17 April 2010

Love in a Time of Homeschooling

Nice set of articles on Psychology Today blog. Usually, the articles on that blog are a little... crazy, really. But this set is pretty well-balanced. It almost seems like homeschool apologetics: a real-live actual, educated, working mom not only considers that hippie, wack-o, cult ranch form of education... she actually DOES IT. Pulls her normal kid out of her normal school and messes with her normal little mind and twists it.

For a whole year!

Ahhh... ok, that sounds a bit sarcastic, but actually, I love this series of posts. There's just something so oddishly new about seeing what you do every day defended by someone who might not want to live your lifestyle forever, but has at least seen what it's like for a time and is "translating" the experience to other people.

"The word 'homeschooling' makes some people cringe," she writes. "They envision a fundamentalist Christian Mom teaching creationism at the kitchen table, or a counter-culture bohemian, making tie-dye shirts and ignoring algebra."

Um... I teach my creationism at the DINING ROOM table, thankyouverymuch. And hippie that we all know that I am, I'm thinking that tye-dyes are more fun than algebra lessons. One thing the article didn't cover (and I wish there were a series on this too!) is that HELLOOOO, fundamentalist Christians who believe in a young earth also send their children to public schools sometimes. So do hippies! Sure, we're the parents the teacher never wants to deal with but we are out there. Some of us are even nice people.

The comments were pretty telling as well. One detailed the abuse suffered in a public school for years. I think commenters (in other places, not this series, thankfully) who say things along the lines of, "Well, if you pull your kid because you don't like the school or the teachers, you're just teaching the kid that he never has to face up to his problems" can go rot. You face up to your problems when it's a couple mean kids who need a good reality check (then you take the detention for your 'unkind' words or *ahem* whatever... sigh). Or you face up to your problems when you haven't studied for a test and you flunk. I think we can all agree that almost always, people don't pull their kids from public school on a flighty little whim.

One thing I thought interesting was that although she had no stated religious reasons for homeschooling, that she wrote about homeschool parents feeling guilty when they send their children back to school. And that she felt the need to explain why she did that to her own kid. That made me sad.

I hope we are not so insular and so judgmental that we can't support someone else's decisions with their own kids. Parental rights, you know. The school funding issue and whether there should be schools at all is rather a separate issue. So long as there are schools, and so long as there are parents who want to enroll their children, I think we should try to be just as tolerant as we'd want someone else to be of us.

PS. I am going to a homeschooling convention soon. I am so seriously going to look around and see if I can find a tye-dying kit. The Happy Elf Homeschool needs to get groooovy. :)

3 comments:

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  2. For heaven's sake, there are real cults out there that do real damage. Since when did imparting your own views become cultish? The more I learn about homeschooling, the more I am utterly baffled by those who think it is some act of racist anti-social self-righteousness.

    Tie-dye! I used to do that. Gloves, rubber bands or string, dye, cheap cotton tees, and a rinse to fix the dye. I'm sure the dyes have improved in the 10+ years since I've done it, but the dye fixatives didn't work so well in my experience...just so you don't end up with groovy towels in the wash :)

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  3. We homeschooled Pamela because she needed one-on-one, with people who understood that low-verbal doesn't always mean low intelligence, and the school was not going to do that. With David, I noticed he was very active, in short, a boy. I didn't want him developing an attitude because he couldn't sit still while the teacher was boring him to death (he taught himself to read at four). Now, that he is in school, his choice to finish his last two years in a public school, we see that he really wasn't ADHD--he was BOY (Bored-Of-You: someone who looks ADHD when you bore them).

    The neat thing is that he's got great grades, he's not been pegged as a nerdy homeschooler, he's in the marching band--trying out for the drum line right now, his teachers like him, he's got friends at school, and he was one of seven juniors picked to be interviewed for Boys State. So, I guess he can also handle real world problems. In fact, he said the other day a kid said he'd bit him up: David is a big strapping kid (six feet two inches--four if you count the hair). He laughed and said, "I'll just sit on you," and walked away.

    I can safely say Pamela will NEVER go to public school . . . she's 21 yo . . . tee, hee, hee . . . not insular, just a fact!

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)