Defensive Homeschoolers?

Posted by: Kriston

Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 06:48 AM

Hi! I'm taking quotes out of context (fairly, I hope!), so please go over to the original thread if you want to read the whole posts. *** Link no longer working ***

But these are the parts that I wanted to respond to in this new thread:

Originally Posted By: acs
The irony of this all suddenly struck me. In the country at large, homeschoolers are definitely the minority, often mocked or mistreated because of their decision. As a result, a little defensiveness makes sense, as does a certain evangelical-ness when you have found that homeschooling really works.


Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
I suspect that I may also have a different conception than many people of what social experiences count as “positive”: I think that “socialization,” even with good peers, tends to boil down to learning to be like other people (which of course is one of the reasons why it is better to have “good” peers than “bad” peers). I think that is a bad thing. I want my kids to be honest, courteous, kind, etc., but I would rather they 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.
...
I’m not sure that most homeschoolers are very defensive about homeschooling, except in the limited sense of wanting to protect their legal rights.
...
And, in fact, when I have talked both with acquaintances and with random strangers about our homeschooling over the last four years, I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response.


Well, I have felt defensive about my choice to homeschool, and I have seen other homeschoolers acting as if they are defensive. I have had to explain to friends and relatives why I am doing something so out of the mainstream. I have read and enjoyed the "Bitter Homeschooler's Wishlist," which though an exaggeration for comic effect, is only funny because it has some truth to it. ( http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/001/bitter_homeschooler.html )

The fact is, most of us secular homeschoolers do want to fit in. We do want to be liked by others and accepted. We want our kids to be liked and accepted. People are more than little brains; they're social creatures.

To that end, we don't like being in the minority. We want to feel like what we're doing is okay. It's a big reason why HSers groups exist. I think acs is right: I think some measure of mild defensiveness is the norm among homeschoolers and is perfectly natural. You may not feel defensive, Dave, but I really think you're the exception, not the rule there.

But one of those misconceptions that I'm trying to disabuse people of is the notion that homeschooling is inherently anti-social--it's just not! At the risk of being wrong, I'll say that I think Dave may be trying to distinguish between "socialization," which HSers tend to think of as the need to conform (and therefore tend to reject), and "being social," which homeschoolers tend to embrace just as all human beings do. Socialization is viewed as being lock-step with those around you; being social is having friends and having fun. (That's why you should never ask a HSer about "socialization" unless you want to see smoke come out of his/her ears!)

You could choose to shun people as part of your homeschooling, I suppose. You could do as I joke about and really lock your kids in the basement and throw books down the stairs to them, but no one I know does anything close to this. We're far more out in the world than kids are in school, really. When else in life does one interact only with people who are all exactly the same age, regardless of interests or abilities? Never! IRL (as opposed to school), we gravitate toward people we enjoy, jobs that offer like-minded co-workers, and activites that interest us. School is the one and only time in life when virtually all that matters is one's age. I think that's weird. It's certainly counterproductive for many GT kids.

But unlike Dave, I don't want my kids to be blind to social cues. Even peer pressure I want my kids to see and understand for what it is. I want my kids to be well-liked in groups and in one-on-one interactions because I know the value of those interactions. I do think HSing could be viewed by others as a potential stumbling block to those interactions, so especially with new people I feel a little, well, nervous, I guess. It's only natural.

99% of the conversations I've had with non-HSers about HSing have been positive and supportive. Even people I thought sure would have something bad to say have been positively chirpy about our family's choice! smile But the 1% that wasn't positive was ugly and really blindsided me. I wasn't expecting the nastiness I got about it. It only takes one of those conversations to make a person feel defensive.

It's especially hard for us because we are NOT HSing as a philosophical choice, but because we didn't see any way for our school to teach our child. So when people hear that we're HSing, I have three equally lousy choices: 1) let them assume we're religious HSers, when we're not (!), 2) tell them that we're HSing because school wasn't working for DS6, which leads them to think that he's a behavioral problem, when he isn't, or 3) tell them that he's "really bright." In every case, they're likely to be turned off to us. So defensive, yup, I'll cop to it!

I guess this is a long way of saying that while I agree with a lot of what you wrote, Dave, I don't think you speak for everyone in HSing. I think acs's observations about defensiveness were right on target. I think there are two things that spur HSers to be evangelical: being so sure you're right that you have to tell others (I think this one is the minority), or because we like the choice we've made, but we feel defensive about it. That's the more common cause, I think.

Human beings don't argue when we know we're right. Then we shrug, say "You're wrong," and let it go. We argue when we feel insecure. I think many of us who HS feel a little insecure. And why shouldn't we? We're choosing to do something outside the norm. It's still the right choice for our families, but a fair percentage of us are still a wee bit nervous about choosing to be so different. That's normal, and it's okay. But it does tend to make people feel a bit defensive...and therefore evangelical.
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 07:22 AM

I think when we read posts about what educational choices others have made for their children, we must always remember those are the choices they have made for their children. We can always learn from those posts, even if what we learn is to confirm our choices may be 100% opposite, but for the reasons that are right for us.

I love reading all the different stories, and how everyone makes education work for their families. Right now I see my GS8 as following the same path as acs's child, with a bit of Grinity's method thrown in with afterschooling. Who knows, later things may change and require a different approach. If we didn't have the wide variety of approaches presented on this forum we may not be aware of all that is available.

It's good to openly address the defensiveness that we all feel at times. It reminds everyone that we are open to all input about educational choices and opportunities. Another thing to keep in mind, the thing we have in common on this board is being passionate about getting the best education for our children. When something works well for our child, of course we sound passionate about it. Nothing wrong with that, don't we love to see the same passion in our children? Just keep in mind, "one size does NOT fit all!"
Posted by: Lori H.

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 08:52 AM

I often feel that I am being judged by teachers and other homeschoolers and even family members, so yes, I am a little defensive.

On a recent vacation, I could feel my geology professor sister-in-law watching us but she only commented on my 2E dyspraxic son's inability to use a knife properly. Her children have gone to the best schools and they will only go to the best colleges. Since our state does not require an appropriate education for 2E children, we have no choice but to do the best we can within our budget. I have only a two year degree in accounting but I am determined to give my son a better education than the more experienced and better educated teachers who ignored the areas in which he was gifted but only cared that he learn to color in the lines.

My common sense tells me that letting my son read and discuss the "thought-provoking" books with high level vocabulary that he loves instead of the books his 4th grade age mates are reading in school will build his comprehension and feed his need for learning better than what the public school offers. Common sense tells me that my son needs to type most of his work in addition to practicing handwriting. Common sense tells me that he needs occupational therapy for his disability, not the "gift of time" that they recommend for kids with motor delays. Common sense tells me that children learn better without having to worry about the bullies. Common sense tells me that a teacher's education degree is worthless if the teacher doesn't use common sense in educating children with varying abilities and learning differences.

We feel like we are very much a minority. There is very little support for twice exceptional children like my son, so we have to do it alone and try not to worry about what other people think.
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:44 AM

I hear you Kriston and we're not homeschooling yet. I'm already well aware that my in-laws are going to be VERY uncomfortable with the idea of homeschooling at least initially. They don't even really "get" that DS7 is years beyond age mates and reading at a higher level than his cousins 4-5 years older. I did have my sister in law pull me aside one day and basically say "What are you going to do with this kid?". She sees DS once or twice a year and totally picked up on him immediately.

I'm also really anxious about getting grouped in with the far left conservative Christian home schoolers because we could not be further from that! We actually knew a couple of these kids from my son's music school and it seemed like these poor kids rarely, if ever got to talk to people from outside a tiny circle. They would practically jump on my lap while their mother attended lessons with another child. If the public schools want to fill my kid's heads with a liberal agenda - I'm all for it! wink Just be prepared for 10,000 questions. Part of the appeal of homeschooling to me is the secular HS groups ARE diverse!

I also feel defensive for bailing on public school! I really do think our school IS a good school for many kids, but it doesn't work at all for our kid. And neither DH or I are very strong at political type advocacy. We'd be much better at homeschooling than we would be at advocating full time.

Anyway - thanks for the post!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 10:20 AM

My pleasure. smile

And I identify with every single thing you just wrote, kimck! (Except that the uncomfortable relatives are my own parents, not my in-laws. At least not to my knowledge.)

If I may make a suggestion: expect the in-laws to hate the idea and to constantly criticize you. Make your peace with that and be able to accept their criticism with a peaceful, non-defensive smile and some variation on the following statement: "I hear what you're saying. I respect your opinion and I love you. But we are DS's parents and we have to do what we think is best for him. I hope you can respect us enough to accept that." You can't change your in-laws (or anyone else who hates the HSing idea); all you can do is change the way you respond to their criticism. FWIW...

As for being lumped in with people you're not like...I feel pretty fortunate that there's a large secular HSing community where we live, so the assumption is generally not that we're ultra-religious, ultra-right-wing, afraid of the world, or any of the other things that people assume without even thinking in other parts of the country. I've read enough blogs and posts on forums by other secular HSers to know that we're pretty doggone lucky to be where we are. It's a lot harder to HS in some other places than it is where I am. I just wish I had a better way to answer the inevitable (even if unspoken) question, "Why are you HSing?"

And I completely agree with you about feeling guilty/defensive about leaving the public schools. That more than anything is where I have felt attacked and judged--as you rightly note, Lori. I've actually been told (by someone who should know better!) that we owe it to the public schools to keep DS6 there. Um, no! Sorry! I find that notion to be patently ridiculous. I can't sacrifice my son to the good of the schools. My primary (and secondary and tertiary...) responsibility is to my child. The school will just have to get by without him.

But I still mourn the education I had envisioned for him. I know the one he's getting is a good one, but it's not the one I thought he'd get. I'm reminded of the great article that Grinity linked to that talked about planning a trip to Italy, only to be told at the last minute that you were going somewhere equally nice, but somewhere that was not Italy. It throws you for a loop. Ultimately you have to accept that you're just not going to Italy, but it can be hard to let go of the dream. I think that makes me feel defensive, too.

And finally, I think I feel defensive just by nature of having an HG+ child. In a culture that values conformity, that frowns on giftedness, that denies the possibility that a child is capable of doing "that," whatever "that" happens to be (reading early, doing algebra early, etc.)...I think I feel defensive about not being able to say "I'm HSing because my child is profoundly gifted and the school can't handle him" in a voice louder than a furtive whisper.

That's the part I think Dave has hit right on the nose. But frankly, it's the part I feel most defensive about.
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 10:53 AM

Oh, the HG+ child business is really painful. It's like the invisible elephant in the room. I think I spend most of my days yet in denial. Sure I come to the GT board, but really, my kid is on the cusp of this GT thing, right? Of course, that is the REAL reason homeschooling has even come up as an option for us. But it's incredibly hard to verbalize that, and sometimes even admit to myself. We're kind of embracing it as a lifestyle choice we'd like to try too and see how it feels. We are also lucky to live in a urban/liberal area with plenty of secular/GT homeschoolers. I'm amazed what's popping out of the woodwork now that we're looking.

This morning I read independently with about half the children in DS's first grade class. I'm always surprised that first graders REALLY do read at first grade level. It's quite good for my denial.
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 11:10 AM

Originally Posted By: kimck


I also feel defensive for bailing on public school! I really do think our school IS a good school for many kids, but it doesn't work at all for our kid. And neither DH or I are very strong at political type advocacy. We'd be much better at homeschooling than we would be at advocating full time.



I think for me when I am guilty of being critical of homeschoolers (which I confess I am in my own community--not you guys) it is often because they parrot all the cliched lines about how bad public schools are for kids without ever giviing them a chance. Whereas, I think that public schools are amazing. Free education for everyone--wow!! We shouldn't take that for granted; it's part of what makes America great and lots of countries do not have it. Maybe it needs some minor or major tweeking, but it is still such a fabulous thing that I want to support it in any way I can. For us that has meant many hours of volunteering at the school; it also means that DS's presence there is bringing in funding and that by being a good role model for others he is part of the larger community. So that's where I get critical, when i think that people are pulling kids out without considering that there are larger social issues at stake. And some days when I see lots of HS parents at the library and nobody volunteering at my son's school, I do get grumpy about it!

