thanks for the comment! I think being trusted and believed in to do a great job is actually a testimony to good leadership and good delegation. Guess your husband is not running for local school board. :]

    On the school stuff not during "school time" vs. lifelong learning/all day... that's a good thought to bring to the table. I know that sometimes my dh would talk about work or whatever but if I heard it 24/7 I'd go nuts.

    But I could probably talk 24/7 about hsing, which might explain this blog here...

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  15. As far as "women's work" I think we need to recognize that in a lot of these situations, there is a time factor. Mom works part time or stays home & therefore can be more involved in these things. Maybe even in order to be involved in these things.

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  16. Yep, but Mom works part time or stays home because "women's work" is less valued than "men's work" in the first place.

    Just getting all feminist on ya. We all know how liberal I am, at least in that department. :]

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)