Tuesday, June 05, 2007

about nothing

I've slipped once again into my sucking-as-blogger funk, having posted so fitfully that I probably ought to be ashamed.

I had a rant all worked up about a bunch of people complaining about anti homeschooling media bias for not informing us all that a spelling bee winner was homeschooled, and their comments to the story are just ridiculous, especially when you learn that the child in question isn't really a homeschooler. He's actually a student of the public school whose family has opted into a program that allows children to do public schooling from home.

Outside of the homeschooling universe it may seem that the differences are not worth being concerned with, but inside our little world, it is a big deal. My family has opted out of compulsory schooling for a variety of reasons, though many of our reasons are shared by both the left and the right side of the homeschooling world.

Public school at home programs often sound like a great idea. The program often offers the family many resources, presumably free, such as computers and access to teachers. If that is the best idea for your family, then your family should by all means pursue such a program, but we ask that you not pretend that you are homeschoolers. In fact, most homeschoolers, though they may agree with my opinion that this family is not homeschooling would in fact argue for their right to seek out the best educational model for their family, and to me, that's the very heart of homeschooling, reviewing all possible options to best aid your family.

The problem has to do with questions of law. As homeschoolers, we often have chosen this to allow our family an amount of freedom from the teaching that happens in a public school. Teaching history provides a great example of my opinion. I want my kids to find history through a variety of sources and develop the ability to pick out the thread of truth. While this is possible even with children who attend brick and mortar public school, it's much less likely as the children need not be concerned with truth so much as the answer that is expected and deemed right by the system.

A further problem comes when these public school at home families start to represent homeschooling more than we are able to represent ourselves. We fear that legal issues will arise that will eventually erode our freedom to educate our children as we see fit. We fear that these programs will come to replace what we feel is our right to raise our children and educate them.

And that's my rant. The people on the wings never help anyone, and we'd all be glad if they'd just shut the fuck up. I did provide a link to the wackos that I'm discussing, but I'd be doing you a disservice if I suggested you go and read it. No one has that much time in their day.


Michele said...

Sorry. Long. As usual.

The kid wasn't a magnificent speller because he was schooled at home. He seemed like an aspie or someone with the "Einstein" thing going on, with a tremendous gift for collecting information in his brain which often occurs in these people. He spent much of his time on stage "stimming". His parents were wise to keep him out of the classroom, and allow him to pursue his intense interests. It's not "because" he was educated at home that he is brilliant in these areas.

I bristle at people trying to give homeschooling all the credit for their childrens' achievements and good behavior. Some kids are homeschooled because their behavior is out of the norm and shouldn't be held up to someone elses impossible standards.

All that said, I fear an erosion of homeschoolers rights with these public school at home programs. I looked at them, and they keep tabs on their special needs kids with IEP meetings etc. The first rule of school seems to be to remove the child from the influence of the parents, and meddling in their personal business. If my kid isn't actually "in" their classroom, why do they care about whether they are recieving the school's therapies and interventions? I worry that some study will show that these public school at home programs are "successful" and institute leglislation that demands homeschoolers use them.

PS. With you on the History thing. Just the facts. Let them form their own opinion.

Nance Confer said...

There is a long-standing disagreement among "we" homeschoolers about the issue of who should and who should not call themselves homeschoolers.

Some hsers welcome all comers. Some don't.

There is no "we" there.

For more info: http://www.nhen.org/issues/default.asp?id=499


JJ Ross said...

I agree with Michele that this case is not about the program, it's about the child. This child has been ill-served by the competition and even by winning the competition, because of the media glare that has held his special talents up to ridicule, and equated his condition to whatever "programs" now wish to disavow him.

What I said at Culture Kitchen is that if it isn';t about the individual child rather than the programs and politics and public, we should ALL be ashamed.

The Rutgers Girls
were very carefully prepared for, and protected during, their post-Imus press conference, which I watched live on cable. Several were not allowed by university policy to speak to the media at all, because they were freshmen (freshwomen?)

And they *certainly* were not left alone!

Favorite Daughter, at 17 and in college classes, is being interviewed for a magazine article. We chose to have it done by email so she could be thoughtful and say what she really means, and I've asked that her real name not be used in publication.

Of course he shouldn't be left to fend for himself, with the media or anywhere else!

It's possible he shouldn't have been competing at all. He might have been much better off not to have learned to use his mental aptitudes in this gladiatorial competition as spectacle in the first place. I have a whole story to tell about that, the time a Dick Clark Productions special tested FavD for their "Who's the Smartest Kid in America?" special. She was 9 or 10, quite the chilling episode for her and her mother . . ..

This is the first I've heard of this boy's case, Liza, but I'm not surprised. I haven't seen the video nor read the 450 comments mocking this young man, probably won't, don't need to, to know what kinds of minds and attitudes are on display in this sad public spectacle.

(People mock homeschooling and unschooling --and "gifted" education -- just like they mock this little boy. And for the same reasons, I am thinking . . .apparently they haven't learned any better, however they were schooled.)