Friday, May 30, 2008

No time for school

I came across this link to a video about homeschooling made as a senior project by a photojournalism student, Dave Londres at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

I appreciate how he makes homeschoolers look like normal people. More importantly, I appreciate the comment by the father towards the end of the movie about how his twelve year old twins are just 12, not 12 going on twenty. He also talks about how he hopes his children are working to their full potential but that they are not any smarter than any other twelve year olds.

That touches on one of my biggest bugbears about homeschoolers. There is this tendency to try to prove that homeschoolers are better and brighter than their institutionally schooled counterparts. It drives me crazy. Homeschoolers fit onto a curve, just as all other school kids do, some are brighter than others, some are average and some are not as bright as the others. Perhaps the bell curve for homeschoolers is slightly shifted to the right, but perhaps it isn't. Frankly, while I am very impressed by some homeschoolers, I am not at all impressed by others. I often find it amusing that it's those homeschooler who I think would probably be better off sending their kids to someone else to be educated who are often the ones who sing the "party" song the loudest.


Robinella said...

Shez, I really loved this post. It's so obnoxious to sit with other home school mothers who all have geniuses/gifted/perfectly mannered children. It'd be nice to meet some "normal" children. Like mine!

Laura said...

I agree with all of this. Very early on I thought one of the reasons to homeschool was because my children were so special, so bright, so not those other kids...Yuck.

My eyes got opened by Allison McKee at a homeschooling conference. She said that all of our kids are just normal kids and we put a lot of undo pressure on them, ourselves and our public schooling neighbors when we think that they have to be geniuses because we homeschool. That only brings constant testing and monitoring and comparing and competing instead of learning, and enjoying and maintaining close relationships with friends and family.

My kids have acted inappropriately at times, because they're children! They're also nice and aware because that's how they're wired. I think homeschooling can help with allowing kids to be who they truly are, and not be forced into cliques or trends that have nothing to do with their true interests, but it doesn't make any kids geniuses or saints, much as some would like to think so.

My kids are eminently "normal"!

christinemm said...

Thanks for the link to that great video.

I also see and know homeschooled kids who run the gamut from precocious to to on grade level to behind, from social to unsocialized, from isolated to not isolated, from shy to outgoing, from well mannered to bratty or bully-ish, from those who stand out to those who blend into the background and from happy to sad. Homeschoolers are a wide variety and frankly I don't know what "normal" is anymore as people are a combination of things.

I also feel that some people hold homeschoolers to a higher standard than schooled kids. For example the legislation that tried to get passed in my state this year, well, to me it put higher standards on homeschooled kids than what the schooled kids and the school administrators are accountable for. It is not fair.

A friend with a child with Turrett's Syndrome and mulitple learning disabilities who was failed by public school is now happily homeschooled. However his mother admits that due to various neurological issues that are challenging for him, he is behind a bit in some subjects, just as he would in school. However if he were in school they'd be happy to let him be behind due to his LD label and his medical issues. Yet with HSing I am not sure that he will be let off the hook. His mother is concerned what will happen in the next legislative session.