I can’t tell whether to blog this article as a sports article, a homeschool article, as social commentary, or as a religious piece.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 12 December 2006, Pride for the home team
The North Metro Blazers are an up-tempo, high-scoring, winning basketball team. And all the players are home-schooled.
Last season, the Blazers played Minnesota Transitions of Minneapolis, a MSHSL team that plays a similar style. North Metro lost, but the combined 240 points scored would have been a MSHSL record if both teams were league members.
Stephens and his wife, Marcia, teach their four children at their Oak Grove home. Their school day starts about 8 a.m. in a converted utility room with shelves full of books, a computer and myriad teaching aides. The children can also study in the living room or their bedrooms.
And? Don’t public and private school kids also study in their living rooms and bedrooms?
[The athletic director] does not require players to “profess their faith” nor has he polled the team to find out their denominations. He tells parents at preseason meetings that “we do consider ourselves Christians” and that coaches and players “will be praying before practices and games.”
I’m glad to see that the team hasn’t following the statement of faith trend. I understand that it can be a comfort to associate with people of like minds, but if a group intends to serve a geographic area, as implied by a name such as “North Metro,” it’s nice to see that the people in the geographic are welcome.
The program, now in its sixth season, offers players the chance to socialize with others and learn the lessons of discipline and teamwork.
As if homeschooled kids ordinarily don’t have chances to socialize with others and learn discipline and teamwork? Homeschooling families didn’t just beam down from the Enterprise after asking to come to Earth from the Delta Quadrant. Homeschoolers are ordinary people, the folks next door. Homeschooling has also been around for decades, and has been reported on also for at least one of those decades. The revelation that homeschoolers actually leave their homes shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point.
In the course of ordinary life, people everywhere have devised many ways of doing stuff together. Some activities are competitive, some individual, some cooperative. There are football teams, hockey teams, bowling leagues, tennis clubs, ping-pong clubs, hiking clubs, swim teams, Tae kwan do, karate, judo, yoga, and Tai chi. Kids get together at Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Daisy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts, Camp Fire meetings, Earth Scouts and Royal Rangers. Rural and small town kids can join Future Farmers of America, and 4-H. People do ballet, Irish dance, square dancing, English country dance, ballroom dance. Continuing with music, there are choirs, barbershop singers, chorus groups, handbell choirs, children’s orchestras and marching bands. Add to the mix community theater, old car clubs, fishing groups, stamp clubs, coin clubs, sailing clubs, book clubs, Society for Creative Anachronism, Civil War reenactment groups, animal protection leagues, garden clubs, bird watching clubs, debate clubs, speech clubs, supper clubs, wine clubs, model train clubs, quilting clubs.
My observations are also not meant to disparage groups formed by homeschooling families in order to provide social experiences or activities for their children. What I do question is the seeming observation in many reports that homeschooling parents have finally figured out how to ‘socialize’ their children when the only major difference between most homeschooling families and their public or private schooling neighbors is school choice. Regardless of where our kids are educated, for the most part we all live in homes of some sort, work, hang out with our friends, and get together with our extended families when we can. The differences are in the details, but not in the big stuff.
Human interest stories are fine, but spelling out that even homeschooled kids can “socialize with others and learn the lessons of discipline and teamwork,” makes it sound as if we are alien creatures in need of instruction in how to be human (or American), and not merely families in which the kids are educated a little differently … at this point as many children are publicly schooled before their parents decided to try homeschooling.
Home Schooling in the United States: Trends and Characteristics, Table 5, Reasons Given by Parents for Choosing Home Schooling: 1996 and 1999 Home Schooled Children: NHES Surveys, August 2001, U.S. Census Bureau
Poor learning environment at school 29.8%
Object to what school teaches 14.4%
School does not challenge child 11.5%
Other problem with available public/private schools 6.2%
Student behavioral problems 5.3%
Could not get into a desired school 1.3%
I’m all for articles about homeschooling, but I hope that before too long we get promoted to normal.
posted by Valerie