Thursday, April 20, 2006

Failure

Update: Oh! All those aching toes out there! I just want to thank everyone for providing their own personal stories. I am amazed at how many people totally misrepresented what I've said here. I've been insulted and otherwise attacked for making a simple, modest prediction. I'm very tempted to take this experience as further evidence supporting my prediction. If you have a civil, reasonable comment please proceed. Otherise, please show some maturity and social development and refrain. Thank you.


(left)The Tower Card as I saw it a couple of years ago, but now I would probably do it differently.

(right) The traditional Rider-Waite Tower Card.


The Tower card ultimately signifies failure which opens the path for new growth. No one likes to fail, but some of us learn best by finding out what doesn't work first and then trying new things. I see the development of tarot over the centuries as more of a psychological and spiritual counseling tool than a divination tool. But this post isn't really about tarot.


In case you've missed it on the news lately there is currently a mumps epidemic. In the US the state of Iowa has been hardest hit, but it is happening in the UK also. The main reason for this is that about 20 years ago many parents began deciding not to have their children immunized. I know I'm stepping on some toes here, but facts is facts. I know parents who have not had their kids immunized because of several reasons which generally fall into the following catagories:

1. Unrealistic fear of side effects.

2. Erroneously thinking that mumps and other illnesses had disappeared from the planet because of the previous people being immunized.

3. Religious influences which used the previous reasons as their propaganda.


People will tell you that they know someone who knows so-and-so who had such-and-such happen because of an immunization. I am aware that there have been a few isolated cases of severe reactions to immunizations. I'm not denying that, but I do know far more people who have had no problems from immunizations. Statistically we know that the risk of severe side effects is very low. And now we are seeing that the risk of contracting mumps (and probably other diseases) is much higher without the immunizations, even when "most other people have been immunized so what are the chances of me getting one of those diseases?" (one of the comments I've heard from people who did not get immunized)

This leads me to the second reason. It's funny how quickly people become complacent. When we had a generation that avoided getting sick because they were immunized then people decided that the danger of getting sick must gone. They didn't stop to realize that the people didn't get sick because they were immunized; they assume that without people getting the diseases then those diseases just disappear or something. Wrong! These viruses and bacteria still abound in the environment, but we who have been immunized don't get sick because of the immunizations, not because we haven't had contact with the microorganisms that cause the diseases.

Almost invariably the people I know who have not immunized their kids have been influenced by their churches. Somehow some religious leaders have brainwashed their congregations that immunizations aren't necessary. They spread horrific stories of unusual side-effects that may or may not have been the result of the immunizations, and they told their congregations that if they pray hard enough they will be protected from these diseases that must surely be rare by now anyway. They suggested to the church-goers that the medical and pharmaceutical fields are just trying to make a bunch of money by giving their kids 'unnecessary' and 'dangerous' injections. Of course, most people who have spouted that view or have heard it spouted and believed it will not come forward to confirm this. But I have seen and heard it with my own eyes and ears, in church no less.

So, what does this have to do with failure (and the tarot Tower card)?

Well, we are seeing the results of a failed social experiment by those who tempted fate by not getting immunized. Certainly, there are some who still refuse to accept that their experiment failed. But it seems pretty clear to me that they were and are wrong. Sometimes the ripples of the church's influence spread like a disease. Lightning strikes the tower and knocks it down.


I'm going to make a bold prediction here. I see many parallels between the 'no immunizations' camp and the 'homeschooling' camp. Again, sorry for any toes I might be smushing here, but this is how it looks to this mediocre visionary. This home-schooling movement that has been going on for about a decade is going to prove to be another failed social experiment. I foresee that we'll have problems arise from it that most of us haven't even considered possible. What exactly those problems are I can't really say yet because my mediocre crystal ball is just that, mediocre. But I am sure that we will see problems directly related to it. Mark my words.

41 comments:

DHammett said...

OK. I want to send my kids to public school when things like this are happening: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-04-20-kansas_x.htm

Mark my words, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is TOTALLY messed up in Firefox. You may want to check it out and fix it.

