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.

bring it all together

With the approach of the big ska show I've mentioned, I've promised to bring you a variety of bands over the next couple of months. Today's band is sadly not going to be at Ska Weekend, at least not this year, though it would be cool.

Today's band is also a band that is new to me. I was screwing around, wasting time on YouTube, and I don't know now how exactly I happened to decide to give these guys a listen, but I did, and I'm happy I did.

To understand part of my delight with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra you'll need a tiny bit of ska history. In the '30's and '40's, American radio broadcasts of jazz and R&B were making those styles popular in Jamaica. Also popular at this time was the sound system, a mobile party basically, which DJ's would set up in neighborhoods, often in competition with others. Many of the top DJ's went on to become the top producers of the new sound, the combination of American music and Jamaican music that became ska.

Ska became the top music in Jamaica, and the music was taken to the UK, immigrating with its fans. This began ska's second wave of popularity, and a few years later, ska resurfaced again, its third wave, as American bands started playing this new music. Each wave has seen ska taken in new and varied directions as it's popularity grows and moves around the world.

It's not at all surprising to find a Japanese band playing ska, as the Japanese seem to have a knack for distilling everything down to its essence. Maybe I'm just making that last part up, but you can't argue with what they've done to this decades old hybrid music, the ska.

So I give you Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. This song is more than kid safe in that, if your kids don't dance a little and act crazy a little, then something may not be quite right. You can watch the embedded video, but I suggest you click HERE to go to the YouTube page and click the embiggening button in the bottom right corner of the player. These guys deserve to be seen full screen.