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    #12098 - 03/19/08 05:28 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: kimck]

    kimck wrote:

    > Dave - I like this line of thinking! Call me a bit starry eyed as well.

    Yeah, I know it may sound as if I’m arguing (in the bad sense) with Kriston, but the message I’m really trying to send her and everyone here is: “Don’t worry! Be happy!”

    When I was a kid, there was no “gifted community,” no homeschoolers, and no Internet to discuss this or any other issue. And I know lots of parents nowadays, not just of gifted kids, who are being pro-active and trying to get their kids a better education.

    I’m even feeling better about the Presidential race, which has been rather a downer for me. Sure, this guy Rev. Wright said some goofy things, but he also made some thought-provoking comments that deserve discussion. And Obama had the guts to not just dump his friend but simply to disassociate himself from some of the guys’ comments. I’m not an Obama booster (I may not even vote for him – haven’t decided yet), but I see that as one more sign that people are starting to think and speak up for themselves and that the mainstream media and the old institutions are finding there’s not much they can do about it.

    There’s a lot of ferment, thinking, and discussion going on among the people of this country that is just becoming visible. As Dylan said so long ago, the times they are a’changin’.


    #12112 - 03/19/08 06:01 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: ]
    Kriston Offline

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    You know, Dave, "Don't worry, be happy" is a pretty condescending thing to say to someone. It minimizes any valid concerns they have.

    I praise the joys of the Internet every chance I get. I love the help and support I get on this forum and the HSing forum I'm on. I'm generally a happy person. Some things in life are improving, and some are not. <shrug>

    None of this is really relevant to the conversation at hand though.

    #12118 - 03/19/08 06:41 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: Kriston]
    incogneato Offline

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    You know, I'm a midwest girl, born and bred. I also lived in Berkely for a short time as a young adult. I actually love both places and they are very different.
    This is just my lense, but I'd go so far as to say I could almost see them as different countries, as the cultures are quite different.
    I'm sure you weren't meaning to be condescending in any way, Dave.
    Kriston, you have a valid point, we're all here and have connected partially because most of us haven't had lovely experiences in trying to provided a realistic educational experience for our children.
    Any success we've had whether is has been in HS or PS hasn't seemed to have come easily to any of us, so it's good to keep that in mind.
    And EandCmom, wow, I wouldn't even know what to say to that comment. Just reading that provokes a visceral reaction for me. I don't think there is anything you can say to someone like that except, smell you later.


    #12119 - 03/19/08 06:47 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: EandCmom]


    I can certainly empathize with your living in the South dealing with evangelicals. Even in St. Louis when I was a kid, the question was not whether you were a Christian but which church you belonged to. I assume the South is worse. My brother and I were raised attending a Southern Baptist church, but we both declined to ever “go forward,” “accept Christ as Lord and Savior,” be baptized, formally join the church, etc. Needless to say, this caused a bit of a situation.

    That’s a big part of the suffocating feeling I had in the Midwest that caused me to come out to California.

    Even in California, the evangelical homeschoolers have their own homeschool association which you can only join if you sign some sort of pledge attesting that you have been saved by Jesus. This is kind of sad, because, when I have talked with a number of them as individuals, they are decent enough people and it would be nice to share information with them. There is, after all, no such thing as “Christian mathematics” separate from “secular” mathematics!

    In fact, people have sometimes assumed that we’re fundamentalists since we do homeschool, we don’t happen to drink alcohol, and we expect our kids to try to behave themselves! I find this pretty amusing.

    Did the other mother explain to you what the “filth” was? I can’t imagine that there is too much in the public schools in the South that is offensive to conservative Christians! Is it possible that she was just alluding to the well-known problems with violence, drugs, etc.? (I know the media exaggerate those problems, but there are some real problems nonetheless.)

    I hope we have all made clear that homeschooling is not a unified, monolithic approach or philosophy at all. Indeed, there is a lot more variety than you see among the homeschoolers here on this board, since we would not be here unless we already shared certain perspectives. I think, for example, that my and Kriston’s approach is actually very similar (although she worries more than I do, and I am trying to encourage her to be more positive and cheerful about her homeschooling and not to feel defensive).

    When I get frustrated dealing with evangelicals, I do try to remind myself that some of the greatest fighters for personal liberty in American history (e.g., Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, many of the abolitionists) were evangelicals, and that, by questioning the established structures of social authority, the evangelicals are actually helping to loosen the bonds of social control, even if they intend nothing of the sort.

    And, personally, I find most evangelicals to be rather nice people – maybe that’s just my effervescent optimism, again. What’s your experience of evangelicals in the South in general? If you factor out the effects of their eccentric religious beliefs, are they generally nice people?

