Friday, June 27, 2008

I've been thinking about that article

Had a great conversation with Debbie today about the article I posted a few days ago. Her perspective was one I hadn't seen before and it was eye-opening. That article wasn't so much about homeschooling as it was about values, and what we decide is important. About whether we decide to follow the politically correct party line and accept society's standards as our own, or if we choose to make the tough choices and risk offending people because it's what we know is right. Do both parents slave away 12 hours a day in pursuit of the almighty dollar and all it's trappings, at the expense of precious time together as a family? Or do we decide that our tent will suffice as our vacation home, our television is plenty big enough already (and turned on too much as it is) and we don't need a speed boat or more cars than we have drivers.

Sooo, my motivation for posting the article? See, unless you've been confronted by someone who's offended with the philosophy of homeschooling, you wouldn't really understand where I was coming from when I shared the article with you. I guess it's really my curiosity about what fuels such opposition to homeschooling. And the answers are probably as numerous as the people who hold the opinion. Some people out there are really angry, y'all. I mean rabidly, vehemently, fundamentally opposed to homeschooling. Why is that?

I've often wondered if it was because they're feeling like they're not 100% comfortable with their own choices and priorities, and are feeling insecure and defensive when presented with someone who made different choices. Could be.

It could also be that some don't get to make the choice. I know that when I was a single mom, I hated to see moms out and about with their kids during the day. That mom was probably married, she got to stay home with her kids and I hated her for it. I hated her for doing what I couldn't do. I wanted to be home with Ashley so badly but I just couldn't. I had to work! I had made certain choices and as a result was the only one capable of making money (Ashley couldn't reach the sink so I couldn't get her a job at Denny's as a dishwasher). That responsibility fell on me and wiped all other options off the slate.

So what's the source of all the anti-homeschooling animosity? Is it that they want to homeschool but can't for whatever reason? Is it that they don't want to homeschool and feel bad or guilty about that, feel like they have something to prove? Like we love our children more than you love yours because we want to homeschool? (That's not true, by the way.) Do they think we're feeling smart and smug and superior? Hardly. More than half of us would probably say that we know we've made the right decision but at the same time we feel woefully under qualified and humbled by the task. Or maybe it's that almighty left-wing attitude that it takes a village to raise a child and homeschoolers flaunt an independence and self-sufficiency that Society At Large finds distasteful.

I truly don't know where the animosity is coming from and I probably never will. Each person probably has their own set of reasons why what I'm doing is wrong. And when I think they may have a valid point, I really do sit down and think about it.

I'm sure I'd be able to think clearer if I had a big old speed boat to lounge on, though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do I make you uncomfortable?

I'm always amazed at how vehemently some folks oppose homeschooling, more now than ever in light of the craziness that's happening in California. I came across this article (link no longer works) at a homeschooling blog I frequent that helps shed some light on what could be the source of the indignation. Read it with an open mind, since there's bound to be something in it that makes the anti- or non-homeschooler feel uncomfortable. Sorry 'bout that, can't be helped. No hard feelings, right? Since I respect you and you respect me? Righto.

Oh, but before I let you read the article I feel I must disclose something for fear that if I don't you might think my own children behave themselves at the grocery store. They so totally don't. They really, really don't.

You'll see what I mean in a minute.


SONNY SCOTT:Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort
6/8/2008 9:39:01 AM
Daily Journal

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.

You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being home schooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them. 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, and are more likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Some fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. 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.

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.

Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?

Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled 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.

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

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?

Is it any wonder we hate her so?

Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw County and his e-mail address is

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 6/8/2008, section 0 , page 0
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