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Minding my own business. There's a radical concept for this country.

I was supposed to write something defending the practice of home schooling. I could write something out that is long and detailed, justifying why it's okay for me to do that, why you shouldn't assume certain things about my character, parenting style or politics.

But truth be told, I am kind of sick of it.

If you had any idea how many closets I have come out of in my old age--I guess it gets sort of old after a while, trying to calm people down who make a big deal about every silly thing.

Whenever someone challenges you about some aspect of your life [whether this challenge is justified or not] they are telling you to prove yourself to them. They are asking you, if you are worthy to exercise and own your own power and creativity.

I think though, that you get to a certain age, where you stop caring if people think you are worthy. I mean what are they going to do about it even if you aren't the best specimen [hypothetically speaking]? What will they do to you when you [inevitably] fail to achieve perfection in their eyes?

Are they going to shame you and ostracize you? Big whoop. Secular homeschoolers in some areas are already ostracized by some of the more extreme religious home schoolers. So any attempt by people left of center will simply be more. Nothing new, just more and nothing worthy of anything more than an eye roll and a deep sigh. [great! this again!]

What does that prove other than some Lefties and Righties share some unattractive and immature behavioral traits? It is reminiscent of those 2nd grade school yard taunts: "I'll show you! If you don't live like I want you to--I will tell everyone not to like you!"

To which I reply: Choose your Battles Wisely.

I just feel like I am beating a dead horse. I can't force anyone to open their mind. The information is out there--pros and cons, good stories, not so good stories. You don't need me or anyone else to spoon feed you on the particulars.

 And I feel like the horse being beaten. I am the parent, and I know what needs to be accomplished with respect to this issue, and individual disapproval, emotional and verbal abuse will have little to no effect on my decisions to home school given the circumstances.

I feel like I am constantly telling people to: "Trust me I am a woman."

In the military it was:  "you can trust me to do my job as a man's equal."

In the legislature it is: "You can trust me with a loaded uterus and ovaries--and you can trust me with contraception and the freedom to be a sexual being."

When I was pregnant--it was: "You can trust me to pick my own method of birth and my own birth attendants. I don't need you restraining me and bullying me into certain procedures."

When I had the babies, it was: "You can trust me to breast feed my children in public and semi-public places. You can trust me with my own mammary glands!"

And now I feel like I have to convince people to trust my parenting skills? That I have to convince them that I have made and will make, efficacious, educational decisions that mitigate or cancel out the harmful effects of a broken and battered public school system that has been pock marked and crippled by ideological warfare for the past 30 years.  

WTF?

Anything else?

Can you trust me with a fork? I might poke my eye out!

I guess I am just tired of the ridiculousness of it all.  What feels like--constant attacks on home schooling parents, based on rumor and hyperbole and wild imaginings.

Other than [NOT] doing things--educating our children the way that you would educate your children, other than being different while being *visible--what did we ever do to deserve all this criticism?

And I know that *coming out as a home schooler isn't going to make me popular with a lot of folks right now.

Wow--never felt that before! So let me just throw a match on this pile of oily rags and say the following:

The religious home schoolers out there, are not as bad as you think. You might not like their curriculum, or the church they go, to or the people they vote for, but--they care about their children and they express that care through affection and diligence.

I know you want to imagine them all as three headed monsters who live in militia compounds and beat their children with spiked clubs--but that is not the truth. Whatever I might personally think of their ideology--the ones that I have met and observed appear to be good parents, and [and I know this will shock you] their children were thriving in terms of personal development as well as benefiting from a solid educational foundation in the basics.

At the end of the day, we are all citizens together. And we have voted with our feet. I personally have exercised the option to place my children in a healthier and more comprehensive, educational environment, and we have done so without taking resources away from the public school districts [because we still pay property taxes].

So instead of criticizing us FOR voting with our feet, why not ask why we felt the need to do so?

What could change the scenario so that those factors are turned from negatives to positives?

You are saying that we have to prove ourselves worthy as parent-educators, but many failed to grasp the most basic fact, that our schools failed to prove themselves worthy of our children.

Originally posted to GreenMother on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Riotious rant, GreenMother! (6+ / 0-)

    And it couldn't come at a more appropriate time! Thank you!

  •  I've avoided the home-schooling diaries (10+ / 0-)

    I only clicked on this one because I didn't know it was on this topic!

    I don't think it's fair to judge the motives of parents. I don't care why you chose to home school your children; it's not a choice I would make but you know your kids better than I ever will, and I trust that you are doing what you believe is best for them.

    That some people choose to home school their children for religious reasons or whatever, I don't care about that either.

    And that's why I avoid diaries on the subject. It's just something I don't have much of an opinion on. I don't have kids so it's not something I need to consider, and I don't care that some people choose that route for their kids. It is their choice to make and I'm not going to interfere with that.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:50:40 AM PST

    •  I understand (5+ / 0-)

      When I see people posting material about special needs kids--my kids do not have those sorts of issues. So I have no useful advice, no experience, nothing to offer except:

       moral support.

      That being said, show me a parent --any parent irregardless who doesn't need moral support from time to time?

      Sorry if you felt tricked into reading. That wasn't the intent.

      Thank you for your heartfelt response.

    •  Today is the first time (5+ / 0-)

      that I've read home-schooling diaries on Kos.  I commented twice on the other diary, but this will be my only comment here:

      You want to home-school, that your choice.  But can you please do it without trashing the public schools??

      You want others to respect your choice...how about the same respect in return?

      Stand Up! Keep Fighting! Paul Wellstone

      by RuralLiberal on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:10:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't feel bad about telling the truth (4+ / 0-)

        You call it trashing, but my tax dollars go into those schools that are failing.

        I feel no need to pretend that everything is alright in our school system.

        •  But you could acknowledge that not ALL (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bronte17, worldlotus

          public schools, the system as a whole, is a failure. I don't doubt that it's true for your district, I take you at your word that it's not a good atmosphere for your children.

          That doesn't mean that it's true for all public schools or the entire system. I think if you keep the criticism to your district in specific you might not get as much push back from people who believe in public education.

          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

          by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:28:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, the whole system is a failure (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jennifree2bme, cynndara

            There are bright spots, but as a whole it is pretty grim. But not because that's what I want.

            It just is what it is.

            Rome wasn't built in a day, and this problem wasn't either. It has taken us decades to get here collectively.

            Who knows how long it will take for us to dig out.

            •  Okay. That's how you feel (0+ / 0-)

              And I'm seeing by your attitude why you have critics. Whatever.

              P.S. I am not a crackpot.

              by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:46:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've read your comments... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Leslie in KY, Nance, jennifree2bme

                ...and I find your comments generally pretty good, BoiseBlue, but this one feels an awful lot like a cheap shot.

