Friday, October 22, 2010

Here We Go

I may be passive-aggressive posting this here, instead of dealing with things head on. On the other hand, I have tried expressing my ideas when issues come up, and have gotten nowhere. Once, when I said straight out that I was hurt and offended, I got "You don't need to be offended" as a reply. Well, thanks! I guess that fixes everything! Right now I just feel the need to spout off about what I see as a problem I don't know how to change.

Here's my biggest issue right now. I'm tired of seeing people say to my face, on the one hand, that if public school works for your family, hey, great. This comes after I say something if someone says, oh, you really must love your kids since you homeschool them. So I guess I must hate my kids? Well, they aren't going to say that. Then they put up some article that talks about how the public school system was created to dumb kids down, and the education establishment is just out to get your kids and make them stupid. So what does that mean? Public school as an entire entity is a mind control factory determined to turn your children into mindless cogs of the state. But hey, whatever works best for your family, you know?

I think part of the problem is that because of a few people that I am friends with, I have fallen into a larger group with whom I have next to nothing in common. I'm starting to see the group as a homogenous entity, and feeling out of place because I don't buy into what they say. Often I feel like chucking the entire thing out the window. At this point, I don't know how to cut ties with many without cutting ties with everyone. Oh bother.


Anonymous said...

Hey Barb,
I hope it's not the stuff that I posted recently that has put you off. I have noticed the phenomenon you are talking about tho. I still believe that *generally* public schools are not that great, but as you and I know, you can find good ones out there.

That still doesn't clarify why our friends say what they do that makes us feel funny/out of place. I don't know why that happens. It's as if they say "best for your family" to be polite or as a sort of disclaimer. aren't alone in noticing that. Sorry.

Cheryl said...

Barb, for what it's worth, here's my thinking on your question.

I think I am probably one of that group of people that has put up things on FB or my blog that are critical of institutional education (both public and private). I do believe, along the lines of John Taylor Gatto, that the way we "do" institutional school is according to the factory model and that in many ways it does not serve the best needs or interests of kids. At the same time, I think it is quite possible to succeed, and succeed with flying colors, in traditional style schools. Many people have done so. I went to public schools all my life so far be it from me to say people can't learn in them. I just think that there are many things about the way schools are run that make learning more difficult than it should be. But hey, there are also many things about homeschooling (which is what we do) that make learning a challenge. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and I think that's why each family does need to make the decision that's best for them. Neither is perfect. We each choose the advantages/disadvantages that are most comfortable for us.

I think with this, as with anything, it is uncomfortable when friends disagree. I have friends with whom I disagree about all sorts of things. But that doesn't mean I think they're bad people. I respect them and their right to make their own choices about thingss such as this. (Of course, there are choices that I don't respect, but they are of the commandment-breaking type. This does not fall into that category.)

I don't know if this helps. Maybe I have just demonstrated what you are talking about. But I would encourage you to not take it personally when someone is critical of institutional education, just as I try not to take it personally when someone is critical of parents who immunize their children (as we do) or of some other parenting choice that we make that is different from theirs. We all take in the information that is out there and do the best we can with it. And while I may not agree with your educational choice for your children, I respect it and support and wish you well in it and will happily celebrate your successes and joys with it. God bless!

Cheryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elephantschild said...

I think most all of the homeschooling crowd you'd be familiar with realizes that while they (we) don't care for the overall trend and philosophy of public education, that doesn't mean that ALL children ALWAYS turn out as mind-numbed skulls of mush.

Most especially when individual families have clever, intelligent, engaged parents. That makes all the difference.

Generalizations are made in all sorts of situations because many times that's the only way to discuss concepts. We couldn't discuss the state of public education in this country without making *some* generalizations.

That doesn't mean, however, that every generalization applies equally to individual situations.

Your girls are thriving. Who can argue with that?

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Nope, Scott, it wasn't anything you said. Hey, I believe public schools are generally not that great either, but in our situation, it's the best thing. Whatever happened in the 1920's, where we are is where we are. We're definitely keeping an eye on the girls' educations still.

Cheryl, as I said above, I think public schools need a lot of improvement, but there is so much discussion and disagreement out there that even if we could bring education back down to the local level, I imagine something like public school would still exist in many places. When did the school institutionalization thing start? Because if you read accounts like in Laura Ingalls Wilder, school seemed very strict and regimented. Stand in a row, say your pieces, sit down. I don't know much about schools before that until you get back to the smaller Colonial, tutorial method I suppose you could say.

EC, I guess the generalization I dislike the most is the view that, because founders of our modern system, such as Dewey, had bad intentions, the *entire* system is under a stigma forever. I can't see how so large a system could *consistently* be producing little apparatchiks. That'd be incredible to coordinate hundreds of thousands of teachers that much. We can't even get everybody in a lil ol' Synod to agree! :)