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Reading the coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting there was one story that stood out in my mind.  CNNs interview with First-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig who recounts how she took all her student into the bathroom while they waited for police to arrive.  She recounts, "[i]f they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, 'It's going to be OK.' I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall." (1)

Here, in the time when most appropriate to be afraid, when no one would blame her for fear, she focused on getting through and keeping herself and her students calm.  To me, this is such a huge part of the true heroism.  It is not just in what they did, it is in thinking at all times what is needed to help the students get through the situation.

I am sure part of why this, like so many other things teachers do every day, stands out to me is because I never got to experience it.  I was home schooled K-12, and public schools were always the enemy, the bad place.  Whatever the intent of the HSLDA (Home Schooling Legal Defense Association) and other homeschooling groups that we were connected with, the impression left was very clear.  Public schools were something to be afraid of working to tear children away from God; Child Protective Services existed solely for the purpose of taking kids out of Christian families so they could be raised by the heathen government; and the government was constantly trying to take kids away from homeschooling families.  Life, and especially the government or anyone from outside was to be feared, something that you needed to protect yourself from.

Leading up to the Senate vote on the U.N. Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (end of November beginning of December) I was struck by the angle of attack of HSLDA against the CRPD.  This included statements that he CRPD was going to require the government to pay for abortions (whatever that has to do with homeschooling?) and that the U.N. was trying to take the right of homeschooling disabled children away.  “The question is, who should make critical decisions regarding the care and raising of children who have disabilities? Their parents or United Nations social workers?” said J. Michael Smith, president of HSLDA. (2)  It wasn’t about logic, it wasn’t about specific provisions of the Convention, it was about creating fear of the most out there thing they could claim about it.  It was about making parents afraid enough that they would swamp the Senate with calls against it, and it worked.  I know it worked, I know how much it worked on me, how much I believed their fear mongering.

Maybe it worked for someone else to.  Maybe that is why just over a week later a disabled (3) home school graduate (4) walked into an elementary school and murdered twenty-six people.  I don’t know, and we probably never will.  But I do know that a culture of fear is part of the problem, and until we address our addiction to fear (and the fact that it is an acceptable, and one of our most popular, political tools) no amount of gun control or amount of guns will make any of us feel safe.

Wherever we go, whatever choices we make, we need to make them for reason and not just out of fear.  Maybe if we can do that we can start working toward making sure this never happens again.





Originally posted to Joshua EldenBrady on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 05:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fear. The only motivator they have. (36+ / 0-)

    It's rather amazing how fear drives the evangelical community that homeschools. Just fear that your children will be exposed to people who are different from you and your husband/wife. You know, the people you see in a supermarket, or at a movie theater. It just makes me wonder when home and church are the only two permissible places.

    Yes, I know that's not the only reason people homeschool. It's the reason this diarist presents.

    -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:13:41 PM PST

    •  Thank you (20+ / 0-)

      I saw the title of the diary and thought, oh for crying out loud, here we go again. Thanks for your final sentence.

      The HSLDF can DIAF as far as I'm concerned. They've never gotten a dime from me and never will. Not my kind of homeschoolers, and as far as "legal defense" goes, I know more than one homeschooling family that paid dues in the mistaken belief HSLDA might actually defend them if they had trouble. Not so much. I hate it that those guys are for many the face of homeschooling.  HATE. IT.

    •  So the core belief of these people (13+ / 0-)

      is that their heartfelt beliefs are so weak, so ephemeral and unsupportable that ANY exposure to outside ideas will blow them away? How pathetic is that?

      I've always felt that if you hold your beliefs for solid, rational, logical reasons, there is nothing that anyone can say that will sway you (barring a stronger rational argument). I welcome argument, I don't fear it.

      Question everything, take noting at face value. If what you believe cannot withstand rigorous, logical testing and debate, then what you believe isn't worth believing.

      •  Yes, that's the point (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mortifyd, Noddy, PSzymeczek, Matilda

        They are authoritarians, and know that there is a percentage of their children that will not follow them if they know there are any other ways to do things, so they work hard to keep them ignorant.

        That's why so many in the world try to block girls from getting an education. They want to use them, abuse them, and have them accept it. If they know there is another way, many won't.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:58:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, children often have a hard time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        evaluating what they're told on its merits. That's a skill that needs to be learned. Until it is learned - and even afterward, in domains where they don't have the expertise to make their own judgments - people, especially young children, tend to rely on authority figures whom they trust.

        Wanting to protect younger kids from people who will win their trust and then lie to them (for example, schools using the new Texas curriculum standards for science and history) isn't necessarily a sign of being insecure in one's beliefs. It might actually be a smart decision even in the absence of other motivations to homeschool.

        It's only when the isolation starts extending to teenagers and young adults, or when kids are segregated/isolated in social activities and friendships as well as in schooling, that I think there's reason to be concerned.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 12:28:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I find it amusing... (0+ / 0-)

      That the left continues to harp on about how homeschooling is the province of the evangelical Christians.

      Do you think that no one else sees any merit in the practice? I am an atheist (I suspect very strongly a historical Jesus never even existed). I want my children taught evolution, and not in the way that illiterate highschool graduates can parrot it, but a deep and robust understanding of the concept.