Brian
http://candyaddict.com

Rae Ann said...

dh, you should be applauding the officials who discovered the plot and stopped it. Of course public schools aren't perfect, by far, they have many problems. But I don't think the solution is to abandon them. It concerns me that the people who can really help the schools are the ones who choose to withdraw from them. It seems rather selfish to me. And you can't protect your children by sequestering them at home forever. That does not prepare them for life. I was 'homeschooled' my freshman year of high school because of skating training, and that was before homeschooling was a thing. I'm so glad that I only did it one year. There are valid, exceptional reasons for homeschooling, but the are few and far between. Besides, there are many other schools even in smaller cities like Knoxville if people believe they are absolutely 'too good' for public school. Making schools better requires involvement not desertion.

Lioness said...

Time to replace that crystal ball. Studies have shown that adults who were home educated are typically better adjusted than adults who were publicly educated. Looks like the current public education system is the failed social experiment.

Rae Ann said...

brian, that's not news to me. I've been working on it and my suggestion is that maybe people should start using a better browser. The blog is fine and dandy on IE.

lionness, your toes hurt don't they? I've seen no conclusive evidence to support your claim. Give me a list of valid, independent, unbiased studies and I'll consider it.

Lioness said...

I agree that making schools better requires involvement, but it also requires discerning involvement. The heroic efforts of thousands of involved parents dedicated to changing the school system haven't convinced the school system that it needs to change; many "secular" homeschoolers only became homeschoolers after they burned out from trying to fix their local school system by traditional means. More of the traditional style of "involvement" would only turn us into enablers. It's time to try a different approach. If enough parents withdraw, maybe they'll get a clue. The alternative would be to accept the premise that nothing will cause them to change, and I'm not prepared to do that.

Rae Ann said...

My suggestion to all these enlightened homeschoolers is to band together to create new schools. In the present world isolation really isn't a good thing, and if you've got something that is all that good for you then why not share it with others to help make the world a better place? And this is a 'liberal' idea, is it not?

Lioness said...

You're a bit behind the times. Your idea was tried back in the "free schools" movement of the 1970s. There were some parents and children who flourished under those circumstances, and others who did not. It still lives on in thousands of homeschool associations and co-ops, one of which I lead. Some children and their families flourish under such arrangements, some do not. Even "liberals" can learn from experience.

Rae Ann said...

Another failed experiment I guess. As you said, some flourish and some do not. Some children in public schools flourish and some do not. Your friend who posted an attack on me seems especially angry and defensive about his own choices. Hey, I just have an opinion, made a simple statement of prediction, and what do you really care anyway if you are so satisfied with your own decisions?

You can think I'm ignorant or whatever. Let's allow time tell us how things turn out. If I'm wrong in 20-30 years I'll freely admit it.

Lioness said...

If I thought you wouldn't listen to reason I wouldn't bother trying to reason with you. There are those who have changed their minds about homeschooling when presented with another viewpoint.

Kat said...

I homeschooled my oldest kindergarten through second grade. We had very valid reasons. Mostly because public school would have made her wait a year for kindergarten even though her birthdate was within the limits. My Granny would have said she "had ants in her pants". She couldn't sit still. But over a few years she outgrew a lot of her hyperness, and this year she started third grade in public school. (I should also mention it is a better school than the schools where we were living while I homeschooled.)

To me the decision was simply this: What works best for us, public school, private school, or homeschool. If we could have afforded private school I would have sent her there for a while for the smaller classrooms, etc. Not because she was too good for public school but because it wasn't where she needed to be. But like I said, she outgrew some stuff and does fine now in public school. She's on the B honor roll and has plenty of friends.

One thing I should mention that is very important, homeschooled children need to be socialized. Mine was involved in dance and soccer, we belonged to a group that met for monthly zoo classes, field trips, and park days as well as some church related activities. I remember seeing some kids that were very backwards socially and it was obvious they weren't getting the social skills they needed.

