This note was written by a home schooling parent who lives in my area. I had to post it here because it’s refreshing to hear from homeschooling fathers for a change.
There are times when things hit you. And I mean ton of bricks from the sky, Mike Tyson in his glory days, knock you flat on your ass. This evening is one of those times. The, for lack of a better word, rant, I am about to unleash is one of those times. It will offend some, enlighten others, and confuse some more of you. And some of you will applaud it. I think very few will applaud it.
Almost 4 years ago Keri and I decided to remove our oldest 2 children from public education. We wrestled with the decision and sought the council of educators, homeschoolers, family and friends. At the time they were our only 2 children and quite frankly, we were done. So I thought. I was becoming increasingly displeased with the system as a whole but I was not on board fully with the decision and I have second guessed myself since we did it. We have used various homeschool groups, online courses and co-ops. And every time we shift we go over the same argument. What are they supposed to know, how do I teach that, etc. etc. Then this evening I found clarity.
ALMOST EVERYTHING I LEARNED IN SCHOOL WAS, OR IS NOW, “WRONG”
Pluto is not a planet, eggs are good for me (aren’t they), immunizations don’t prevent disease, my desk won’t protect me in the event of a nuclear attack, JFK may or may not have been killed by a lone gunmen or the mafia on behalf of Cuba, the founding fathers were racist, and sexist and they may or may not have meant “All” People. The government is not my friend, and neither are the police. The IRS (a non government agency that has better black ops teams than most third world countries) is not above the law. We did send weapons to the Middle East and funded terrorists. We did enslave the Chinese in World War II while we fought against a guy for enslaving people (but he killed them). I can start a sentence with the word “Because”. It really doesn’t matter what kind of shoes, hat, shirt, or car I own and no one cares how many cassettes I have because now they are paperweights. There is no cure for cancer, or any other disease since 1950 and politicians are not to be trusted. Period. These cannot be disputed and they were all part of my schooling. I will not subject my children to that.
There are constants, yes. 2+2 = 4 and 2 x 4 = 8. Unless you work for Wall Street in which case 2 +2 only equals 4 when I deduct the principle interest over the long term….whatever. 2+2 = 4 ALWAYS.
My children learn life skills that they need, such as how to work in society and interact with people. How to earn a dollar, how to coexist in a 1200 sf house peacefully with 4 siblings and 2 parents who love each other (been married 14 years). Recycling their school lunch of pink slime will not save the environment; learning to live with less and appreciate the very fact that you have something, instead of constantly pining for more will instill the character that will have my children, as adults, leading yours. They learn all day, every day, and they learn things that no school can teach them. They build stuff, create, DO things with their own two hands and from the intuitive thoughts in their own mind. Not following your watered down directions. There is nothing that is not at their disposal. You Tube, Khan Academy, Family in City Government, Family who went to wars, iTunes U where hundreds of k-12 to University courses are available for free. Holy Shit, they are free thinkers!?!? And they are dangerous. This causes me as much pride and satisfaction as it does cause for frustration. And sometimes they screw up. They don’t fail. Because failure means quitting. If you never quit moving forward you cannot fail. They are not A or D students. They are simply students. As I am, my wife is, and my three toddlers are.
“But homeschooling is hard.” Yep! It’s probably the most personally challenged I have ever been. These are my children, my legacy, I want them to do better than me (ego). Until now I have allowed outside influences to cause me to second guess myself and my children’s intelligence. No more. “I can’t homeschool, I don’t have time” Bulshit! you have time for pinterest and facebook and time to know whatever bullshit the Kardashians are into this week? Then you have time to balance your checkbook with your kid. You have time to help them make dinner (not let them help you). Have them watch an hour of the Khan Academy for every hour of Dora. “Homeschool kids are weird” Yep! They don’t know how to relate with your child who only wants to talk about video games/cartoons/jersey shore/sex or whatever other poison MTV and Disney are spoonfeeding them this month. I am perfectly ok with that.
I used to think that people thought we were lazy for homeschooling. In reality it is the antithesis of lazy to say I will be solely responsible for your well being. I will educate you and clothe you and feed you and protect you and discipline you. I will not send you to an institution designed on the principles of the prison system that segregates and demeans you and tells you what you can or cannot do, how to dress, what to read or say, and that will reduce you to the lowest common denominator. Unless you live in a wealthy neighborhood of course, or some philanthropist builds a charter school in your area. All children have a right to a quality, open, free education. And if you have the internet then you have all the resources you need. Lazy is letting your momma lay out your clothes for you every morning.
I say this with the utmost respect for those working in the teaching field. Because without you there would be millions of students without a place to learn. You pick up where parents have left off. You give tirelessly of your time and your energy to raise other people’s kids. And you are underpaid and undervalued. Please don’t think because I have chosen not to use your services that they are not of great value. Some of my greatest inspiration are teachers, John Taylor Gatto and Howard Zinn among them.
So if this rant has offended you, I aplogize, as that was not my intent. I needed to put this on paper (and I mean needed) so that when someone asks me why I homeschool, I can simply refer them here. We all have our paths to follow, and their are no right or wrong ones to choose if that is where your heart takes you. And finally, I know where mine is taking me.