      I can sympathize with those who feel that they cannot afford to do so or that occupational commitments preclude it. I can even understand the arguments of those who feel that they are not competent to teach and worry that only reading from the textbook would somehow prevent their children from learning the subject as extensively as they might if they were more of an expert. (Though, that does raise the question of why they'd want to send their children to a public school where undoubtedly many teachers will do the same.)

      As for the fear of "different people", that's even more hilarious. You and your kind want nothing more than the "melting pot" assimilation bullshit straight from the early 20th century, which destroys cultures. You're not interested in exposing children to different ways of life so much as you want to homogenize everyone until there are no differences at all.

  •  Fear does get used with regularity to drive (13+ / 0-)

    politics and get people to do what you want. Both sides do it. It's not healthy.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:21:37 PM PST

    •  Agree. Fear sure sells. (5+ / 0-)

      Whether it be an ideology or a product.

      What sickens me is that the discoveries that have been made about human psychology and what motivates us is wielded with extreme discernment and devastating effectiveness in the pursuit of profit and power.  I'm talking about that soulless  exploitation of human frailties and foibles that we call 'Marketing'.  What a sleazy practice that can be at times.

      That's what going on with Fox news and the NRA all pursuing their oily craft under the respectable umbrella of being 'good business men.

      Some people just have a knack for exploiting others (sociopaths for example) - but not to worry if it doesn't come naturally - we'll teach it to you.

      Compare that to the disorganized non standardized and unregulated practices as we fumble to help people with varying degrees of distress and mental disorder.   No devastating effectiveness there.  

      And then of course the questionable 'expert' advice of the Social 'Science' professionals given to our government and legal systems (the authority the establishment gives the Mental Health profession is jaw dropping to me).

    •  Both sides do it? (24+ / 0-)

      Not so much.

      Look at the 40 years of fear-mongering that has gone on in this country and you can blame conservatives, Republicans, Fox News and the NRA. There are more, to be sure, but those are your basic culprits.

      Both sides don't do it. At least not to the degree that the right wing does. They've done a damn fine job of making people hate liberals, Democrats, women, gays, blacks, Muslims (or anyone brown with a "funny" name), etc.

      Both sides do it? Sorry, I'm not buyin'.

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:03:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The way to make sure it (13+ / 0-)

    never happens again is to make sure that access to guns is really difficult.

    Do this and everything else is moot. Works great in the civilized countries on this planet why not here?

    •  Fear is moot? Manipulation by fear is moot? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The greatest tool any tyrannical government can wield against it's citizenry IS the mind of the citizen.

      The Fear Porn For Profit© Industry would love you.

      The way to make sure it never happens again is make sure that access to free speech venues is really difficult.

      When people aren't allowed to emotionally manipulate and control others into hatred, fear and violence...we will evolve as a society, not until.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:26:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's be careful, there are lots of reasons (15+ / 0-)

    for allowing our kids to learn at home and out in the community that have nothing to do with fear of the schools. I get that this post is about the culture of fear-- that same culture that feeds people's need to hold tightly to what they believe is a right to weapons and the NRA mentality.

    But I worry about the comments that follow this post melting down into a rant against choices we make for how we raise our kids. We do need to safeguard those choices. We sometimes we need help, but we have our strengths and intuitions that should be respected.

    Many of us look at public schools and see a system that doesn't work for every kid or every family and choose another path - for some it's private schools, for some it's learning at home, increasingly there are hybrid approaches that include home-based learning, classes in schools or learning centers, private tutoring and online options. I know parents who have kids with learning disabilities or other challenges who opt out of school not out of fear, but out of frustration. And I  know teachers who are frustrated by a system that stifles their enthusiasm and creativity.

    Right after Newton, several friends mentioned that they were so glad that they homeschooled because they believed that kept their kids safer.

    But that alone doesn't keep kids safe. Our kids are out in public places all the time - movie theaters, shopping malls, college campuses. They encounter a wide range of adults through sports, lessons, community activities, who can be friends and guides, nurturing and protecting our kids, or who may intend harm (fortunately, my kids haven't encountered any trouble).

    Kids will be safe when society decides to make personal safety a priority and defines ways to ensure safety that don't include owning weapons or requiring people who help care for our children or other loved ones to carry guns.

    The teachers who kept those kids safe and quiet are incredible. I'm still in absolute awe of their actions.

    But without spending much time in the schools, we've met some amazing people  - people who might do the same as those teachers in Newton given the same situation (I sincerely hope my faith in those folks is never tested - that the trend for mass shootings heads downward).

    Let's be careful about blaming homeschooling for a massacre - just as careful as we are about blaming someone with Autism or Auspergers. There is no pattern of homeschoolers shooting up schools, either.

    Mental health is definitely an issue here, but part of the issue is around people in need who fall through the cracks, who have no support system - whether they come through the public school system or not.

    •  Not homeschooling per se, (10+ / 0-)

      but the misguided motivation behind much of it -- the desire to protect one's precious children from the "evils of the world", even though that's ultimately impossible; sooner or later your little Junior or Juniorette will leave the nest and go off to make their own way, and you're not going to be able to hold their hand every day.