But, Kimck, that is NOT you!!!! You are trying it. You do understand what the school is going through. You do care about the other kids at your local school. And, I would suspect that the others on the board have the same approach to kimck. And even if your child isn't in PS this year, I know you are still supportive of PS in general.

Does it work to say, "Well, we tried PS adn there were some things that were really great about it. There were some great teachers etc etc. But in the end, it just wasn't a good fit for us. Maybe when DS is a bit older, we'd like to try it again." Just a thought....

Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 11:27 AM

Quote:
I just wish I had a better way to answer the inevitable (even if unspoken) question, "Why are you HSing?"


I think of HS as a customized education. Maybe when people ask you why you're homeschooling you could say that you want to give your child a customized education that allows him to pursue his passions and gives him extra support in areas where he needs it. No need to feel defensive about that!

Also, I think that people can be supportive of the idea of free, public education without feeling like they need to participate in it. Yes, it should be there as an option for all and a failsafe for those who need it. But don't feel like you have to tolerate a bad fit if you have other options--like HS. I don't see how remaining in a bad PS situation could possibly benefit or support the public school system. It would be a drain on that system. It doesn't seem hypocritical at all to support PS in principle even though you don't send your child to PS.
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 11:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Cathy A
It doesn't seem hypocritical at all to support PS in principle even though you don't send your child to PS.


Cathy, I do agree with you when we are talking about a few kids being taken out for specific reasons.

Warning: What is coming is a total rant, based on my personal experience in my town and has nothing to do with you all!

I do see a real problem in our district. My very personal issue in my district is that everyone who can (middle class families) seems to be pulling their kids out of PS to put them in charter schools (which have clearly, in our district, been set up to only work for white middle class kids), private school (white middle class) or homeschool (white Christian conservatives). These are the parents who would be on the PTA or volunteering in the classroom if they were in PS. Meanwhile the public school no longer looks like our district in general. Poor single parent families, people just scraping by, and non-English speakers are typical in PS, but not seen at all in the private, charter and homeschool. Basically, it's segregation and I don't think it's fair. This is putting a huge financial strain in the district and hurting the quality of the public school system.

And this is my problem: most of the parents pulled their kids out, not because they were having problems, but because they were afraid that they might have problems or they didn't want their kids associating with the "people who live in trailers" (and yes I have heard people say this). I am not mad at any of you, but I am mad at my local friends, because I have seen our PS go down hill because the white middle class are proactively removing their children.

Thanks for listening!
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 11:50 AM

Aren't charter schools public? Can't anyone sign up?
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 11:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Cathy A
Aren't charter schools public? Can't anyone sign up?


Yes, but our public charters do not provide lunch and they do not provide buses. Parents also have to travel to the school and fill out a lengthy application (in English). So, effectively, you have to have to have the means to get your child to and from school each day and you don't get free or reduced lunch. So it really is set up to be exclusive and it's not very subtle about it.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 12:06 PM

Wow. Hmmmm. I see your point. Definitely some erosion of public education going on there. I wonder how they can use public money and get away with not providing services that would allow public access...seems like something's wrong there.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 12:56 PM

There are only two charter schools in our district. One is a Farsi immersion school. The other is a homeschool charter. They give you the PS curriculum, you teach it to your kid at home and check in with a teacher every so often for testing. This is being utilized by a wide variety of folks. Kids with unusual learning styles, kids who are athletes or musicians, etc.

All the schools, public and private, in our city are stuffed to the gills with kids.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 01:38 PM

What you're identifying is a common criticism of HSing, acs, and one that would bother me a lot if it were true in our case. I detest racism and classism. Period.

But since the school DS6 was attending is more white-bread-and-middle-class than our HSing group, I feel pretty okay about our choice.

But, frankly, even if this weren't the demographics at our school, I still think each parent must do what s/he feels to be the right thing for his/her own kids. I cannot stay at a school for the good of the school. I just can't. My priority MUST be my child. If the school is bad for my child, then he must not be in it, even if his absence looks like it's part of some wrong-headed "white flight" nonsense.

If our HSing screws up the schools, then the schools should do a better job of taking care of our child. Ultimately, the schools owe my child an education; OTOH, I do not owe the schools anything but my tax dollars, which they get even when my child is not attending, not even for the "extras" that we would dearly love for him to get at the school, but which he is not allowed to take.

This is one area in which I feel very defensive, I'm afraid. I know you excused us from the people you're talking about, but you'd be amazed how often I hear that we "owe" the school our son's high test scores or such nonsense. I owe the school nothing they're not already getting, whereas they owed my DS an education which he was never going to get there! The let-down party is us, not the schools.

I want strong public schools because I want a strong, educated, productive community. But I cannot sacrifice my son to that goal.

*sigh*

I just cut a bunch out of this post before I put it up because, like I said, I'm defensive about this one. Sorry.

Mostly what I'm trying to say (sans defensiveness!) is that it is very dangerous to believe that people owe something to a system. Systems are meant to work for people, not the other way around. When systems stop working for people--or are perceived as no longer working for people--people leave the system. The solution is to improve the system (or get better PR), not to blame the people who left it.

Kindly,

K-
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 02:03 PM

OK, I'll just say what I'm thinking and then I'll be done.

And please, K, don't feel that this is directed at you. I just want to say these things that I cannot say to my friends at home and still stay friends.

I just want people to try public schools for themselves and see if they work before they pull their kids out. Because I think if they did, some people would be pleasantly surprised, and our schools would be better off. If it doesn't work, if it's harming your child, then, of course, take him/her out.

And Kriston, you are right, what's happening in our community is racist and classist. People say it out loud. That is why I get so angry! Yes, the system should change. But the way I see it the ones who are left in the PS system when all the white middle class folks have left are the ones who have the least voice, the ones who are least able to change the system. And that makes me sad.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 02:26 PM

I don't blame you. It makes me sad, too.

But I guess my problem is the racism and classism, not the homeschooling. They're taking a good and useful educational tool and misusing it for evil. That's really a shame.

I have HUGE problems with racism and classism and prejudice in all forms. Please don't misunderstand me--that's NOT okay with me at all!

Honestly, it sounds to me like the schools in your area need better PR more than anything.

FWIW, we have the opposite problem here--our school system has a great--and mostly undeserved--reputation. Yes, nearly all the kids graduate and the test scores are high. But what I realized is that these things are really meaningless to a GT kid. If the teachers coast on what the kids already know, then it's a crappy system for our kids.

So I'm 100% behind you on the "no racism and classism" thing. I'd tend to speak up about that, actually, and have those people hate me. I hope you talk to them about how good the schools have been for your child at every opportunity!

But if I were there, and if the school didn't seem to be able to serve my kids as it is well-serving yours, we wouldn't stay because we owed it to the system. (I am glad that it's not an issue for us though. My white liberal guilt would keep me up at night!)

And really, acs, you don't have to be done here. smile I think this is a good, productive, thought-provoking conversation. I hope you do, too. I appreciate what you're saying!
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 02:41 PM

Oh, Kriston, I was only going to shut up because I really should be having this conversation with my neighbors, writing letters, and running for the school board. But I'm too chicken. I had to vent somewhere and you guys got the brunt of it, even though it really has nothing to do with you!

Really, there is enough liberal white guilt around already. I don't mean to contribute. Guilt doesn't do nearly as much good in the world as gratitude joy and a desire to give back for all we have been lucky enough to receive.
Posted by: AmyEJ

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 03:26 PM

Great thread, Kriston! And acs, great observation about the defensiveness of choosing public school.

I first have to say that I love reading everyone's posts, no matter what the thread. Usually I sit and read without posting because I get so far behind. I think I might actually be able to jump in here, though, because it's currently only two pages. Of course if I digress too much it will be up to 4, I have no doubt. LOL

I admit that I have questioned many HSers I know, but their reasons are primarily about bad influences in our public schools. We have a very large number of HSers who attend our church, and depending on the group I'm with at a particular function, they can outnumber us PSers. I definitely feel defensive then, just as I feel defensive when I'm discussing public v. private schools with private school parents. I think I'll always feel defensive about our educational choices, at least somewhat, because parenting is such a personal thing (duh!) and a source of insecurity, and especially so for women, I believe.

Not to throw this into a topic of gender issues, but I do think that my husband is much better able to make a decision about the kids and move on, without regret, embarrassment, or defensiveness. I, on the other hand, will continue to question decisions even if I know they were right. This observation really only applies in the area of parenting; it was not true when I worked in my profession. But as a mom I'm way too defensive about my parenting, and it's something I can't seem to shake. My husband does not have that same problem. If we were to decide to HS, I doubt he would ever feel insecure about it or defensive about it. I would though, especially if I felt like Kriston does and couldn't state the REAL reason why we had chosen that option.

So I just want to offer support to all of you defensive HSers, PSers, ___ers out there: you are doing what's best for your child(ren). And as we all know from reading these fabulous posts each day, every child is different. In my week of lurking I have loved reading about the personalities of your children, finding my DD5 in someone's DD and my DD3 in someone else's DS. I'm so thankful that you are here and are sharing, and am sorry that you ever feel defensive about anything.

As I say many times each day, parenting is HARD!



Posted by: Texas Summer

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 03:39 PM

Originally Posted By: acs
I do see a real problem in our district. My very personal issue in my district is that everyone who can (middle class families) seems to be pulling their kids out of PS to put them in charter schools (which have clearly, in our district, been set up to only work for white middle class kids), private school (white middle class) or homeschool (white Christian conservatives). These are the parents who would be on the PTA or volunteering in the classroom if they were in PS. Meanwhile the public school no longer looks like our district in general. Poor single parent families, people just scraping by, and non-English speakers are typical in PS, but not seen at all in the private, charter and homeschool. Basically, it's segregation and I don't think it's fair. This is putting a huge financial strain in the district and hurting the quality of the public school system.

And this is my problem: most of the parents pulled their kids out, not because they were having problems, but because they were afraid that they might have problems or they didn't want their kids associating with the "people who live in trailers" (and yes I have heard people say this). I am not mad at any of you, but I am mad at my local friends, because I have seen our PS go down hill because the white middle class are proactively removing their children.


acs,
My husband grew up in Baton Rouge where the very thing you described happened. The devastating effects are still seen in that town. We currently live in a very middle class suburban school district with pockets of poverty. My daughter attends the poorest school in the district because we chose to enroll her in a Spanish immersion program. Our district has less than 20% free and reduced lunch students and my dd's school has 70% free and reduced lunch students.

As the Spanish immersion program has developed, it has brought many active, educated, middle-class parents back into the school. This parent participation has made a tremendous difference in the school. My dd was in the first year of the program so I have witnessed the change over time. I also believe that having the children of parents who value education in the school has had a positive impact on the student body as a whole. This exposes children who come from poverty to the possibilities and opportunities that come from education. I grew up in poverty and know how important that is.

This program has worked better than other types of magnet programs that bring middle-class students into poor schools for a number of reasons. First, students of diverse backgrounds and languages are actually educated together in the same classroom rather than having separate classes or programs for the transfer students. Secondly, each group of students is the expert in their native language and the novice in the other language. They each share in being the teacher and being the student. They learn to work together and depend on each other. This helps to eliminate the us vs. them mentality that is often evident between different social, economic, racial or religious groups. I have a friend who teaches at a middle school in a neighboring district that consists of mostly low-income hispanic students. She often hears them express their belief that white, middle-class society is "out to get them." The immersion program teaches students to accept and value differences in other people. Finally, this program works because it is not forcing integration as programs like desegregation busing did. It offers something of value to all parties.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Summer

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 03:57 PM

Kriston wrote:

>Human beings don't argue when we know we're right. Then we shrug, say "You're wrong," and let it go. We argue when we feel insecure.

Speak for yourself, Kriston! Me – I’ll argue about anything, though I prefer the phrase the diplomats use: “an open and frank exchange of views.”

