Thursday, January 18, 2007

are my nuts out?

I recently created a speck of drama following a comment from a nice blogger. It wasn't really drama much less a whole speck, but the rant was fun if perhaps not entirely based in reality.

As a homeschooling parent, I spend lots of time online looking for things to drown out the sounds of the kids going crazy. I tried to teach them how to sit down and shut up, and seeing that not work, I'm now teaching them how to be ignored for hours at a time.

The vast majority of people have no idea what it is that we do in an average day. Many people will claim to know a homeschooler or two and use those people as their example of homeschooling. That's a really useless way to make assumptions, but it's also human nature. Most of us homeschoolers learn pretty quickly to ignore most of these people when possible, and it's never easier than when we meet them online.

People don't often approach homeschooling from a place that is accepting of the facts, and they don't often seek real learning about homeschooling before forming their opinions. Those opinions sadly are too often basic, broad generalizations based on something they heard/read/saw on tv or based on that one family they knew that just didn't quite seem right to them.

Though I haven't seen it lately, often someone will post on their blog about homeschooling and use all the same tired old arguments about socially inept kids whose parents didn't teach them science and couldn't teach them math. These nice folks will assume that all publicly schooled children are getting some great education in the mysteries and vagaries of life. Homeschooled children are of course relegated to cultural backwater towns with the lunacy of overly religious, anti-science parenting and the education that goes with that.

The blogger type mentioned above, assuming they are writing for no more than a core of friends and families, suddenly finds that they've become the topic of another blogger as the flood of irate homeschoolers descends upon the comment section with the fire of god and lists of how great we are compared to the lowly heathen public schooler. In turn, some of us tend to fight fire with fire, using our verbal acumen to jump on the doubters as soon as we catch them doubting loud enough for others to hear, throwing a link a maybe even a quote into a post with some hopefully witty repartee.

I did the same thing in my most recent post. I created a character and tried to push a blogger into my description. Perhaps that was not right, but I stand by my characterization as a caricature that I feel is not inaccurate in describing some of the attitudes we homeschoolers too often have to deal with though I have no way of knowing how closely described the blogger in question was.

One problem that we often face when answering the doubters is that they will offer their opinion as concern for the children. The hand wringing and the wails of "who will help the poor baby children?" are often part of the denigration of homeschooling, but again we have to accept that these people, for all their concern, just don't know what they are talking about. It comes from complete acceptance of something (childhood education) that one will not allow to be questioned. It's why the school system can't be fixed and likely won't ever be fixed.

I don't believe that most kids benefit from being taught school subjects. I believe that kids learn, and the best way for kids to learn is to want to. I believe that kids want to learn from the moment their slimy little bodies exit their mothers and that they will learn unless something gets in the way. There is nothing as successful as school at making kids loathe learning. Allowing our kids to learn is the best way to insure that they will, allowing them to learn what they truly need to when they need to while simultaneously giving them every possible tool as well as the understanding that there is nothing they can't learn and that everything they will ever need is available to them if they are willing to work for it.

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