      The Bible even says that Christians are to be "in the world", just "not of it". And if you think that your child's faith is so weak that going to school with "heathens" ("heathens" of course meaning anyone who doesn't subscribe to your particular worldview, even Christians of other denominations), then there's either something wrong with what you're teaching them at home or there's something wrong with your entire faith.

      There are very good reason for homeschooling in many cases. I used to work for a non-profit that supplied audiobooks for the disabled (learning disabilities, visually impaired and those who could not hold a traditional book), and many of our clients were home schoolers who chose that route because the public school system had failed their child, allowing him/her to fall through the cracks. For children who are constantly bullied and whose mental health may be at risk as a result, home schooling might be necessary until a more permanent solution can be found. For those with extreme illnesses that require multiple hospitalizations, or those who need to travel frequently due to family issues, home schooling can provide a constant in their lives. But when considering home schooling, it's good to think about why you're doing it and if that reason really makes sense.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:32:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, freedom (7+ / 0-)

        Is a good reason too.  Our family chose unschooling primarily for reasons of freedom.  The ability to choose how our children spent their time each day to suit their needs was a precious gift.  

      •  I'll be honest, though too. .. (11+ / 0-)

        There were many things about institutional schooling that I wanted to avoid.  And living in a very conservative area, where religious conservatism affects the public schools, I had some concerns there, too.  Around the time our children were approaching school age, our local high school banned a book by William Faulkner. A nearby county actually ripped out the pages on evolution in a new science text.  So there was that.  When the shoe is on the other foot, perhaps progressives can understand the protective impulse.

        But also, I did want to protect my children from things that I felt disrupted the learning  process, particularly grading, standardized testing emphasis, and the "worksheet wasteland" as Thomas Armstrong called it.   I was happy to see my children retaining their natural "selves" longer into preadolescence--my daughter at 12 was a charming mix of maturity and naturalness, playing in some ways like a younger child, yet people meeting her commenting on how unusually mature and responsible she was.  

        As for eventually having to deal with things my kids avoided by not being in school, most of us who choose this path feel that they are better able to deal with these things at an older and more mature age.  You don't have to deal with everything as a young child in order to be able to deal with it as a teen or young adult, and by developing into a strong person with deep self-knowledge, kids can be equipped to deal with challenges at the right time.  I know it worked for my kids, as they are both now wonderful and accomplished young adults who cherish the freedom they were given growing up and would choose that path again in a heartbeat.

        •  It's interesting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that even in conservative areas, there are more than few so-called "Christian homeschoolers" who keep their kids away from the "corrupting influence" of the public schools. I lived in east TN for 35 years and met some number of them. I was sort of glad that their kids weren't in the public schools as these parents would probably be in the office raising hell about the "unChristian" things their kids were being taught and forcing the curriculum into an even narrower path.

          I had a friend who was an evangelical who did take her boys out of public school in middle school and homeschool them, but it was more for social reasons than religious ones. I have to agree with her that middle schoolers are basically unreconstructed barbarians and that middle school isn't a healthy place to be for a lot of kids. I'd have done the same if I had a financial choice at the time. Her boys went back to public high school and did just fine then and after.

          Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

          by Jilly W on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:56:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Patrick Henry U in DC takes only "Christian home (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, gffish, PSzymeczek, Matilda

        schooled" students (or did, last I heard).  They emphasize degrees in media and in government.  I guess some of their students spend their entire lives, from birth to 21 or so, in the indoctrination chamber.

        Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

        by Mayfly on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:39:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is it hand-holding to protect your child from (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, misslegalbeagle, kyril

        abuse? My daughter was stalked and physically assaulted.
        In spite of my complaints to the school, it did not stop.

        Open your mind. One-size does not fit all. Not everyone is a good candidate for homeschooling but you have to do with is right for your child. It would be abuse to allow your child to stay in a unsafe environment.

        Many of the Founders were homeschooled. It was called
        tutoring. They came out pretty good, didn't they?

      •  Much of the reason for letting kids learn at home (5+ / 0-)

        isn't about the misguided motivation that you mention in the first line of your post - to protect one's child from the evils of the world. That's a generalization based on what the media puts out there.

        As progressives we constantly battle what the media promotes or uses to boost ratings. We battle the Fox News point of view. Except, unfortunately, even here at DK, when it comes to learning outside the walls of the schools. Then whatever has been in the news, whatever the Republicans are currently spouting, ends up in posts as fact and argument for having kids in the public school system.

        Much of the reason that many people I know choose learning at home is to give their kids a better sense of the world around them - to make them part of the community - to experience more day to day living that the school routine doesn't imitate. I don't spend all day with 20 people within a year of my own age, for instance.

      •  I don't care for the culture in public schools (5+ / 0-)

        I don't feel bad about that. Children become pack-animals when they are deprived of appropriate adult supervision, and we overwhelm teachers with too many kids per classroom [for starters].

        I can be sex positive, without having to embrace the Porno-Chic that is so prevalent in our culture, old and young, and that includes the ignorance, and mixed messages given to children regarding sexuality, sexual activity and sexual hygiene.