My toes feel fine, your complaints about the matter really didn't apply to our reasons for homeschooling. :)

Rae Ann said...

kat, I knew that you homeschooled and that it worked well for you for the time you did it.

lionness, I'm not wholesale condemning homeschooling as some of you have taken from my statement. I simply stated that I predict that in 20 or so years our society will experience unforeseen problems related to it. I'm sure you are a fine homeschooler, but you cannot deny that there are just as many who have no business trying to teach their kids at home. These are the ones who concern me. They are the ones who can't seem to read a statement and derive its actual meaning. If they can't do it themselves then how are they going to teach their children to read and comprehend what is written? Apparently mr. cobranchi.com isn't able to read and comprehend without lashing out. Is he teaching his children to believe that they are superior to other children by virtue of being home schooled? Are his kids going to grow up thinking that they are better than those poor, lowly public school educated people? Maybe that is the problem that was a bit fuzzy in my crystal ball? But his reaction seems to clear it up for me. From the looks of his site he trolls blogs looking for people to bash. What a great example he's setting for his children!

We can agree to disagree. We're both intelligent, thoughtful, and loving mothers. This is the land of freedom of choice, but we all (myself included) must face the fact that all of our choices can have long-term, unforeseen consequences. My primary point of this post was to show that chosing not to immunize can have negative long term consequences as opposed to the short term choice of avoiding the potential side effects of the immunization.

Lioness said...

Rae Ann, I'll agree that there are those who shouldn't homeschool. I'm related to some of them. The thought of my own mother trying to homeschool -- well, she had just enough sense not to try it.

However, those parents either don't try it or don't stick with it. Dh's cousin was in the latter camp. She tried to homeschool in order to avoid other problems she had. When the other problems didn't go away, she dropped it after only a year. That year out was still good for her daughter, as it kept her away from the most repressive year of junior high when the pressure to get into trouble was the strongest.

The parents who do stick with it actually enjoy their children, and tend to work to improve their education and socialization.

As for not being able to read a statement and derive it's meaning, I can tell you that as a schoolteacher's spouse I've met far more teachers that have that problem than homeschoolers.

Daryl Cobranchi runs a homeschool news site. He trolls for news articles, but if he finds a blog he hasn't seen before talking about homeschooling he'll put that up as well. Doesn't matter if they say good things or bad things about homeschooling. He got my blog in it's first week, and he got the group blog I've joined in its first day. I'm mildly annoyed at him for that, since now I have to actually write something for it. >:O

But you are correct, widespread homeschooling is an unregulated social experiment which will have unforseeable consequences. So what? So is Feminism, Fundamentalism, the Civil Rights movement, Environmentalism, the Gay Rights movement, the New Age, and for that matter each and every marriage/marriage equivalent in America. Life is an unregulated social experiment with unforseeable consequences.

Anonymous said...

Homeschooling is NOT the experiment. The Public school system is the experiment. Ask how this country's founding fathers were educated; NOT in a public school system. Ask how long the public school system has been around verses the length of time mankind has been around and you will discover which one is the experiment; and it is NOT homeschooling.

David said...

"My suggestion to all these enlightened homeschoolers is to band together to create new schools."

We did. They're called homeschools (although it's really not that new of a concept).

"In the present world isolation really isn't a good thing,"

Who's isolated? My daughter goes to church, Sunday School, dance class, and Brownies. She plays with her friends, those that are homeschooled and those that are not. What's so magic about not participating in a specific 6.5 hour long group activity?

"and if you've got something that is all that good for you then why not share it with others to help make the world a better place?"

We have. You just don't seem to like it.

"you cannot deny that there are just as many who have no business trying to teach their kids at home.

I see. We have to provide conclusive evidence for our claim. You do not.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Just to muddy the waters, I see many parallels between evronmental deniers and the "no immunizations" camp. Both ignore science and pursue immediate safety by neglecting long term threats.

Homeschooling can be great or terrible. So can going to public (or private) school. I do think homeschooled (and private schooled) children should take the same academic tests the public schooled kids take. That way parents and kids can get an idea how they are doing.

A lot of parents here are afraid to send their kids to public school because they are afraid they will be bullied or otherwise damaged in public school, but it can be useful for kids to survive that too.