                Frankly, I agree with GreenMother and I think she's proven herself to be quite open and not derogatory at all. But like many of us who choose not to do what others deem as "appropriately liberal," (homeschool, charter school, not vaccinate, etc.), she's simply tired of getting ridiculed. As she notes:

                I just feel like I am beating a dead horse. ... And I feel like the horse being beaten. I am the parent, and I know what needs to be accomplished with respect to this issue, and individual disapproval, emotional and verbal abuse will have little to no effect on my decisions to home school given the circumstances.
                The system IS broken and it DOES NOT WORK for EVERY child. That's not to say that it's all bad, but "pockets of success" is not the same thing as "working."

                After all, half the Titanic was left in tact, and that ship still managed to sink.

                Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

                by sweetsister on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 11:54:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It wasn't a cheap shot (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  annetteboardman

                  I'm usually reasonable, all I said was that if GM could avoid speaking in black and white (the entire system is a failure) than she probably wouldn't have such a hostile audience.

                  I don't think I was out of line with anything that I said, and she responded to me with hostility.

                  That's all. She needs to accept that not all public schools are awful, and the anti-homeschoolers should accept that not all home schoolers are awful. But she's not going to win anyone over by refusing to concede that her opinions are not facts.

                  P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                  by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 01:13:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  interesting...but what iare the facts? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Nance, FloridaSNMOM, cynndara

                    If the system "fails" most of its children, then is it not a failure? That's not to say that there are no children who will succeed, or that there aren't pockets of success, but we're not talking about individual successes, and we're not talking about moderate successes. We're talking about a SYSTEM and we're talking about helping children reach their FULL POTENTIAL.

                    I would even concede that we can say a system is a success if it works for a significant majority of the shareholders involved. But I think we'd all be hard pressed to say that the education system today works for everyone. Teachers are demoralized. Children are demoralized. Parents are demoralized. It is, by definition, a failure.

                    I don't know. I hate to use my next thought as a condition to my argument, but the fact is that I pretty much thought along your lines until I had kids, and then especially kids with learning disabilities. With the fantastic teachers two of my kids have this year and IEPs for both of them, I haven't had to worry. If they had teachers like this every year, I'd probably be inclined to agree with you, or at least think smugly "Well, MY school isn't like THOSE schools." But last year--in a highly regarded school, BTW--showed me otherwise.

                    And then when I hear stories about education in some areas (red states?), such as what GreenMother describes, I KNOW we are failing our children.

                    Also, I think that there's an interesting question about the judgment of failure. Just b/c some of us think the system is failing does not necessarily mean that we're anti-public education. Can't fix something unless you admit it's broken.

                    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

                    by sweetsister on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 02:01:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Two different things: (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      annetteboardman
                      If the system "fails" most of its children, then is it not a failure?
                      Yes, I would classify that as a failure, but first you'd have to give me evidence that that is a fact.
                      But I think we'd all be hard pressed to say that the education system today works for everyone
                      No doubt. But "not working for everyone" does not make something a failure. It means that it doesn't work for everyone. I can't think of any single institution, public or private, that anyone can definitively say "works for everyone." And besides, I don't know how many times I have to say this, but I NEVER SAID that it works for everyone.

                      Just as you must concede that home schooling does not work for everyone, and that public education works just fine for some.  

                      I'm not on either side of this issue. I stated that from the very beginning.

                      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                      by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 02:27:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Some examples (0+ / 0-)

                        http://www.aclu.org/... when you go to this ACLU page, be sure and check out the other stories in this vein.

                        http://www.usatoday.com/...
                        {is it still 1 in 7 or have the numbers gone up?}

                        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

                        Half of all schools fail federal guidelines--that's a step up, the predicted number was 82 percent.

                        Just a couple of examples. I am sure there are more.

                      •  In order to prove failure (0+ / 0-)

                        we'd have to first agree on the basis of that defines failure. My definition is, as I noted above:

                        We're talking about a SYSTEM and we're talking about helping children reach their FULL POTENTIAL.
                        As a whole, I do not believe that the system of public education is doing this. And while my supposition is primarily anecdotal, I've read enough to know that it's not that far off the mark. If it was, we wouldn't be having these conversations like this one from teacherken as to the role of the teacher and/or parent, nor would groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation being pouring millions into figuring out what "makes" great education, nor would Race to the Top or NCLB be "needed." The merits of some of these efforts aside, the fact that they even exist proves my point.

                        Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would have to be the fiercest of advocates for my children and their classmates. And yet, without my strong advocacy, I know that my kids would be having a horrific educational experience, as would many of their classmates. I was told as much by key folks in their school. And this is a well-regarded school!

                        As for your second point quoting me, I've even suggested that something could be considered a success if the majority of shareholders were having their needs met. So are they? I say no. And you?

                        Also, I think we can agree that I've been pretty clear by my personal actions alone that I believe there is no one answer for every family or even every child (since my kids are in a public charter school, one was homeschooled for a while and we're consdering all options for middle school). That makes as much sense as any one-size-fits-all solution to any problem (which is to say "no sense at all").

                        Finally, as far as I can tell, this conversation (yours and mind, not the diary) isn't about being on a side of homeschooling or not. It's about whether the public educational system (as a whole) is currently failing our kids or successfully helping them reach their potential.

                        Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

                        by sweetsister on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:55:51 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  BB -- even (0+ / 0-)

                    parents and others who support the traditional public school system will tell you that there are many problems with it. There were problems before NCLB and now there are more.

                    If those problems caused some of us to homeschool, that should just be accepted without any homeschooler having to add the caveat that, of course, some parts of some public schools function quite well.  

                    •  I never said there weren't problems with it (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      annetteboardman

                      Ever. I've said above that one of my nephews had a hard time in public school so we were going to send him to a private one, BUT when he moved he landed in a great public school. So I know the pros and cons of public school.

                      I was supportive of GM's decision to home school from the very first comment I made in this thread. I said I support whatever decision parents make wrt to the education of their children.

                      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                      by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 02:22:25 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good, then. We agree. (0+ / 0-)

                        Public schools have problems.

                        Now, let's agree that it is not a problem when homeschoolers say it.

                        •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

                          Sure. Just don't say the whole thing is a failure, or that it fails all of our children. Stick to the facts and there's usually not a whole lot of disagreement.

                          And we can also agree that home schooling has its problems, I presume? And that it's not a problem when others say that?

                          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                          by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:10:55 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  As long as you (0+ / 0-)

                            don't blame ps's problems on hsers, don't fall back on the stereotypes about hsers that have been debunked endlessly and, as you say, stick to the facts.

                            Of course, before we could seriously discuss whether our current public school system is a "failure" we'd have to define what we think "success" would look like and whether, under the best circumstances, ps achieves that goal.

                            Then we might meander into discussing whether a school system should be weighted down with testing and standardization by way of NCLB and its offspring, how alternative ideas could work, how "good" schools could be excellent and how "bad" schools might be better if freed from some/all of these constraints.

                            My prejudice is that all of this NCLB-inspired crapola is a misuse of resources and students in all the schools under that thumb are being ripped off. Obviously, some do OK with the testing nonsense, but how much better could they do? And for so many others? It's a disaster.

