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14 November 2014


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"but nevertheless thrive at becoming themselves in their family environment."

This is what truly appeals to me about homeschooling: the ability to be fully human and not widgets in an institution. I care about the academics, but I don't really worry about them (says I, whose kids go to public school. Watch me freak out if it is ever on me.) I do worry about them being sucked into an unhealthy culture where conformity is demanded and the children are mostly raising themselves. I see some cattiness creeping into Grace's default posture and it bothers me. I know this road and I don't like it. All I can do is guide her, but every day I send her into an environment where mean girls rule. I hate that.

I do have the luxury of being "qualified" in the eyes of the world with my state-issued (and mostly worthless) teaching certificate and I dare someone to tell me I am not smart enough to teach my kids. I can drop a pile of stats that say otherwise on their heads. But I know that if I ever pull my kids out of public schools, the biggest opposition I will face will be from my mother, the public school teacher. My parents are firmly entrenched in the idea that we owe our children to the schools to make the other children better, and, well, I am not.


That may be my least favorite argument against homeschooling ever.


Mine too because there is no counter. Any setback in homeschooling is proof they should be in school and any achievement is proof you are selfishly denying other people benefits which they may need. It is an ideology. But in my favor, they already think I am half crazy so there's that.


I dislike that argument against because it makes one's children sound like sacrificial victims. At least when you say "to make the other children better" it focuses on now. I have heard it "to fix the system" which has a goal when? 2 generations from now? And if I hand over my children to "the system" in order to fix it, who will be around to see it fixed in 2 generations?


Note: I'm going to use 'good' and 'bad' as an easy shorthand and not as a moral judgement.

No one disputes the system is broken, not even my parents, but the reason they think it is broken is why they generally oppose private and homeschooling. They do not believe that the system is being abandoned because it is broken, but they believe it is broken because it was abandoned. They believe the driving force behind parents pulling their kids out of public school is snobbery and racism. They believe that if everyone would just send their kids to public school, the good kids would greatly outnumber the bad kids and the bad kids would take behavior cues from the good kids and improve. The lack of good kids in the schools means the bad kids are in the majority and they feed off each other and the schools spiral into ever worse condition as the bad kids drive the good kids away. If all the good kids stayed, the schools would be good too. They see sending children to public school as moral duty to society and people who opt out of public school as selfish. So I guess they do have a 'fix the system' argument except they would say it isn't that sending your kids to public school is fixing the system, but that withholding your kids from public school is what breaks the system.


And of course there is a ton of evidence for this theory based on the fact that wherever there are no private schools around to compete with the local public schools, the local public schools are all thriving and no child is ever left behind. #not


Evidence, smevidence. It's grasping for utopia is what it is which brings us back around to your best homeschooling advice. Just because they might disapprove doesn't mean I owe them a veto over my decisions.

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