    All the best,


    #12120 - 03/19/08 06:57 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: Kriston]


    I thought it was pretty clear that I was just being a little lighthearted. You've, accurately I think, described yourself as being more defensive than I am about homeschooling, and I think everyone, including you, would agree that there is really nothing that you are doing wrong that you should need to feel defensive about. You're just bothered that some silly people may not approve of what you are doing, even though you yourself think you are doing the right thing.

    Well, you are doing the right thing, so you really should not worry, and you really should just be happy. If you were worrying about some serious disease or something, I would not say that. And I do realize that you may continue to be a bit defensive, even though I suggest you needn't be.

    But I'm really on your side, Kriston. I seem just to be worrying less than you and to be a bit more optimistic than you are. We have similar values and are pursuing similar approaches with our kids.

    So, I really do hope you won't worry too much, and I really do hope you will be happy. I hope that for everyone here, and, indeed, for most human beings. Is that really being condescending?

    All the best,


    #12121 - 03/19/08 06:59 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: ]
    EandCmom Offline

    Registered: 11/09/07
    Posts: 516
    LOL Dave! I am a Christian myself so I probably have some of the "eccentric religious beliefs" you mentioned.

    My problem is not with the HSers religious beliefs but with the extremes to which some people take them - such as keeping their kids separate from others. And they are just people like everyone else - most are very nice but of course some are nicer than others! smile

    The other mother did not explain the "filth" and I did not ask! I was really too shocked to say much at all to be honest. And we do have the usual well known problems in our schools of course, so maybe that is what she was alluding to.

    I definitely don't have a negative view of HSing in general anymore since I have met such wonderful HSers here!

    #12124 - 03/19/08 08:53 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: EandCmom]


    Let’s be honest – we *all* have eccentric religious beliefs! No one really knows the ultimate nature of reality, the full role of consciousness in the universe (the role of “spirit,” if you will), etc. We’re all like the blind men and the elephant.

    As a physicist, I am particularly amused when someone declares that science has proved that there is nothing except matter in motion and that our sense of our own consciousness is just an illusion. (Incidentally, you don’t hear that from top-notch scientists very often – actually knowing science tends to induce a bit more humility.)

    I am always a bit surprised by people who are so sure on matters having to do with religion, when it is so difficult to know the whole truth. But one of the nice things about being a “humanist” (I’m not thrilled with the label, but I think you’ll understand my point) is that, even if the “true believers” want to exclude me, I certainly do not wish to exclude them. As Terence said, “Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto” (I am a human: nothing human is alien to me).

    Whatever your religious beliefs, if you’re with me on that, we’re on the same side.

    One of the reasons we’re homeschooling is that I want my kids to internalize that perspective. Yes, we are Californians, and Americans, and participants in Western civilization. But we are also heirs to the achievements and insights of Chinese, Islamic, Indian, etc. civilizations. And while we are not Christian believers, the great cultural achievements of Christianity – Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” Aquinas’ philosophy, Chartres Cathedral, etc. – belong to us also, simply because we also are human beings.

    All the best,


    #12125 - 03/19/08 10:03 PM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: ]
    Kriston Offline

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
    Is that really being condescending?

    Yes, very.

    #12129 - 03/20/08 02:24 AM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: Kriston]


    Well… as much it seems somehow to offend you, I still give you my well wishes.

    You started this thread by specifically quoting some comments from me from another thread and offering your own take on my previous comments. In some cases you misrepresented what I had said or misrepresented my views.

    For example, I said:
    >I would rather they [my kids] be a bit blind to all of those little social cues and pressures that cause most people to fall in line with the “group,” whether what the group is doing is good or not.

    You responded:
    >But unlike Dave, I don't want my kids to be blind to social cues.

    “A bit blind” is not quite the same thing as just plain “blind.”

    And later you said of me that I
    > completely buy the whole HSing philosophy
    even though you and I both know that there is no single “Hsing philosophy” to buy into, but rather a large number of competing homeschooling philosophies (and, indeed, your and my homeschooling philosophies seem to be awfully close – I like how you are handling homeschooling, Kriston, and I think I could probably learn some things from you).

    I do not think for a minute that these misrepresentations of my views were malicious or intentional on your part: as everyone knows, this is simply what happens when intelligent people have a serious discussion. They sometimes misunderstand or misrepresent each others’ positions or views, quite unintentionally.

