Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interesting Homeschooling Article

I was emailed this article today through one of our homeschooling groups and I just had to share. The author relies a little too heavily on stereotype for my taste, but I found his sentiments to be spot on. I hope you enjoy reading his words.

----------Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfortMon Jun 16, 2008 4:50
pm (PDT)

*SONNY SCOTT:Home-schooler s threaten our cultural comfort *6/8/2008
9:39:01 AMDaily Journal

You see them at the grocery, or in a discount store. It's a big family by
today's standards - "just like stair steps," as the old folks say. Freshly
scrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean but
unfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frills
shopping list.

There's no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. The
older watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task.

You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being
homeschooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for
academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them.
Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at
$4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you consider
that these families pay taxes tosupport public schools, but demand nothing from
them, it seems quite a deal for the public.

Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, and are
more likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Some
fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and
hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. Others are concerned for
their children's safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond the
minimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world view
largely permeates the movement.

Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the
parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under
increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.

Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?

Me thinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the
homeschooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the

Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an
indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar
the things that Caesar's be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of
us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our
children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and
we reject them in return.

Just as the jealous Chaldeans schemed to bring the wrath of the king upon
the Hebrew eunuchs, we are happy to sic the state's bureaucrats on these
"trouble makers." Their implicit rejection of America's most venerated idol,
Materialism, (a.k.a. "Individualism" ) spurs us to heat the furnace and feed the

Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care andday
school, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. "A
family just can't make it on one income." (Our parents did.)"It just costs so
much to raise a child nowadays." (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing,
pre-prepared food, join every club and activity,and spend half the cost of a
house on the daughter's wedding, it does.) And so, the decision is made. We give
up the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation of
their minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by getting
a boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a
2,800-square- foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance a
brand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim"our right" to
pursue a career for our own "self-fulfillment. "

Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn. We
lack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of something
enduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, and
the looming depression threatens our 401k's. Credit cards are nearly maxed, and
it costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban. Now the kid is raising hell again,
demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work ... and
there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four
bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn't you just love
to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?

Is it any wonder we hate her so?

Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw County
and his e-mail address is sonnyscott@yahoo.


Jennifer 8:47 AM  

I guess we wouldn't be your typical homeschooling family then, although I don't see what this article describes very often. I do get lots of compliments on my children, but they do still ask for things. They have just learned that the answer is usually no and they don't typically beg.

Their faces get dirty, their clothes don't match all the time, and certainly not to each other. My kids yell at us and each other - we just punish them for it. I don't think most parents punish their kids for bad behavior, they just look too tired to take care of it and honestly sometimes we are all too tired to deal with bad behavior.

This article holds some pretty high standards that I am not sure I want to live up to. I want my kids to learn to make their own decisions and not always do only what I tell them to do. Although I do expect them to do what they are told, if that makes sense. Very interesting!

Kate 10:25 AM  

Jennifer, great point! Our family definitely is just like yours and not like the stereotype in the article. And you're right, I don't see a family like that very often either, although I do have respect and admiration for families that are like that!

What intrigued me so much about the article was the author's view on why "the rest of the world" dislikes/distrusts homeschoolers. I thought he made some very interesting comments.

Thanks so much for your comment. I see where I should edit my post too.

Donna,  5:04 PM  

I really liked this!
Thanks for posting it, if it's okay- I may put it on my blog too!

Kate 5:12 PM  

Donna, feel free to post it!

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings 8:59 PM  

I agree Kate. I think the big question is why do people have a problem with homeschoolers? And I think this hits it on the head. We reject the cultural norm in this case. I really like the figures on how much it saves the pubic for us to homeschool. I don't think most people look at it from this angle.
I think I'll post it on my blog too!

Memarie Lane 8:15 PM  

I was homeschooled and I am homeschooling, and never in my life have I encountered any families that fit this stereotype I keep hearing about. Interesting article otherwise.

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