11 September 2014

Do Fundie Homeschoolers Destroy Children?

I began homeschooling nearly eight years ago because of abuse in public schools.  Emperor has now been placed two years ahead in mathematics, taking an honours high school class as a seventh-grader in public school.  Elf is now a full-time high schooler in two advanced classes as well as German II.  By all accounts, my children are doing well.

So I find reports of homeschool "neglect" or "abuse" somewhat ironic.  And it really chaps my hide when I read articles like this one from Salon, accusing most fundamentalists of being crappy homeschoolers, and of not even bothering to teach their children to read!  The article quotes a parent who did a crappy job with her own children as an authority on the subject.  Salon figures she's able to put together a serious blog about homeschoolers despite her admitted ditziness as a teacher because... well... because her opinion happens to mesh with their preconceived notions of fundie homeschooling.   Bet that's the only reason.  Because it makes no sense otherwise.
Some of my Polish pottery collection.  Because it's my blog.

 I do have to wonder how many of these tales are exaggerated, how many are the result of a genuine disability (hello - my autistic child will always be a bit behind in language!), and how many are "I know this guy's cousin" type reports that are extrapolated to cover the whole group of so-called fundamentalists.

I thought we were done with these sorts of arguments around the year 2000, along with such bugaboos as, "But what about socialization?" and, "Do your children ever leave the house?"

The article even admits that there are no hard and fast figures on bad homeschoolers but advocates for Nazi-style registration of homeschoolers just in case there MIGHT be a bunch teaching who aren't "qualified" or doing a good job by their standards.  Um... no. The article also (correctly) says fundamentalists often homeschool under the radar for fear of state intrusion.  Since the article calls for the very state intrusion they'd freak out about, I'm sorta thinking paranoia isn't really what's going on here. 

So much mud-slinging.  A better article would have explored how to help a struggling homeschooler in real life.  I would like to see one with some real data on what works.  Articles like this will NOT help a struggling homeschooler trust "the system" and get help.  I think they are counter-productive and if anything, make people with problems feel they must be more insular, not less.


  1. I think there are some people who don't understand what homeschooling truly means. They keep their kids out of school because of bullying, or because they don't like "the system" or maybe "nobody is going to tell my kids what to do and learn" or whatever, but some of these people don't research what the kids are supposed to learn, so the kids don't get taught.
    It's a bit of a minefield that needs sorting out. Most homeschoolers, like you, are doing the right thing and your kids are smart, happy and socialised too, with all the chess club meets etc.

    1. Perhaps I'm radical, but I don't think coerced learning is something that should ever happen in a free society. Mind you, isolating a child and intentionally keeping him ignorant is another matter entirely.

      Still, I think having a state standard does more harm than good. And articles like this do more harm than good. I should way rather see something encouraging about HOW to help someone who isn't doing well. I haven't seen any good ones out there - most just advise to report the parents to the state.

      Not happening with me.

  2. I always want to cry when I see your Polish Pottery! I can't get much of it here at all. *sniff*


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)