    But the fact that you opened this thread by commenting upon my own earlier statements from another thread, and that you did mis-state my views, did clearly give me an obligation to reply to your posts and express my actual views. And, of course, since the subject you chose for this thread was your own feelings of defensiveness about your homeschooling, that inevitably meant that I would be commenting on that issue of your defensiveness.

    And my considered opinion is that you need not feel defensive, that you seem to be doing a great job homeschooling and have nothing to feel defensive about, and that therefore you really should not worry and should be happy.

    It is very sad, and slightly bemusing, that my conclusion offends you, but you chose this topic for this thread, you directly brought me into the thread in your opening post, and I am just expressing my honest opinion on the subject you chose to discuss.

    And, Kriston, I am saying nice things about you and sincerely wishing you well.

    If you are offended by that, I do not think this is a problem I can solve.

    These exchanges between you and me have, though, brilliantly illustrated my original point.

    I initially claimed that the process of going through traditional schools tends to make people overly, and unnecessarily, sensitive to other people’s opinions and creates fear of other people's disapproving of them, even if there is no basis for anyone to rationally or legitimately disapprove of them.

    I take it that you yourself were educated in more or less traditional schools.

    And, you have now gone on at great length about how you do indeed feel precisely the sorts of defensiveness and anxiety about others’ disapproving of you that I initially described. And, curiously, when I have tried to reassure you that all thoughtful people should be able to see that you are a fine person doing a great job of homeschooling, that has only made you angry.

    This really is exactly what I was talking about in my initial comments many posts ago. I would like my girls to grow up not feeling this sort of anxiety and, as you put it, “defensivesness” about possible disapproval from other human beings. There is always the possibility that some silly busybodies may disapprove of what one does, no matter what one does. It is just emotionally paralyzing to be anxious and defensive about that throughout one’s life.

    Of course, if someone comes up with rational reasons to criticize our actions or attitudes, we should take them seriously. But, you have not suggested that anyone has offered any reasoned criticism of your homeschooling – as I keep saying, you seem to be doing a great job.

    So, I continue to maintain that a reason of key importance for homeschooling is to help raise our kids so that they do not become so sensitive to possible disapproval from others that they are defensive about such disapproval, even though the disapproval has no rational foundation at all.

    I think this is especially important for “gifted” kids, who, as we all know, may face multiple experiences of disapproval throughout their lives, disapproval that is based on ignorance or envy. I think we need to do what we can to raise our kids so that they are bothered as little as possible by feeling anxiety or “defensiveness” towards such ignorant and ill-considered disapproval.

    You’ve helped me illustrate my point very nicely, and your and my exchange has helped me understand better the whole issue.

    Again, though it may offend you, you have my best wishes, I am not being condescending in hoping that you do not worry unduly and that you are happy, and I look forward to learning more from exchanges with your in the future.

    Kriston, I really am on your side.

    Most sincerely,


    #12133 - 03/20/08 04:55 AM Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? [Re: EandCmom]
    OHGrandma Offline

    Registered: 01/05/08
    Posts: 830
    Originally Posted By: EandCmom
    Well I have to pipe in here. I live in the South and I am sure this is part of the regional thing but the homeschoolers around here are for the most part the evangelical type and they are rather closed minded. They don't want their children in the public schools because they don't want "precious" to mingle with the great unwashed.

    I even had a mother say to me that she let her daughter go to school for awhile but she just had to pull her out because when you are exposed to that "filth" all day the "stink is going to rub off" on you. And me with my kids in public school!!! I didn't know what to say to be honest.

    Until I came to this board I had a VERY negative view of HSing. I have to say that you all have changed my mind. I think in certain instances HSing is the best thing to do for a child. But before I came here that wasn't my take on HSing at all.

    OK, since we're all airing what we makes us defensive, negative comments about the Christians who homeschool is my pet peeve.
    What that 'Christian' said about pulling her child out and using the analogy of 'the stink rubbing off' was just plain wrong. But there are Christians who have wrong attitudes and should be called on it, I have no problem exposing hypocrisy and wrong attitudes.
    Where I have a problem is mocking them like this, "they don't want "precious" to mingle". As far as pulling a child for religious reasons, how many of you have pulled or considered pulling your child because the school authorities told your child he could not read certain books, or discuss certain subjects? That is what happens to Christians. And I'm not even talking about trying to tone down zealous, evangelizing types, I mean things like my GS8, then 6, was told he could not read his Bible in school. Are you all OK with censorship, as long as the book being censored is one you wouldn't read?
    And don't forget, if it wasn't for the Christian homeschooling movement, it likely would not be an option in much of the USA. It is not an option in several European countries.

    OK, off my soapbox and off to 'pastries with parents' at GS8 school this morning.

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