There’s Been Some Homeschool Talk . . .

23 03 2007

about matters of ultimate concern (to quote Scott Somerville) again online, thanks to that wascally wabbity not-a-homeschool-blogger Chris O’Donnell — you know, the horseschooling dad and Red Sox fan? This time he found a real pip of a homeschool discussion. Nance splashed into the main pool with a cannonball here. I inched into the inviting spa waters here.

True, no one form of schooling is perfect. But this engaged, eclectic, experimental approach to parenting each child’s best possible personal education (as detailed above) comes close!

We’ve passed through similar stages in our often surprising learning together. I should probably update this pre-blog diary, now that our kindergarten daughter who wouldn’t nap because she wanted storytime all day, is turning 17 and enjoying college power of story — English, literature, theatre — so much. )



3 responses

23 03 2007
Nance Confer

Yep. I splashed in. I hate being told to “play nice.”

When bloggers and their posters question my ability to parent and make important choices concerning my kids, as if I was just too lazy to get dressed and take them to school, as if the kids are just locked in a closet somewhere and never allowed out in the world to “socialize,” as if countless hours have not gone into the loving decisions made for the benefit of my children and these “concern trolls” know better and are just asking “for the children” — yep, I get pissy.

Let others be “nice.” I’ll stand up and say: “It’s none of your business and it is rude of you to ask.” Or ignore the repetitious offending conversations completely — I can go either way.

I do not respond well to others assuming they have any sort of authority over me and mine.

But, yes JJ, I guess we should update our bios at PDE. Time flies when I’m not on someone else’s clock! 🙂


23 03 2007

COD found this stunning power of story, the life-threatening lessons of government schooling that we learn the hard way and then repress or squander as adults, while more kids suffer and languish.

While every part of it fits and I’ve bookmarked the whole thing and am sending it to the education policy person I know who’s still actively working and therefore really needs this perspective, here’s the personal bio bit that fits in here, as he tells how he became the Thinking Parent he is, making the educational choices he’s making now:

Since my first son was born in 2002, I’ve gone through a 4-year period of growth, healing, and introspection. His birth changed me forever. His birth got me asking questions about how my life became what it became. One of the things I needed to know was where all these crazy insecurities and fears came from. I looked to my parents and I think some of it came from them, but not most of it. I wasn’t born with these crazy fears. I joined 12 step programs. I dug into self-help books. I immersed myself in the work of Jung.

But I never found the root cause of the baggage until I found this book – The Underground History of American Education. I read the online version here. After reading the book, I saw reality through a new lens. My life made sense again. I don’t agree with everything in the book, but about 70% of it directly applied to my educational experience.

I was also terrified after reading this book. People are going to think I’m nuts if I talk about it. What am I going to do about my kid’s education? Am I going to home school them? What am I going to do? I was flummoxed.

My wife and I had discussions over several nights and we decided that we would do anything legal to keep them out of government school.

But I still question the decision because I want my sons to be ‘normal.’ If I send them to some alternative school, will they hate me? If I homeschool them, how will they learn to pick up girls? Will my neighbors think I’m a freak? Constant questions enter my mind.

I’ll share the results of our journey on this blog as it progresses. So subscribe to my RSS feed for easy updates. If you don’t have RSS, get my feed via email.

Trust the people, give them choices, and the school nightmare will vanish in a generation. – John Taylor Gatto

24 03 2007

But heed the opposite threat too — twisting the language of education and freedom and thinking, facts, science and physical reality itself, into irrational religious absolutism to attack secular policy thought. You know who I mean, the supposedly modern and research-based, secretly ritualized and mystical fundamentalist fringe man-god-devils who teach tyranny not just in the abstract but in the personal, who demand for their own world view furtherance that Terri Schiavo must live or Elizabeth Edwards should die.

Last night on Grey’s Anatomy a presumably real disease called FOC was turning a mom’s responsive muscle tissue into rigid bone, working from inside out to literally make her a human statue unable to feel or move.

I’m not a doctor of medicine, so my experience with rigidity is how it can afflict the muscles of mind and heart especially in an “educator” at home or school, inexorably turning a Thinking Human into unhearing, unseeing, unreachable, immutable stone.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to hamper the speech and motor faculties of its victims. 😉

It’s a high-risk condition in home education communities and we spend WAY too much of our shared resources dealing with its ravages, but it also afflicts everything from school governance and community education resources such as libraries and museums, to parenting and public policy debates at every level. Even the movies! 😦

And (apropos of nothing except I found it while Googling FOC) why ARE so many Australian doctors suspicious that “evidence-based medicine” will take the “art” out of their practice? If there’s a research-worthy case to be made that even hard sciences are more humanly variable than black-white “just the facts” then why –in heaven or on earth, take your pick– do the softest heads see the softest subjects (such as deeply subjective human conjecture about the nature of reality) as absolute, all right or wrong, literalist words carved in stone to live or die by?

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