Rae Ann said...

Jesus, people settle down! It's not like I said that the sky is falling. The only voice of calm reason among you is lionness. I hope that you others handle other conflicts of your life in a better manner than the way you've reacted to an innoculous statement on a nobody's blog. Stop. Take a breath. Count to three. And let it go.

So if traditional schools are so bad what is the answer besides abandoning them?

Look past your own backyard and think about the inner city, etc. What about those kids? Is homeschooling the answer for them too? Not implying that all inner city kids are in bad situations, but what about the ones who are? Do you want a bunch of crack addicts homeschooling their kids? Don't you think it might be your responsibility as an American citizen to contribute to the betterment of the whole country, and not just your family? That's the reason we pay taxes and have governments instead of just everyone living independently and taking care of only themselves. When you pull your 'good' students out of school you are making ripples in the system that affect everyone. I'm just trying to open your eyes to the broader vision of the world and the future.

Honestly, how well do you think your children will be able to handle interacting with children who are very different from them? Or will they just continue to only associate with other homeschooled kids and exclude all others? These are my concerns. Bash me if you must, but don't think that I'm the only one who has these concerns. As much as I dislike Hillary I do agree that in some sense it does take a village in that we have to live in a way that supports the larger communitiy. Damn, I sound a like a liberal don't I?

Anonymous said...

Some have made a statement about homeschooler being socially awkward. How do you know these same kids would not be even more awkward in public school and bullied? Perhaps they are homeschoolers because they are awkward.

In my homeschooling circle, we have two boys with mild autism. They are awkward. But they have a safe place to interact that they can improve their behaviors. My children have learned from this experience of interacting with them and have grown socially.

Public school do not guarantee results. My publically schooled nephew is a rude, lazy, spoiled brat who talks in monosyllables. And yes I still love him.

HB

Lioness said...

"So if traditional schools are so bad what is the answer besides abandoning them?"

That's what I'm going to be posting about here: http://homeschoolcafe.blogspot.com/ I've been posting for a while on non-homeschool friendly sites about this, and I've been asked to pull it all together in one place. I'm about 1/3 to 1/2 way through outlining the first one.

I answered some of your questions last week when http://democracylover.blogspot.com/ brought them up. I apologize for sending you there instead of answering them again here, but I don't have much time right now.

"Honestly, how well do you think your children will be able to handle interacting with children who are very different from them?"

Honestly? That's the biggest reason why I am homeschooling.

Dh & I are both gifted. That meant we were very different from everyone else at the large schools we attended. We were isolated even among hundreds of our agemates, because they expected us to be like them, and we were not.

Our children are also gifted. With few exceptions, they are going to be very different from their agemates no matter where they go to school. They deserve the opportunity to make friends across as wide a spectrum of people as they can, instead of simply being stuck in class all the time with hostile classmates who think they are "weird".

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

These results just in: We homeschooled our children. The oldest, is age 31, and works as a public relations consultant in a prominent (liberal) state university. Another is busily homeschooling a brood of her own and writes her own newspaper. Another is the owner of his own construction business.

The only awkwardness we observed is their reluctance to associate with people who ridiculed them over and over again because they were homeschooled, hence our tendency to be isolated. We as the parents also got tired of being verbally attacked for homeschooling, so we found ourselves withdrawing from public inter-action, doing most things from home. We got tired of being questioned and cross examined and accused. We would never have done that to the public school proponents, because it is their business and it is rude to attack the way people live, but they felt free to do it to us.

One of the by-products of homeschooling was our family strength. We are capable of going into business together and knowing each other's goals and aims without a falling out. We are not divided.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

We didn't get shots, either, and one thing that I noticed is that our grown children don't have chronic illnesses,or even major illnesses or suffer from unusual diseases. They are also not on pharmacueticals or pills, as are many others their age. Shots neither immunize nor vaccinate. Vaccines and immunizations can come in many forms, but the chemicals contained in the government vaccines are not helpful, helpful, medicinal, nutritious or prevent disease. There is not one single "cure" in them. It is a combination of chemicals, including metals, and preservatives, plus some of the disease. The theory is that injecting this poison in the body will create anti-bodies (as any wound or poison will, naturally) which will fight off the injected disease, and "cure" them for life or for many years. We are finding out that this is not happening, and yet heaping more and more toxins on children's bodies against their will. There are many good and effective ways to immunize and vaccinate, but chemical shots are not one of them.