                            We might discuss the way funding is the key to the differences from one school district to another, one state to another, and try to decide if that is what we want or if we have better ideas about how to offer learning opportunities to all the children in America.

                            We might look at income inequality and healthcare, etc., as they relate to success in school, once we define success. We might look at how these features in our society perpetuate the "good" schools and the "bad" schools, how parents, even non-homeschoolers :), are protective of their children, and their local schools when they seem to be "working" for their children.

                            Then we might discuss, if we agreed that standardization and testing should not be the key ingredients to a "successful" learning system, how to make changes in the system or transition to a better one. Or we might agree that that is not possible but that "bad" schools need an infusion of every sort of help available to give them a chance to jump up Maslow's ladder to get a learning experience similar to their better-off neighbors.

                            There are many things we might discuss -- shoes and ships and sealing wax :) -- if we could.

                          •  Why don't you go back to the beginning of the (0+ / 0-)

                            thread? You are chastising me for something I never did.

                            I don't think it's fair to judge the motives of parents. I don't care why you chose to home school your children; it's not a choice I would make but you know your kids better than I ever will, and I trust that you are doing what you believe is best for them.
                            That is what I said at the very beginning of this thread. If you can point out anytime in my history here where I have "fallen back on prejudices" wrt home schoolers, I will apologize. (Note, you won't find that. My opinion on the subject is summed up right there.)

                            If you want to argue with someone about the merits of home school vs public school, I am not that person. I simply do not care if you send your kids to school or educate them yourself, and I never have.

                            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                            by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 06:44:09 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As long as (0+ / 0-)

                            nobody ever says anything mean about public schools. Got it.

                          •  Rolls eyes (0+ / 0-)

                            Yes. That's exactly what I said.

                            Please ignore that comment of mine that talked about a public school failing my nephew. Everything is black and white and no one can speak in shades of gray.

                            Got it.

                            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                            by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:02:23 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are (0+ / 0-)

                            on the same side, you know. Public schools suck for a lot of people. They need a lot of work. If they can be fixed at all, it will be amazing.

                            There are good ones in the bunch (read: usually schools in neighborhoods with higher income levels that generate higher test scores). But pointing out the good ones doesn't fix the bad ones.

                            Neither does refusing to engage in real discussion.

        •  There you go: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuntieRa
          You call it trashing, but my tax dollars go into those schools that are failing.
          "Your money" and your assessment of public schools (or is it your adoption of the right-wing and corporatist mantra to further the privatization of public schools?) is nauseating.  "My money" has also gone towards the education of other people's children, but unlike you, I don't resent that and am a fierce advocate for public schools.
          •  Well rock on Fierce Advocate (0+ / 0-)

            I won't stop you.

          •  One could as easily say (0+ / 0-)

            that this is your mantra, from what you have written on the topic. It takes no more twisting of the facts than you have used to make this claim.

            Why do you feel so personally threatened when others do not take the same path you did?

          •  I don't resent it. (0+ / 0-)

            I think the kids are being short-changed.

            Being a "fierce advocate" shouldn't mean you can't see the extreme problems throughout the system and want to fix those.

            And it shouldn't require that the 5% (estimate based on estimates and guesses oft repeated in hsing circles) of us who choose to homeschool should be blamed or be accused of being anything right-wing or corporatist.

            •  By extreme problems throughout (0+ / 0-)

              the system, do you mean local, state or federal level? I live in a blue state with an excellent public school system. Not so with the red State next door, where public education receives far less funding.

              The upside for my State is that it gets its pick of teachers with the top grades and highest credentials. The downside for the State next door is that it has to take the leftovers. And you know, if I lived in that State, I, too, would seriously consider home schooling. Or moving.

              Only point I'm trying to make here is you get what you pay for. Remember, a BA degree= 4 years of college. Tacked onto this is 1 year continuing education (minimum), and 2 years for a Masters degree. That's 6 years total, if you roll your continuing education into a Masters, 7 years if you don't. For that money and that amount of time, you could have gone to med school or law school or vet school.

              So how are  you going to pay off those student loans on a teacher's salary?

              •  I would certainly (0+ / 0-)

                never suggest that teachers are overpaid, red state or blue.

                I think the school system's problems exist on all levels and in all states. If "excellent" means high test scores from better-off neighborhoods, that's not really much to crow about. When that's what defines our school system, we can't really do much but tweak it.

                Since moving isn't a real option for most people, if they are unfortunate to be in your neighboring state, hsing may be their best option.

                And even if they are lucky enough to live in your "excellent" school district, the standardized approach to learning may not be working for their child. Even if most of the neighbors are happy with their "excellent" test results.

                •  I agree, schools simply cannot be all things (0+ / 0-)

                  to all students. And you misunderstood my comment; I was not speaking of my particular school district, I was commenting on my State's dedication to public education as a whole. And truly, I wasn't making my determination on the basis of test scores.

                  However, universities do place great reliance on test scores, and that most certainly has significance.

                  A few years back, I attended H.S. graduation ceremonies at another local school district--a small district, which hovers between lower middle class and upper poor--and was quite frankly stunned at the number of collage scholarships that little group of 40 to 50 students garnered: Stanford, M.I.T., U.S. Military Academy, Duke University... I cannot remotely remember them all. They flew thick and fast as snowflakes.

                  What I do know is the kid who got the Duke scholarship (whom I know personally, and am damn  proud of it) received a four year free ride to the tune of $38,000.00 a year. And yes, that was largely on the basis of S.A.T. test scores.

                  Not--and this is so important I cannot emphasize it enough--that No Child Left Behind is anything but a horrible  piece of crap.

                   

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, worldlotus

        Although I admit that public schools vary from one region to the next. Even county to county. If a person feels that the public school available to their child is lacking, I trust them on that.

        I know the schools that my nephews go to vary. One of them goes to a really great public school and he's excelling in it. He's doing much better than the one he was in 20 miles from that school, where he was at the top of his class and bored, and even the AP classes didn't challenge him enough.

        When he was in that school we were going pool our resources to get him into a private school. When they moved he was perfectly suited for another public school. He's still in AP classes but they are the perfect level for him. Challenging but rewarding.

        So, I don't like trashing the public school system as a whole, but there are definitely some public schools that are inadequate in some areas, for whatever reason.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:18:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

        On so many issue the criticism arises, say what you want, but you have no right to criticize X.

        If you feel that any criticism of public schools is "trashing" them, that's your opinion, and it says a lot about how you think.

  •  I thought that the heart of being liberal (9+ / 0-)

    was respecting the choices of other people. The idea that one size does not fit all. And that we can still be going in the same direction even if we are walking a different path.

    I don't see any of that represented in the attacks on folks choosing to homeschool. I'm glad to read your diary and perhaps find the place where those attacks have no impact on me.

    •  Home Schooling is not for everyone (11+ / 0-)

      I still support the idea of public schools. And I still support them financially through my taxes.