        I can be progressive and respect interfaith values, and feel totally comfortable in saying that some weird shit is pushed on kids in public schools by students and teachers and sometimes staff. And that when it is resisted, it ends in bullying. Esp in the Southern or Red States.

        I can be disgusted with the lack of funds our schools get, that make our children sell crap door to door to buy supplies that our taxes should pay for outright, good books, the best software, the paper and art supplies and musical instruments.

        Whatever it is you want to blame the whole big problem we have in our culture with knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing--it doesn't matter. My kids are here now and require an education now. We don't have time to wrangle with other people's problems, and then hope we can accomplish enough, despite the insanity to try and get into college--whose prices are shooting up to the stratosphere.

        People are fearful for all sorts of reasons. We may not agree on every little thing that we fear or why, but the fact that our culture, our political system and our society is wildly unstable is enough to make most parent's sphincters clench. This is especially true if you do not have the cash to buy insulation for your child's life, and buy increased access for a better education and better access to higher edu.

        So it's easier for many of us to do it ourselves. I can't afford to pay someone to do this, but I can do it myself.

        If anyone believes that this makes me a paranoid tin foil hat wearing maniac, then so be it. Personally I believe and my extended family on both the left and right side of the political aisle believes that this makes me prudent and dutiful.

        The mistake this woman made was in knowing that her son had mental issues and did not get him a proper diagnosis nor did she get him treatment. I would be more understanding if she was living hand to mouth, but her alimony alone is more than we make in 2 years.

        She hid this out of fear of her son being stigmatized, or perhaps out of feelings of shame that she birthed him that way. Who knows. But what she did is in no way a reflection of home schoolers of any stripe. She and only she and that family failed that young man.

        And our country failed her, by not making services available, that wouldn't end his life as a productive citizen, but instead label him and stigmatize him just as she feared.

        This happens a lot in our country. It might not end in gun violence, but the rest does happen a lot.

        There are real things to fear here. Whistling past the graveyard makes no more sense than living on MREs in a bunker because neither approach solves any problems.

    •  Yes, care is needed but honesty is needed (5+ / 0-)

      As well.

      There has been a concerted effort by Republicans and conservatives to criticize public education.  I've read so many articles blaming public education for such things as racism, drug use, laziness and the decline in religious participation.

      In comparison, whenever homeschooling is brought up, there's an enormous pressure exerted by the same group to defend homeschooling at all costs and to prevent any negativity from being verbalized or written on the subject.

      There seems to be a coalition of homeschool advocates who vigorously deny the existence of problems in homeschooling, and aggressively attack anyone even remotely suggesting such a possibility.

      The contrast is extraordinary.

      •  well, my position (8+ / 0-)

        is that there are problems inherent in schooling--period.  No educational setting is going to produce idealized results for every child.  Institutional schools should be subject to intense scrutiny, oversight, and ongoing criticism in order to develop the best public policy since they are institutions that are serving the public.  Homeschooling, in contrast, is a personal choice of families and does not warrant the same level of oversight.  Because families are often pursuing non-mainstream approaches that are not always well-understood by institutional schools, and the very nature of the educational process is altered in homeschooling, homeschoolers should be given maximum freedom, within the basic parameters that would apply to any home in terms of provision of basic needs i.e. intervene only in cases of child neglect or abuse as in any family.  

        And in terms of raw numbers, far more children are receiving substandard education in schools than in homeschools, therefore this should receive the priority in public policy.

        And keep in mind that minorities, especially those who feel they are not well understood, are going to be naturally defensive.  Being an unschooling family, (kids now adults), I think I understand this more keenly, as many traditional educators do not understand unschooling and would likely not have approved of many of our family's practices in terms of my children's educations.  We must protect freedom of minorities in a democracy.

        Also keep in mind that many of the early homeschooling families went to jail, were fined for truancy, had children forced back into schools, and even today there are sometimes issues where homeschooling parents must defend their rights legally.  Nobody every jailed a parent for sending their child to public school, so you can see where homeschooling parents can feel threatened and defensive.

  •  I doubt if Adam Lanza's home schooling (8+ / 0-)

    Had anything to do with the carnage he inflicted.  From all accounts I have seen, his mother was not some brainwashed fundamentalist nutcase afraid of the librul commie atheist teaching public schools, but was reacting to the fact that both the public schools were having trouble dealing with her mildly autistic son, and he was having trouble dealing with the schools.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:45:54 PM PST

    •  What was she doing with all those guns? It (5+ / 0-)

      seems to me that she was part of the coming apopcalypse crowd.  No?

    •  Apparently (0+ / 0-)

      she took Adam out of school several times when she disagreed with the school's IEP (Individual Education Plan) which is required for all special needs students. We dealt with the public schools and with IEPs for our autistic son and never felt the need to take him out of school. We had a good idea what his capabilities were and what his/our rights were and we weren't afraid to fight for a proper plan or to mention the law (and lawyers) if need be. It sounds to me like she thought her son was getting the short end of the stick no matter what was proposed, and that she overlooked his obvious problems to focus on his supposed "brilliance". It seems her idea was more unschooling (not a really good thing for an ASD person, who really needs routine) and pushing him into college classes where he was probably even more of a misfit. I know, conjecture, but I am speaking from things I do know as the mother of an ASD person.

      Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

      by Jilly W on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:05:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  while your experiences (0+ / 0-)

        are valuable in applying to your child, I think it is a mistake to generalize to what is or is not "good for an ASD person."  As a speech-language pathologist who has worked long-term with a wide range of children on the spectrum,  and long-long-time unschooler I am aware of many children on the spectrum who do much better with unschooling as it can uniquely adapt to the individual's needs.  I have participated in an unschooling international email list called UL, and have read countless stories of successful unschooling of children with ASD or Asperger's.  Each child is different and each parent and their style is different.  There is no one-size-fits-all way to educate children.  any type of children. period.  

        One of the advantages unschooling (which is more of a philosophy than a method) offers is what is strongly recommended when working with children on the spectrum:  find what they like and use it as a bridge to learning goals.   Unschoolers typically provide the amount of structure that a particular child needs, which can range from minimal to maximal.  If a child needs routine, that can easily be part of unschooling.  I think people often misunderstand what unschooling actually means.  

        And just because you found no need to take him out of school doesn't mean that many other parents have not found that leaving or never even sending the child in the first place has been the best choice.  Every situation is different.  And yes, often a classroom setting is much better than a home setting.  There are really no absolutes and each family has the freedom and burden of charting their own path--which is not easy.  

        My sense is that Adam Lanza's mother was struggling in ways that are typical to many families when they have a child with significant special needs.  All parents have hits and misses and make mistakes, fortunately typically not with such horrific consequences.    She deserves our sympathy.  Nobody gives you the road map when these kids are born.  And some kids are truly unbelievably challenging.  

        One positive thing I have seen in Medicaid is that we now have a very highly qualified behavior specialist that can work with children on the Michelle P. waiver program.  She goes to their home, school, and outpatient therapy settings and sets up behavior management plans to help teachers, parents, and therapists deal more effectively with behavior problems of these children.  Unfortunately, the high functioning child with Asperger's often does not qualify for Michelle P. waiver services and the alternatives eg. Impact Plus, are not as skilled in addressing needs, from what I can see.

  •  I gave this a lot of thought after Columbine... (8+ / 0-)

    Michael Moore made "Bowling for Columbine" and he asked the question point-blank: "What are we so afraid of?"

    Of course, the debate quickly turned from that to something else. Bush and NeoCons were in power and 'Murka had a big ole hard-on and was looking to stick it to Saddam.

    We have had so many bogey-men over the years. For those of us who pay attention, there are too many to count. Commies to "Muslamics." Satanic cults who suppress memories in their victims until they are uncovered by some church "counselor." Serial rapists. Serial killers. Pedophiles everywhere. (black/brown people. Ignoring the fact the overwhelming majority of these are white) Gay people. The French....

    All of it patently false. But accepted prima facie by all those Christian dittoheads, survivalists, tax-haters, gun-worshipers, and Divers and Varied Nutjobs.

    Nothing has to make sense for these people. They only know what they feel, because others have lied to them their entire lives about the real nature of the world. That the Dark and Scary Places are inside us, not "out there."

    As for the "why?" of it all, the answer has the same stem as ALL the worlds evils: The love of money.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:46:36 PM PST

  •  And the Columbine shooters (17+ / 0-)

    were public schooled their whole lives.  There are bad elements in every facet of American life.  Homeschool was not to blame here, nor public school.  If anything is to blame it is the fact that we have next to no resources for mental health care of young adults in our country.  I have a friend who had battled to get her son what he needs for years and it is a losing battle.  I homeschool my kids and I was a public school teacher.  Both methods have their positive and negative aspects.  A mentally ill kid can end up doing bad things no matter which way they are educated.

  •  I have never paid to homeschool (13+ / 0-)

    I had two children homeschooled and then returned them to public school.  I had reasons for both.  First child was diabetic and the school she was in could not be trusted regarding her diabetic needles.and test strips  They actually let other kids use her meter.

    After arguing and dealing with the school board and her getting into trouble along with being bi polar.. I decided homeschooling to get her away from some of her influences.    I sent her back and she did well for some time.

    The second one was homeschooled half of the semester was because he got suspended for using drugs and in that area, sending him to alternative would have given him better dealers.   I homeschooled and sent him back as well.   He quit.  The other two function very well in public school and no problems....