David said...

"Jesus, people settle down! It's not like I said that the sky is falling. The only voice of calm reason among you is lionness. I hope that you others handle other conflicts of your life in a better manner than the way you've reacted to an innoculous statement on a nobody's blog. Stop. Take a breath. Count to three. And let it go."

I don't consider this a conflict. This is more like setting someone straight who is misinformed. If you make a statement in a public forum that criticizes other people's parenting decisions, you need to be prepared for debate.

Your "innocuous statement" has snowballed into a whole series of criticisms telling homeschoolers how wrong they are, so please don't act like everybody's shouting but you. Saying things like "I'm just trying to open your eyes..." or "take a breath" is condescending at best. You tell us to let it go, and then proceed to tell us for three more paragraphs how wrong we are. I hope this is not how you handle conflict normally.

Rae Ann said...

Thank you for providing me with plenty of evidence to support my conclusions.

You obviously need to work on your reading comprehension as I never criticized anyone's parenting. I've only raised common concerns as to the outcome of some people's education choices. I hope that in your home instruction of your kids that you give a more balanced treatment of issues and teach them to not to read through biased thought so that they misinterpret what they read. I mostly asked questions of everyone and instead of getting honest answers I got attacked just for asking.

Do you know what an 'experiment' even means in the true scientific sense? Or don't you "believe" in science?

In no way can you logically conclude from any of my statements that I said 100% of all homeschoolers are bad or will fail. I said it will be a failed social experiment. Study up on your scientific method and maybe you'll be able to understand what that really means.

And besides, this is my blog and I was only defending my own position when under attack. If telling people the reasons for my statements is an unappropriate way to handle being attacked then I'm not sure what kind of world you really live in.

David said...

I apologize if I offended, but there's certainly no need to be insulting! I think my reading comprehension is OK, and let's just say I have a passing acquaintance with science. :-) I saw no question in your original post, just an assertion about homeschool being a failed social experiment.

As for criticizing homeschoolers' parental choices, you did say this in your comments:
"Honestly, how well do you think your children will be able to handle interacting with children who are very different from them? Or will they just continue to only associate with other homeschooled kids and exclude all others?"
...phrased as a question, but the implication is clear. You think we're isolating our children, and that's bad.

Still, let's call a truce. I'd ask you to read some more about homeschooling and homeschoolers. There are tons of blogs (despite what you might think of him, Daryl's a good starting point, but there are plenty of others as well). Visit the Carnival of Homeschooling (the latest installment is here: http://homeschooling.about.com/b/a/216350.htm?nl=1). That will lead you to many other resources.

Society has now been conditioned to think that the way to teach children is to put them with 25 other children (their same age) in a classroom for 6.5 hours a day. Society thinks that government is the best way to provide this "service." But that doesn't make homeschooling a "social experiment." If it is, though, the time frame is much more than ten years.

Success stories abound. I can assure you that there are plenty of functioning, normal people who were homeschooled and have managed to survive college and go on to prosperous careers. You probably don't care for anecdotal evidence, but one of the two winners of our senior Computer Science Major Award a couple of years ago was a student who had been homeschooled. A phenomenal student who has been working for a large software company now. Mrs. Sherman above provided even more personal examples.

I doubt you'll find any studies about the success of homeschool that would satisfy you. The ED schools aren't going to churn out favorable studies on homeschooling. Anything else would probably come from a source you wouldn't trust.

I've been thinking a lot about how our culture has conditioned us to think of education -- primary, secondary, and college -- as needing to be delivered in a certain way. As a college professor who is interested in student learning, I've been especially thinking about the college situation. But as a homeschooling father, I see the parallels at the other end of the spectrum. But I think I'll save any more of this for my own blog.