      But I do feel strongly that the following things need to happen to improve educational opportunities and outcomes across the board:

      1. Smaller Classrooms --as in no more than 10 or 12 kids per class.
      2. Higher wages and better benefits from teachers.
      3. Living wage for all Americans.
      4. Affordable Housing.
      5. Affordable, accessible, comprehensive healthcare [single payer].
      6. Guaranteed time off for all workers regardless of part time or full time status that directly addresses family obligations such as but not limited too: PTA meetings, recitals, teacher conferences and holiday vacation and sick days due to sick children.

      If everyone had more time to spend with their children and made at least a living wage [which would also cut the need to impoverish oneself in terms of time with the family] then parents everywhere would at least have an equal opportunity to nurture their children and supervise them and spend time with them outside of school and help them prepare for a trade or for college.

      Just my opinion.

      There is more to it than this, but this would be a good start.

    •  Hmm dunno. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, AuntieRa, Caipirinha, Nance

      I don't think all choices deserve respect.  Some choices are just downright stupid.  And I don't think that thinking that in any way makes me less liberal.  'Respecting all choices' sounds more like a 'centrist' position in which you 'respect' and try to reconcile really bad ideas and good ones, as if they had equal validity.

      I'm not going to respect anyone who teaches their children that the world is only 6k years old, or that evolution is a lie, for instance.

      (Note that I'm not talking about homeschooling here, just that the notion that liberals should 'respect' all choices or ideas.)

      •  Or choosing not to have their (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nance, Andrew F Cockburn

        children vaccinated.

      •  Well that is your choice as well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamamorgaine, Leslie in KY

        Just beware that you don't become what you despise most.

        I figure, if their kids can read and do their math, then if at some point they begin to doubt the material you object to, they will have the tools to self educate themselves away from that questionable material.

        Which is a lot better than being functionally illiterate and disinterested in learning at all.

        •  I don't 'despise' most things. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara, little lion

          And I'm not 'stuck on' open-mindedness.  I would like to see more understanding of science, though.  People can be wrong.  People can be ignorant.  Hell, I'm ignorant of a lot - there's simply too much out there in the world to know about it all. But I want people to be able to embrace nuance, if presented with data, rather than rhetoric.  We all have experiences, positive or negative, that predispose us to view activities or beliefs in positive or negative beliefs.

          And, of course, life is not binary.  Some people live in school districts in which Republicans have already largely managed to trash the public schools, and drive down salaries to the point at which good teachers will have already largely have been snapped up by better districts that pay more.  Others are lucky enough to live in districts in which public schools have been damaged by NCLB and RTTT, but have fared better.  And some people are better parents, some are worse.

          So for some folks homeschooling will be a good idea.  For others it won't.  For yet others, neither public schooling nor homeschooling will be a good choice, sadly.

      •  Perhaps the choices don't deserve (0+ / 0-)

        respect, but the right to make those bad choices does.

        I do believe that a baseline is needed, especially when we're talking about children. But I have to allow adults to do stupid things and make bad choices (based on my own judgement). If that makes me "centrist" (a bad thing?) then  I'll accept that label.

        •  That's a good question, and one that usually sees (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara

          the courts step in if the decision promises to be too dangerous or physically damaging to the children.

          If the parents make bad decisions likely to actually kill or mutilate the kids physically, they generally lose the right to make such decisions.  If, on the other hand, they merely indoctrinate them in bigoted worldviews that result in all sorts of horrible life decisions, they're allowed to do so freely.

          The question, I guess is where do your rights as a parent end, and your children's rights begin?  (And this is the generic you, not the you you.)  Right now, we give parents enormous latitude in deciding what to do to or 'for' their children, and children very little in the way of rights to go against their parents' wishes.  About the only way we let them work their way out of bad parenting is to seek 'emancipation', which I think is typically reserved for older teenagers anyway, shaving a few years off the time they have to live with bad parents.

          •  The assumption is (0+ / 0-)

            That children don't evolve past stupid adults.

            A lot of folks have their kids as youngsters. In their mid twenties and younger.

            These aren't the wisest adults I know on the whole, but they have the job unless they abdicate their parenting role to the state via adoption or abandonment.

            If children never evolved past adults who held questionable views [ethically speaking] then how do you explain the civil rights movement? Or the Women's Movement? Or Women's Suffrage, or the Abolitionist?

            Those prejudices were institutionalized and codified in our laws and our culture. And yet with each generation, the numbers grew until there were enough people who pushed these issues, that they were able to at least partially rewrite the rules and institute new values.

            The other assumption being that institutions such as schools cannot also inculcate idiot "values".

            How do you think that GLBT kids finally started putting the stops to bullying in schools? The teachers and administrators did not start that movement. The kids did.

            And when you see kids fighting for religious freedom in schools--once again--it's kids often fighting their school.

  •  feeling like I missed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamorgaine, angelajean

    a home schooling pie fight.

    Go away for a few days and miss all the fun, huh?

    I suppose it falls under the "personal freedom" category, doesn't it?

    Do we have the right to make decisions for ourselves once we turn 18 or do we not?

    Do we have the right to make decisions for our minor children or do we not?

    The right is trying to call themselves the party of personal freedom, but they are the ones that keep trying to limit it, aren't they?

    Government as parent, from what I can observe.

    I think, Therefore I am, ...A Democrat

    by Patriot4peace on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:06:43 AM PST

  •  I am a former teacher, who became frustrated and (9+ / 0-)

    discouraged by my local school when my daughter was unhappy in the environment it was providing. She reached the point where she did not want to go any more and asked me to home-school her. We were very fortunate to find another school for her where she thrived and was happy again.
    But I am very interested in your questions. I would love to know why you felt the need to home-school and what the negatives were and what would need to happen to change your mind.

    •  Public schools are very uneven (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, Catte Nappe, Thomasina

      One of my aunts homeschooled all of their kids in the St Louis area, starting in the 80s before it was a big wave.  I don't know their reasons, but I do know that they are both highly religious and that the uncle in question has made crypto-racist statements to me.  ("Being afraid for my life on public transportation")

      Personally, I grew up on a farm and went to a rural school district.  I got straight As without even trying.  When I moved to a suburban magnet school in my sophomore year, I went to a straight C student who was clearly several years behind my classmates.  My parents had neither the time nor money to try homeschooling, but I suspect that they would have pushed harder to get higher grade level curricula.

      This is one reason why No Child Left Behind is such a joke.  The differences between school districts completely swamp difference in individual achievement within a district.  We need to figure out how to get all districts to perform well.

      At this point, I would strongly suggest that anyone who parents a highly achieving student in a rural district should investigate homeschooling.  I really cannot see it as being any worse than the weak education they are likely already getting.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:39:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that is a very good point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, Odysseus, Thomasina

        Some places have great schools with solid curriculum and performance, that are not consumed with controversy and ideological battles over prayer, abstinence only, revisionist history, book banning, or creationism.

        If you have a school like that--cherish it. If not, you have options.

