Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thanks, Mom!

For not being this woman:

I understand that some home-schooled children miss not playing in competitive sports, but most children doubtless have some complaint about their education whether they are schooled at home or in public or private school.

Part of being a good parent-teacher is educating our children to accept that.

When I decided to home-school, I took it upon myself to provide, or to procure at my own cost, everything my children needed for their education.

For me, part of the happiness of home-schooling is not burdening my neighbors with taxes to educate my children.

It's true that home-schoolers pay taxes for public education, but so do parents of children enrolled in private schools. If I enroll my children in Catholic school, should I then expect them to play on the public school's competitive teams or in the orchestra?

In truth, this is a downside of homeschooling that never occurred to me, and it's hard to make a persuasive case for allowing homeschooled kids to play on school teams. But I still find it hard to believe that a good parent can't come up with a better alternative than callously "educating" their kid to just accept that they don't get to be on a team. That deprives them of one of the fundamental experiences of being a kid (granted, some kids aren't into it, but that doesn't make it okay to deprive the kids who are). And this is coming from someone who was one of the least sporty kids in recorded human history (well, okay, I kicked ass at dodgeball - in a cagy, cautious kind of way...).

12 comments:

V said...

No way dude. If a kid wants to play sports or be in the marching band, don't effing homeschool him.

I was on sports teams in school... I know I and a lot of other kids would have been seriously pissed off if a slot on the team were taken by a kid who didn't even go to our school...

Being part of an activity like that is more than just showing up for practice after school? It's about representing YOUR SCHOOL and taking pride in YOUR SCHOOL and being social with people WHO GO TO YOUR SCHOOL. A kid on the fringes who only shows up for practice can't really be a part of that.

Going to a school means shared experiences... shared classes, shared teachers, shared extracurriculars. Homeschooled kids just don't get to be a part of that, and I frankly don't think exceptions should be made.

It's a choice. And nobody should homeschool a child without thinking seriously about the lasting social consequences of that choice. Because getting an education is so much more than just book learnin'.

Eli said...

I have no problem with saying homeschooled kids can't be on the school teams. My problem is with this woman's dismissive attitude towards any desire her kid might have to play sports. Basically, "Oh, I straightened him out on that. He'll get over it."

Like that somoehow solves the problem.

V said...

It'll come back to bite her in the arse somehow, probably when she's elderly and in need of care, and he's bitter and resentful.

djhlights said...

I guess the mother is too caught up in her homeschooling cocoon to realize that there are many non public school funded athletic teams for high school aged children to participate in. Babe Ruth league baseball for an example.

Eli said...

It's also possible that she's fully aware of the alternatives, but is using home schooling to shield and control her kid from Corrupting Outside Influences like, y'know, other kids.

I suspect a lot of homeschoolers basically want total control over their kid's life and mental development, which is potentially damaging as hell if they don't do a good job.

Look at socialization and mental development as being akin to the stock market. If you don't diversify, and put all your money on one stock, sure, you can clean up if you pick the right one. But if you don't, you're pretty thoroughly fucked.

Plus this mother also make it sound like this is somehow her kid's fault. I'll bet money her kid didn't *ask* to be homeschooled.

V said...

I saw a show on British television last year about American homeschooled kids. And while, yes, some of them seemed 'normal' and well-rounded, some of them were really what I would personally consider socially retarded?

I remember this one girl who was supposedly 15, but was still dressing like a girl of nine or ten, and had those childish plastic animal barettes in her hair, and when she laughed it was like a goat bleating. I'm not trying to be cruel, just accurate.

And I remember thinking, you know, this girl might be wicked smart, she might grow up to be a rocket scientist. But good luck dating, or even having casual friends who aren't completely mortified to be seen in public with Warped Goat Child-Woman.

And that's the kind of thing I meant when I said there was way more to education than just gaining intelligence. I encounter a lot of home schooled kids here (the Bible Belt), and the vast majority of them are leagues behind their public school peers when it comes to just being NORMAL.

So I'm guessing 'not getting to play sports' is maybe the least of this kid's problems? I have met kids who are only allowed to watch C-Span for f's sake. What kind of childhood is that?!

Eli said...

I honestly don't know enough about homeschooled kids to declaim on their socialization, other than to say that without them being in school, they're more dependent on their parents to give them proper socialization opportunities.

And your point is taken about sports being the least of the kid's worries, but it's a symptom of the same underlying problem of taking them out of circulation and depriving them of valuable skills that also improve quality of life.

V said...

I suspect you're right about the parents having control issues. I know that around here, people don't think public school is, *ahem*, 'Christlike' enough. We're talking about people keeping their kids at home and teaching them that dinosaurs never existed and that evolution is a lie.

Some parents just can't handle allowing their kids to be influenced at all by "outside" sources. And that's really unhealthy.

Eli said...

It seems like maybe the bar for being allowed to homeschool should be a little higher, and maybe a little more oversight of the curriculum...

Desi said...

>>It seems like maybe the bar for being allowed to homeschool should be a little higher, and maybe a little more oversight of the curriculum...<<

To be set by, and the oversight done by whom? Hell, you can't even get cases workers to check on all the abused kids in the country.

As far as extra-curricular activities, there are alternatives to school teams/orchestra. City or community teams, city or county orchestra, band, etc.

I've played the violin since an early age, and by jr. high, I was playing with a city and country orchestra. Some very talented people, and I learned a great deal from them as it was adults and kids. I would guess this would also cut out the chances of any sort of scholarships for homeschooled children through these activities. You have to wonder if their parents have really thought that part through.

oldwhitelady said...

Perhaps, she should look into city teams. When my son was a little one, he was on the basketball and softball teams that were sponsored by the merchants. It was through the city parks and recreation. It was a lot of fun.

oldwhitelady said...

Oh, I see that djhlights already mentioned those types of sport teams.