Seriously, I actually do agree with Socrates and the other ancient philosophers that the best way to clarify your own ideas and find the errors in your own thoughts is often to seek out someone with different ideas and frankly explore the reasons for your differences. That of course does not excuse treating people with whom you disagree with disrespect or contempt; however, it is going to occasionally result in some bruised feelings (how would you like having Socrates prove to everyone that your ideas were confused and muddled?).

You know, in mathematics, the word “argument” is still used to mean a forthright presentation of your reasons for a conclusion combined with a cogent response to all possible rational objections. I know that, in contemporary English, “argument” often means a shouting match, but it doesn’t have to be.

Personally, I do find that I am understanding my own views better through these discussions: you know the old saying – I never know what I think until I hear what I have to say.

You’re of course correct that I do not claim to be speaking for all homeschoolers – I do think that there are many homeschoolers who largely agree with me on the “socialization” issue, but I doubt that any homeschooler agrees with me on everything (I’m not sure I agree with myself on everything).

And, you’re also absolutely correct that I and many homeschoolers are drawing a distinction between “socialization” and “being social”: my dictionary defines “socialize” as “to adapt or make conform to the common needs of a social group.”

Ugh.

You remember the scene in “A Wrinkle in Time” where the one little boy is bouncing his ball out of step with everyone else and his mother is terrified? To me, that is the most horrifying scene in literature.

I’m not just ethically and philosophically opposed to “socialization” (in the sense my dictionary defines the term): I’ve hated it viscerally since I was eight-years-old and I still hate it now.

Now that I’ve expressed my dispassionate, objective feelings on the subject…

You wrote:
>But unlike Dave, I don't want my kids to be blind to social cues. Even peer pressure I want my kids to see and understand for what it is. I want my kids to be well-liked in groups and in one-on-one interactions because I know the value of those interactions.

Sure. I do want my kids to be sensitive to when they are hurting other people’s feelings, to when they are making others uncomfortable, etc., and I try to be sensitive in those ways myself. Sometimes, there are good reasons why you need to hurt someone’s feelings, but you should never do it blindly.

I was trying to express something a bit different – not sensitivity to other individuals’ feelings but rather sensitivity to the demands of the group to conform.

For example, my wife and mom tell me that the current style in female attire is to wear rather tight-fitting clothes. One of the adolescents in my family is following that style, and, according to my wife and mom, she looks horrible in it. (I’m relying on my mom’s and wife’s reporting here; like most guys, I’m quite clueless about fashion in clothes.)

Now, I’m not complaining about my wife’s and mom’s having noticed this fashion change. I don’t necessarily want my kids to be blind to such things (though I think it is okay if they are). But I would like my kids to be insensitive to such things in the sense that they stand back from them, view them coolly, and decide for themselves whether it works for them, rather than having the emotional feeling that they “have” to follow the trend because “everyone” is doing it.

It’s in that sense that I would like my kids to be, as I said:
> 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.

I’d like them to have, compared to most people, less well-developed “antennae” that tell you that you must conform to other people’s style and behavior in every silly little detail.

Note that I did say “a bit blind” not totally. I do understand that it is generally not a good idea to show up at you best friend’s wedding in a tank-top and cutoffs, and I wear a coat and tie to job interviews (and I hate ties).

You and I may be in agreement here: I’m just trying to clarify my point.

I know that some people do go through the public schools (my wife and I and probably a number of people on this board) and manage to escape this tendency to blind conformity that I find so abhorrent. But watching most of my classmates when I was in school, and watching most of the young adolescents I know now, I do notice that most adolescents (and the majority of adults) seem to succumb to all this. Put a human being in a large group of humans his or her own age for 30-40 hours a week, and this seems to be the normal result: those of us who do not develop in this way seem to be outliers.

Aside from my own emotional reaction to “socialization,” I do think, in objective terms, that this is the basis for an awful lot of things that I think have catastrophic and horrifying effects – racism, ethnic chauvinism, nationalism, religious faith, militarism, trust in government, etc.

Anyway, I hope this clarifies where I am coming from. Of course, I am not opposed to “being social” or to treating other humans beings with kindness and courtesy, but I am opposed to “socialization” in the dictionary sense and in the sense that most adolescents in our society who attend traditional schools are “socialized.” People who share my perspective are likely to find this a good reason for homeschooling – it is not of course a reason to cut your kids off from social interaction in general.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Lori H.

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 04:32 PM

My son refused to read the rest of A Wrinkle in Time. He said the town we live in reminded him too much of Camazotz. This is one reason we homeschool.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 05:06 PM

I applaud everyone who HSs. I couldn't do it. It sounds very hard.

Dave, you sound exactly like DH, though secretly he really likes socializing, he just doesn't know how. The way you described yourself in HS, he has described himself. Didn't get invited to the football parties, but he was friends with everyone.

And all animal young like to play with each other, it is innate. And in my opinion, girls are born liking the cute boy and will wear what is fashionable to attract. I think I agree with Kriston's points that lie along that line about social cues.

Kriston, we agree.

I joined a mother's "support" group when DD was 4 months. As soon as I sat down on the floor and put her on a blanket, she rolled across the floor to see the other babies. A child with high social needs and it continues.

Does Davidson have any longitudinal studies on how HSing works and doesn't work for kids down the road, like researched pros and cons?

Ren

Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 05:22 PM

Texas Summer,
The dual-immersion program sounds like a dream come true for me, meeting both educational and community needs, while supporting my larger values. I had hoped such a school would be available to us, but it would be a very hard sell in our district which is not very open-minded (read: hostile to non-English speakers).

I guess I should be feeling guilty about not running for the school board.....
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 06:10 PM

I'm reading this thread with great interest. Lots of great thoughts flowing.
Kriston, I loved that homeschooling wish list, that kind of humor is right up my alley!!
Dave, nice to i-meet, you have lots of great thoughts to consider. I'm not really agreeing with you that sometimes there are good reasons to hurt people's feelings. Maybe if you gave some more details.....I'd like to think we can communicate in a way that respects people's,, you know.......person.
I hadn't considered how HS could be thought of or utilized as a racist or classist tool. Disturbing........

Neato
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 07:25 PM

incogneato,

I have in mind the sort of situation where someone really needs to know some information even though it will hurt them – an obvious case would be a doctor telling a patient she has cancer. Another case would be a teacher giving an honest evaluation to a student that hurts the student’s feelings, even though the student needs to know the information to correct her errors (this may be especially tough on good students – it’s happened, I suppose, to all of us, but it’s the teacher’s job).

Also, there are people (probably all of us, at least sometimes) who “get their feelings hurt” simply because someone else expresses a different opinion. That can be a way of bullying people to force them to agree with us, and I don’t think anyone is obligated to avoid hurting our feelings in such a situation.

I think that gratuitously hurting other people’s feelings – just for the fun of it, so to speak -- is pretty much always wrong.

Dave
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 07:39 PM

Dave,

Arguing in the sense I'm using the word is not a classic socratic dialogue, or some simple airing of views. I mean a disagreement, a values clash, a verbal fight.

If it helps, I taught argumentative writing, so I'm completely on-board with the notion of discussing an issue dispassionately in order to come to the best, most reasoned position one can discover. (Ask acs! She'll back me on that, I know! wink )

But that's not what I meant when I spoke about humans arguing when we feel defensive. I meant arguing! Complete with passion and anger and shaking hands and heart racing. I meant defending our views. I meant talking to be heard, not listening to understand.

BTW, I stole this point from Lisa Rivero's "Creative Homeschooling" book. She was talking about GT kids arguing when they feel insecure, but it rang true for me. When I know I'm right, I let it go with a shrug. When I fear I'm not or feel I'm being ignored or diminished, I switch to defensiveness and even anger.

Does that make my point clearer? I fear you've gone off into a semiotic argument when I was talking about *rampant emotionalism*.

(Is Dottie here?) wink
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 08:24 PM

Originally Posted By: AmyEJ
So I just want to offer support to all of you defensive HSers, PSers, ___ers out there: you are doing what's best for your child(ren). And as we all know from reading these fabulous posts each day, every child is different. In my week of lurking I have loved reading about the personalities of your children, finding my DD5 in someone's DD and my DD3 in someone else's DS. I'm so thankful that you are here and are sharing, and am sorry that you ever feel defensive about anything.


Back atcha', AmyEJ! Thanks for posting. laugh Please comment any time.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 08:24 PM

Aha, rampant emotionalism.....I must not be as F as I thought...:)
I'm following you Dave, I think it's the different lenses through which we are viewing this, I am putting a different value on "hurting feelings"
For example, if a doctor told me I had cancer, it wouldn't hurt my feelings, but I'd be mad as h@#$$!
I don't think an honest evaluation would hurt my feelings, but I think there is where the importance lies. I think I'm pretty good at sensing when someone is sincere vs. just plain nasty.
Or maybe I'm insensitive and just don't have hurt feelings easily. (shrugging shoulders).
Also, I don't like to argue, but I like to investigate ideas and love to debate.

Incog
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 08:57 PM

On the issue of what to say/what not to say, I had a conversation several years ago with a "defensive" homeschooler at a basketball camp. I didn't know she was homeschooling her daughter and we were talking about how our kids were learning to get along with other kids. Our conversation went something like this.

Me: Oh, what grade is your daughter in?
HS mom: Well, she's 5 so she should be in kindergarten. But we homeschool and she is already reading on a first grade level.
Me: (biting my tongue furiously): Oh, that's lovely. So I was just thinking that as a five year old, it makes sense....(bringing the conversation back to the original topic).

It was really her tone that got me and the implication that her child was ahead because she was HSing--it was definitely a holier-than-thou tone. And I remain proud to this day that I didn't say what popped into my head, which was, "Wow, my son's in first grade a the local PS, but he's reading at the 7th grade level. Maybe you should consider PS since clearly they are doing a better job with my DS than you are with your DD."

From the perspective of distance, though, I do see her challenge in figuring out the right response to "what grade is your DD in?" I can see it would be something of a trick question if you have left the grade boxed life behind. I like to think she has refined her response a bit over the years.

So I don't have any advice on what to say, but I can say that this mother's response was most definitely a conversation killer!
Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:14 PM

This is a great post. Since we're new to this whole HG+ business, I love learning about all the different experiences. We are hoping our PS will be able to accommodate our DS4, but HS will be our back-up plan. Our district does allow part-time HS, so we're lucky there. Since HSing is in our stockpile of options, I had already given some thought to what to say to people who ask why are you homeschooling: "Bad allergies."
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:20 PM

Originally Posted By: st pauli girl
I had already given some thought to what to say to people who ask why are you homeschooling: "Bad allergies."


LOL. I like it. Unless, of course, you are pressed for more information and have to decide whether or not to say "Well, he's allergic to boring teachers, underfunded GT programs, and inflexible administrators."
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: acs
Unless, of course, you are pressed for more information and have to decide whether or not to say "Well, he's allergic to boring teachers, underfunded GT programs, and inflexible administrators."


LOL!

The grade question is a tricky one, acs. I have the same problem the HSing woman had, though without the off-putting tone, I hope. smile

DS6 is clearly not a "1st grader" in any meaningful sense of the word. He'd probably be in 2nd grade this year if he were in PS, though maybe with another skip planned for next year. So how does one answer that question?

I figure most people are really asking "How old is your child," so I answer "He's almost 7" or "He started the year in 1st grade." Next year will be trickier for me, since he will start that year where he left off this one. But it worked for me for this year.

I think the trick is to answer the question being asked and not try to turn it into a referendum on HSing! LOL!
Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:51 PM

Originally Posted By: acs
[quote=st pauli girl] Unless, of course, you are pressed for more information and have to decide whether or not to say "Well, he's allergic to boring teachers, underfunded GT programs, and inflexible administrators."