      •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, cynndara, Thomasina

        I don't have children, but do have a colleague who had children in the public school here, left her position here and went back with her husband to Seattle. They had disliked the school here and were thrilled to get their kids back to an environment where there were school orchestras, a big library, many more computers, and all those things.  What they found was that their kids, because they were in a relatively small school here, had gotten individual attention, could read well above grade level, and were ahead in math and writing.  They were in elementary school but hadn't had too much experience in experimental science yet.  They hadn't had the enrichment experience, and hadn't had foreign languages in elementary school, but they were well ahead of their classmates in many ways.  Rural schools are no better or worse necessarily than the city schools.  It depends on what the community values.  And how they support their teachers.

    •  I'll answer from my POV (13+ / 0-)

      I am a speech-language pathologist and my initial work background was in early childhood special education settings in the late 70's to mid 80's, along with teaching at a university in that time.  My profession was moving from a period of heavy behavior-modification authoritarian/didactic approaches in language to nurturant child-initiated approaches.  So John Holt's ideas were a natural fit.   Also I was dismayed when working with special needs children how often school was not a great environment for them in settings beyond early childhood (I remain very positive about early childhood programs that are developmentally appropriate).

      In addition, I was one of those "very bright students" that have been described as being harmed by being successful in school.  Harmed in the sense of losing my ability to initiate and direct my own learning and becoming overly teacher and grade-dependent.  As a young adult, I felt I was struggling  a  great deal to learn to self-educate.  Even in my profession I felt I had not learned much of what I needed in order to function as a professional despite an MS with very very high grades and a 97 percentile score on my professional certification exam.  I started learning to teach myself and recognized that I could have been doing that all along if I hadn't been playing the school-grade game memorizing and regurgitating to make A's.   My daughter had a similar experience during her freshman year of private college after homeschooling until then.  She almost quit, saying "I feel like I am getting dumber."  And she had qualified to be in the "honors" humanities program living in a special dorm and with more challenging classes.   She did continue and only because it was a theater program that became very professionally focused after that first year, she had a good learning experience.  

      So bottom line is that there is not much that could have made me want to sent my own children to any kind of institutional school, although if there had been a Waldorf school around I would have liked it for at least part time.  I do believe in education as a holisitic practice and Waldorf comes closest to that ideal.

        And once we became a homeschooling family, the ability to control your own time became too strong of a value to ever give it up.

      My adult son recently brought this up in a discussion about homeschooling, pointing out how it makes no sense to him for kids to spend more than a few hours a day on structured academics.  He is very proud of his self-confidence to self-educate--and he picked up something he was working on and said "this is why homeschooling was great for me.  I am not afraid to figure this out myself."  And I recognize that institutionally schooled kids can also develop this skill too-- but I don't think it happens as often for them as it does for those given the kind of unschooling experience my kids had.  At least, that hasn't been his experience with his peers that were educated locally here.  They all envy him and his abilities.  And don't think he is some kind of unusual genius-- because he was slightly delayed in language and speech acquisition and was a very late reader with some mild dyslexia persisting in spelling difficulty.  

    •  I have a lot of reasons (10+ / 0-)

      Some are very personal. But right now, some of the big ones:

      I live in a red state where there are issues with prayer in school constantly being fought, kids being bullied over religion, with creationism being taught in school--sorry but Teach me Both Sides is bullshit.

      And I absolutely object to shaming girls about their sexuality, or failing to teach them sexual hygiene [age appropriate] while pretending that boys don't play a part in the greater scheme of sex.

      My kids are taught science and evolution.

      My kids are taught how to care for their bodies, and are educated about sex at each appropriate milestone WITHOUT shaming.

      My kids are taught about different religions and cultures using the principles espoused by Emile Durkheim.

      My kids are not taught the White-washed version of American History.

      These are some of the things I corrected by homeschooling.

      When you live in a very red state or in a very conservative area, these are issues you might have to contend with in your schools. It's easy being a Liberal person in a Liberal state. It's hard being a Liberal in a Red State. Infinitely so, when one is a Liberal parent in a red state. Because then you are not just resisting conservative jabs at you personally, but the overt attempts to indoctrinate your kids [under your nose] into conservative schemes, using your tax dollars via the Public School System.

    •  What if you had not been so fortunate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thomasina, Andrew F Cockburn

      as to find another school you could send her to? In most places there is no choice of which public school a child can attend.

      •  I guess if I had not been able to find a school (0+ / 0-)

        where she could be happy, I would have home-schooled her. We were able to find a great school where she just blossomed and  was glad to go to every day. You are right, we were fortunate.

    •  Showing up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jk2003, cynndara, Thomasina

      for K with a 5-year-old who could already read well. That's what threw a monkey wrench in ps for us. He's a bright guy and could do all sorts of things ahead of "schedule." But the reading is what really stuck out.

      Circle time to try to think of words that start with each alphabet letter? He goes first and comes up with A is for antidisestablishmentarianism.

      He spent a lot of time on the teacher's computer (the school was selected from our three choices because it was supposed to be all about "technology") and helping other kids do their "work."

      He spent a lot of energy just trying to be good. He was 5 and from a nice home with nice manners and he knew he was supposed to behave, try to have a nice time, cooperate, follow directions, etc.

      He was good but he was sadder each day. Finally, it clicked with me that it was school that was the problem. Well, it clicked when I asked him why he was so sad and he said, "Mom, they never teach me anything new in school."

      Now, from pre-school to K everyone knew he was bright. Even though it was taking forever, everyone agreed he should be given g/t testing. It was in the works. Then it started happening. Then the sadness clicked with me. Then I withdrew him. Then the testing concluded. Yes, I took him back to the school for more testing, hoping something would come of it. The results -- surprise, surprise -- he's bright, yes, g/t.

      Suggested change? Let him go down the hall for an hour a day to read with the 2nd graders.

      This was such an insultingly inadequate response, we went back to homeschooling and never looked back.

      Does my anecdote tell you anything about the system? It's not evidence, I know. But does it speak to you about a system that delays any sort of change, even with a student who clearly needs more?

      The people I dealt with were, generally, lovely. They were just part of a system that didn't give them many choices and a system that gave them many ways to delay and obstruct. In the meantime, my child was 1-1/2 years older and happily homeschooling.

      Or maybe I was supposed to leave him there to sink deeper into boredom and sadness until he really acted out? Would that have gotten the attention he needed? No, I think it is good that he was happy. And that he's a happy young man today.

    •  For my family it was many faceted. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, Thomasina, chimene

      My son struggled through several years in elementary, not with academics, but with severe bullying, sometimes from students, sometimes from teachers. He's high functioning autistic, adhd, and odd. He also gets manic fits, which they've labeled as bi-polar though he doesn't get fits of depression now that he's not bullied, he does still get infrequent manic or overstimulated episodes.

