I've gone over it and over it in my mind - how can *I* write this blog post and be coherent, calm, and rational. I've finally decided I can not. Oh, I am still writing, but I am not worried about calm and rational. I am not even concerning myself with terms like 'fair', 'non-judgmental', and 'tolerant. Screw it. I have had more than my fair share of 'judgmental and unfair' thrown my way lately and I'm just going to give in to an old-fashioned rant.
Who the hell do some people think they are? I read a blog post this week entitled: "An Open Letter to Lazy Homeschooling Parents". I read it not because I thought it would apply to me but because when I saw the title I thought surely this would be a fun, satirical read; a blog post that I myself could have written. Boy, Oh Boy was I wrong! This woman was serious and she was condescending and insulting. I'm not linking her blog, I won't promote it that much, but if you are so inclined google the title and read it for yourself. Feel free to comment on it even, as you are free to comment on my post here.
This woman feels there is a serious enough issue within the homeschooling community that she had a heavy heart and felt called to speak out. I could give her the benefit of the doubt and say that her heart was in the right place, but I'm not in the mood. I do not really care what her motivations or intentions were. I am just going to speak my peace. Get the hell out of other homeschooling families business. Just get the hell out. It does no good to 'call out lazy homeschooling parents' because if there are those that meet your description, trust me, they aren't searching the internet for articles or blog posts that are written about them. The expression "stupid is as stupid does" comes to mind and so logically it follows that 'lazy is as lazy does' and lazy homeschoolers aren't surfing the internet for your wisdom on the matter.
One concern listed was our need, as homeschoolers, to produce a superiorproduct than the public system produces. Yes, our children apparently are products. I do believe that is how the public education system sees them. I will be damned if I will support the idea of the homeschooling community seeing them the same way. If *you* see your children as a product that is *your* business but get the hell out of my homeschooling experience and home. Punky is a human being and my goal is for her to grow up happy, healthy, and filled with personal, meaningful purpose. That is my goal so that she will be an adult who pursues a life that is happy, healthy, and will with personal, meaningful purpose.
Another point was the concern that our homeschooling rights could be taken from us or more heavily regulated if we don't produce a superior product. Homeschooling is a right in all 50 States in the USA. That right is not going to be revoked because the 'community' MIGHT produce a few children who, as that blogger suggested, "enter the workforce without a proper education". Homeschooling does get blamed, at times, for all sorts of things. Just recently it was blamed for the death of a child in Ohio. Ohio proposed much stricter homeschooling regulations and within mere days the homeschooling community put that shit to rest. Go Ohio Homeschoolers! Woot! Woot! (As an aside it was not just the religious homeschoolers who affected the change, but several secular homeschoolers including some from the Inappropriate Homeschoolers homeschooling group). Homeschooling is not the reason children are abused or neglected, any form of abuse or neglect, anymore than children are the reason they are abused. Children are abused and neglected because the primary caretakers in their lives are mentally screwed up. Looking to homeschooling as the problem is absurd. If public schooling was the answer to child abuse then there wouldn't be more than 3 million reports involving 6 million children in the USA each year, with approximately 4 deaths PER DAY. Why do I say that? Simple math. The majority of students who are school age are public schooled. That means that they enter the halls of a public institution five days a week for 36 weeks and yet.....child abuse is an ongoing and escalating problem.
Now let's turn to the recent statistics of college graduate. A 2011 NY Times article reported 22.4 percent of college graduates cannot find jobs and another 22 percent are working jobs that don't require a college degree. Oh, on top of that, the average graduate is roughly $25,000 in debt upon graduating. That means that almost half of all college graduates are not benefiting by being a 'superior product'. After all, college is *the* way to became a superior product, for the majority of mindsets, right?. My point? Getting into college and graduating is no longer a guarantee that one will have a successful, well-paying job. Now, more than ever, students need to find a way to acquire the skills they need to pursue their career goals. Yes, that may mean going to medical school, but it can also mean schooling in the real world by hacking their education. So, producing 'superior product', as was described by the blogger attacking lazy homeschoolers, is not only insulting but an outdated definition of success.
