Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Carnival of Anti-homeschooling

I am a glutton for punishment. I have my Gmail account set to receive news up-dates containing the word “homeschool.” Each day my inbox is filled with links to news articles that range from mundane references to homeschool curriculum fairs to direct attacks on a parent’s right to direct the education of their children. This provides for some truly entertaining reading, and helps me remain current on the pulse of home education across our fair nation. While reading some of these news articles last week, I thought of the Carnival of Homeschooling. Once each month a homeschooling blogger somewhere hosts a “Carnival of Homeschooling” where homeschooling bloggers share their thoughts and ideas about a variety of homeschooling-related topics. Participation in a carnival is a good way of finding talented bloggers, making contacts in the home schooling community; learning tips, tricks, and ideas for improving at-home education; discussing curriculum, making friends, and gaining readers. With that in mind, I bring to you “The Carnival of Anti-Homeschooling,” a survey of what non-homeschoolers have to say about our practice.

PZ Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota, shared his belief that homeschoolers are “wrecking their children’s future by giving them a substandard education poisoned with a falsified ideology” in his post “Jerry Coyne Gets Email.” I’m assuming that PZ wants us to look past the very broad brush with which he paints homeschoolers. In writing about the current controversy concerning the treatment of the theory of evolution and the story of creation in textbooks, Mr. Myers made no distinction between Christian, atheist, secular, Jewish, Muslim, and un-schooling homeschoolers. He offered no hope that any Christian homeschoolers are capable of teaching their children critical thinking skills, or of exposing them to different ideologies, theories, political beliefs, or perspectives on life. Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
Mr. Myers was referring to a post on Jerry Coyne’s website Why Evolution Is True, which, coincidentally, is tied to a new book by Jerry Coyne titled, surprisingly, Why Evolution Is True. There’s no better way to create book sales than to stir up a little controversy. In "The home-schoolers Respond," Professor Coyne shared some examples of truly ugly emails sent to him by very angry people who express hatred where they should show love, employing invective where they should show Grace. Mr. Coyne made the observation that “there’s nothing so vile as a Christian insulted!” It is true that Christians can be their own worst enemy, but expecting fallen, sin-filled people to behave like anything other than fallen, sin-filled people is like expecting a tiger to act like a dog and inviting the beast to share your home. One day that expectation is going to get tired of dog-biscuits and fetch, and is going to bite.
In “Secular Homeschoolers Find Darwin on Their Own,” Dianna Narciso discussed the difficulties faced by atheist and secular homeschoolers in trying to obtain fact-based science books “that aren’t saturated with Christian doctrine.” She failed to mention that those books are readily available from any major publisher supplying science textbooks to public schools across America.
The Washington Post carried an article on text books and their coverage of creation teaching versus evolution in “Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin, evolution,” written by Dylan Lovan.  Charles Johnson took that theme a step further writing at TrueSlant.com. In his post “Top Homeschooling Texts Reject Science” he argued that using homeschooling textbooks that reject the theory of evolution is a mild form of child abuse that should be stopped through legislation. Stating that “this kind of Dark Ages indoctrination is very bad for the United States,” Mr. Johnson failed to explain how suppressing the freedom of speech (and thought) through legislation is good for America. There’s that pesky Bill of Rights again, popping up in the most inconvenient of moments. I’m guessing that Mr. Johnson thinks that a diverse America is a country where every American thinks exactly like he does.
My favorite example of genuine concern for homeschooled children appeared in “Town Talk for March 10” on St. Louis Today’s Suburban Journals page. Titled “Do it right,” an anonymous writer stated:

About the homeschooling that's on the front page of this week's Journal. I've experienced many students who experience the homeschool atmosphere. Parents, I'm not going to say they're not dedicated, but they're not qualified, some parents, to educate their child. When the high expectations for these children to get into college, most of them don't meet that, because they don't have the necessary books or information to get their child to that level of college. Most of all, from the experience that I've had working with parents, they want their children to constantly go on field trips and socialize, which is fine to an extent. Even though some children get bullied at school, it is not fair for some of these children to sit home. They need the interaction with a group of children and they need to learn about routine. They need to learn schedules. Homeschooling can be fine for a few people, but you need a school to support you to do homeschooling.


It’s safe to assume that since the writer did not self- identify as a formerly homeschooled child that they are a product of a public or private school. I’m not certain what is worse, the writer’s writing skills or the logic that assumes that no homeschoolers are exposed to bullies, routines, and schedules. I routinely bully my homeschooled children by giving them wedgies and swirlies, knocking their books out of their hands as they pass by, cornering them in the bathroom and demanding their allowance, and shooting them in the back of their heads with spit balls while they try to take a creation based, evolution denying, science exam. I’ve got to recreate the socialization experience of public schools, you know. The idea that most homeschoolers cannot get into college is laughable.

It is ironic that the people who claim that homeschooling is bad because it promotes narrow thinking demonstrate very narrow thinking in their writing. Maybe, just maybe, if any of these writers took the time to visit a well run homeschool, they’d have an opinion based in something other than their own myopic view of education. 

Now it's time to leave the carnival.  These carnies are a bit creepy.


Papa Bear said...

Maybe you should make this a regular feature. You could post quotes of anti-homeschoolers saying dumb things, juxtaposed with reports of homeschooled students winning awards, scholarships, admission to the US Air Force, Military, or Naval Academy, etc.

Kathleen said...

You put on a very good homeschool, er, anti-homeschool carnival!

TheRextras said...

An intelligently designed post! However, as for repeats, "Never dignify your enemies with recognition." Kathleen Parker

Passing on a lengthy discussion of the exact interpretation of Ms. Parker's words - just that I wouldn't be giving those I disagree with too much space on my blog. (Yes, I have given some space to them - with requisite disagreeing words.)

Have you seen Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled!"? Barbara

Opus #6 said...

Many liberals in particular don't trust Americans to raise their own children. Parents who prefer to protect their children from liberal educational institutions are the most dangerous of all.

GingerB said...

Despite my liberal tendancies (and I have many!) I do respect homeschoolers. And you will be pleased to hear that in Utah, in years past, the homeschool team won the statewide Mock Trial competition and went to the national competition.

Michelle said...

Oh, I've been doing it all wrong. You see, I thought homeschoolers were unsocialized-now we socialize too much? Its always something with these people. Its too bad their "education" of homeschooling is so poor.
As always, another entertaining post on your part!

Andini Rizky said...

Anti-homeschooling carnival? Very funny, and a great idea. Looking forward for the next one.

Victoria said...

Blahaha I just posted something similar on my blog!

Laura said...

Thanks for scooping up big helpings of narrow-mindedness and serving them back to us with sprinkles of irony, the only way they're palatable. Normally I can't stomach all the anger and judgment displayed by such folks but you make it almost nourishing. Thanks!

NCLighthousekeeper said...

Found you through the Carnival of Homeschooling, and enjoyed your post. Great job.

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why we once were a nation of free thinking, west-ward bound, homeschooling people seeking religious freedoms. Where did all of that go? It is what our nation was founded on. I guess people must have not studied the history books.

jugglingpaynes said...

Loved your anti-homeschooling carnival! You are hilarious!

Peace and Laughter,

Dianna Narciso said...

I'm sorry it took me so long to find this article. I've no idea why I'm mentioned in it. My article most certainly did state that secular textbooks are widely available. I even linked to the online store that I shop at, as a homeschooler.