I've seen the following article on more homeschooling lists and blogs than I care to count. I couldn't help but collapse in a fit of giggles when I read it. I, and all the homeschoolers I know, obviously was not in the line where this homeschooling manual was handed out. (my comments are in bold)
Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:50 pm (PDT)
Home-schooler s threaten our cultural comfort *
6/8/2008 9:39:01 AM
You see them at the grocery, or in a discount store.
It's a big family by today's standards - "just like stair steps," as the old folks say. Freshly scrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean but unfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frills shopping list.)
There's no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. The older watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task. (not much begging takes place, but that little that does is met with the evil eye and it quickly quiets. in our case the "younger" watches the "older". Shira is Ben's conscience and she keeps him on the straight and narrow.)
You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being homeschooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them.(EEEK, my big bugbear raises its ugly head again. Our reputation for academic achievement. UGHH. Colleges are now actively recruiting homeschoolers, just like they have always actively recruited institutionally schooled kids. This leveling of the playing field is seen by the homeschooling community as proof of our superiority and not for what it is, simple good business on the parts of colleges.) Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at $4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you consider that these families pay taxes to support public schools, but demand nothing from them, it seems quite a deal for the public.
Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, (I need to check the veracity of this statement. I'm not sure it is true) and are more likely to attend worship services. (Someone forgot to give this non-theist family that news flash)Their motives are many and varied. Some fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. ( While I don't particularly want Ben and Shira in school, I struggle to see how secular equates with that list of horrors. Our children are growing up in a secular household and I can promise you that they wouldn't know coarse speech if they heard it, nor suggestive behavior or hedonistic values. I find it incredibly offensive when these religious nutters try to claim the moral high ground over the secular world. One wonders how an external locus of control can ever be superior to an internal one.). Others are concerned for their children's safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond the minimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world view largely permeates the movement.(This guy obviously has his head in the sand. while many homeschoolers homeschool for religious reasons, there are many, many of us who do not.)
Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.( One judge makes a questionable legal decision about an abusive family does not equate to homeschooling coming under increasing suspicion.)
Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?(WTF? People hate us?)
Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the homeschooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler.
Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar the things that Caesar's be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and we reject them in return.
Just as the jealous Chaldeans schemed to bring the wrath of the king upon the Hebrew eunuchs, we are happy to sic the state's bureaucrats on these "trouble makers." Their implicit rejection of America's most venerated idol, Materialism, (a.k.a. "Individualism" ) spurs us to heat the furnace and feed the lions.(I for one have not rejected Materialism or Individualism, in fact I am the exact opposite. I thought that homeschoolers tended to be individualists.)
Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care and day school, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. "A family just can't make it on one income." (Our parents did.)
"It just costs so much to raise a child nowadays." (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing, pre-prepared food, join every club and activity, and spend half the cost of a house on the daughter's wedding, it does.)
And so, the decision is made. We give up the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation of their minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by getting a boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a 2,800-square- foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance a brand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim "our right" to pursue a career for our own "self-fulfillment. "
Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn.
We lack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of something enduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, and the looming depression threatens our 401k's.
Credit cards are nearly maxed, and it costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban.
Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work ... and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn't you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?(Young woman? Most of the homeschoolers I know are in their 30's and 40's. I'm mid 40's and no one in their right mind would considerr me to be young, no matter how much I try to delude myself. Serene? I suppose I've seen that look on some homeschoolers once their Wellbutrin has kicked in.)
Is it any wonder we hate her so?
(heck, I hate me when you put it that way. Thankfully, neither I, nor any homeschoolers I know are the prigs that Mr Scott tries to pretend we are)
Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw
County and his e-mail address is sonnyscott@yahoo. com.
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