Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Anti-Homeschooling Article

Another article painting homeschoolers as religious nuts who won't let their children wear shorts, or read Time Magazine, or dance. Another writer having a grand old time ridiculing people who are just honestly trying to pass on their values to their children (and what is wrong with that?) and in doing so, clumping a whole community into one ill-fitting category. The truth is that *most* of the homeschoolers I know are *not* homeschooling for religious reasons (not that there's anything wrong with that) and I'm tired of people assuming that because I'm homeschooling I also don't watch television or wear lipstick. BLAH! This article made me mad. Partly because I don't like being lumped in a category, and partly because the people he's making fun of and criticizing aren't doing anything wrong or unreasonable. Well, the article speaks for itself... and here is a link: Right here.

Here's my letter to the editor:

I'm writing regarding Grady Jim Robinson's article, "Table for One: Fundamentalism and the Facts."

This writer seems to be overly concerned that our elementary school children be exposed to information about sex. I am a little bit worried about him, to be honest. I think all those homeschooled children who don't learn about what sexually stimulates men and women until they get a little older are probably going to be just fine.

I'm not homeschooling for religious reasons. My reasons are multiple, but I think Robinson inadvertantly makes a good argument for homeschooling when he says that the average kid in a public high school "is, well, average." I want more than that for my child. And when he says that overall, public schools are "a safe and sound environment for your child," I have to laugh. Have we really adopted this metric to evaluate our schools? Overall, our kids probably aren't going to die there? I aspire for a deeper and fuller educational experience for my children, and measure their learning by a more complicated standard than just escaping death.

I appreciate Robinson's concern for children (although I still wonder why he wants children to read books about sex), but I must remind him that there are extremists in any group. The parent and child that he has described in his article, if they exist, are definitely on the fringe of the homeschooling community. Most of us are quite normal, quite level-headed, and just want a better deal than the schools are offering.



So, I had a lot more to say to them, obviously, but wanted to keep it brief and limit it to the salient points:

1. I don't want my kid to be average, so don't promise me mediocrity as if it's some shining prize. Don't sell me "pack your kid off and hope for the best, hey, it's what the rest of us do" and expect me to feel inspired.

2. My six-year-old son definitely does not need to read books about sex. It is *creepy* that the author of that article kept using the word "child" and then talking about all this sex stuff. Creepy!

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