Again, peace. Sorry if I seemed abrupt in my responses.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Is inter-acting socially the most important thing in life? I believe some people think it is a priority. During our family-education years when my children were still at home, people would say, "What about socialization," more than they would say "what about reading, writing, and arithmentic?" No one was the least bit curious about our learning methods or the content. They watched our children for social retardation, rather than educational failure. It seems to me they should have been more suspicious of the curriculum or non-curriculum, but they were mostly concerned about our children's mode of dress and entertainment, because they weren't like "the group."
We observed that public schooled children had a herd instinct. They ran with "the group," ate with "the group," talked like "the group," learned with "the group," and dressed like "the group," or the herd. Homeschoolers of the 80's seemed a bit awkward and different, but by the time they grew to manhood and womanhood, they were far more capable of settling down to a stable life. I know 30 year old public school graduates that still cannot get their lives together. I don't see that in the homeschool families, if they were truly homeschooled . I am not speaking of the ones who tried it for a few months, a few years or just left their children on their own to learn, but the truly dedicated families whose children were taught to apply themselves. These families had grown children who fully functioning adults.

Rae Ann said...

David, sure, we can call a truce. I appreciate thoughtful, civil comments.


Everyone who has implicitly stated that public schools are bad have gone much further in their judgments and insults than I'd ever do. I can assure you that not every public school is the muck of mediocrity with savages having to be controlled by disgruntled teachers. In fact, that has got to be, at best, the very minimum of schools. Success stories abound out of public schools too.

Some of the respondents here and at the blogs that chose to bash me are NOT very good ambassadors for the homeschooling community. And that leads me to question exactly what they are teaching their kids.

For the record, I've NEVER suggested to MY children that homeschooled kids were dumber, weirder, less adjusted or whatever than they. I've only told them that they just do things differently and not given them any reason to think that either way is better. Can you say the same? (I really wonder how many of you have totally given your kids the impression that school and public school kids are horrible, etc.)

And my kids have said that they are really glad to go to school, not because we don't like to spend time together or some other bad reason some have suggested. They love to be out of the house for a while and have that sense of independence that being in school gives them. They don't have the temperament for being at home all the time. And I don't have the temperament for teaching. If I had wanted to be a teacher I would have gotten a teaching degree.

I and my kids and my husband have a very loving, happy, well-adjusted, and peaceful home. To suggest otherwise is purely mean and unwarranted.

Daryl Cobranchi said...

Yes, we know what science is. Some of us are scientists IRL. Homeschooling in the modern sense of the word might be an "experiment," but your prediction is utterly vacuous. No scientist worth his salt would ever posit a hypothesis as vague as "I foresee that we'll have problems arise from it that most of us haven't even considered possible. What exactly those problems are I can't really say yet because my mediocre crystal ball is just that, mediocre." I would have flunked any student who came up with that kind of nonsense.

Daryl Cobranchi

P.S. BTW, major improvement on the design. My old eyes thank you.

Anonymous said...

Rae Ann, I'm wondering what in your experience with homeschoolers leads you to believe that they are home all the time? And that they are never away from their parents?

samuel said...

One thing that I find Rae Ann keeps suggesting is that homeschoolers just stay at home doing nothing.
"They don't have the temperament for being at home all the time," she says about her own kids, as if to homeschool, one must never leave the home.
We really don't just sit at home all the time. We are not isolating our kids, yet you keep suggesting that we are. That insistence proves how little you are willing to understand about homeschooling. We do all sorts of things outside the home just like pschoolers. We dine out sometimes, and we visit the library. We go to the homes of relatives and friends. We play soccer. We have friends that homeschool and we have friends who attend public schools. Because we don't spend so much of our week in activities related to school, we have more time to do more things, to meet more people. And, we can sit at home all day in our pajamas and watch movies if we want, no matter what day it is.

Stephanie said...

Hi Rae Ann. Interesting discussion, I just could not help but jump in. Mainly because it does seem as if you are open to listening. So am I. And for the record, we have lots of friends whose kids go to public school for which it is working very well. In my mind it is not a black and white thing. If it works for you, then great! Homeschooling works just as great for my family.