      Things came to a head with the public school when it came time to work on his middle school IEP. His fifth grade special needs class had toured the middle school and he had completely freaked out during class change and had to be whisked back to his school to calm down. He couldn't handle the sensory overload, period. And yet, this same middle school, insisted that because he was doing well academically they would not continue an IEP for middle school nor give him any accommodations. Four meetings and many many arguments and phone calls later, his fifth grade teacher took me aside, told me this happened with almost all of his students who operated on my son's level, and suggested since my other half is disabled and home as well as being a college grad, that we may want to consider homeschooling. This teacher was frustrated with the middle school and tired of seeing his kids drop out or end up expelled over behavioral issues that were always part of their disability.

      For my daughter, her asthma got worse during pre-school/head start because they refused to follow doctor's orders about when she cannot be outside (too cold and her lungs can collapse).  I knew several other parents who were fighting similar battles with the local school over similar health issues. Add in that they wanted her to walk to school, refusing to send a bus, never mind she wasn't allowed to walk outside if the temp dropped to a certain point, and considering we were homeschooling her brother already, the answer seemed simple. Her lungs are improving a little every year, according to her doctor in part because she hasn't had any lung collapses since she was 5. She can tolerate lower temps now. Do I know that would have happened had she gone to public school? No, but I know we respect her limits and comply with them.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:37:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bless you for this Rant. It's just past noon (14+ / 0-)

    here and I'm ready to open a bottle of wine to get me through the personal attacks from my innocently-submitted diary.

    I feel like I'm in grammar school again and want to just crawl in a corner because somebody pointed at me and said: "Hey coke-bottle glasses"... :-)

    And then somebody (you) came up and offered to eat lunch with me. Thanks.

  •  I don't have a problem with home schooling (11+ / 0-)

    However I will vigorously support legislation to fund public schools, including voting against voucher schemes, privatization, or any legislation that takes funding sources away from public schools.  I attended an adequately funded public school that had top-notch teachers who weren't stifled by bench-mark tests or similar schemes.  To me, declines in the quality of public education coincide with the rise of performance measurement schemes and the decline in funding relative to costs.

    Not using public education resources--even though one has paid for them in taxes--is a purely personal decision.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:27:35 AM PST

    •  I agree-- (5+ / 0-)

      and many homeschoolers oppose vouchers and any assistance from the perspective that any money is going to come with strings attached that would erode homeschooling freedoms.  

      There are homeschoolers who don't mind trading freedom for money.   I think they are on a path that can lead to erosion of homeschooling freedoms.  

      But my perspective on homeschooling autonomy is the same as for abortion rights.  If you don't believe in homeschooling, then don't homeschool your children.  But keep your laws off my family and don't judge the morality of my choices.  

      I completely agree that public education suffers from all the emphasis on accountability performance measures.  Ironically, people turn around and want to apply those flawed measures to homeschooled children.  The first thing people say is , "well you tested your kids, right?"  Wrong.

      •  So you don't agree with any kind of testing? Or am (0+ / 0-)

        I reading that wrong?

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:08:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree teaching to the test (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cany, angelajean, FloridaSNMOM, cynndara

          When you train a child to limit their interests based on the curriculum offered or the test parameters---you are limiting their creativity and their potential to go much further.

          And one thing I witnessed frequently in the military. A large number of people who barely graduated high school. They were brilliant, but were terrible test takers and that one singular quality marked them for the lowest tier on the track.

          But back to the test:

          Assessment should be based on multiple factors and it should be conducted by people who actually know the child in question, who understand intimately their strengths and the subjects and concepts they struggle with, so that education can be tailored to mitigate the bad and make the most opportunities of the good.

          •  I wouldn't want to teach to a test either. I hated (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean

            the timed tests we had to take in elementary when I was a kid in the 50s and 60s. Was always a nervous test taker likely because of this.

            In college I got around it differently and did very well--actually I was pretty much an A student even in the younger grades--but the test-taking blues never really left.

            I don't know how home schoolers deal with college given there is little individuality there. Assuming they are used to a different type of educational structure, how DO they do? I would think the change would be difficult.

            202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

            by cany on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:30:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  testing is an individual thing also (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, little lion

          I am a speech-language pathologist trained in administration and interpretation of standardized tests as well as criterion-referenced measures and "authentic assessment" of actual performance in functional situations.  All kinds of testing have their time and place.

          Individual homeschooling families may have reason to voluntarily use various kinds of tests, including standardized achievement tests.  That should be a personal choice, just as an ultrasound or amniocentesis for a pregnant woman should be a personal choice.

          What I disagree with is mandated state testing as you get into all kinds of issues with this.  We have seen the problems of standardized testing and "teaching to the test" in the schools.  Homeschoolers may have radically different curriculums from the schools and from the curriculum the tests cover, and that is their right.  The standardization sample of the tests does not include homeschooled children which makes them psychometrically invalid---just as using a test normed on white middle class kids is invalid if applied to bilingual Latinos living in poverty.  

          You also get into the issue of what to do with the results--if the child is "below grade level" what is the follow up?  It's not appropriate to deny the right to homeschool simply because a child is not performing at grade level--children develop at different rates and in reading particularly, many homeschoolers follow a philosophy of allowing late reading development.  Many children are homeschooling because of disabilities or because they were failing to progress in school and may need a lot of time to develop in their own way.   Children are not removed from schools if their test results are not up to par, so why should they be removed from homeschools?   So what is the reason for the testing from the state's point of view if not to control the homeschooling?  Now if parents want testing then that's a different kettle of fish and it is up to them to decide what they want to do with the results of such testing.  

          In our own family, I saw no need for any kind of standardized academic testing.  It was very obvious to us as parents how our children were developing and my focus was more on who our children were, rather than on what our children knew.  And I felt comfortable with what I consider authentic assessment of using skills in functional, pragmatic activities e.g. my daughter's writing skill was evident in the novels she was working on.  

          So in answer to your question, I agree with testing that is desired by a family but I do not agree with any kind of mandated testing, as that is an invasion of privacy in my view.  

          Even portfolios can be problematic.  Here's another thing to consider, a story from Nancy Wallace, author, and mother of Vita and Ishmael Wallace.  The gist of it is that Vita had started collecting leaves and was making a beautiful notebook with them and looking up names and learning about trees.  This was a project she initiated on her own.  Her mother casually remarked to her that this would be  great because they could use it for their portfolio to show evidence of their homeschooling to New York school officials.   Vita's face registered dismay and her mother noted that she then stopped working on her collection--it had been turned into something to do for other people, to prove something about her worth.  Homeschoolers may feel very strongly about preserving their child's desire to learn for the intrinsic value of the learning and understand best their child's needs in that area.   Yes, we have to meet employers goals and expectations in life but we don't have to let that infect our basic learning process in childhood.  

          •  They may have changed the laws here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Leslie in KY

            But I know that when I was studying linguistics and considering studying ESL, the criteria for graduating a child from the ESL program to the mainstream was that they had to be performing at 40th percentile. There were actually many different reasons to hold back ESL students. Those with a strong accent might be required to repeat academic classes whose material they had aced. The student in question was a sophomore in high school who had been born in this country into a Spanish-speaking family. She had been in ESL the whole time she was in school and no doubt would leave school still in ESL.