I laughed out loud at this, because I deleted the rest of my comment of "allergic to boredom and dairy." I thought if I said boredom i might offend someone!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 09:52 PM

Nope, for better or worse, we're all in the same boat here on that one! smile
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 10:04 PM

Well, I guess I figured I could get away with it since I'm the militant PSer!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 10:13 PM

LOL! Militant? I love that! grin
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/18/08 10:59 PM

St. Pauli Girl, Is your son really allergic to dairy? I actually know several people who DO hs because of serious allergies. My DD is allergic to peanuts and DS is allergic to eggs. Both are potentially anaphylactic and have epipens and the whole nine yards. In fact, the principal (way back when we enrolled DD in first grade) told us we should homeschool her...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 02:26 AM

Kriston,

I don't think anyone here is arguing in your sense of the term, although people are "arguing" in my (benign) sense of the term. I know the word is ambiguous in contemporary English, but I do prefer the original meaning, personally. People too often use the ambiguity in the word to shut up honest discussion concerning disagreements by dismissing it as "arguing."

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 02:50 AM

Lori wrote:

>My son refused to read the rest of A Wrinkle in Time. He said the town we live in reminded him too much of Camazotz. This is one reason we homeschool.

Lori, your son is wise beyond his years! I think Madeleine L’Engle would say that he grasped the real theme of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

I hope when he is a bit older he will read through the scary part all the way to the end. It is a great book.

I had not thought of this until reading your comment, but I suppose the point of that scene (maybe of the whole book) is that Camazotz is really… Earth.

I think L’Engle was optimistic enough to hope that the earth can be freed of the influence of the black cloud. I too am enough of an optimist to hope that can be done, and perhaps some of us homeschoolers are doing our own small part to raise kids who are individuals and not just members of the mass.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:20 AM

kimck wrote:
>I'm already well aware that my in-laws are going to be VERY uncomfortable with the idea of homeschooling at least initially.

Kriston is of course right that all of us who are homeschooling (and I assume this may also be true of grade-skipping and other “unusual” ways of helping bright kids) have to deal with reactions from the extended family.

In our case, my side of the family has generally been supportive (one of my cousins started homeschooling after we did), except for one of my step-sibs who teaches in the public schools (we’ve never seen each other much anyway, so we just don’t talk with each other about our homeschooling). Curiously, my mom is defensive about not being supportive enough of our homeschooling! This is kind of funny, since she really has been quite supportive, and no one has ever told her otherwise.

My wife’s family has been much less supportive. However, this has not really been a great problem. Since I am willing to talk openly about our homeschooling and answer any questions they have, we simply talk things over whenever they do have questions or criticisms.

One of the reasons I find Kriston’s take on homeschoolers’ being defensive a little funny is that my main problem in talking to my wife’s family is that I have to be careful not to hurt their feelings by telling them how our kids are actually doing academically, what our kids are learning, etc. My nieces are, as far as I can tell, as bright innately as our kids, but our kids are advancing at about twice the pace the nieces are because of our homeschooling.

I have the same experience with friends, although of course the situation is somewhat less delicate with friends than with in-laws. My overwhelming experience is that it has been public-schoolers who are defensive, and I (usually) try to be sensitive to their tender feelings.

So, I’m somewhat bemused by Kriston’s belief that homeschoolers are defensive.

A year ago, one of my kids informed her cousin that she was better at piano than the cousin because she was homeschooled! Aside from being rude, the truth is her cousin never chose to take piano lessons, which is of course the real reason the cousin could not play piano. Curiously, the older girl was really upset by this (there is a seven year age difference).

We of course had a long talk with our little one, I apologized to the cousin, and our child later went on her own and apologized also.

This is a somewhat funny example (although it was not funny at the time!) of how we and are kids are finding that we need to be careful not to offend the delicate feelings of public-school families.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:31 AM

Here's an example of telling someone the truth, even though it hurts their feelings.

On 'American Idol' Simon is the most critical of the judges. He's blunt, sometimes maybe over the line; but who's critique do the participants value most? Simon can have even the men in tears, but because he is brutally honest everyone knows that when he gives a compliment that it has great value.
In real life we aren't as callous as Simon is on TV, but the principle is the same.
Posted by: questions

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:42 AM

But back to the cancer comment, even though the truth hurts, there are ways to communicate the truth with sensitivity and empathy. As for Simon, in my book telling the truth is not an excuse for being rude. Of course, Simon, the producers, and the rest of them know it does result in better ratings/more $.
Posted by: czechdrum

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:17 AM

I haven't read this whole thread yet, but wanted to comment on the theme of the first few posts.

Re: socialization, I actually feel much more comfortable with the socialization of my child due to the fact that he is homeschooled. He's out in the world every day and deals with people of all ages/shapes/sizes/abilities with ease. Check out this article for many more reasons why homeschoolers prefer their brand of socialization:
http://tnhomeed.com/LRSocial.html

And regarding defensiveness, well, I don't feel defensive at all. I even had the gifted coordinator for our state's department of education tell me that the best educational choice for our son is homeschooling. I know for a fact that his needs cannot be accommodated in schools. It is what it is. Given our situation, I know homeschooling is the best option.

I do sometimes feel the need to adjust expectations when I meet someone for the first time and they assume that I'm a homeschooler who fits the evangelical Christian mold that characterizes the majority of US homeschoolers. Homeschoolers are rare enough, and those who make that choice for secular reasons are rarer still.

Tara
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:18 AM

LOL - I love the allergies answer to why we're homeschooling! Yes - allergic to not learning at school.

I was thinking of saying something along the lines of "DS is just not a great fit in a regular classroom", and let them stew on that. I'm sure everyone will think he's ADHD or something, but whatever. It's something I'm more than happy to talk about if people ask for more info, but I'm not sure I want to run around like the lady who liked to brag her homeschooling kindergartner was reading at a first grade level. crazy

The grade question is a good one too, but if you're homeschooling, you can just say "He's 7, but we're homeschooling, so he's not working at any particular grade level". If people ask for more info, I'll go into it, but otherwise he will be working at different grade levels for everything anyway. My first grader is a legitimate first grader this year, but when people ask what grade he's in now, it doesn't even feel right to say first grade. The better answer would be "He's auditing a first grade class, but we do our real learning after school!".

Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Cathy A
St. Pauli Girl, Is your son really allergic to dairy? I actually know several people who DO hs because of serious allergies. My DD is allergic to peanuts and DS is allergic to eggs. Both are potentially anaphylactic and have epipens and the whole nine yards. In fact, the principal (way back when we enrolled DD in first grade) told us we should homeschool her...


Yes, he is allergic to dairy, and has the epipen too. But it's not as bad as the peanut allergies where the kids can't be in the same room where there has been PB. I'm sorry (and amazed) your principal suggested homeschooling. I figured all the educators would be familiar (and more helpful) with the food allergies by now.
Posted by: questions

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:47 AM

Tara,

I love this article! Since DS tended to avoid large groups of kids when he was younger due to sensory issues, we've been hearing the socialization thing for a long time. And now that we're seriously considering HSing, we hear it again. "DS (even more than most kids is what they're suggesting) needs to be in school." Even one of our favorite members of the PS child study team said something like, well, if you want him to grow up and work by himself in an office where he doesn't have to see anyone during the day or interact with anyone...

In my opinion, a lot of the poor behaviors I've seen in the corporate world appear to be things learned on the playground in elementary school and never corrected.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:55 AM

No, Dave, I agree that no one here is arguing in the sense that I was intending it. That also has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was making at the time. But I think we've probably beaten that dead horse enough...

I also never said that homeschoolers have a corner on the market for defensiveness. That was the start of this whole thread: acs's comment. In fact, probably the most defensive person I spoke to regarding HSing was a former public school teacher. She took our decision to homeschool very personally, though to say that it had nothing whatsoever to do with her is not stressing enough how little it had to do with her! I was new to HSing, and I felt defensive of our new, hard-won choice and I felt attacked by her comments. So I argued. With passion. And heart racing.

Ultimately I still think more HSers are a bit defensive than not. I can't prove that to you. I know of no survey of HSers asking "How defensive are you, on a scale from 1-10?" My claim is based purely on anecdotal evidence of my year with HSers, on posts on HSing forums and on common sense. Would there be a "Bitter Homeschooler's Wishlist" if there were no bitter and defensive homeschoolers? It seems self-evident to me, but maybe not. It seems to me that we're in the minority, and it's hard to be in the minority even when it's the best thing for you.

If nothing else, the number of times I hear "Oh, I could NEVER HS!" tells me that the mainstream neither understands nor fully accepts HSing. The quiet that came in the conversation after my neighbors heard we were going to HS and the lack of phone calls for playdates from many of them. The different sort of questions you start getting at the doctor's office when you HS. The press coverage of people who commit crimes and happened to have been HSd--the press highlights HSing as if that's the reason kids are abused or people kill people. All these things point to society seeing HSers as odd, strange, different in a bad way.

I am not a person who bows to peer pressure, but I do like to be accepted. I know from experience that society does not fully understand or accept HSing. They want our kids "socialized," and since they're not, we're viewed as suspect.

If you don't think that tends to make people defensive, then so be it. You are entitled to your opinion, of course. For my part, I can't see how it could do anything but make most people feel at least a tiny bit defensive.

However, I do think I am more sensitive to the problems I'm describing than you are, Dave, because you completely buy the whole HSing philosophy. I believe that you really don't care what others think about this matter. You've very comfortable. You think Hsing is the very best thing ever. You are an evangelist because you are a true believer.

OTOH, I am a reluctant HSer. I expected my kids to go to a traditional school, and I'm still a little disappointed that DS6 is not there. I see the benefits of HSing--and there are lots of them!--but it's not the life I thought we were going to be leading. I'm still adapting.

I think people who buy the HSing philosophy from the start have less angst about the choice than those of us whose kids start on the societally approved path and then veer off it.

At least, that's what I've seen. I have no hard evidence for that either.
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:57 AM

St. Pauli - that is really tough! And is a very legitimate reason to look at homeschooling too.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 07:55 AM

Kriston, your point about being the reluctant HS'er is spot on, I get it. I see the difference between where you and Dave are coming from on this issue.
And I agree with your having an issue. I believe your child has a right to be educated, just like any child who goes to school. And that won't happen unless they accomodate your child's extreme learning needs. Your child has as much right to special services as any other child who needs them, it's just glossed over in some schools because of the mistaken idea: "Oh, they'll be fine."
If they are providing special services to any child who has unique learning needs, and you know they are, the they have at least a moral obligation to attempt to do the same for your child.
I hate to sound so immflammatory, but it could be construed as discriminitory and who wouldn't be incensed about that.


I
Posted by: Lori H.

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 08:55 AM

They don't care about moral obligations. I was told by the superintendent of our public school that being unable to get an appropriate education for my 2E son because he was very advanced in reading and comprehension based on WIAT scores and also advanced in math and everything else except things that required good motor skills that this was a "good problem to have" and that I should keep homeschooling. I couldn't even get his permission to let my son play on the playground during school hours with other kids that he used to go to school with because of liability reasons. When the gifted coordinator's office called him and asked about this he said it was because I might be a child molestor or something even though I volunteered at the school several days a week when my son was in Kindergarten. I would have kept volunteering if they would have just let my son go to school part time to be with other kids but they won't allow it and Oklahoma law doesn't require an appropriate education for twice exceptional children.

We think this is a form of discrimination. The state gifted coordinator even recommended writing to my legislators and the governor. I did, but they don't answer my letters or emails. We are such a minority that they don't think they have to bother with us. We are just supposed to keep paying our taxes so that all the other kids can learn. When my son was learning about the civil rights movement he said he thought it was nice that at least there were lots of other people in their "minority" so they didn't have to feel so alone when fighting for their rights. Last year, while reading Johnny Tremaine and also reading about the Boston Tea Party he made comments about the "taxation without representation" and he thought in some ways that described our situation. We have to pay taxes but we don't have the right to the services our taxes pay for. He sees problems with our education system and even our form of government that I never questioned when I was a child and he is only nine.
Posted by: Ania

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 09:08 AM

^^ I think Lori that this is a court case, since you have been told to HS.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 09:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Dottie
Unfortunately schools don't operate on "moral obligations", and truth be told, they'd short-change the other learners by just as much if there wasn't a federal law on their behalf.