You raise many typical concerns about homeschooling..I have heard them many times. What I ask is that you realize that homeschooling parents are aware of these issues as well and obviously have still choosen to homeschool? Why is that do you think? I want my children to be able to function in society and I do feel that they will be able to do that. I would not homeschool otherwise.

I wrote about several of the issues raised here on my blog if you care to check it out one titled Sheltering Kids is very applicable:
http://throwingmarshmallows.homeschooljournal.net/2005/12/05/sheltering-kids/

I have more to as well about the "I am sure that you are a good homeschooler but what about those out there that are not" issue as well, but will have to wait as I need to get going...I am sure that you can not wait LOL!

~Steph

Stephanie said...

Oops. Sorry for the punctuation errors and minor typos...I was writing really fast because my kids want to get moving...

~Steph

Lioness said...

Perhaps Rae Anne would benefit from reading some typical "day in the life" stories from homeschoolers. Perhaps we could post urls of such stories.

Stephanie said...

When you pull your 'good' students out of school you are making ripples in the system that affect everyone. I'm just trying to open your eyes to the broader vision of the world and the future.
>>>>>>>>>

I have heard this arguement often as well. I should put my energies into improving schools and not be selfish by only focusing on my child. My feeling is that if I thought that it would make a difference, I would. But much better people then I have tried and it has not made much of a difference. I do not feel that it is a productive use of my time. My own personal opinion is that children learn best in an environment that is tailored to how they learn best. I am not exactly sure how this can be accomplished in a school environment.

While I personally do not want to spend my time on fixing schools, that does not mean that I don't want to help kids. I work as a volunteer mentor to "at risk" moms where I do feel like I am making a difference. I help enrich the lives of other homeschool kids as well by coming up with programs...does this count? Personally I think that it does.

School would not be the best choice for my boys. Why should I sacrifice their best interests in the hopes that I *might* be able to make a change in the school system? Why is improving the schools the only way to make a difference in a child's life? Why does the fact that I have a child make it so important that I spend my volunteer time in a school? I only have so much time to spare...why can't I decide to put that time into my children or other causes (such as the environment or whatever (for the record, yes I am a progressive liberal). Are these other causes any less important? And isn't that my choice to make?

~Steph

Stephanie said...

I'm sure you are a fine homeschooler, but you cannot deny that there are just as many who have no business trying to teach their kids at home. These are the ones who concern me.
>>>>>

OK. Last comment for now. :o)

Are there homeschoolers who are doing their children a disservice by homeschooling? Yes, I am sure there are (I do not know any personally though). However, can't you also say that there are children for whom school is doing them a disservice? Most definitely. Putting a child in school does not guarentee that they will thrive or learn how to "read a statement and derive its actual meaning" or even stay safe. For some reason it makes people feel better to think so though.

In my perfect world, there would be a way to ensure that every child gets what they need...but unfortunately in this world that is not possible. Should my right to educate my children the way that I choose be comprimized because there "might" be homeschooling parents who are not doing right by their kids? If so, then what do we do if a school is not doing right by a child in their care? "Accountability" tends to let people feel warm and fuzzy, but in my experience it does not guarentee anything.

I do know many kids who are doing well in school and I am glad that they have that option. I also know many kids who are thriving as homeschoolers (mine included) and I am glad that we have the option. I chose to homeschool, not out of a reaction to public schools (we actually live in a very good school district), but because the more I read about it the more it seemed like a really wonderful way to learn.

Anyways, if you are interested in reading more about typical homeschooling days in our family, feel free to check out our blog. That is mostly what you will find there. I have found (at least with my family and friends) that the more they learn about homeschooling the more they understand what and why we are doing. It is something very different and many people really don't have a good idea of how it works (they assume that we spend all our time at home and never get out into the community etc).

Thanks for the conversation...I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I have. Sorry we took over your blog. ;o) I usually do not jump into these blog debates because it usually seems like a bunch of folks yelling at each other and not listening. I did not see much of this happening here....

