The Friar at Reason and Revelation caught my critique of one of his blog posts and appears to object to my neglect of fully fisking his original post, my conclusion, and my anti-defamation league comment*.
I guess I can rectify all that.
*(as to my seriousness, sir, the pajamas-with-feet that I proposed should be on the league crest ought to give you insight into that)
Reason and Revelation, Homeschooling 3
My statement was qualified stating that some were dissatisfied with the lackadaisical nature of the homeschool community in a certain town. The fact that they were does not decrease the value of homeschool. It only criticizes a certain aspect of homeschooling that exists in a particular place. The blogger does not even note this fact.
What you may not have taken into account is that participation or non-participation in communal activities is not what makes homeschooling, and isn’t even a defining feature. Some families homeschool while sailing a boat around the world. Having a little help from your friends is useful, of course, but it isn’t something that can be guaranteed to anyone. It is not the obligation of one homeschooling family to provide whatever another family lacks any more that it is incumbent upon one neighbor to finance the house, raise the children, or mow the lawn of another, although if there is a need, neighbors often help out. But one doesn’t move into a neighborhood for those reasons. If one does, it is usually a commune. Much of the point of homeschooling is independence of action.
Also, over-organization can (but doesn’t always) badly affect a family’s homeschooling. The energy given to the group, especially a high-needs group with dues, meetings, committees, and co-operative teaching is subtracted from the energy available to the family in their daily lives. The entity’s needs becomes the focus instead of the family’s individual needs.
The kind of support to supply to group members is one of the key decisions the people who want to form a support group must hammer out at the beginning of the process.
- Is the group meant to be one that is informal, or formal?
- Will the group be a playgroup?
- Is a main focus field-trips?
- Will the group be mainly a social group — for the parents or for the kids?
- Does the group have forming a co-op as a goal?
Your writing leads me to the conclusion that you presume that only groups that are formal and supply significant support are worthwhile, something that the group in the Raleigh area apparently did not do. I presume that, because of this, you use the word “lackadaisical,” which is not generally known for its positive implications.
I homeschooled my children, usually without any local support. When I first started I was the only homeschooling parent I knew, and that condition persisted for almost four years. My only supports were two magazines, and many catalogs. At this time we were also living in the infamous Germany, which had yet to fully enter the public cyber-age, but our Commodore 64 wouldn’t have been able to do anything with an Internet connection even if we’d had one. Because of this, I had no online support although I read in my magazines about these mysterious things called “bulletin boards.” I could only imagine what they were. Finally, a group came together, but after two years or so, we moved (to the also-infamous Belgium). For the final two years of my children’s homeschooling I was again a loner. I was also of the unschoolish persuasion, so I used no prepared curriculum, and rarely asked for guidance.
By what I infer from your writing, our homeschooling would have been ineffective because of the lack of ‘support.’
Further the blogger does not address the critique (or vices) I raised, which was the point of my post.
(and now we revert to the post that caught my eye)
- But homeschooling is not a panacea. Not every student out of a homeschool environment is better off it seems to me. One private school, located in Raleigh, was founded because some homeschoolers were dissatisfied with the lackadaisical nature of many homeschools.
See my original reply, and above.
By the way, I have an aversion to referring to young people and children as “students.” That seems to place their entire lives solely in the context of schooling.
- The support system among homeschools was also lacking discipline.
- 1. Expectation: Some homeschool students that I have had the pleasure of teaching believe, upon arrival to a college (secular or otherwise) they deserve high grades, and when I mean high, I mean “A.” A “B” is like an “F” to them. They have usually gotten wonderful grades in their homeschool and they expect the same results. The reason for this is my next point.
- 2. Achievement/Smarts: Homeschool students usually believe they deserve all “A”s because they have been told (usually by their mother) for years that they are special, bright, smart, and will be successful. While well meaning, this is probably not the wisest thing mothers do for their children. It actually hampers them when they get out into the real world and have to deal with people who are not their mother.
Hmmm, just as I didn’t take into consideration that you were writing about a local lazy league of learners, so, too, you do not take into consideration that what you’ve written is meaningless in the context of unschooling.
The closest I can get to giving you an idea of our outlook is to quote some signs that I hand-lettered (I liked calligraphy), and that were hanging around for a while.
If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re probably right.
Do all you have agreed to do.
Do not encroach on others or their property.
Floss [under hand-drawn picture of the Cheshire Cat's grin]
As for the ‘real world,’ what world do you think we live in? Do you think the world of school is ‘real?’
