December 31, 2006: Yes Virginia, many people do socially beneficial things without
taxpayer support! Take homeschoolers. "Please" say those who
think homeschools turn children into illiterate religious nuts.
As opposed to illiterate godless nuts. No such thing as a godless
nut? Think again. The most extreme form of fanaticism manifests
itself in the organized mass destruction of people who, in some
way or other, don't measure up. The score for wipe-outs by the
rabidly religious is indeed high. But secularists have an equally
impressive record. See Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. When
ego kings go forth, be they worshipers of god, man or
nothingness, woe unto those who contradict.
As for illiteracy, if homeschooled children were to arrive at
colleges (which they do consistently) only able to read a
battered Dick and Jane, they'd still be better off than many
public high school grads.
On December 19th, the One Week Short of a Year Carnival of Homeschooling was hosted by homeschooler Dana Hanley at her
blog, Principled Discovery. Blog carnivals are generally based
around a theme established by the carnival host. Bloggers
contribute links to relevant postings on their own blogs. Hosts
publish the links with a brief description of content.
The "One Week Short" postings were a much needed Christmas spirit
lift. In Iraq, daily life for millions of average people has
become hell on earth. American troops die by the handful each
day. Meanwhile, Dubya plans to surge forward and Dems hope to
ride anti-war sentiment to the White House without political
risk. Talking heads look heavenward to Obama the Unknown but
speak reverently of the Mammon raised by Hillary. Will Giuliani
the Overrated trump McCain the Warmonger? Did consumers spend
enuff to make Christmas pay? Nice to know another world exists
in the same time and space.
Speaking of alt worlds, naysayers claim homeschooled children
miss out on socialization by not spending lustrums in lock step
with armies of kids the same age. Peering into the eyes of one's
peer group for reassurance being the true measure of
socialization. Thankfully, all those unsocialized Americans of
yore who attended mixed-grade, one room schoolhouses and entered
the mixed-age adult world in their early teens, didn't have
access to shopping malls. Like, how would they have known what to
buy? Amazing that they managed to hook up and produce future
generations. How did they know who was hot?
The growing number of politicians who don't take positions until
opinion polls define them, are models of peer-based social
adjustment. Yet this up-to-date trait turns many voters off.
Which is why they sometimes vote for obstinate mules. Saying "at
least we know where he stands". Hee Haw!
Though oft called out-of-date, homeschoolers have embraced the
Internet. Through it they form far reaching interconnected
circles. If one parent lacks expertise in a particular subject,
or is seeking teaching materials, others provide assistance.
Homeschoolers also come together in real time, pooling their
teaching and recreational skills. Many are careful to see that
their children take part in social activities outside homeschool
circles. And since most homeschoolers share the concerns of other
parents re their children's college eligibility and future
employment, science and math are not jettisoned in favor of
Jeeter Living. However, the majority of homeschoolers do believe
an education in Christian beliefs and moral values (aka
"socialization") is of central importance to their children and
are making sizable sacrifices in order to provide it. Some of
those sacrifices are financial.
Unlike charter schools, homeschools receive no government
assistance and siphon no money away from regular public schools.
And homeschools are a true grassroots educational alternative,
not the creation of a government faction. Hence homeschools,
unlike charter schools, don't serve as vehicles whereby public
officials (typically municipal administrations) try and wrest
power and taxpayer dollars from local boards of education. In
such battles, virtuous claims that charter schools will give
inner city parents and children "choice" ring hollow. Since
restricting "choice" in all things, including housing, political
representation, and the awarding of public contracts, is what the
majority of urban pols are all about.
But back to the Christmas uplift thing. Despite the financial
burdens of homeschooling, plus the hostility and misunderstanding
its practitioners often incur, spirits seem bright at the "One
Week Short of a Year Carnival of Homeschooling". Downright
exuberant at times. A good example being Chickadee's Art
Lesson. Wherein Ms. Chickadee describes (with pictures) teaching
her 3 children how to paint like Dega, Monet, and the Abstract
Overall, it's possible the homeschoolers of "One Week Short" are
in such good spirits because, as G. K. Chesterton put it: "The
act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the
exhilaration of a vice." Chesterton said this in 1901. Imagine
how much more fun defending/teaching those virtues is now!
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
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