That's what we need.....federal protection!


Unfortunately, they also don't operate under federal law unless you threaten to sue them. I am speaking from experience here since both my kids have federally recognized physical disabilities. We had to fight tooth and nail to get accommodations for their life-threatening food allergies. We are talking about the basics, things that are medically necessary for them to have safe access to school. Things like having a trained person on site at all times to administer the epipen and prohibiting staff members from offering my daughter food that we had not approved.

I also know some parents whose kids have autism. Believe me, their needs are NOT being served by the school despite the kids' diagnoses and IEP's.

It would be great to have federal protection for GT students but don't think that schools would automatically toe the line if that happened.

Oh, and I have to say that jokingly using the "allergy" excuse for homeschooling sounds about as funny to me as jokingly saying you are homeschooling because your kid has cancer. I may be overly sensitive about this but that's how I feel. If your child truly has allergies, that's one thing. But I hate to see people making light of something that could kill my kid.

Cathy
Posted by: questions

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 09:41 AM

Cathy, fyi, our school district has started an allergy education program for all in the school community. They are taking it very seriously and are in the forefront of allergy education. You are so right. Even DH said "that's ridiculous" when I told him he couldn't bring in the cookies for St. Patrick's Day which were manufactured in a plant manufacturing items using nuts and other allergens b/c there is a child in DS's class with a peanut allergy. Clearly, DH needs to read the mail DS brings home. You make a very good point.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 09:46 AM

Questions, I am glad to hear that some districts are starting to take the issue of food allergies seriously. For unknown reasons, anaphylactic food allergies are on the rise. Many districts are still behind the curve on this issue.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 09:51 AM

Originally Posted By: st pauli girl

I'm sorry (and amazed) your principal suggested homeschooling. I figured all the educators would be familiar (and more helpful) with the food allergies by now.


Well, it seems that many schools would rather just exclude those with any sort of special circumstances. It's just easier for them, I guess.

It's a crazy world and it's so interesting for me to read all the posts from homeschoolers when I have spent the last three years fighting for my kids' rights to attend public school! crazy

I'm sorry to hear about your son's dairy allergy. PM me if you would like a link to a great online food allergy community.
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Dottie
Even if you solve the school problem, you still have to face the bus problem. DD has an epipen for bees, and we really don't have a valid solution in place, particularly for the bus. Despite the fact that she's never had compromised breathing, if I think too much about the possibilities, I start to go a little crazy. I can see how allergy issues are extreme concerns!


When my daughter was in high school 12 years ago, I had to fight the school so she could carry her inhaler for her asthma! They wanted to keep one at school and not allow her to carry it on the bus! Talk about nuts! They gave me a hard time for not having the doctor put her on preventative meds. I told them, "I wasn't the doctor, and neither were they." I trusted my doctor to start with the least amount of medication and add more if needed to control her asthma.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:28 AM

Yes, we have the same problem when it comes to food allergies. As a conscientious parent, I feel like it's my duty to see that the doctor's orders with regard to DD are carried out. One of the requirements for these kids is that they be supervised at all times by an adult trained to recognize and treat anaphylaxis. But the school places roadblocks.

According to the teachers' contract, teachers cannot be required to administer injections. Those who volunteer for training can administer injections IF they have current CPR certification. The district and teachers' union strongly discourage teachers from volunteering due to liability issues. The result: only the administrators are trained to give the epipen. What happens at lunch time, when the administrators are gone to lunch? When my DD is at highest risk for exposure to peanut? You are probably wondering, "What about the school nurse?" We have a school nurse only one day a week. So my kid is only allowed to suffer anaphylaxis on Fridays. That's what funding cuts will do for you.

I could rant more, but your eyes are probably glazing over...

Cathy

Posted by: Texas Summer

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: acs
I guess I should be feeling guilty about not running for the school board.....

acs,
You don't need to feel personally responsibility to change your community. Work to make a difference where you can. I feel that if my advocacy efforts improve the situation for my children and a few others along the way that I am making a positive impact.

Also, just so you know, the immersion program developed in our district was not initiated for any altruistic reasons. It was simply a way to bring up the test scores of the Spanish speaking students in our district (NCLB). The program just has some positive side benefits. Though the program is still young, it appears to be successful and the district is looking at expanding it.

You don't need full-scale buy-in from the larger community to initiate positive changes. A small number of students and parents have made a big impact in our situation. My dd's school has less than 100 English-speaking students who have transferred into the school (of over 600 students). It is just one small effort in our district of 35,000 students.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:29 AM

I'm sorry so many schools are not handling the allergy issue well. I guess I've taken it for granted that our school goes all out to protect these children, which they should.
Last year there was a boy with life threatening peanut allergy in a different classroom. All the kids in that class were very aware and very, very protective of him.
His whole class table was made peanut free and it worked well.
At the end of the year the whole grade ate outside and DD8 had a peanut butter sandwich, because there was no allergies at her table and I hadn't thought about the fact that they would be outside.
The other kids wouldn't let her near him, the whole recess! In fact they were quite the caring, little angry mob and chanted "peanut girl" at her for the whole recess!
It's good she is so understanding. smile
Ever since then, I make the girls wash their hands whenever we leave the house after they have eaten peanut butter. I'll even make them change their clothes if they get p.b. on them. Regardless if we are going to meet up with someone with allergies. You just never know who has the next shopping cart, what if they rubbed p.b. on it inadvertantly?
In regards to GT kids being in the minority and fighting.....I'd like to think you catch more flies with honey, but if the only way to secure an apporpriate education for your child is to fight, then that is what you should do, my good people!!!
Seriously, througout history it's usually the minority who are being discriminated against, very rarely, the majority. That doesn't mean unjustices cannot be triumphed over. If GT is 5%, that's a pretty strong 5%. I don't think the majority of people are mean, nasty and uncaring. It's just being able to slow down and put yourself in someone else's shoes.....that's sometimes hard for everyone.
But, even I know when to say uncle. You better believe if my child isn't being served well or adversely affected by being in school, I would drop out of the "fight" in a New York second and take her home to school if it can't be worked through. Because, ultimately, my only priority as a mother is to get those kids grown up and off on their own as happy, healthy people who like themselves and others.........

stepping of overly dramatic soapbox now,

I
Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:37 AM

Cathy - I'm sorry about joking about the allergy issue. We've been involved in the public school system a bit in early childhood classes, and they said all the teachers are really aware of the problem, because there are so many kids with food allergies. I think they all get training on the epi pens, or parents can bring in their trainer pen and show anyone. I can't believe your school isn't taking your child's life-threatening allergies seriously. That's just scary.

I haven't spoken to the schools about DS4's asthma yet, since he was just recently diagnosed. I guess I joked because I didn't realize there were real problems out there. I hadn't even thought of the bus yet.
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:54 AM

Things have changed a lot at the schools between now and the time when our youngest graduated high school 9 years ago. Now our schools have signs on the door that say, "No Guns, No Latex". I couldn't figure that one out for a long time, until someone suggested the allergies to latex, and balloons are made from latex. I just kept envisioning kids attacking each other with water bombs!
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 11:02 AM

OMG, Dottie, that scenario just about gives me a heart attack. Your DD could have been passed out in the bathroom, abandoned there by the nurse!!! Not humorous at all! I would definitely complain to the school.

St. Pauli Girl--apology accepted--anyway, your son really DOES have allergies! I hope your son's school is on top of the allergy issues but you may discover they're not as aware as they think they are. I have had people say things to me like, "This doesn't have peanuts in it, just peanut butter." Dairy allergies are tricky (I know because both my kids were allergic to dairy as toddlers.) People don't really know what is or isn't a dairy product. People don't know how to read labels. I was naively trusting of DD's preschool, and found out that her teacher had offered DD a Reese's peanut butter cup. (See peanut butter comment above.) Fortunately, DD refused.

I did a 30min training session with the same preschool about peanut allergies and how to use the epipen. Two months later, I went in to give them a fresh epipen because the old one had expired. The lady at the desk says, "Oh, this must be for your DD's bee sting allergy." eek

Cathy

Posted by: questions

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 11:35 AM

It's all scary stuff. I had an eighth grader on the lacrosse team I coached a few years ago who had an epi-pen for a peanut allergy. I was told to remind her to have it with her at all times, and that only she was allowed to administer it. I went to the trainer and requested a lesson. (I had seen anaphylactic shock years ago as an EMT and didn't want to rely on a 13 year old being required to save her own life). The trainer showed me how to "help" her inject herself, if the need arose. She was an incredibly mature kid, and her parents and she were confident that she could take care of herself. Still,...
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 01:02 PM

You did the right thing, questions. Even an adult can suffer impaired judgement or unconsciousness resulting from a drop in blood pressure. If the blood pressure drops too low, even an epipen won't work because the medication pools in the muscle tissue and isn't circulated in the bloodstream. It doesn't matter how mature a person is under those circumstances.

Dottie, I don't think that epipens are overprescribed. I think that people need to stop thinking of them as something you only use in cases of "life or death." There is very little risk associated with epinephrine but people fear administering injections so they tend to wait too long. Deaths due to anaphylaxis are associated with delay in receiving epinephrine. This chart can give you a better idea of when epinephrine should be administered. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/111/6/S2/1601/T2
Posted by: kcab

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 01:10 PM

I'm not feeling particularly defensive, but thought I'd share the response from DS's K teacher re our school plans next year. We told her that we planned to have DS start first grade in fall but that we were going to pull him out in Jan (sabbatical travel). Her response was an enthusiastic, "Oh, that's perfect!"

I'm going to keep that comment close and warm my hands at it if things get frosty with the school. I don't think they will though, it's relatively common for families to go on extended travel around here.

On the allergies/life-threatening health issues - one of the children in my son's class has juvenile diabetes. Dealing with that is a daily concern - I can't imagine how it will go at public school. Perhaps that isn't where she is headed though.
Posted by: snowgirl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 01:15 PM

Cathy - thanks for the link to the chart - that's interesting. My DS5 (the one with fewer learning issues than his twin brother) has peanut allergy and has gotten hives from peanut vapor. Fortunately his classroom is peanut free, but he too has brought home holiday treat bags with candy containing peanuts (peanut butter cup, snickers), put together by the well-meaning room mom. We're just lucky he didn't eat it without asking first - it first happened when he was only 3, but continues to be a sore spot for me.
smile
Posted by: mamabird

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Dottie
And there is TONS of contradictory literature on the subject of bee allergies about the necessity of the epinephrine anyway. It's all so very confusing!


I am a firm believer in epinephrine for bee allergies. I am VERY allergic to 3/5 types of bee venom. I have had epinephrine in two different circumstances and it definitely achieved the results I needed, breathing. I am also allergic to Benadryl so you are lucky to be able to use that!

Wow, I just can't believe all the people with very serious allergies out there, and the ignorance of the schools on the topic.
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 01:30 PM

I also apologize if I seemed like I was making fun of life threatening allergies. We actually have life threatening antibiotic allergies at our house and I hold my breath every time we need to give the kids any antibiotic.

Our school actually seems to do a fairly good job with food allergies. I know parents who've gone out of their way to thank the school and teachers for being so sensitive about allergy issues. My son is in a peanut free classroom this year and I take it very seriously. I'm shocked some schools can still be so insensitive.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 02:10 PM

Originally Posted By: kimck
I also apologize if I seemed like I was making fun of life threatening allergies.


Thanks, kimck. I know that nobody was trying to be insensitive. It just struck a nerve with me. It's probably because when I talk about my kids' food allergies so many people assume that the kids just don't like the food in question. So it really bothers me when people joke about allergies being a matter of preference.