It was pointed out that spending the day at the park, doing arts and crafts, doing household chores, or spending time with friends is NOT homeschooling, in fact she called it 'cheating'. I wonder at what age she has determined one needs to turn away from parks, arts, and social activities in order to be properly educated? Oh sure, she means those that ONLY do that. So at what age is it okay to do that ONLY and what age does it become wrong? My answer would be, that's your fucking business not hers.
She says it is our business because there are high schools who are requiring their drop outs to register as homeschoolers in order to make 'themselves look better'. I know that state laws vary, but sixteen is the eligible age in most states to drop out and I'd say that if one wishes to leave high school and register as a homeschooler, so be it. I'm not overtly concerned with a statistic that shows a child failing in public school for 16 years and then leaving to homeschool. That doesn't make me want to 'tiger mom' my daughter's education any more than the uber-homeschoolers make me want to do it. I know very strict, traditional homeschoolers and I know a few who believe in religious education first and foremost over anything else. Neither works for my family. I do not even agree with one of those options, but I am damned sure not going to say that if we do not force those families who educated and involve themselves differently than we do in our children's lives we have the right to call them out for it. Beat your kid up, neglect your kid, starve your kid, sexual assault your kid.....there are laws in effect to handle that. Educate your child in the manner you feels is best for your child, yeah, that is not going to raise any warning bells, be they homeschooled or public schooled.
She called 'lazy homeschoolers' cheaters. She said they were not homeschoolers but merely truant. Who decides what is lazy homeschooling? When I was first thinking of creating a blog I gave serious thought to calling it 1) The Lazy Homeschooler or 2) The Unmotivated Homeschooler or 3) The Inappropriate Homeschooler. We all know where I landed. Inappropriate could include lazy and unmotivated as well as covering my ass for my sarcastic, obnoxious opinions, so I went with that. I think this woman needs to butt the hell out of other folks homeschooling and I think folks like her are more of a problem for the 'face of homeschooling' than any 'lazy homeschooler' could ever be. Why? She's creating a problem where one doesn't really exist. If there are those who are spending their days eating bon-bons and watching Doctor Who with their kids as their only activity what the hell do I care? If their children grow up to be 'less' than successful - you know who she means - all those laborers who aren't college graduates who merely pick up our trash, deliver our packages, fix our cars, transport our goods and services, install our cable, build our homes, etc, then so be it. I, for one, am glad there are those in the world who are working to pick up our trash, deliver our packages, fix our cars, clean up our public buildings, and so on.
Basically, I just want to tell this woman to shut the hell up, mind her own freakin' business, and worry about her own children (the ones she later admits she uses ipads and television as a distraction and babysitter for her kids). Hey, I say that without ANY judgment, but I bet there is someone out there that would tell her how wrong that is to do to her kids. We are all pots waiting to meet our kettles. Seriously. Everyone just stop telling everyone else how to do what they do. As long as a person's choice isn't starting a war, ending a life, or denying someone their liberties......back the fuck off. I blame insecurities for this shit. It was the same way in the mom's groups when the children were littles. And so it is in the homeschooling community, insecure women who are not nearly as confident with their choices as they'd like to be having to get all high and mighty telling others what choices to make and how to homeschool. That's part of the reason homeschoolers do not feel as supported as they should be......other homeschoolers. It's not only the naysayers of homeschooling, but those within the community themselves deciding that their choices must be the only right choices and so everyone must follow their example, that create discord.
Perhaps I am wrong, after all she has a Ph.D. and I merely a Master's. So, clearly she is more successful than I. I will say this in closing, if I wanted to follow the mainstream example for child-rearing and education today, my child would be in public school and she'd be wearing a tank top with pants that say 'Sweet' across her ass. Ok? So, back the hell out of my business and everyone else's business. Put down your blog pen, go turn off the television, and spend some damn quality time with your kids. That's not a judgment, merely a suggestion, because I do not really give a shit what you do.