A little farther down the blog, I have a post about the Newsweek article featuring Laura Derrick of NHEN. I know other homeschooling blogs picked up the article, but it seems that at least one of the ‘civilian’ blogs did, too. (hat tip to Chris)
When you’ve not stopped looking at your teenager for 84 hours.., 28 May 2007, Pandagon.net
I didn’t expect the interviewer to hammer at Derrick about the issue of whether or not it’s wise for people to homeschool their kids if they are doing so with the intention of teaching them that Noah had a pet dinosaur or that Jesus founded America (and therefore feed them into upper echelon jobs in the Justice Department), but I figured it would at least come up.
I have no idea about Laura’s possible answer, but I think that a state edict suppressing wrong thought such as “Noah-had-a-dinosaur” endangers academic freedom. I have mixed feelings about this freedom because I’m not in the Noah’s dinosaur crowd.
Hearing this viewpoint from the upper echelons of government troubles me, but homeschooling did not cause that shift in the viewpoint of many Americans. Most Americans are publicly schooled as, I presume, are most members of the group considered our nation’s watchdog: the media. If public schooling is effective in its teaching methods, how did so many people come to accept this viewpoint? And why have the media not clearly identified the differences between scientific deductions and junk science? Perhaps Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection” skills ought to be taught?
I know there is scientific reporting ‘out there,’ but unfortunately the pseudo-scientific stories entertain more people. (no, I don’t want to hear the misinterpretation about how evolution is “just a theory”)
None of that is to say that I think that all homeschoolers are fundie nuts intent on depriving their kids of a reality-based education.
Why, thank you. We won’t think you’re all standardistos out to squelch free thinking.
I’m quite aware that the concept of homeschooling is gaining some steam on the left, …
“…gaining some steam…”??
Home Education Magazine, the longest-running continuously published homeschool magazine, …
Volume 1 was published in 1984.
The meat of the response to the Newsweek article at Pandagon, though, is about the unpaid labor of women, and I think is something to consider.
Still, I’m suspicious of the use of homeschooling to subvert the system for the same reason Chris is suspicious of a certain strain of the politics of personal puritywhy is it that the solutions to all these problems come back to asking women to provide more and more unpaid labor? The elephant in the middle of the room during discussions about homeschooling is the fact that in order to make it work most of the time, women will have to abandon the hope of having paid employment for a couple of decades.
Women often have to make a choice between motherhood and a career, while men are usually expected to be careerists whether or not they are fathers. This isn’t a standard, of course, as I once worked for a woman in the 1970s whose career was the bedrock for the family, and her husband switched jobs to follow her Army assignments. Now, your opinion of whose job is the financial bedrock might depend on how you see 1) careers and 2) parenthood, and 3) how you feel about having to go to work every day.
Some people enjoy staying home and some people enjoy going to work. If, when a family decides to homeschool, the mom stays home, does that indicate repression, or perhaps an inclination on the part of these women, to stay home? It could go either way, but given the outspokenness of the women whose words I’ve read on blogs and on homeschooling email lists, they strike me more as take-charge people rather than indentured servants.
I will admit to wondering about most of the women down through history, which colors our perception of who ought to do what.
- When looking at his gardens in Giverny, who washed the socks Monet was walking around in?
- While Picasso painted, who made his sandwiches?
- Did Newton boil the water for his own tea?
- As von Leeuwenhoek peered through his microscopes, who was hanging out the sheets?
- Who scrubbed the mud off Franklin’s floors after he came in from standing in that thunderstorm?
Successful men probably lived in households, and most likely the maintenance work of women-who-are-invisible-to-history gave them these men the time needed for the work for which they gained fame.
Maybe if I’d had stronger working-women role models, I’d have stopped snarfing bonbons and gone back to earning some Real Money. Then again, maybe I’d have missed all the wonderful moments with my kids that I hold so dear. Would I have valued Social Security quarters more than multiple photo albums? Different strokes for different folks.
The discussion about male/female relationships, partnerships and economics in and around the family are too complex to fully discuss here, supposing I were qualified to do so (which I’m not). Still, topics that could be discussed might be:
- Contractual expectations between partners.
- Divison of labor.
- Compensation in kind.
- Desires of each person for job fulfillment. (colored, of course by historic models and personal expectations)
- Job satisfaction.
- Expenses of each job contrasted with career potential of the job.
- Time cost for each job relative to time investment in family maintenance.
- The effect on the children.
I’m glad that my relationship with my husband has not been defined by a pre-nup spelling out who does the laundry on Friday night, but maybe some people would find that a good fit. I don’t want my discussion to be taken as sniping at women whose careers are important to them, and I also don’t want to return to a world where women, like children, are expected to be seen and not heard.
At the same time, though, perhaps the people for whom women@home = shackles shouldn’t assume that fathers dragooned mothers into homeschooling.
posted by Valerie