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:00:12 PM PST

  •  not just homeschoolers. i went to a fundie Baptist (18+ / 0-)

    private school for 8 years and my experience was they played the fear card up big.  i don't know how much they believe their own stuff or how much is motivated by trying to retain students by making them afraid to ask their parents to transfer.  as alot of the teachers are from rural areas and went to some bible college for training, probably mostly the former.

    and there were a huge number of coded references and tones of voice implying white kids were easy prey undefended by the public school system.  once i got to 7th grade horror stories were common, mostly revolving around violence happening in the locker room (the Jung/Freud in me just realized that's because the locker room is where much of our violence happened)(wow... i'm having a very weird flashback/two realities/past/present moment right now...)

    anyway, fear is what keeps the flock following the shepherd and that metaphor is EXACTLY how fundies/evangelicals perceive themselves.  we were given all sorts of stuff to fear: rock 'n' roll, gays (who could be identified by haircut), drugs, black people, communists, the West Coast & NYC, human naughty bits, evolution, mass entertainment (kind of agree but for different reasons), witches, satanism, Catholics, MORMONS!!!!, Sun Myung Moon (though the WA Times is OK)(go figure), all post-Perry Como Show/Patsy Cline pop music, universities, books...

    on a side note, the hypocrisy of the religious right really, REALLLLY showed w/Mittens' nomination.  Its hard to convey to people now how just rabidly anti-mormon fundies were when i was growing up in '70's & '80's.  during my teen years i probably heard some sort of anti-mormon screed once every 3 or 4 weeks.  more if preachers & teachers were focusing on cults.


    my. that turned into a long comment.

    tl;dr - fundies are fear driven

    drone strikes in Pakistan = Sandy Hook Elementary x10.

    by bnasley on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:19:56 PM PST

  •  I homeschooled, (16+ / 0-)

    In third grade, I had a teacher who would make me stand outside in the snow.  We were required to report our reading habits, and when I told her what I'd been reading (full-length novels), she accused me of lying.  The principal recommended homeschooling to my parents, so they pulled me out for the rest of the year.

    In middle school, I wound up enrolled in a special ed class with a truly remarkable instructor.  I truly feel I owe her my life.

    In high school, the courses were terrible, the bullying was oppressive, and the administration was unhelpful.  After I caught them red-handed falsifying standardized test scored, the principal recommended homeschooling.  My parents pulled me out again.  I combined a self-taught curriculum with some home-school group activities and some online courses.  At 15, I started taking college courses at NCSU.

    I consider homeschooling one of the best things my parents did for me.  I also recognize the contribution that public schooling made to my life.  Please don't stigmatize home-school as a universal evil.

    That said: homeschooling must be done in a good way, and for the right reasons.  The vast majority of home-schoolers I encountered were homeschooling because of religious or racist paranoia.  This is extremely unhealthy.

    In my case, my parents were both highly educated and committed to ensuring my education was better than what I could get in traditional schooling (in third grade they taught me basic algebra, for example).  I'd certainly encourage parents with the resources and abilities to consider it, especially if their child is suffering from bullying.

    •  Bullying (0+ / 0-)

      Does a child who was removed from school due to bullying learn how to deal with bullying as an adult?

      •  Yes ... (6+ / 0-)

        For one thing, she learns that she never ever has to learn to to,erase it or put up with it, and that if others in the environment will not stand with her against the bully, then she had every right to remove herself from the situation. I believe that far too many of us who are forced as children to "learn to deal with reality". --- that is, learn to put up with being bullied --- grow up with the idea that being bullied either in the workplace or in a domestic situation is just something which must be tolerated.

        •  Agree - it is ok to walk away (5+ / 0-)

          from intolerable situations. Think of all the work it has taken, still takes to help women walk away from abusive relationships and find help, a way out. Leaving a kid to be bullied so that she or he hopefully figures it out is cruel.

          It's ok to be there for your child - when that child is in the third grade and suffering bullying or when that child is thirty and trying find her way out of an abusive marriage. Kids grow strong when they know they have support - not only from their parents, but from the community at large. We offer support by creating environments that are intolerant of bullying behavior. We do that all the time when we work for women's rights, for everyone to have the freedom to love whoever they want, when we fight back on racism.

          If we leave kids to be bullied, are we teaching them to just put up with it, to just take it? Can we give them the options of seeking and receiving help, of getting out of bad situations? Can we help the bullies learn tolerance with the support of the schools? When we can't, we bring our kids home.

      •  You don't learn to deal with bullying in school. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HomeschoolingMom, Elizaveta

        You don't learn to deal with bullying in school.
        You suffer.  You can suffer silently, or you can fight back and 'share' punishments, but you will suffer.
        There is no hope for retribution, and no hope for escape.
        In the real world, 'assault' is a crime, 'sexual harassment' is a crime, 'libel' and 'slander' are crimes.
        In the real world, if you're in a situation where you're subjected to systematic oppression, you have the power to leave.  As a child, leaving (truancy) is a crime.
        School is backwards.
        The only thing you learn from bullying in school is despair.

  •  Liberals: We have nothing to fear but fear itself (9+ / 0-)

    Conservatives: Fear EVERYTHING.

    Pretty much sums it up.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:59:43 PM PST

  •  Many people call it (5+ / 0-)

    the H$LDA.  They are all about getting a lot of money from homeschoolers they can then apply to promoting the fundamentalist agenda. It is basically a scam.  Lots of homeschoolers that are not fundamentalist Christians fall for it, unfortunately, and think they need the "insurance" protection in case of problems with the public school authorities.  

    •  I realized what a farce they were after living in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in KY, GreenMother

      Alabama. They believe that Alabama has one of the best homeschooling laws in the US. However, they require all homeschooling families to belong to a 'church school' which then reports your attendance to the state. Church schools were by and large religious institutions. Defied the separation of Church and State in my book, big time. That's when I knew that HSLDA had a different agenda than promoting homeschooling for the sake of homeschooling.

