Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Homeshool Bru ha ha

The crazy court ruling which makes homeschooling illegal in CA hit about the time I was coming down with the WORST COLD EVER!!!!!! Throughout my fevers and chills, aching bones, joints and muscles, cram-packed full head, splitting heading and light sensitive eyes I have paid mild attention to the story.

Aside from the fact that right then, I really didn't care what my kids did, I wasn't worried. Between popping sudafeds and ibuprofins and nyquil I calmly answered friends' and family's questions. My first response to such a ruling is that there is no way homeschooling will be illegal in CA. There are too many homeschoolers who are willing to make life miserable for elected representatives to let it go that far.

We hope it doesn't have to end up with legislation, because that will mean more restriction than freedom for homeschoolers, but it is better than complete illegality.

Today my cold has morphed into more of a flu-like deal, complete with upset stomach, dizziness, a disgustingly productive and painful cough and I have lost my voice. I am whispering today..."SOH CAH TOA is how you remember sin, cosine and tangent" to my son (boy does that bring back memories from high school).

To go along with the general nauseous-ness of the day, I read this article in SFGate about the homeschooling conundrum. The opening of this piece kills me:

Let's be clear about this: Some homeschooling is pretty dreadful. Some of it is basically: I'm too indolent to send you to school, my child, so I'll say that I'm homeschooling you instead and you can help me sell greeting cards from home and make big money. Or scratch lottery tickets - something productive.

Do you think Mr. Carrol knows any homeschoolers? Might he have met or interviewed some? Or is he just spouting the mandatory "homeschoolers are crazy" mantra in order to justify the rest of his article.

His depiction of homeschoolers is so extreme, so far away from any of the many, many folks I know who educate their children at home. Not only that but it doesn't make sense! Too indolent? Hmmm......which do you think is a more indolent option? Keep kids home to teach, play with, read to, clean, feed, counsel all day? Or send them to school (and be blissfully alone!) for 6 - 8 hours a day?

If I were truly lazy, I would pack my kids off each day and go meet my friend for a latte and do a pilates class.

It is pretty disheartening for a major paper to run something so ludicrous, though to Carrol's credit he does conclude that homeschooling should be legal. He said some other good things too, I'll confess (boy it took me a while to cool down after that intro!). He debunks the myth that only "certifiied" teachers are capable of teaching kids. I've got nothing against teachers AT ALL, but I've talked to quite a few who confided that most of what they learned in their Education Masters program was crowd control.

So, today I spit out as much phlegm as possible so as not to irritate an already touchy tummy. I whisper all about gears and pulleys to my daughter as she constructs gear systems. And I reject the notion that we should stick our kids into failing schools in order to "save" them.

Hopefully this ruling will be overturned, or depublished (which means it can't be used as a precedent in any other cases). When I first started homeschooling I read very thick books all about the legal rights of homeschooling. Most of it is based on a 1925 Supreme Court ruling (and natural law and common sense I would add!):

"The child is not the mere creature of the State. Those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

1925 Supreme Court ruling

Pierce v. Society of Sister

Truly, I am not worried. What is the absolute worst that could happen? Homeschooling becomes illegal, school districts decide to pursue truancy and then I've have to enroll my kids in a private school. A bummer? Yes. End of the world? No. But it won't come to that.


Mike said...

I've been reading Jon Carroll for probably about 15 years. I find him to be consistently sane and reasonable. So, although I know you were offended by his statement that some homeschoolers are wacko, I think he was just trying to reach some common ground with the very people he disagreed with. As you noted, the column goes on to say things like "In a very real way, most parents who homeschool are the best and the brightest."

Also note that Carroll is a columnist. His job is to write opinion pieces. He appears above Dear Abby and next to the gossip column. The Chron may be a rag, but it doesn't typically run opinion pieces as front-page hard news.

Sue said...

Good points, Mike. I just needed to vent about his silliness. It was very alienating. Yes, he did go on to redeem himself, thankfully.