It used to be that in the examination of parental liberty and the responsibility to educate children while raising them, writers compared homeschooling to family meal times. If social structure allows people to eat as they wish, and if no one tracks what parents feed their children, then why wouldn’t parents who wish to educate their children be as trustworthy about education as they are about meals?
That joke may have its useful life shortened.
This is scholastic achievement?, 11 October 2007, Junkfood Science
From the “What are they teaching our children?” file comes another school-based childhood obesity initiative with no sound basis in science. Worse, it teaches children to fear healthful foods they need and teaches prejudices against their heavier classmates.
Now, Kaiser Permanente, which has partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in developing childhood obesity programs, has created an anti-obesity game for elementary children that is being distributed, along with teacher lesson plans and parent guides, through Scholastic Inc. But that’s not all
Video game teaches kids about diet – then turns off
With child obesity rates rising, the U.S.’s biggest health maintenance organization on Tuesday launched an online video game to teach kids what to eat – and then shut down after 20 minutes. Kaiser Permanente said “The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective” was designed to teach 9- and 10-year-olds about healthy eating and exercise.
Yeah. A game shuts off and the kids are going to turn off the computer and go do something else. Uh-huh.
If the game stops with no way to restart for a while, the kids will just abandon it in favor or something else. Perhaps the premise is to get parents to sit next to the child and enforce the game’s 20-minute rule? That should be popular with everyone especially in the world of two-parent incomes, full days of school, full nights of homework, and sports practices taking care of all the spare time.
Fyi, Kaiser — computers always have ‘one more click’ that goes somewhere else. By turning off the game, you just lose your audience. Great use of any tax dollars used via the ‘partnering’ with the CDC.
If basic psychology and familiarity with online computer gaming aren’t enough to show that a computer game misses the point when it has as part of its focus the message to not play computer games, there is also Marshall McLuhan’s exploration of, “The medium is the message.” (Dick Cavett show, 1970) By giving children an online game to play, the game’s message is corrupted because the player must use a computer, and stay seated long enough to get the message, “Go play outside!” Contrarily, the medium’s message is, “But before you go, watch this program about playing outside.”
Which is more important? The playing or the watching?
But, back to homeschooling.
At Junk Food Science, the blogger ends the essay with,
The more insights we get into the incessant anti-obesity and healthy eating and exercise messages bombarding our children in school, the more alarmed growing numbers of parents and healthcare professionals are becoming. Perhaps, it’s also not surprising that increasing numbers of parents are choosing to home school their kids.
Given developments in the world of pediatrics, homeschooling may not keep that corporate/governmental big brother bogeymen at bay.
Doc, what’s up with snooping? Pediatrician paranoia runs deep, 4 October 2007, Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts
The doctor wanted to know how we get along, my daughter continued. Then she paused. And if, well, Daddy, if you made me feel uncomfortable.
Great. I send my daughter to the pediatrician to find out if she’s fit to play lacrosse, and the doctor spends her time trying to find out if her mom and I are drunk, drug-addicted sex criminals.
We’re not alone, either. Thanks to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the commonwealth, doctors across Massachusetts are interrogating our kids about mom and dad’s bad behavior.
Pediatricians advised to be vigilant about homeschoolers’ socialization, 1 March 2007, HEM News and Commentary’s look at the article: What you need to learn about homeschooling, 1 November 2006, Modern Medicine
Effective health care for the homeschooled child requires understanding of the issues, an open line of communication to parents, and the vigilance to ensure that children not covered by the safety net of school screening get the care they need.
Going back to McLuhan’s exploration of the medium being the message, what I gather from all these messages is the social primacy of bureaucracies. As McLuhan put it on the Dick Cavett program, it’s all “corporate.”
Will there be any political rest for homeschooling — or parenting — if we don’t give up our individuality and become “corporate” like everything else?
posted by Valerie