Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Tammy at Just Enough and Nothing More provides us a link to what should be an interesting discussion that, due to the comments, has descended into a debate of the merits of public schooling versus homeschooling. Many of the comments are very much against the very idea of homeschooling but from the position of no real valuable knowledge of the subject to provide any worthwhile insight. The homeschool positive comments have tended, for the most part, to be intelligent views of the matter in terms of what is right for my child/children and a parent's right to investigate and use all available options.

The original post is not about that at all. The original questions whether homeschooling is another way to keep women in the home, involved with more responsibility, contributing to the family yet more unpaid labor.

This premise is shaky on a number of levels, mostly in that it assumes so very much about both homeschooling and the families (men, husbands, fathers need not apply apparently) involved in the pursuit. The premise assumes that the feminist movement exists only to get women working and fulfilled through being working. There's also a conspiracy theory feel to the argument as if society itself is so secretly patriarchal that everything is about how we can keep our womenfolk where they belong.

That women allow themselves to be so concerned with the opinions of others, that the term "mommy wars" not only exists but seems an apt description is by far a bigger issue and affront to feminism than the fact that some mothers take on a greater role in their children's lives. The questions being asked, even if we are only 1-2% of the population, is also an affront to the many fathers, like myself, who are able to stay home with our kids. The question, as these things so often do, fails completely to understand the families that have chosen to homeschool and the wide variety of reasons that so many of us are leaving the system. The question also seems to me to place men and fathers once more on the landing outside, smoking with the boys and either unwilling or unable to aid our wives or to treat our wives as equals. Again, we get no real understanding of the variety of families and dynamics and situations.

The question could be valid, almost, if not for the fact that homeschooling, outside of the zealous fundy crowd, is not generally a decision forced on mothers by a dominating husband/father.

Often the dads of homeschooled children weren't the ones who first considered homeschooling, and they are sometimes somewhat averse to the idea, usually if/while it is new to them. The mothers in these families generally make bold choices based on a variety of factors. Because it's usually the mother that is in contact most often with the school, it is usually the mothers who see first hand the problems their children may be having, the mothers who advocate and fight for their kids, and the mothers who give up on the school and take matters into their own hands. That so many people are doing just this says that the discussion we really need is about the school system. The feminist issue is just more noise blocking out the real talk.

All that is not to say that there aren't situations in which mothers and fathers don't work evenly and fairly together to accomplish the task, thought this could be said of any number of situations families face. Mothers still have options, and if they are in a place where they truly have no options, then homeschooling is the very least of their worries. A controlling partner is an issue completely apart from how a family chooses to educate their children.


Sara said...

Very good points. If I was doing what my partner "pushed" me to do, I'd be working. And we'd have a sports car. Instead, I'm a homeschooling mom and there's no way we can afford that fancy car.

Pissed OFF Housewife said...

"The original post is not about that at all. The original questions whether homeschooling is another way to keep women in the home, involved with more responsibility, contributing to the family yet more unpaid labor."

I'd comment but since I have an 8:30 tee time tomorrow I think my input might be a little shaky....

Michele said...

I really think women should have no fear of men "keeping them in their place" in America today. We haven't had to worry about that for a long time.

A woman gets applause for anything she does today. If she stays home she gets congratulated for sacrificing her income for the sake of her children. If she goes to work, she gets applauded for showing her children how a woman can be independent and successful. This is going to sound really harsh, but she can even murder her five children and get a fund set up by Katie Couric and a special on the Lifetime channel because she just couldn't help it. Are men judged by these same standards? Are they given a pass on anything? Are they applauded for going against the grain?
Feminists should hush a bit about the patriarchy. Men, in general, are under more social pressure to conform and presently have less freedom in today's nuclear family. What if this whole homeschooling thing is just a way for housewives to keep their husbands in their place- at the office?

Nance Confer said...

Excellent post -- thanks, Sam.

And I'm hoping Michele is kidding.