- 3. Narcissism: Homeschool students who go to college find it unnerving when their professors do not lavish attention on them the way their homeschool teacher did. In fact, some are downright offended when a prof does not lavishly praise them, spend time with them, etc., as they are accustomed. After all–and I have heard this from numerous students: “my parents told me I am special, and thus, you should pay more attention to me.” This is reflective of a bit of narcissism, and it’s unhealthy.
The kids you know say, “and thus?” My.
[calling out in a fluting voice to daughter, who commented on the last blog post] Rose, darling! What was it that Sue-J. said to you at college? (arch aside to readers: Sue-J. was the professor urging her to go to grad school) Wasn’t it something along the line of she was glad you were homeschooled because she didn’t have to coddle you? And who was the teacher you student-taught with?
[I'll have to shout louder for the other daughter, as she doesn't look around much online] Cindy, dear! What was it your chemistry grad-student-teacher said about your homework? Wasn’t it how it was so much more fun to grade because of the (copyrighted-by-my-daughter) King Monkey cartoons explaining your work? Mummy got that right, didn’t she, dear?
The boys don’t read me, so it’s no use yelling for them.
I’m assuming, sir, that we are at an impasse as I can see your experiences-with-homeschoolers-in-college, and raise you two grads-with-honors, and one doctor. Our publicly-schooled son also graduated with honors, so either I did as well as the public school teachers, or they did as well as I.
- There is one thing I have seen from homeschool students in the college setting that does not bespeak of narcissism–the penchant for some to want to show up to class in their pajamas–so careless are they with their appearance.
Guilty as charged, she sez as she sits blogging in her pajamas. (t-shirt that says “Front” and “Bach” — with appropriate image –, orange, pink and green-striped britches from WalMart, and black-patent leather Birkenstock sandals) I’m formal today.
Working in pajamas, by the way, is ecologically sound. If there is no need to dirty a second set of clothing there is a decreased need for laundering (which, to my credit, I’m doing concurrently with blogging) and that saves on the Seventh Generation laundry detergent, the wear and tear on the machines, and provides a decrease in the use of electricity and water. If the ‘good clothes’ do not wear out as fast, they don’t need to be replaced as often, and, as mentioned in … Zoolander, was it?? where the reporter is chastised for asking questions-of-little-substance and then goes for the jugular, …. the textile industry is a source of significant environmental pollution.
- And I should add that my experience is anecdotal–that is I should state that the 3 vices above are not generalizable.
Ditto on my replies.
Now to return to the current post:
However, many parents do share resources and some in my example found that wanting. THAT was the motive for some to start a private school. Where’s the illogic in that account?
In itself, that is not illogical, but your argument drifts away from homeschooling and into alt.ed. This is the source of a lot of online discussion where ‘ideas from all over’ butt into each other: where does homeschooling stop and ‘something else’ begin?
Again, is it really that difficult to understand that some people try homeschool, and find it is not for them in one way or another? And then, resolve not to put their kids into public school, but put them into a private school. Sounds reasonable to me and other homeschool supporters who responded to the original post.
Founding a private school isn’t at all unreasonable, but it isn’t about homeschooling. It is about the personalities and needs of people who decided that homeschooling, with its inherent independence, didn’t fit them. This lack-of-fit isn’t a failing of homeschooling any more than not having a bat with which to hit the ball is a failing of football.
You are ascribing the founding of a school to a failure of homeschooling to meet the needs of these people who apparently ‘aren’t homeschoolers’ — which isn’t to blame them. I am not a rock-climber, or an airplane-flyer, or a person who enjoys buildings of over … say … 4-stories in height, so is this a failure of rock-climbing, flying, or skyscrapers? No. They haven’t failed. What’s more, I haven’t failed. I am just an ocean-swimmer, train-rider and ranch-house-liver, which leaves more room on the cliffs, in the airport waiting lines and in penthouses. Win-win, we’re all happy.
The school in Raleigh was founded because that is the framework these people needed. Founding a school is fine, maybe even wonderful. But you don’t have to blame homeschooling because independent home education didn’t meet their needs.
And that is where the illogic comes in: one thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other in the context you gave it: ie, the founding of a school by people who are ‘not homeschoolers’ (at their core — it’s just ‘not them’), because of homeschoolers whom you find to be insecure, narcissistic, and slovenly.
The blogger also does not mention the many positive statements I made about homeschooling (which I support–mine was not an attack on homeschooling).
Homeschooling is a viable and worthy alternative, but we ought to be aware of some of the natural(?) and potential pitfalls of such an endeavor. With the continued failure of many K-12 public schools, homeschooling should be considered. However, to avoid some of these pitfalls, it might be worthwhile to check out the private arena.
I think that’s called ‘damning with faint praise.’
posted by Valerie