ETA: I sure am defensive about it! blush Maybe I should start a thread about defensive parents of allergic kids...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 02:14 PM

Kriston,

Part of your and my difference in perspective on how people view homeschooling may be regional. I grew up in the Midwest (St. Louis) and came out to California precisely because of what I felt to be the suffocating pressures to conform in the Midwest. It’s not that I and most Californians were into the hippie thing or anything like that, but California does tend to have a very strong “mind your own business" mentality where ultra-green Naderites live next door to Jerry-Falwell fundamentalists and no one much thinks about it – out here, even hard-right conservatives support “medical marijuana” (they see it as a states-rights issue, which I suppose it is). I know that the Midwest has mellowed a great deal since I grew up there, but my wife and I (her family came from the Midwest to California when she was five or so) still have a bit of that suffocating feeling when we go back to visit. (And, yes, I know the Midwest does have its virtues – stability, a strong work ethic, etc.)

For example, our neighbors within a couple houses one way or the other include practicing Catholics, Shiite Muslims from Iran, Jewish immigrants from South Africa, and traditional Protestants. We’re atheists. None of us find this strange, and, in California, it’s not. In the Midwest, I think that level of diversity would still be a bit unusual. (Incidentally, we’re in the politically and culturally conservative part of California – you should see what the radical liberal areas of the state are like.)

Also, homeschooling in our area was started decades ago by ex-hippie types up in the Sierra foothills (such as Dave and Mickey Colfax, to name some early well-known homeschooling pioneers) and this may cause homeschooling to have a slightly different reputation out here.

You wrote of:
> The quiet that came in the conversation after my neighbors heard we were going to HS and the lack of phone calls for playdates from many of them. The different sort of questions you start getting at the doctor's office when you HS.

We just don’t get that at all – so, I think this really may be a regional difference.

You also wrote:
> However, I do think I am more sensitive to the problems I'm describing than you are, Dave, because you completely buy the whole HSing philosophy. I believe that you really don't care what others think about this matter. You've very comfortable. You think Hsing is the very best thing ever. You are an evangelist because you are a true believer.

Well… I do care a little about what others think! And I’m not sure there is, as you put it, a “whole HSing philosophy.” As I’ve mentioned, the dominant homeschooling philosophy among secular homeschoolers out here is a watered-down version of “unschooling,” and I disagree with that fairly strongly, as I think you do also. Most of the local homeschoolers are not really completely consistent “unschoolers,” but they seem to feel guilty about not being so. I don’t feel guilty in the slightest about not being an unschooler, since I think it is a remarkably silly approach (though I do fully respect their right to make that decision for their families). I do try to be sensitive to their defensivesness about their being unschoolers and try not to hurt their feelings.

Are you acquainted with Ivan Illich’s classic book “Deschooling Society”? It’s a critique of the whole turn to large, impersonal, centralized institutions in Western society during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries – it’s not just about schools, though he uses schools as a paradigmatic example.

I read Illich in college, and he convinced me, though I’m certainly not a dogmatic follower of his. So, I suppose I do not so much buy into one of the variety of homeschooling philosophies as I do buy into a larger anti-coercive-institutional philosophy as epitomized by Illich.

To me, the whole nationalism/socialism/imperialism thing that characterized the twentieth century is part and parcel of what Illich was talking about on the more personal level, and, I have to admit, I passionately hate the whole stupid thing.

Perhaps, the reason I am so cheerful and so non-defensive is that I really do think Illich’s and my side is winning. I think the nation-state, the public schools, American imperialism, state socialism, and all the rest of that stuff is in its death throes, and I really love seeing it happen. The old let's-all-think-the-same-thing mainstream media is dying, the kids take the unbelievable diversity of the Internet for granted, and a new world is dawning!

I realize that I may just sound like a starry-eyed optimist. I assure you that when I was a kid I thought the fascists were taking over (I remember Richard Nixon). But, I really do think the times are changing, quite radically, and that the old institutions that stifled human individuality and creativity, such as the public schools, are dying, and I am indeed inordinately cheerful about all this.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 02:38 PM

Lori wrote:

>Last year, while reading Johnny Tremaine and also reading about the Boston Tea Party he made comments about the "taxation without representation" and he thought in some ways that described our situation. We have to pay taxes but we don't have the right to the services our taxes pay for. He sees problems with our education system and even our form of government that I never questioned when I was a child and he is only nine.

Lori, I’m coming to admire your son more and more, even though I’ve never met him!

I do think there is an inherent dynamics to the homeschooling situation that causes homeschooled kids to question the legitimacy of authority, even if that’s not what the parents intend at all.

One reason that I’m not bothered by the evangelical homeschoolers, even though I strongly disagree with them on numerous points (starting with evolution), is that I suspect that some day it is going to dawn on a lot of their kids that if it is okay to question the authority of the public schools, the government, etc., then just maybe you should also consider questioning the authority of the church, the Bible, etc. also. I suspect there may be more anarchists-atheists being bred by evangelical homeschoolers than their parents realize.

There is sometimes an irresistible tide in the affairs of humanity, and I think your son, and a lot of other kids nowadays, are riding that tide.

Of course, I’ve already admitted to being a bit of a starry-eyed optimist, but sometimes optimists turn out to be right.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: kimck

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:23 PM

Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
Lori wrote:
One reason that I’m not bothered by the evangelical homeschoolers, even though I strongly disagree with them on numerous points (starting with evolution), is that I suspect that some day it is going to dawn on a lot of their kids that if it is okay to question the authority of the public schools, the government, etc., then just maybe you should also consider questioning the authority of the church, the Bible, etc. also. I suspect there may be more anarchists-atheists being bred by evangelical homeschoolers than their parents realize.


Dave - I like this line of thinking! Call me a bit starry eyed as well.
Posted by: Lorel

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:23 PM

I have been in this situation, and I AM a homeschooling parent!

Me: Oh, what grade is your daughter in?
HS mom: Well, she's 5 so she should be in kindergarten. But we homeschool and she is already reading on a first grade level.
Me: (biting my tongue furiously): Oh, that's lovely. So I was just thinking that as a five year old, it makes sense....(bringing the conversation back to the original topic).

I tend to feel awkward when anyone brings up accomplishments or giftedness out of context. It would never occur to me to declare my kid's abilities to a near stranger unless there was some good reason.
Posted by: Lorel

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:33 PM

Here's an oldie but a goodie on homeschooling: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/humor/076.htm

enjoy!
Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:40 PM

Well, i just found another reason for homeschoolers to be defensive. DS and I just saw Horton Hears a Who, and the mean kangaroo mom said she's "pouch-schooling" because she didn't want her kid to be using his imagination like the kids being taught by Horton.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 03:42 PM

That's a great one, Lorel, love it.

I
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:17 PM

"Isn't it amazing how they all develop? Kids are so great!"

That's my standard because I mean it and can deliver it with honest enthusiasm.
Posted by: kcab

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:17 PM

Dottie - maybe she just feels like it's safe to talk to you about her kid's accomplishments? Or maybe that's not it, but might still be a useful interpretation to use.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:22 PM

Originally Posted By: st pauli girl
Well, i just found another reason for homeschoolers to be defensive. DS and I just saw Horton Hears a Who, and the mean kangaroo mom said she's "pouch-schooling" because she didn't want her kid to be using his imagination like the kids being taught by Horton.


<eyeroll> So homeschoolers = mean and close-minded. Nice.
Posted by: EandCmom

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:27 PM

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.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:30 PM

And who can blame you with that idiocy around you!?

Ick.
Posted by: kcab

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Dottie
I was the one who explained the testing protocol to her when her other children were tested.
Then it does sound like she sees you as experienced in this area and unlikely to get defensive. I guess I'd just take it as a compliment.

Partly, I'm thinking along these lines due to my experience in recently moving into a new school district and having to figure out the not-readily-accessible-perhaps-undocumented rules.
Posted by: delbows

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 04:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Lorel
I tend to feel awkward when anyone brings up accomplishments or giftedness out of context. It would never occur to me to declare my kid's abilities to a near stranger unless there was some good reason.


That’s probably because your child is so shockingly advanced for age smile

Originally Posted By: kcab
Dottie - maybe she just feels like it's safe to talk to you about her kid's accomplishments? Or maybe that's not it, but might still be a useful interpretation to use.


I tend to mention some more mundane accomplishments because I don’t want lurkers, whether they are parents or educators, to believe that every HG kid (or YS) is doing calculus at eight.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 05:28 PM

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’.

Dave
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:01 PM

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.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:41 PM

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.

I
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:47 PM

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,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:57 PM

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,

Dave
Posted by: EandCmom

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 06:59 PM

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!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 08:53 PM

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,

Dave
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/19/08 10:03 PM

Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
Is that really being condescending?


Yes, very.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 02:24 AM

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,

Dave
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 04:55 AM

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.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 05:58 AM

Dave, wow, that last post of yours was truly condescending. Do you really not see it? I'm sure we're all glad you showed up here, you have a lot of really interesting things to say.
I look forward to more invigorating and spirited iconversations with you.
You really know how to beat a dead horse, though. I really thought my DH had the market cornered their, but you make him look like an amatuer.
What did that poor horse do to you? The horse is dead, Dave. Put the club down.......walk away.......let the horse rest in peace.


I
Posted by: questions

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 06:33 AM

Yes, stereotypes are hurtful, no matter what they're about. And usually the insults are unintentional.

There's plenty I'm defensive about when it comes to DS, mostly because he doesn't fit the mold around here and I have received unsolicited comments from family and friends about what's wrong with him, or what's wrong with my parenting. And even though the experts have reassured me that there is nothing wrong with him or my parenting of him (and that in fact, it is to be admired), I still second-guess myself when faced with comment du jour. And it certainly doesn't make me feel any better when I hear "he's so much better." Still the same kid as far as I'm concerned. (And most of these comments have to do with sensory and attentional issues that my parents and teachers at his old school do not understand or accept - like covering his ears when he was 5 in the planetarium just before they showed the big bang, or not wanting to go to birthday parties until he was in first grade). And around here, I'm defensive about our decision to send him to PS, I'm defensive about considering HS, etc., etc. But I'm getting better. Still, the comment that makes me bristle is when someone comments about someone else's child that he or she just needs discipline. How do they know what that child needs?

I wish I could ignore it all, but I can't. I envy those who can. Still, it won't keep my from my appointed rounds... (that's what they say about the post office, right?)
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 07:03 AM

I don't like people bashing any group, OHG. Everyone has a right to his/her beliefs, and I support that right with my vote and with the way I live my life. Belittling or demeaning the beliefs of anyone is inappropriate.

I don't like the attitude or the exclusivity of a lot of evangelical Christian HSers, though. I think people do have to learn to be in the world (if not of the world), and too many times I think the really conservative Christian HSers are really separationists. Their lives, their choice, but I think it's wrongheaded. I prefer inclusion. I would never join a HS group that asked me to sign a statement of belief, even if I agreed with the group's religious beliefs. I disagree with the whole notion of exclusion in that context, and I won't support it.

FWIW, I must confess that I also have mixed feelings about the Bible-reading in public school. It depends upon how it's handled and when it's happening, but having religion in any form in the schools does make me personally uncomfortable. I think separation of church and state benefits us all by protecting our right to worship as we please. I'd be equally uncomfortable with a child reading the Koran or Scientology or Satanic tracts or any other religious/spiritual works at school for anything other than an historical study--and that usually doesn't happen until college-level classes. Teachers just aren't equipped for the situations that might arise.

Imagine some other religion were the dominant religion in our country, and kids were reading their religious works at school and your GS is a Christian. Wouldn't that be exclusionary and uncomfortable for him? That's what I'm thinking about here.

Now, if GS is off by himself reading at recess without making a big deal about it, I don't see a problem with that. But I don't like the idea of Bible studies in school (even at recess) or reading the Bible for class.

That's just my opinion, of course, and I submit it respectfully. But I want to make it clear that it is because I think a person's religious beliefs are so important and so sacred that I would prefer that people who are not trained to handle those beliefs stay far away from them. To me, that means keeping religion and public school separate.

FWIW...
Posted by: OHGrandma

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 07:17 AM

Kriston, I understand your views. The problem is, my GS was reading his Bible during some free time, he'd just gotten it and was carrying it everywhere. But because the teacher and other staff were so afraid of violating 'separation of church & state', and having someone offended by a 6 year old with a Bible, that they violated his right to read what he wanted.
As for Christian HSers having separatists views, don't we all protect our children from experiences we think they are not old enough or mature enough to handle? I disagree with separating ourselves from the world in the way some Christians do, because I don't think that's the example we were given by Jesus.

