Saturday, January 28, 2012

Yes, this home schooler does teach her kids that Emperor Nasi Goreng did indeed erect the Great Wall of China due to a rabbit population issue*...

Home Schooling is back in the spotlight again thanks to this news  item.
The article itself is nothing to get all up in arms about. For the record, we are registered home schoolers. And I am all for registration and accountability. (For us the pros of registering far outweigh the cons)

My concern with this article is the way it has painted the whole home school community. We spend a lot of our time already pandering to others who feel we have to validate and quantify our reasons for the choice we made to satisfy them. They need to know we are being monitored. (Why it's their business is yet to be fully explained to me) They give our kids pop quizzes. They attribute any behavioural quirk as a product of home schooling. They tell us we're endangering our children by not letting them experience the real world. (Because spending 6-8 hours a day in a class room with only people your age is experiencing the real world)  They worry our kids aren't being socialised right. They worry that we're teaching them that the sky is made of carpet and 2 + 2= Elephant.  (Yes, someone actually said that to me) The biggest concern people have is that we're all not teaching them about evolution. (Because apparently the world will fall apart if we don't.)

I don't ask you to validate and quantify why you send your child to an institution. I live firmly with the belief that as their parent, you have their best interests at heart and have made an informed choice based on what works best for your family. Australians increasing obsession with "illegals" is rather disturbing. Do I need to carry my registration certificates around and whip them out every time someones feels that they need reassurance I'm not illegal?

The assertion the article makes that home schoolers are religious types with tin foil hats who are suspicious and fearful of big government is, frankly, reaching.  Whilst there certainly are types who choose to home school (either on or off the grid for this very reason) one needs to remember that we are not Americans.  Rob Reich's studies and finding are UScentric. Americans by nature have an ingrained suspicion and fear of their government and the more conservative a person is the more extreme that suspicion and fear seem to become. Australians as a whole are not as anti government.

As a parent I would like to remind everyone that education is not a one size fits all system. If it was our literacy and numeracy rates would be higher and more stable. Not in decline.  There is no one perfect way. Because all children are different and all children learn differently. All families are different and all families function in a different way. Don't be so quick to judge the family next to you based on an assumption of what you think their choice means. No two home schooling families are alike. We don't judge you on your choice. Nor do we expect you to explain it.

I can't speak for the non-registered community (I am not a part of it) and I can only speak for my family when it comes to registered families. I'm not entirely sure what purpose this article was supposed to have. Or what the public is supposed to glean from it other than the message that there are "illegals living amongst you".  If the purpose was to be divisive, then the MSM have succeeded yet again.
ABC I am disappointed. I expect better from you. But this was tabloidy and tacky.

* no I didn't really but some fictional guy on a tv commercial did so it must be plausible.

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