            But 40% of native English-speaking students are at the 40th percentile or lower. What a stupid requirement.

            •  and 50 percent (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM

              of students fall below the 50th percentile on any standardized test by definition.  Making them "below average".  We have gone too far in the worship of quantitative data and the expense of common sense and qualitative narrative information.  

              I have to spend a lot of mental energy as a therapist figuring out how to translate therapy sessions into quantitative data to show progress for 3rd party payers.  Medicaid has become the worst offender, Medicare the least, with private insurance closer to Medicaid on the continuum.  The philosophy is that somehow we are doing therapy in a way that compares with standardized research studies where you are "proving" something with data.  My data is messy and there are all kinds of uncontrolled variables going on and it is a waste of time and effort to try to figure out how to quantify every little thing that goes on in therapy.  

              I have actually had patients say, "Oh, I thought everyone just made up those numbers they put on the reports."   Which shows that regular people understand that a lot of it is nonsense.  

              And I'm not saying therapists should not have goals and should never measure anything.  It does help focus and organize therapy.  But it has gone to an extreme.  I've had Medicaid want "data" every two weeks with percentage changes on tasks to show progress before they will approve more therapy.  

              •  Percentage changes in therapy (0+ / 0-)

                I've run into similar problems in occupational therapy at times. And then there are the plateaus, when they want to stop therapy even though you know there's more there, the patient just isn't there yet. Frustrating. Special needs kids can be the same way in any subject.

                "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:47:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think those are good points (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, Andrew F Cockburn

      And I agree with you.

      I would add, decline also coincides with over crowded classrooms and the introduction of the Culture War into our Public Schools.

      I support a Christian's right to be a Christian.

      But I also offer that same support for anyone else to be whomever they are, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, neurological difference, religion, or non-religion.

      Unfortunately I see a lot of things going on that tell me over and over that a lot of teachers and administrators and parents need to revisit the bill of rights in this country.

  •  You sound like a very balanced person, yeah. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoJoe, Andrew F Cockburn

    I have two families on my street that home school. One is religious (and their text books are a creationist-view only, they were shocking to read (they donated them to the local librarian who gave them to me for a good laugh)) and it worries me to know that their anti-science religious agenda will now likely be passed down to further generations. The other family, a single mom who HSs one of her two sons) is an independent, politically, who is more liberal than most dems I know. Her son, on the other hand, learns from MIT on-line courses and others of this ilk. He is a voracious reader. Her other son is now in college, doing quite well, and is looking at some kind of engineering career.

    Two tales. Two different results at least in the sciences.

    I'm not against home schooling, per se, but am skeptical not of folks like you, but of the religious home schoolers.

    It is hard for me to understand, though, how a parent can be well rounded enough in the various disciplines to be able to teach them all. I was gifted in two areas of learning, but struggled with a third. If I had to teach that third I know it would be very difficult for me to teach it well.

    I do know, however, that if I saw my child flailing around in public school that would change immediately and I suppose if that meant home schooling, that is what I would do assuming I had the time/fiscal freedom to do so.

    One of the things I have seen with the really bright young man home schooled is that he is a very independent thinker and I really, really like that.

    So no criticism from this corner, though the religious types will continue to get it. I don't see much future in teaching kids creationism versus good science and scientific method.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:08:03 AM PST

    •  It's funny you should mention that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, little lion

      It's hard for me to understand how someone can scrape themselves out of bed everyday, if they truly believe that 80 or 90 percent of parents out there are so inept that they can neither teach themselves, nor instruct their children.

      Oh sure, when I turn on the boob tube or the internet, it seems that I am drowning in an idiocracy too. But then I step outside and talk to real people and realize that one cannot believe everything as portrayed through those media.

      That perhaps ratings trump fact or integrity in reporting.

      As for the Creationist stuff. I 'bout shat myself when I saw my first copy of Bob Jones U home school material.

      YUCK! But the kids associated with that family, they could read, and write and do their math. They were well behaved and curious.

      They were clean and well fed, and their parents were affectionate and appropriate.

      So what was I to do?

      Even if the kids were in public school, these topics would still be addressed. They would still be indoctrinated.

      At least at home, these materials are not being foisted on the captive audience of children in a class.

      Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

    •  cany, parents don't have to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, little lion

      be "well rounded enough in the various disciplines to be able to teach them all."   This is another meme that we homeschoolers keep writing about.  

      We teach our kids to be independent learners.  They don't need us for everything.  Heck, by the time my son was 14 we were going to him for all our tech needs.  There are online resources galore from Khan Academy to MIT free courses to things like an online Shakespeare class my daughter enjoyed when she was 15 taught by a lawyer in Texas.  They met in a chat room weekly and everyone did video projects and shared them with the other "students."  We use community college and sometimes hire tutors.  But the last thing we need to be able to do is to be all things to our child.  They have it within themselves blossom.  We just provide a facilitative environment.  

    •  The anti-science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, little lion

      teaching would be passed down whether these children were hsed or not. Compare the rates of people who believe in creationism versus people who were hsed. Most people go to public school and a huge number still graduate believing in nonsense -- and pass it along to their children.

    •  You answered your own question. (0+ / 0-)

      There are so many resources out there for distance education that no parent has to teach something they aren't qualified for or don't have the resources for.

      I have a PhD in biology but I didn't try to teach my daughter AP biology. We sent her to the public school for that, and they did a great job.

      We didn't try to teach her math, she did that online through Johns Hopkins.

      She took some other courses through online high schools.

    •  Teaching what you have trouble with. (0+ / 0-)

      I have dyscalculia, which is, to simplify it greatly, dyslexia with numbers and math. It's by no means a simple disorder, but it is a very difficult one to work with and through.
      So how do I teach my son algebra?
      His algebra program is one of the few curriculum I've actually purchased. I watch the video and examples with him, and if I can't figure it out, my roommate who's mostly through a Masters degree in Accounting helps him. But my son is much better at math than I am, despite his protests to the contrary.
      Essentially no one said Home school had to be one parent with one child all the time. My kids still have more than one teacher, they just aren't in public school with 30 other kids in their class and a set group of teachers.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:58:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure the concept of (0+ / 0-)

    'minding one's own business' applies when you're writing in a public forum.  When you're writing in public in advocacy of something (or against something), you're implicitly making it other people's business too.

    There are a lot of parts of my life that I 'mind my own business' - I don't bring them up in public, in a forum in which other people are expected to interact with me on the topic under question.

    Apart from that, I can indeed understand why anyone who feels that something they believe in, or some practice they hold to, is being negatively critiqued could feel it to be a personal assault.  In one way or another, that happens to all of us at one time or another.  

