Sunday, March 08, 2009

Army National Guard Recruiting Homeschoolers to Path of Honor

The Army National Guard has a new program: The Homeschooler's Path to Honor. You could summarize this new program by saying this: "We, the Army National Guard, will cheerfully accept your homeschool diploma in lieu of a high school diploma from a traditional school."

That makes sense. After all it's only right and normal that they accept a homeschool diploma. State universities do. Why not the Army? So, fine. However, instead of a notice of that bit of clerical updating, on the "Path to Honor" web site, you'll find the following verbiage:

The National Guard recognizes and values the unique skills, abilities, and character that homeschoolers can bring to our organization. Homeschoolers are known for their high levels of cooperation, assertiveness, empathy and self-control. The values that homeschooled young men and women hold will naturally mesh with the Army Values.

Homeschoolers are known for high levels of what? Who was surveyed to compile this list of traits for which homeschoolers, collectively, are known? And what is this cooperative assertiveness? This empathic self-control? These values and traits might as well have been picked from an arbitrary list for all they have to do with homeschoolers as a group. Homeschoolers are not a monolithic group full of identical robots. They are certainly not a unified army of cooperatively assertive little empaths.

Now, there are traits that homeschoolers *do* all have in common. Traits like the ability to work independently, a level of comfort with being outside the mainstream, a tendency to think past what's expected and deconstruct the status quo. I am not a military person myself but I would feel safe in betting those are not characteristics for which the Army is actively searching.

Here's another ripe quote from the Army National Guard's pitch to homeschoolers:

The National Guard is a natural choice for innovative young men and women who pursue unconventional avenues to succeed.

Yeah. That's the army. Unconventional.

I am not against the military. I know lots of people, including my husband, who found military service to be a very positive thing. However, I must call cowdung on this ridiculous recruiting language, which both misrepresents the experience a recruit can expect to have (It'll be just like homeschooling! But with money for college!) and misrepresents the recruit him or herself. If homeschoolers want to join the Army National Guard, good for them. But do we have to make them a special "Path of Honor" with their own fake, patronizing reasons for joining up?

Would you join the army because you're unconventional and empathic? What kind of nonsense is this?


  1. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Don't join the military. For any reason.

  2. Anonymous11:11 AM

    This totally cracks me up!I say this as a military spouse and homeschooling mom - if I were an Army recruiter, I would RUN from homeschoolers! The exact thing that makes my husband a great officer - conformity, following direction without complete understanding or agreement with the order - are the things that make me a bad military spouse! :)
    I spend decent chunks of time teaching my DD to question EVERYTHING, understand what you are doing and the point that even the old traditional "Because I said so" mom-ism, leads to a 30 minute discussion. Exactly what a Drill Instructor would want in a recruit...:)