Sunday, February 22, 2009

Once More, From the Top!

Or, My Rant in Defense of Homeschooling

Here is a little (snort) note I left as a comment on this poor woman's blog this morning, found as I was perusing local blogs. I certainly don't expect everyone in the world to agree with me, but I am getting really tired of having to 'explain myself' every time the subject of homeschooling comes up. Her post was just the same old, same old, hackneyed, tired, worn-out stereotypical rant against homeschooling, written after meeting a mother who works full time and homeschools two kids at the same time. The blogger goes on to condemn homeschool parents who dare to put their kids into sports programs or other activities associated with the public schools in their area, saying it should be an all or nothing proposition. In her defense (and she has a really cute name for her blog, lol), she did concede the point in a response to my comment.

Note: If you think you are one of the 'friends and family' I mention below, you probably are. I still love you, I just wish you would not get your panties in a bunch over something that really has nothing to do with you. I am not judging you, so please give me the courtesy of doing the same.

You didn't say how old these kids are, but if they are old enough to be left at home alone, then they are certainly at the point in homeschooling where most of their curriculum can be self-directed, with grading being done by mom and dad later in the day, or, if they are doing online classes (which most homeschoolers I know are doing these days), the work is monitored remotely. In this day and age, you can 'spy' on your kids from any computer, or even you phone, seeing exactly what they see on their screen at home or in another room. Not to mention the fact that actual 'class time' needed for homeschoolers is WAAAAY less than the 6 or 7 hours spent in a traditional school, due to the individual attention given to these kids. Most elementary grades don't need to spend more than 2 hours, with a max of usually no more than 4 hours for higher grades.
Please don't lump everyone in who homeschools as 'weird', when you don't know them personally. I do not homeschool (yet), but I am leaning heavily towards it, for financial and other reasons, and I am getting these same stereotypical judgements from close friends and family even, who really don't understand the motivation behind this decision. My girlfriends with kids in public school immediately get all defensive if the subject of homeschooling arises because (in their 'everything is about me' little world) they assume YOU are judging THEM, roflol!! Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's not about the school, I live in an area with the best public schools around (Great Bridge). It's not even about religion, or some holier-than-thou ideal that I am earning points in heaven or something like that. It is, however, about curriculum, and my kids learning styles, and character training, and the individual attention that some kids with ADD and other issues need.
Now I was lucky enough to grow up around a lot of homeschooling families (I went to Va Beach public schools myself), and I have a lot of friends today who do it. Yes, one or two are what some people might call 'weird', but isn't weird just a label for 'unfamiliar', 'not like me', 'different', etc? But they are a tiny, tiny minority of the millions of families that choose to follow this path. 99.9% of the kids and adults I know that are/were homeschooled have gone on to excel in their life pursuits, not handicapped in any way. In fact, these people and their example are a big part of the reason I defend homeschooling whenever I hear these stale myths being dragged out again. I am sorry this is so long, but I guess I am just as passionate about defending this very personal choice as some are to condemn it.

Here's a link to some interesting stats, if you would like to educate yourself on this topic a little better.

Oh, and yes, I absolutely would take advantage of every single resource available to me as a parent, especially public school sports and other extracurricular activities. The taxes used to pay for those non-academic pursuits is MY MONEY. You jump through hoops every year to get your tax refund and wouldn't dream of leaving off a child or two worth of deductions, would you? It's YOUR MONEY. You ever apply for a student loan or grant in college? Hello! No difference. Shoot, I would apply for and gladly accept any kind of government assistance/food stamps/WIC/whatever if I qualified, AND fight for welfare reform at the same time, without one ounce of guilt. Anyway, I am not here to berate or guilt you into or out of anything, just to provide information and open up a window of understanding on something that is much maligned and sorely misunderstood.

It's bad enough I have had to justify my decision to put my kids in private school, and a religious one at that. I have just had it up to here with people who don't know jack about a subject, or have had very little exposure to something, thinking they are the expert and know how to run everyone else's life around them. That kind of thinking is what got us a Socialist in the White House. I also just don't get the passion (fear?) that this topic seems to engender in people when it comes up. It's worse than discussing race relations or abortion! What is it about the choice to homeschool that freaks people out so much? Are folks afraid they may take over the world? That it might actually work? What is so threatening about that? I don't know.

Whew. Now, again, for those of you who still think I am judging your decision NOT to homeschool, or feel that MY decisions regarding MY children will somehow negatively affect you, let's say it all together now, "It's NOT about YOU". That is all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Win free flowers and support the Troops!!

From Emom at Mail Our Military blog....

Monday, February 2, 2009
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