~Steph

Lioness said...

Why don't we spend our energy fixing the public schools instead? Here's a story from my husband the public schoolteacher about how the schoolteachers themselves are told to answer that question: http://lionesshomeschool.blogspot.com/2006/04/teacher-training-lesson.html

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

One size does not fit all. Homeschoolers have a few academic statistics to show than many kids do well with home schooling, but I can't find anything comprehensive - I would be interested if any State requires all homeschooled kids to be tested.

Homeschooling is simply not an option for many or most. Most kids live either in single parent families or families where two paychecks are needed. Families that can afford to homeschool usually have a lot of markers for academic success anyway - intact families, middle class economic status, and concerned parents.

We considered homeschooling our children, but decided we lacked the domineering personalities needed to sufficiently browbeat our high-spirited and independent children - better to let some hapless teachers try to do it.

My children attended mostly majority minority schools in a mainly poor community, but that didn't seem to handicap them much - though that was before no child left behind. We did teach the children a lot at home, especially reading and math -with very mixed success, but they managed outstanding college academic performances anyway.

To return to Rae Ann's initial point, though, parents who don't have their children vacinated are creating a public health menace, and should have their children taken away - at least long enough to properly immunize them.

Anonymous said...

I am now a homeschooler. Yes some do not need to homeschool, just as some do not need to teach ANYWHERE. Our choice was a long time coming. I had looked into it from the time my child was born. We lived in a BAD area. When we moved to the BEST school area I sent her. Well when it got to the point in first grade where you had to pry her out of the car and all she did was cry...SOMETHING WAS WRONG. She had been beat up in kindergarten, then in first grade, oh my lets just say the lady (and I use that term loosely) had NO business teaching!
My dd has been homeschooling for 6 years now & LOVES IT! I love the time we have together and learning things with her. I taught cheerleading for the city so she was a cheerleader. We meet every week for park day. and then extra times or Field trips. Our group has 123 kids. We do a year book, graduation and LOTS of other things. We are involved in our Church youth group where there is only one other homeschooler.
I understand your thoughts on the FEW, but please remember we are NOT ALL like that.

Rae Ann said...

cip, thanks! My experience is very similar to yours. If you think about it that way our kids have the best of both worlds in that we do 'homeschool' by being actively involved with the school and their homework, etc. and send them to public school to learn how to function in a structured non-home environment, respect authority other than their parents, and develop tolerance for other people. We considered homeschooling before our kids started school, but we decided that it wasn't for us. I don't think that makes us uncaring or unloving or whatever.

steph, sorry I didnt' have time to reply over the weekend. I never suggested that people shouldn't have the right to educate their children as they see fit. I just suggested that our society will have some problems (maybe if I called them 'growing pains' it would seem less offensive) related to having a population of people who were educated at home versus a population of people educated in schools. I just see that there will likely be some conflicts arising there, and many of the responses to my statement seem to support my idea/prediction. Of course, only time will tell.

I'm not indicting all homeschoolers and never did, but only the ones who insist on perpetuating the idea that public schools are horrible and that the students that attend them are inferior to homeschooled kids. Teaching that kind of intolerance is just as offensive to me as some were offended by my statement.

Thanks for all the comments!

Lioness said...

I'm been looking into that rash of mumps cases. Seems like two-thirds of the people who came down with it had been vaccinated against that specific variety with a two-part vaccine. The vaccine didn't work. Hmm, what should you do when the system fails so many people?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I've got adult children that didn't get these shots. I saw the folly of them when I read the ingredients on the package insert. Just garbage--no medicine, no drugs, no cure, --just a list of metals and poisons. There was a big public outcry against the shots when they were invented way back in the 19th century, but they were no force against the powerful companies that stood to gain a lot of money. These shots may be presented as "free" but they cost almost $100 each and someone is paying for them. It is a huge waste of government money.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I know a family of 9 children who have never had one shot. They all have great skin, hair, teeth and are not chronically ill with sniffles, colds, flue, aches and pains and they are very very smart.