OK, I'm going to quit on this thread, because I didn't want to get into religious debates, not the time or place here for that. I said what causes me to get defensive, and that's all I intended to do on this thread.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 07:19 AM

Yes, I respect what you're saying. I hope I haven't added to your defensiveness with my response. You know how much I like and respect you, I hope. smile
Posted by: Ania

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 08:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Kriston
Imagine some other religion were the dominant religion in our country, and kids were reading their religious works at school and your GS is a Christian. Wouldn't that be exclusionary and uncomfortable for him? That's what I'm thinking about here.


I live in Utah. Mormon land. Majority of students in PS are LDS. We are not. When my kids went to a private/parochial school, it was not a problem, when they switched to charter I had an eye opening experiences. LDS people are very nice but they concentrate on evangelization. Especially the youth of the church. After all, all men 18 and older are expected to serve a 2 year mission for the church.
In PS here missionaries are allowed to do volunteer work. I do not agree with that. They are, after all, missionaries! Public HS have a special free period built into them, so the kids can take seminary class. Every day for four years. Technically, the seminary building is not connected with PS but it is righ by or across the school from it. The school willingly accomodates that. I do not agree. But I live here by choice. It is a great and beautiful state.
Posted by: Lorel

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 08:38 AM

ROTFLOL...

Step away from the horse, Dave, step away!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 01:55 PM

incogneato,

No, it was not "condescending." Merely calling it "condescending" does not make it so!

I think if you check back, you will find that I merely have responded specifically to posts that gratuitously insulted me -- as you just gratuitously did. I certainly have not simply aimed a string of posts at someone who was not directing posts to me. It is kind of sensible to respond to a post directed explicitly to me! To call that beating a dead horse is simply insulting

Personally, these gratuitous insults do not seem to bother me as much as they do some people, but, yes, I do actually feel entitled to respond to gratuitous and false personal insults, such as yours.

You are rude.

And, more significantly, there is a real and interesting question of substance here: does the hothouse environment of traditional schooling, in which kids spend over a thousand hours a year with kids almost exactly their own age, not exactly the environment in which most humans have traditionally lived, cause people to grow up with an over-sensitivity to social peer-group pressures?

That was the original question I was raising as a general point, not directed at anyone here personally and one or two people happened to get personally upset about the matter!

One does not have to be a psychotherapist to suspect that this rather peculiar over-reaction does reveal something about the general question, and that, I think, is quite interesting.

Incidentally, I am not, of course, by any means the first person to have realized this effect that the schooling experience has on so many people's emotional and psychological development. For example, Grace Palladino alludes to it in her study "Teenagers": she is making no connection to "homeschooling" but just noting the social-psychological dynamics that are created in the schools.

Social psychology (e.g., Milgram's famed "Obedience to Authority" study, Zimbardo's well-known "Stanford prison experiment," etc.) is rather interesting, although it does tend to produce negative emotional reactions in some people!

Dave
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 01:58 PM

.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 02:16 PM

Ah, Lorel!

As I mentioned to incogneato, I do feel an obligation to respond to someone, such as Kriston or incogneato herself, who directs a post explicitly to me that is gratuitously and falsely personally insulting.

But I do see your point.

My larger concern here, which is an issue on which indeed I have never throughout my life shown an ability to let go, is the issue of open and free discussion. My original point, which had nothing to do with Kriston at all personally was, as I said earlier:
> does the hothouse environment of traditional schooling, in which kids spend over a thousand hours a year with kids almost exactly their own age, not exactly the environment in which most humans have traditionally lived, cause people to grow up with an over-sensitivity to social peer-group pressures?

Kriston managed to personalize that general issue and, when I responded to her use of personalization to express her disagreement with my general point, she tried to turn the matter into pretending that I had personally attacked her and thereby prevent me from responding effectively to her points.

That is bullying.

I’ve seen this happen again and again over the decades in discussions having to do with politics, religion, education, ethics, feminism, environmentalism, and, once or twice, even science and engineering!

We all know how it works: if you criticize Barack Obama or Rev. Jeremiah Wright (I kind of like Obama, and, in many ways, even Rev. Wright), you are insulting me personally! How dare you! How can you be so condescending as to question my political judgments! You must retract your condescending remarks! And if you continue to criticize Wright or Obama further, you will be continuing to condescendingly insult me!

Etc.

We all know the game – by now, it has been perfected by conservatives and liberals, by homeschoolers and public-schoolers, by evangelicals and atheists, etc.

But it is bullying, nonetheless.

No doubt to fail to knuckle under to such bullying is indeed beating a dead horse. But I fear that is just in ineradicable character trait that I possess. As my parents will ruefully testify, my passion for freedom of speech, and my antipathy to attempts by any means to limit open speech, go back to about the time I learned to speak.

No doubt Kriston cannot help her defensiveness about defensiveness and, in the same way, I fear I can do nothing at all about my defensiveness about freedom of speech.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 02:21 PM

incogneato wrote to me:
>And you're an idiot

I merely responded to an insulting post that you directed to me and explained politely that I thought your post insulting me was rude. I did not initiate any exchange or insults with you at all; you chose to insult me.

And just for the record, I do not think you or anyone else here is an "idiot."

But thank you for your comment. I hope you will leave your post up and not edit it out in a cooler moment.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:01 PM

Ah, incogneato!

You chose to edit your comment, after all. What a shame.

It was so nice and pithy when it merely said to me:
>And you're an idiot

No one here is a victim. But you did choose to post a message to me, not in response to anything I had posted to or about you, that gratuitously insulted me. I simply pointed ouot politely that your doing so was rude.

It indeed was.

That's not playing the victim -- it is merely responding politely to your unsolicited insults.

This is all rather silly, but I think it does demonstrate very nicely my original post pointing out the negative effects that the predominant mode of socialization in our society has on the emotional and psychological development of so many who mature (or fail to mature) in our society.

I certainly do not claim to be a "victim,” but I do think your and Kriston’s statements do nicely illustrate my earlier point about how “personalizing” an issue can be used to bully people and attempt to silence them. Of course, sometimes this does not work.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:04 PM

Okay, Hector Projector.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:20 PM

My last post to you, Dave:

YOU'RE being silenced?

How many lines of text have you written in your silence compared to the number I've written as you keep invoking my name?

Clearly you are free to say what you like. Have at it!

I'm out.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:27 PM

OHGrandma,

I’m with you a hundred percent. As I think I’ve now made clear, I’m a quite impassioned defender of free and open discussion, and, even though I disagree strongly with traditional Christian beliefs, I am deeply appalled by attempts to limit Christians’ freedom of expression.

When I was in public high school, our sophomore English teacher (a brilliant teacher – the best I’ve ever had) assigned the book of Job in the OT and also MacLeish’s play “JB,” and we compared and contrasted the two different presentations of the same material. The teacher, I suspect, was an agnostic, and some of us in the class were agnostics, deists, atheists, etc. But the teacher explained quite clearly that we were not discussing whether Job was true (I doubt that many Christians even care whether Job is literally true or simply a parable) but merely looking at the larger questions raised by the book and how these questions were also addressed by Archibald MacLeish.

No one complained.

I mentioned this a few months ago to a friend who is a teacher in one of the better local public high schools. John told me that there is no way he could do this today.

I have also been told by some friends who work in the public schools and who are responsible for overseeing “church-state” issues that they can approve using school funds to purchase a copy of the Holy Quran, but not a copy of the Bible!

Something is very wrong.

You wrote:
>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?

I have to admit, that, if my kids were in that school, even though we are atheists, I’d send them to school with a copy of the Bible (after all, everyone should know the Bible – it’s part of our common cultural heritage) and, when they were ordered not to read it, I’d call the ACLU and force a test case.

I don’t like confrontation, but the price of liberty is indeed eternal vigilance.

Frankly, I’m not sure even how offensive the “filth” and “stink rubbing off” comments were. They would certainly cause anyone to be taken aback, but I would have used them as a somewhat unconventional conversational opener and found out what the evangelical Christian’s real beef with that school was. Maybe she was just misinformed and thought they were teaching all the children to be witches, but maybe she had some serious points that she could have presented rather than letting the conversation end with the rather inarticulate word “filth.”

As the ACLU likes to see, the solution to “wrong” speech is more speech. To connect it the original topic of this thread, far too many Americans have allowed their own misguided “defensiveness” to serve as an excuse for limiting free and open discussion.

That’s wrong and needs to be energetically resisted by all decent folks of all religious and political persuasions.

You wrote:
>OK, off my soapbox…

Hey, keep that “soapbox” handy. It’s the truest symbol, even better than Old Glory herself, of what America is really all about!

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:41 PM

Kriston,

Me silenced? Nope. Not a chance. Hundreds have tried, none has ever succeeded.

No, no one has silenced me and I'm not a victim. I hope that's clear. I have been insulted in some rather strange and nasty ways, but I'm a grown-up, and this really does not much bother me. I'm just not as "defensive" about such things as some people are.

And, I think the dead horse may finally have breathed his last.

Even though I know some people are offended by "open and frank discussions," I really do think this has been illuminating on the issues of socialization in contemporary America and the resulting widespread and bizarre "defensiveness" that now so horribly pervades this country. As I've said, I'm getting a huge kick out of this gutsy black preacher back in Chicago: you go, Jeremiah Wright -- three cheers for the First Amendment!

One key reason I am homeschooling really is that I truly want my kids to grow up being able to listen with open mind and open heart to someone like Jeremiah Wright and not simply dismiss him because so many "right-thinking" citizens have announced that he "offends" them.

In the same spirit, I sincerely do hope to learn from your future posts on various subjects.

Sincerely, I wish you all the best.

Dave
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 03:51 PM









Posted by: Lorel

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 04:06 PM

This is some bizarre through the looking glass version of my favorite SUPPORT board, isn't it? I will admit that I thought the conversation was amusing until very recently. Not any more.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/20/08 05:39 PM

Lorel,

You really haven't seen this sort of thing on the Web dozens of times before???

A couple years ago, I was on a general discussion board concerning religion and, when a couple of us happened to mention that we did not think Christianity was true, one guy started announcing that our saying this was a "personal insult" to him and he tried to demand that we retract our heretical statements.

This went on and on for a week or so with him getting angrier and angrier; he ended up typing all in caps to try to get us to stop "insulting" him by the fact that we did not happen to share his religious beliefs. It also turned out that, in his unique perspective, we were insulting the entire United States of America, and, for all I know, the whole universe.

It was awfully funny; all of us thought it was absolutely hilarious -- except for poor deluded EK himself.

I've seen this sort of thing all over the 'Net. Haven't you?

I'm afraid I always find it quite educational to see this sort of thing when it happens -- amazing what you can learn about experimental social psychology on the Web.

At any rate, whether you love it or hate it, there is nothing that can be done to prevent it -- people will be people.

And just for the record, I still like Kriston and incogneato and look forward to reading their future posts (although it seems I can now reply as I like to incogneato's posts, and she will never know what I've said!).

Sorry for being so cheerful about all this, but I’m just a positive, people-loving kind of guy.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Lorel

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 05:01 AM

Dave,

This board has been a truly special place on the net, and I would like to see it remain that way.

In the past people disagreed, but it was always a respectful debate and if another poster was offended, the usual answer was a simple apology. I tell my children that an apology that contains the word "but" is not sincere. If you hurt someone's feelings, intentionally or not, "sorry" is appropriate. Your long winded explanations did not serve to soothe, but rather to inflame. Can you see how the replies escalated as you continued to beat that poor horse?

I enjoy your point of view, and hope that you will continue to post here. I *like* you! I think you have a lot to share with the group. But if you really want me to be honest, you remind me of my son who has Asperger's, in that he often gets into the same sort of endless discussions that end up one sided and sounding like a rant. He simply does not know when to quit.