  •  my impression is that Adam (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle, timewarp, Matilda

    Lanza was homeschooled because of his Asperger's syndrome, not because his mother feared the schools.  Particularly since it was described as "temporarily  homeschooled" at one point and then he returned.

    I am more curious about the possibility that he suffered some kind of traumatic experiences in those early primary grades, from his perspective, that led him to strike out at those particular grade levels at this school that he reportedly attended.  And I am not saying that whatever might have happened to him was a fault of the system or other children in it, just that these kinds of kids often perceive the world differently and he could easily have had some experiences that he never processed appropriately.  School is reportedly very traumatic for many children who are the "square pegs" in the system, based on many anecdotal accounts I have been familiar with (eg. one mom coming home to find her child in a closet tying a rope around his neck, due to fear of having to go back to school another day).  

  •  What is home schooling? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I really want to know what this means.  I mean, I know what home means, but are there certain standards for what is taught, and what grade levels are home schooled?  Surely not all the way through high school?

    •  Yes, all the way through high school. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      misslegalbeagle, Leslie in KY

      I think standards vary by state just as public school standards do.
      I went to public schools but would probably have fared better had I been home schooled. I felt bored and constrained in some areas and overwhelmed in others (gifted/LD). And I found college professors to be much better teachers despite not having formal backgrounds in education. If I have kids I'd love to home school them; the irony is that my student loans make it unlikely I'd have the time.

      Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

      by emidesu on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 03:21:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's all set up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sure, it's easy. All you need is a capable parent with twelve years of spare time and a good internet connection. See for instance  
      Florida Virtual School and
      Connections Education (bought up by Pearson) with full curricula for all grades. There are also regular meetings where it is demonstrated that the student is making appropriate progress. I have known one family of three homeschooled kids (the reality oriented type) through their parents. The oldest is through college (Brown) and in grad school working on evo-devo (evolutionary developmental biology).

      If you don't have all the scheduled hours of regular school you have lots more time for everything else. You can have a field trip every week, and probably would. Why not? It helps if the price of gas is not a problem for your family.  

    •  "Homeschool"= employment opportunity for teachers (0+ / 0-)

      who provide the online lectures, make & grade assignments.

    •  The rules and regs are different state by state. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in KY, misslegalbeagle, Debby

      Basically, homeschooling means that parents chose to keep their children at home and educate them by whatever means they feel are appropriate. Period.

      There are a wide variety of methods used to homeschool and we write about them at Education Alternatives. Here is an index of homeschooling diaries on DailyKos. Hope you find it interesting.

  •  My Nephews (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle, angelajean

    were home schooled. The oldest had trouble in second grade the school decided he had adhd yet he was fine and even excelled when his mom taught him the same lessons. After going round and round with the schools she simply removed him and began teaching him at home.

    He went to MIT on a full scholarship and now has a very good job that I can not even begin to understand. His brother who has just graduated from college is going on to medical school.

    The state of Washington has a very well developed program for home school where it works with parents, provides space for activities and offers older children the ability to attend classes they may be interested in while not fully enrolling in school. Each year kids take a test to make sure they are keeping pace with their grade level.

    My two nephews have never lost their love of really learning about a subject as opposed to skimming the surface and cramming for tests. Even as 20 somethings they love to dig into a subject and learn it just for the sake of adventure and a new skill.

    In short they turned out well.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:26:06 AM PST

  •  My grandson went without recess the entire time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freerad, Elizaveta, angelajean

    Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad were shooting up Maryland.

    We are scaring the kids, we need to stop.

  •  Catholic School in the 60's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusgal, Leslie in KY, Debby

    Grades 1-8, I remember how the public schools were presented as a blackboard jungle, with second-graders in tiny leather jackets smoking and playing with their switchblades. It's funny now, but we really were taught to be insular and superior.
    It was rumored that in public school the teachers were not allowed to hit you. That part was true.

  •  In public school until 10th grade (6+ / 0-)

    This conversation is missing a major point-Adam Lanza went to public school until 10th grade. He was homeschooled briefly after that. This was not a case of a person who was homeschooled his whole life.

    Also, his mother chose to pull him not due to a culture of fear, but because after many battles with the school over how to best help her son with his educational needs she decided that he would be better served at home. That decision has been made by many parents of children with educational difficulties all across the political spectrum.

    Finally, even if he had been homeschooled his whole life it does not mean that homeschooling would've had anything to do with his horrific actions. Yes, HSLDA is a terrible organization, but they do not represent all or even most homeschoolers.

  •  Textbook definition of terrorism: when you can't (0+ / 0-)

    even send your kids to school because they are not safe from people with guns that are too powerful for them to handle safely/responsibly, people that are not licensed having access to guns that only the military had access to not that long ago, and guns that are not registered and make it hard to trace them to the source that put them in the hands of the perpetrators.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:05:14 AM PST

    •  Umm... No. But you know that already. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ishmaelbychoice, GreenMother
      Terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
      The fact that you are scared does not make you a victim of terrorism. It demonstrates that your ability to analyze risk is a little shakey, but it doesn't make you a victim of terrorism.