    •  This sounds strangely like staying in the closet. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in KY

      This is how the military dealt with the issue of gay service members - Don't Ask, Don't Tell. If you don't talk about it, we can pretend you aren't here and go on with our daily lives as if nothing was different.

      Well, I have disagree. I think it is important to share these stories in a public forum so that people on DailyKos can realize that homeschooling isn't only a valid option but that tons of progressives are using it everyday. And it isn't just homeschooling. It's why I write about military life so people don't make assumptions that all military folks are right wing conservatives. Personal stories are part of the narrative here and they are very important.

      By sharing our personal stories we can help other people feel more comfortable about the choices they have made and then maybe they will talk about their experiences. And the cycle repeats itself.

    •  It was meant in the context (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, worldlotus

      of certain internet stories regarding homeschool such as the one at Slate that seemed to come out of the blue.

      I am used to getting weird looks and comments about homeschooling, but a lot of times, the hostility seems a little more subtle, than what I have observed lately.

      So I chose to address it: Of all the "dangerous" choices I have exercised, the life choices I have embraced, ultimately they are my personal, private business.

      Right now, I still see the opportunity for dialogue and for community building.

      But if I felt that was no longer possible, I might just stop posting, go away and give my money to the appropriate PAC or Lobby to defend my interest.

  •  Thanks for the diary (5+ / 0-)

    I read some of these anti-charter schools, anti-homeschooling rants and I think, "OMG, I never got the memo!"

    I have homeschooled, my kids are in a charter school, and I keep the option of homeschooling open each year, depending on what's going on in school and how my kids are doing. And I have never been anything other than a raging liberal when it came to my point of view--or so I thought until I encountered some of the posts here.

    I am all for working for working toward improving public education, but at the end of the day, my responsibility is first and foremost to my children. With all due respect, I will not sacrifice my children to the Gods of Mediocrity to satisfy my ideals.

    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. ~Albert Einstein

    by sweetsister on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 11:38:04 AM PST

  •  GreenMother, thought provoking diary. Well done! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn

    I have not yet read other diaries on home schooling posted on DKos-this is my first.   As I started to read, my jaw literally dropped in amazement that this discussion is even necessary in 2010.

    Sigh, I would like to know when & why the concept of home schooling (or alternative ed) became something so
    alien to some????

    Reason I ask, home schooling was looked upon as a outlier concept over 40 freakin years ago.  Along with the Open Living school, Montessori, advanced placement classes, ABA, etc...

    Seriously.  Depending on the year, location & community
    one was either considered wacked, a DFH or fringe back then.

     I sigh because I would have thought that over 40 years later, things would have changed.  Actually, I did think it had changed since I'd noticed an uptick in the trend in the past few years-more supports, more acceptance, more articles-blogs-groups.

    As those that pioneered the alts listed above removed roadblocks for future gens seeking alternatives to a one size fits all education and proved alts could work.  What in the heck happened??

    •  I think that the discussion went backwards (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      When home schooling appeared to be an exclusively neoconservative practice based on religious beliefs.

      The conversation went off the rails at that point and so new generations of adults were never introduced to this concept as a politically or religiously neutral subject.

      The entire subject has been framed in the context of commentary by the likes of Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum and Joe Barton.

      Prior to that Home School seemed like on those things that families did when they had a child star or child athlete, or if the parents were missionaries.

      Otherwise it was not discussed.

      My first exposure to home schooling as a life style choice would have been in 1997.  But even then I only encountered one family and never heard a peep about it, until after 2002.

      •  Thanks, this helps me understand a bit. Reading (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nance

        this diary stunned me into pecking out my near incoherent query-comment.  Heh, also made me go read another (fantastic) diary on a home schooling experience.

        I must be getting of an age that certain things happening today (that appear to be mighty steps backward) just totally blows my mind.

        I seriously do remember when alternative education concepts were being developed and/or used and considered politically-religiously neutral.

         I also vividly recall returning from Europe & few-very few knowing about the Montessori system.  I vividly recall zero educators being accepting of my child's Montessori or later Open Living School experiences after we moved from Colorado.  

        I vividly recall in 1979-1980 visiting & observing classrooms at The Farm (commune) with the same results upon returning to my resident state.

        Same same, regarding ABA & Sensory diets-integration for those with autism or developmental delays in yet another decade, in yet another state.

        However, today ABA etc is widely accepted, the Open Living school (and concept) is still running strong albeit mainstream & everywhere one can find Montessori.

         So you can understand my astonishment & perplexity over any issues with the concept of homeschooling...I suppose I thought some battles had been won a long time ago.

        Methinks it can sometimes be scary to get old enough to remember "when".  Or sad.  Or both.

    •  Common misconceptions about homeschooling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      are associated with a particular world view. It's a package deal. It may not be apparent to you, because you normally only see a part of their reality, the one they present in public. People who repeat these same misconceptions feel you are attacking their world view. That's why so many of their objections make little or no sense, and yet they can't take in new information on the subject.

  •  Nothing wrong with home schooling (4+ / 0-)

    As long as it isn't filled with Jesus B.S., it's great for the kid.

    First off, most of our public schools are in shitty shape. I had to melt in 90+ degree temps because of no A/C. Of course, the Principal's office had it. Oh dear, we can't have that fucker suffering.

    Next, all officials and most teachers don't take the horrible bullying problem seriously. Even the good teachers were either ignored or apparently unable to help.

    In addition, the scheduling is ass. A more flexible schedule like college would benefit everyone.

    My experience in public school was hell. Before anyone champions it, they need to fucking fix it. And it needs some serious help.

    •  Well, there is this thing called the First Freedom (3+ / 0-)

      And so, I might not fill my homeschooling with Christian Teachings. But I don't tell other parents what to do in terms of religion.

      That goes against my beliefs as a person who believes in both Freedom of and Freedom from religion. I don't want someone violating my freedom of conscience, so I start by offering that as a personal practice myself first.

      When we start dictating religious content in all curriculum, then we run the risk of some day being the minority and having our own rules reversed.

      Personally, I prefer to keep things a little closer to neutral. By guaranteeing their freedoms, I am guaranteeing my own.

    •  Homeschooling, like "regular schooling", (3+ / 0-)

      comes in all forms.  After all "regular schooling"  also includes fundamentalist schools, Catholic schools, Hebrew schools, etc.    And, as a product of a "regular school" that was, in fact, filled with Jesus (thank you, Sisters of St. Bernardine), I know that you can still get an education -- if an education is provided -- with Jesus around.

      You can also get a good education at home.

      Many of my sons' experiences with public school were hell and we could fix very little.  We were not willing to sacrifice our sons' educations -- and in one case, his safety -- for the principle of a free, public education for all.

      I still believe that the public school system is worth working for, spending money on, and being involved with.  

      But I  also believe that parents have to be able to make their own choices when it comes to their children's education.  Homeschooling is one of the choices in the multiple-choice pile.

  •  ". . .why we felt the need to do so?" (0+ / 0-)

    Exactly! That's the issue. Why do parents seek anything but the local traditional public school?

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