Monday, September 28, 2009

A Lefty Homeschooler in New York City Tells It All:

I'm in the middle of reading an article written by a homeschooling dad from NYC. And, since I'm in a random and fragmented type of mood, I thought I'd just give you a few of my favorite lines from his article:

"Home schooling is the new black!" This is my favorite quote thus far. It's a hot new trend, did you know? In some parts of the country, you are NO LONGER WEIRD if you homeschool. Who'd have EVER thought day would come? (And if this is true, why does my spell-check STILL not recognize the word "homeschool"?)

"People think we're all conservative Christians who hate the government and wear denim jumpers." Here the author is actually quoting another blogger, and they're both showing that homeschooling has spread out to parts of the population (non-denim skirt wearers, for example) that we never expected.

The author describes the public school that his twin 5 year old daughters would be going to: "It's a uniform school run on a paramilitary model, ruthlessly devoted to driving up the test scores." My, my. Isn't this exactly the type of school most folks say they want?

"...we feel dubious about the ideology that seems dominant in public education these days, and especially about the idea that sending kids to school virtually all day for 10 months a year, beginning at age 3 or 4, is the healthiest mode of delivering it."

Hear, hear!!

And here's a real zinger: "The real purpose of all this formal schooling is to get the kids out of the house and train them to stand in line and follow instructions while mommy and daddy get back to their ultra-important lives as economic production units."

Folks, DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED on the real reason the government is so hot on public education! I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I hope we can all admit that the government does have a vested interest in educating everyone (hey, that's not news; an educated populace is a good thing), AND in educating us all the same, like little drones. They control the education, they control the populace -- in how we think, evaluate, work, and comply.

And, speaking of homeschoolers in general, he says: "But hardly any of them structure their time and space so it resembles conventional schooling. That's exactly what they're trying to avoid, after all."Duh. So, all you normal folks out there, when you talk to homeschoolers, PLEASE do not ask them if they are doing their schooling like a standard classroom. The standard classroom is exactly what they're trying, unashamedly, to get away from.

The author tells about a homeschooling blogger who described her unconventional teaching techniques online. Evidently, her words were like "sticking a fork in the haunches of the angry and puritanical razorback hog that is the American Internet-reading public."

Yikes! Is that us? Excuse me ... Is that we? (I am always, always, an English teacher.)

Who were those online readers, flailing her virtual back with typed whips? "Puritanical?" Those poor Puritans. Why do we use their nomer as we do? (Is that opposite of a misnomer?) Certainly it wasn't the conservative Christians attacking the homeschooling blogger; half of them are homeschooling themselves.

Who hates homeschoolers? Why, those who adamantly defend public schooling for all. Those who know that every kid who is homeschooled deducts thousands of dollars from the public system. Those who think that a woman's place is in the workplace. Yeah, we all know those folks.

The author tries briefly to address the concern that homeschooled kids are lacking in "socialization." But he quickly is distracted by the theme that seems to crop up repeatedly in the article: The Kind of Homeschooler That He ISN'T. He isn't a Christian, nor a conservative. Oh yeah, and he doesn't wear a denim jumper. But he's rather amazed at what the homeschooling community DOES look like: " the home-school universe, a fascinating realm in which social dissidents from the left and right margins of society struggle to communicate and coexist."

And it will look more and more like that, my friend.

A few stats?

In 1970, the government said there were 150,000 homeschoolers in the USA.
In 2007, there were 1.5 million reported, and probably more. And homeschooling has exploded in the past 2 years because parents who cannot afford private schooling anymore are turning to homeschooling as a good alternative.

Are the sacrifices of homeschooling worth the benefits? Yes, he says: "Do we regret not exposing our kids to the intense cultural melting pot of New York's school system? Sometimes, sure. But we're also not exposing them to bullying, arbitrary systems of order and discipline, age-inappropriate standards of behavior, and the hegemony of corporatized kid culture."

A long article, but this subject interests you, it's worth the read. Here's the whole thing.

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