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Avoid "The Culture" or Not?

Why Homeschool blog recently posted a story about a loving bunch of people at a local public school who *tried* to work together to help a family in need. I was just blessed reading about people - who likely had great needs of their own! -pulling together to help a family get a refrigerator. Apparently, it was hard for the parents to get everyone out the door on time without one for some reason... I suppose they've never heard of the brilliant "Pop Tart" strategy I sometimes employ.

This story didn't turn out as nicely as I had hoped.

The new fridge the school gave "solved the problem. For the next few weeks the children were on time. Then one week the children didn't show up at all. Finally the children returned to school, but from that time on were habitually tardy again."

"Again someone in the school did a little investigation and found out what had happened. (You might want to be sitting down for this.) The parents had sold the refrigerator and used the money to take the children to Disneyland."

And the teachers are gonna be held "accountable" for the test scores of these children. Way to go!

But in the post, this story and others like it are held up as reasons to avoid the public school: we want our children to avoid the "culture of poverty" that many schools contain.

I left a snarky comment, but honestly... I was impressed by this school's "culture." Helping someone out like that? They didn't have to do that. I know what the authors are trying to get across, though: you don't want your children to attend places where the prevailing "culture" resembles the fridge-sellers.

Another commenter left a note to the effect that it's a good thing these public schools are out there, or these children may never see responsible adults or be educated at all... which... miiiight be true. Then again, it may be possible that by having this SYSTEM, which is obviously populated with a great number of very caring people, is actually enabling parents like this to behave that way. I have to wonder if that isn't true because when my older children were younger, I was asked constantly if I'd go to work when my children went to school. Or what am I going to do all day when I am "free" while the children are in school. Umm... I dislike many things about public school, but one thing I *never* did was think that the school was a free babysitter, child-feeder and imparter of moral teachings. I see many who do, however.

I have to imagine that were this story NOT on a homeschooling blog... were it, say, in the New York Times, that people would be jumping all over it as an example of how we shouldn't judge people in poverty. Ev-errr. I mean... do you want extreme on the other side of the "should we ever homeschool/private school to avoid undesireable peers?" debate? Read this article and the comments. The comments! My head almost exploded.

If you don't want to be amazed and astounded by daring leaps of logic (no net!), let me sum it up for you: these parents should spend BIG money - just give it away to the public schools. And send their children. The schools are really great! Wellll... no, they're really awful because people like this don't send their children! No, it's all Obama's fault! (?) No. It's because people name their kids Finnegan and Nova. No. It's because New York City is weird.

Well, ok. That last one made sense.


  1. "imparter of moral teachings".... ((shudder)). I already cringe at the fact that my kids are gone from 7am-4pm everyday. I get so little time with them. I feel like the school is raising them rather than me.

    There are some people (that I know and are close to me) that do have a poverty mentality. You can help them in every way possible that you can think of but always go back to being poor. For example. They decided one day to just not get their van fixed because they said "Why get the van fixed when I can just ask people for rides whenever I need one?" Or... "I turned down the raise on my job because I didn't want a decrease from my food stamps". Or "Lets lie and say we are broke, not buy our kids gifts, then call a local church and see if we can be sponsored for Christmas". I see this all the time around me and it breaks my heart. Their parents did it and now they are teaching it to their kids.

    As far as selling the fridge in order to go to Disneyland is another example of a poverty mentality. It's so sad.

  2. Wow,those parents are stupid! I have never been to Disney land and i'm doing just fine! I think they were the children in this situation!

    And the fact that we are at school for so long does give enough time to teach us what THEY want us to know, though its debatable if that information is useful or just the brain-washing ways of schools.

    I know from my own school experiences that they do teach you what THEY want you to know with certain assignments i've been given. There is education and there is that brain-washing technique... They won't get the slip on me ....

    Not to mention, school food is gross.

  3. Next time, get them a half-sized used refrigerator . . .

    Parents have way more influence on their own children, whether they are in homeschool, public, or private. Sure, some kids are risk-takers and are going to do some stupid things. But, for the most part, they take what they learn at home if they see it as authentic. If kids are in school away from home, it's harder, but it can be done. We have done some unorthodox things like move to a fishing village in Alaska to get out of the rat race for two years or go without cable (now a total of seven years) or not buy anything big because I got a make earlier in the year and David is getting a used car and Steve got a new car. Pamela was the only one who got gifts this year.

  4. Oh, I LOVE that Blue School. I wish I could go there. I guess I'm a few decades and small fortune too late.


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