Monday, June 04, 2007

The offense of homeschooling

Over the next several postings, I want to address some of the doubts, questions, and misconceptions that others have about homeschooling. Before I do that however, I want to tell you about a conversation that I had last week.

I've been running into more negativity about homeschooling lately than I have in years. I've been trying to figure out why, and I think I may have been given a clue.

"I find that offensive." That's what Ms. Schoolteacher said to me after I told her that we homeschool.

I was going to ask why, but it wasn't necessary. She gave me an earful.
  • How do I presume that I can teach my children better than trained professionals?
  • Do I assume that my children are smarter than other children?
  • How dare we judge parents who put their children in public school?
  • My children are going to be an anti-social burden on society.
  • It's not fair that homeschoolers can be in the spelling bee (!!!) because they can spend more time practicing.
  • They won't be able to function in college or the work force because they won't be used to getting out of bed.
  • If I'm going to homeschool I shouldn't take up space--and presumably shouldn't pay taxes--in a good school district.
Yep, I'm probably helping pay her salary.

There are so many false assumptions in what she said that addressing them will take a number of posts, but I just wonder: How prevalent is this kind of thinking?


Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

That's closer to the attitude that I saw when I was in California, despite the fact that the laws were very favorable.

I remember a friend of mine who hadn't had kids yet telling me that she wouldn't homeschool, because even if it did a better job, it would make her kids freaks and stand out from everyone else if they thought better, learned more, etc. She had a degree in Human Development from Berkeley (lib center of the world), although she was a very conservative evangelical Christian.

I refrained from allowing my jaw to drop (and I guess it was also a shock to me because it was so foreign to my reasons for homeschooling) , and then responded, "well, then I hope some people will homeschool, because you are going to need some people who can think so that they can protect the dumb masses from people who are truly evil. They won't know how to see a lie when one is before them."

We fell out of contact. Knowing her, now that she has her own kid, I'm sure she might have been forced to reassess that view.

Barbara Frank said...

I see that attitude and more in the teachers that live in my area. They don't even like kids.

Across the street is a public school child psychologist shacked up with a junior high teacher. I met the psychologist at a neighborhood Christmas party. Her snotty reaction to hearing I was a homeschooler was only exceeded by her overreaction to learning I had four (!) children. So of course I had to inform her that our next-door neighbor has six, just to watch the reaction. Then I warned her not to drink the water. ;)

Karin said...

I gave a talk a few years ago to a civic group about hsing and one lady wigged out on these very issues. The rest of them seemed sincerely interested. What occurred to me while she was grilling me on hsing and her stereotypes of hsers is that they were just that - stereotypes. ALL homeschoolers are socially disfunctional, what gives parents the right to hs? REally??? I asked her what gives teachers the right to teach our children. Are teachers qualified to teach and what makes them qualified? A degree? WOuld the black man in the audience appreciate being stereotyped? She made reference to the mom who killed her five children and is hsing a form of child abuse. I pointed out that there are MANY public school parents who abuse their children who don't make the news. I also declined to give such talks in the future as the stress is something I could do without processing for days afterwards.