“Helping the Sense of the Homeschool Conversation”

16 09 2007

At Valerie’s official HEM blog — which it seems, won’t suffer gladly anything from Snook, Nance and/or JJ, so I won’t even try to link it — is a Sept. 14 post titled, “Fluidity of Language: What Is Homeschooling?”

[UPDATE Monday morning. An improbable “change of state” — Valerie, dunno how (if?) you did it, but the interface is working for me now. May this bode well for “the conversation” at large! Here’s the link.]

There I saw a sentence that I’d love to hear Steven Pinker analyze:

“Politically correct insistence that ‘homeschooling’ includes anything-goes ’cafeteria-schooling’ may feel inclusively warm and fuzzy, but it sure doesn’t help the sense of the conversation.”

“Inclusively warm and fuzzy” PC insistence? Insistence on political correctness seems all hot and harsh to me, prickly, uncomfortable even in its own skin much less anyone else’s, certainly not warm and fuzzy and better suited to school than homeschool rhetoric– witness Tiny Cat Pants! — and seriously, is there any politically correct insistence of any sort, that helps the sense of ANY conversation?

Political correctness feels to me like a sense and conversation stopper, a sort of meaning bleach, like a caustic cleaning product one should lock away from children for their own protection rather than scour their learning with — Sense Scrubber, Mr. Mean? 🙂

Just labeling someone’s thoughts AS political correctness is, too. For example, it’s no less “true” to pronounce:

“Politically correct insistence that ‘homeschooling’ cannot include anything-goes kitchen-schooling at home, may feel staunchly cool and self-righteous, but it sure doesn’t help the sense of the conversation.”

The structure of both statements is exactly the same, to the same rhetorical effect — division rather than reconciliation, polarizing the discussion with false dichotomy and then labeling the opposing side as “political correctness” rather than thoughtful meta-perception. Oh, and all while slipping in an adjective to derogate the other side’s ability to think at all. (Fuzzy, or self-righteous? Take your pick.)

Neither statement helps provide Pinker’s clear “window into human thought” on the “is-ness of homeschooling” in my view. Is that the goal now, to actually help the sense of the conversation? Cool! Fuzzy! (But who among homeschoolers online will decide what’s helpful, especially if we’re not speaking to one another, oh dear, back to the same conundrum . . .) Read the rest of this entry »