I apologize for being so blunt, and I do not hold you solely to blame for the negativity. But since you addressed me here, I thought I would respond.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 02:22 PM

Lorel,

Well, if you bother to look back at the thread, I think you will see that I simply responded to posts directed directly to me and, indeed, posts that rather bizarrely insulted me! I did not insult others, and, in fact, I continued to say nice things about them. No one has apologized to me, and I have been too polite to request an apology or to feign being a victim.

Indeed, I refrained from responding to some of incogneato's later posts since her hostility was so bizarre as to border on... well, let us just say it was not easily explained.

I realize that there is an ethos in our society that says that if you happen to disagree with what someone else has said, you can simply say that they have “hurt your feelings,” and then they are supposed to apologize rather than continue to espouse their position. I consider this a slimy, unethical, despicable, and abhorrent form of behavior, and I refuse to be an "enabler" for that form of behavior.

Frankly, it is I, not Kriston, and most certainly not incogneato (!), who has been gratuitously and shamefully insulted here. I do not think that the fact that Kriston chose to whine about her feelings, and that I have not chosen to whine about my feelings, means that I should be the one to offer an apology.

I think you and I have a fundamental and profound ethical disagreement here. I do not, to take an example from current events, think that Jeremiah Wright should apologize publicly for telling the truth about some things that do indeed "offend" many Americans. I have no doubt that many of our fellow citizens truly are hurt “emotionally” by Rev. Wright’s words. However, what Wright was talking about was the fact that many of our fellow citizens have condoned large-scale mass murder. That they expect Wright (!) (and Wright’s friend Sem. Obama) to apologize rather than recognizing the evil in which they themselves are participating and apologizing themselves for their participation is absolutely, morally bizarre.

Obviously, Wright is addressing issues of somewhat greater import than the issues Kriston and I were discussing – although, what I was in fact pointing out was the manner in which Americans raise our children that does result in their succumbing to the sort of profound evil as adults that Wright was addressing. The two issues are indeed closely linked.

Since you and I are speaking frankly, morally, I think the position you adhere to is abominably evil. The slaveholders in the Old South espoused precisely the same position: those d*!~ Yankees just should not be so insensitive as to insult the South by criticizing slavery! The “slavocracy” suffered from even greater “defensivesness,” to use Kriston’s term, than Kriston herself.

It saddens me that you hold this evil view, but it does not surprise me -- as I said, it is very widespread in our society. I am married into an East Asian immigrant family and I have good friends from across Asia. Again since we are speaking frankly, this attitude, which you espouse, on the part of Americans is a major part of what causes the rest of the world to have contempt for Americans. That Americans can engage in boorish and insensitive (and, on a geopolitical scale, outright mass-murderous!) behavior such as you, Kriston, and incogneato have demonstrated here is viewed by much of the rest of the world with utter astonishment. For six-and-a-half years now, Americans have wallowed in self-pity over the deaths from 9/11, while being stunningly insensitive to the far greater suffering and death they have wreaked on Iraq, the Palestinians, etc.

To call this “infantile” behavior would be insulting to infants.

I would not have written this so frankly except that you yourself chose, as you said, to be quite blunt.

I do not anticipate for a moment that you, Kriston, or incogneato will ever apologize for your rude, insensitive, and boorish behavior, and indeed I do not request such an apology. I consider my interaction with the three of you simply an enlightening (if rather unpleasant) experience that helps me to understand the larger point that Jeremiah Wright, and so many people abroad, are making about Americans such as yourself.

I do think that my one mistake here was that I was too passive, restrained, and polite in dealing with Kriston, incogneato, and yourself. I will not make that mistake again.

Incidentally, I think you need to seriously consider the possiblity that your son’s “Asperger’s” is simply a sign that he is morally superior to yourself and unwilling to engage in the systematic lies that contemporary Americans consider a part of “psychologically normal” behavior. There is an amusing, but ultimately very serious, website ( http://isnt.autistics.org/ ) that makes this point more clearly than I could. Again, since we are, as you chose to say, speaking bluntly and since you brought the matter up, I pity him having you as a mother.

Thanks for your frank comments and I hope you appreciate my reciprocal frankness and openness.

Incidentally, I still like you, Kriston, and incogneato, and wish you all well. But I do concur with you that sometimes blunt discussion serves useful purposes. In particular, I hope that you can achieve a more tolerant perspective for the sake of your son: your comparing me to your son in a negative way was not only insulting to me, it was stunningly, unbelievably degrading treatment of your own son. Shame! I truly feel for him.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 02:51 PM

Dave, I feel the need to vouch for my friends here. Kriston, Incogneato and Lorel are not abominably evil. You are taking this too far.

Sometimes it is difficult to discern the tone of other people's posts, particularly people you haven't been interacting with for very long.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 03:30 PM

cathy,

I do not think I said they were "abominably evil," did I? If they ever calm down (which I rather doubt, they do not seem to be that sort of people), I would be happy to exchange posts with them in the future, learn from their experiences, etc. Simply because I finally spoke frankly to them, after their repeated frank and insulting posts to me, does not mean that I hate or despise them. Quite the contrary, in fact: I like almost all of the people that I meet, and I still rather like these three women, although I do not much like their recent behavior.

Each of them did behave in a remarkably insulting and rude way towards me, even though I had in no way insulted or attacked them. Incogneato, specifically, launched into vicious personal attacks on me when she had not even been part of the conversation at all.

By normal standards of human behavior, all three surely owe me an apology. I do not demand (or expect) such an apology, of course, but even those us of who do not constantly whine about our feelings, do, after all, have feelings.

Furthermore, all three of these kind women lectured on me on how I should behave – even though it was they who were throwing around the insults! – and I refrained for a long time from lecturing them on their ill manners.

Please note that I said nothing critical about Lorel at all until she chose to, in her own words, offer some very “blunt” criticism of me. However, since she did feel the need to be so “blunt” in addressing me, I felt I finally had an obligation to speak my opinions frankly and openly. I felt this particularly strongly because of her execrable sliming of her own son – implying that there was something wrong with me because I reminded her of her son!

I am indeed deeply, profoundly, and unspeakably offended by this, not so much because of any insult to me, but more because of the horrifying attitude it reveals that she holds towards her own son! Yes, it may be difficult for me to forgive her for that. She should be profoundly ashamed.

I have spoken elsewhere on this board about a friend of mine in college who started graduate school in mathematics at age 15: he was the Terence Tao of my generation. He was not only stunningly brilliant, he was also an amazingly nice guy, far more compassionate and sensitive to other’s feelings than most “normal” people I know. Like Lorel’s son, he would surely have been labeled “Asperger’s” had people back then been inclined to do such labeling.

Yes, that behavior by Lorel does outrage me and offend me very deeply. I think it is evil.

But, no, that does not mean I am labelling Lorel “evil.” As historical experience indicates, it is far too easy for basically decent people to slip into evil, when that evil is endorsed by the group of which they are members. That was the larger issue I was trying to discuss vis a vis socialization with Kriston, before Kriston chose to become verbally abusive.

Are Lorel, Kriston, and incogneato, to use your words, “abominably evil”? No, I do not think they are, and I do not believe that I said they were. I do think they have let themselves be drawn into some unethical patterns of behavior that are, sadly, all too widespread in our society. And those patterns of behavior not only have negative effects for personal interaction, as they have so clearly shown in their insulting treatment of me, those patterns of behavior have also enabled Americans to engage in mass murder around the world.

These three women have gratuitously and viciously insulted me for no legitimate reason. In response, I have repeatedly said that I sincerely wish all three of them all the best; they sincerely have my good wishes. I have been more than willing to “turn the other cheek.” I do not demand nor expect an apology, nor do I think nor claim that they are “evil.”

I do think, though, that in response to their behavior, I am entitled to express my own thoughts and feelings about their behavior. Do you think I was obligated to simply remain silent forever in the face of their nasty viciousness?

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: bianc850a

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 03:32 PM

Dave, I agree with Cathy A.

At first, I really enjoyed your posts. At this point they are just getting tiresome.

Please don't respont with another long winded post...At one point you just need to let it go. At this point I am starting to feel sorry for you kids. What happens in that house if one of them disagrees with you? Do they get the same treatment Kriston, Incogneato and Lorel have received? Perhaps in your case HS can be harmful. They need to be able to talk to other people that are not as intense as you are on your views. How can they possibly develop their on views about the world around them with such sophocating influence?
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 03:36 PM

Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave

Lorel,
.
.
.
Since you and I are speaking frankly, morally, I think the position you adhere to is abominably evil.


I think that when you accuse someone of adhering to an abominably evil postion, it is splitting hairs to say that you are not accusing them of "being evil".

At the very least, can't you see how others would interpret your post this way?
Posted by: Ann

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 04:00 PM

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Music-endbar.png/120px-Music-endbar.png
Posted by: acs

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 04:14 PM

Perhaps I could make a little suggestion.

It seems that some have found this thread to be amusing and enlightening.

Others have found it somewhat unpleasant.

I believe that some who have found it unpleasant have already stepped away, looking for a nicer place to play. I would now encourage others to do the same if they would like to. We do not need to waste our breath defending our fellow parents or ourselves; I think they already understand that this is not personal, but just a rough game.
Posted by: kcab

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 04:36 PM

A link which may be useful, at times.

Or maybe not, it isn't exactly what I was looking for, and it isn't as concise as the little TTY marshmallow and fire I was trying to type. (I seem to be out of practice.) In any case, please consider this a PSA, not directed at any individual.
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 05:46 PM

For those who may be interested:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/beyond+reproach
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 06:09 PM

Cathy,

Quite right.

If Ann and Dottie meant the phrase in its correct meaning, and were actually expressing sympathy for me, I will sincerely (and most ruefully, I assure you!) apologize to them. I can only say that it is a bit disconcerting being on the receiving end of so much verbal abuse preceding their posts.

From the tone of their posts, it appeared to me that they were not using the phrase in its correct meaning and were intending to criticize me.

Again, if I was indeed mistaken (as I clearly was in terms of the correct meaning!) and wrongly interpreted supportive comments as abusive comments, I hope they will so inform me and I will most sincerely apologize.

Thank you a great deal for pointing this out. It is always a good thing when an unnecessary conflict can be avoided. Frankly, I have had enough of being attacked. I really do hope that I was wrong in those two cases, and that two of the “attacks” were not attacks at all.

Unfortunately, I am not too optimistic that they intended the phrase in its correct meaning, but we shall see.

All the best,

Dave
Posted by: Cathy A

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/21/08 06:23 PM

Dave,

I sincerely believe that the people here did not set out to attack you. I have been participating in this forum for almost a year now, and I have not seen any evidence that they are bullies.

I am sorry that you feel you are being attacked. I think that your posting style is not what we are used to here and that you are not used to our posting style. It really appears to me that you are talking at cross-purposes to others here.

I don't think this conflict is the result of an attempt to force you to conform to this social group, rather it is simply a failure to communicate the tone and feeling of our posts to you. It is as if we are speaking different languages. I hope I am speaking your language now and that it is clear that I am attempting to find a resolution.

Cathy
Posted by: Grinity

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/22/08 07:49 AM

Wow - I missed this whole thread!
I'm not going back to read it now, but did want to post the rules of conduct for this forum:

What are the rules of conduct for the forum?
Registration as a user implies acceptance of the following terms and conditions:
- Participants shall not post any material that is likely to cause offence, protected by copyright, trademark or other proprietary right - without the express permission of the owner of such copyright - or that contains personal contact information, phone numbers or addresses.
- Participants may not use the forums to post or transmit advertisements or commercial solicitations of any kind.
- The forum Administrators and Moderators have the right to edit, censor, delete or otherwise modify any posted message.
- This web site does not verify or guarantee the accuracy of the material posted to the forums or bear any responsibility for any loss, damage, or other liabilities caused by any posted message.

So, for now, let's try to keep this in mind, ok?
Grinity



Posted by: Ania

Re: Defensive Homeschoolers? - 03/26/08 10:22 AM

Wow...
I am glad I was away for a few days:-)