      Who is the organized group perpetuating these act? ( Sure, folks are gonna say the NRA- but who has the NRA assigned to kill, and when has the NRA claimed credit for said killings? They're asshats, but they're not terrorists)

      What are you being coerced to do?

      Where's the system? What are the political aims of the act?

      What's the motivation of the actor? If it's political or religous, sure, the act might be terrorism. If the actor just wants to be famous, it is most assuredly not.

  •  As a homeschooling parent, I was most disheartened (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp, Elizaveta, Leslie in KY, Debby

    to see my niece mention that she would more likely consider homeschooling after the Newton shootings. I understand the fear but honestly, no kid is safer, not even a homeschooled kid. Not really. When shootings can take place in malls or in theaters, none of us are really any safer and choosing to homeschool for that reason alone is sad.

    Now, choosing to homeschool should be an option for every family but it should be a choice made for many reasons, not for a single one. I hope it's a choice that Americans will always be allowed to make.

    As for the HSLDA, they have done more to demonize homeschooling than any organization out there. They are the epitome of all that is wrong with the stereotype of a homeschooler. I wish they would take their evangelism and their extreme right orthodoxy and fade away. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Too many hardcore, evangelical Christians who think their way is not only the right way but the only way for that to happen anytime soon.

  •  They want segregation (0+ / 0-)

    So the children have no chance to see anything different, so they can be programmed with just the right buttons to push, like the ones that were pushed in you.

    The fear is that if children meet people that are not like their parents, the parents will not be able to create the buttons to push, to control the children. It's all about controlling them, so they will only do what the authoritarians want them to do.

    Informed educated people who have seen many ways to do things are not as easy to manipulate.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:55:20 AM PST

  •  There are about ten different post on this (0+ / 0-)

    and I don't want to post the same thing ten times so go here.  Just to clarify, I don't mean to suggest that Homeschooling is responsible for this violence or that it is inherently inferior in any way to public or private schooling (each has its own challenges to be sure).  

    The fear is not inherent but it is pervasive amount support and advocacy groups.  If his mother pulled him because of IEP concerns rather than paranoia that does not mean he was not exposed to the fear.  It is not the act of homeschooling but rather the type and amount of exposure to those support and advocacy groups that chose to feed off of the fear.

    I know there is a huge amount that thinking back I cannot remember ever hearing my parents say about public schools, but I attributed the opinions to them because they supported the groups, they read the magazines, they spoke favorably of other things the writers wrote, and they never contradicted them.  We can teach our children fear and hate when we chose not to say anything against them.  If you listen to only one radio station, read only one magazine, watch only one TV station, and tell your children they cannot see any other because they are bad you imply that the one you are allowing is good and that what it says is right and your children will believe that unless you tell them otherwise.

  •  How do homeschools know their child won't find (0+ / 0-)

    Dad's gun and shoot all his siblings while parents are whining about public schools over the phone with neighbors.  From what happens in our community, homeschooler hanging out at the mall while Mom shops on Tuesdays afternoon are just a vulnerable as those in a regular classroom.

  •  Please don’t blame Aspergers! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, Matilda

    Most Aspergers are completely harmless.

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 02:25:26 PM PST

  •  My Mother was a Teacher (0+ / 0-)

    in the Public Schools for 28 Years.

    She Taught Me to Read, Write and Spell Before I Ever
    went to the First Grade.   Thank You, Mom.

    She also Knew that a HUGE part of "Growing Up" is being
    around, and Learning HOW to interact with, the Other
    Students in the Classroom.

    Home Schooling is a Sensory Deprivation Chamber.

    The Perfect Environment for Creating a Mental and
    Emotional CLONE of whatever Malignant thoughts are
    bouncing around inside their Parent's Heads.

    I Can't Wait Until All those Home Schooled Children Find
    out that the Earth is NOT 8,000 years Old and Jesus
    did NOT ride on the back of a Dinosaur.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:11:50 PM PST

    •  Not so for most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the kids I have known out here in the sticks as well as my own nephews were better adjusted because they had more of a sense of who they were. It wasn't about if they "fit in" or "conformed" to what someone else decided was the latest style or whatever.

      My oldest nephew was labeled ADHD by a teacher because he was bored that the lessons were moving to slow. He would finish his work ahead of everyone by miles because for him it was easy then have nothing to do. For this they thought he sould be medicated.

      He was writing code for microsoft by the time he was 12 with the programmers there helping him learn and directing him to material fo rhis studies in that area. He was also playing violin in the youth symphony during that period of his life. Things he would never experienced had his mother not taken him out of public school.

      He is now a graduate a school he attended on a full ride scholarship. He has been happily married for 6 years and has a son of his own. By all accounts he is very happy and frankly that is more than most people can claim.

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:06:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not true for many homeschoolers (0+ / 0-)

      My homeschooled children are far from sensory deprived. In addition, they learn to interact with children and adults of all ages, in many locales, not simply children who are the same age and happen to live in our neighborhood.

      My parents are both retired public school teachers. They had some reservations, but have taken the time to learn the reality of homeschool and not just assume that the stereotypes are true.

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