Boo!

That scurrying sound you hear is the pitter-patter of libertarian homeschoolers running to their battle stations. These are the people who make home schooling … which isn’t such a bad idea in some cases … a bad idea. All the time.


This is a community of people who claim to represent a sizable proportion of home schoolers. If that is true, perhaps home schooling should be shut down as an unregulated, unsupervised practice right now. Or maybe I’m just over reacting. I’m just a bit concerned over the inability to converse normally or reason clearly, the reactionary nature of the conversation, and the apparent (please tell me I’m wrong) use of children … one’s own children … to express one’s neurotic obsessions. Or maybe it is just that I think these people are freaks and I think their children would be better off getting out of the house for a few hours of the day …

But enough of my own opinion. This is an impromptu Blog Carnival! So let’s get started!

The Homeschooler Mind Set (Greg Laden’s Blog) … BOO!

The [INAPPROPRIATE WORD DELETED] Mindset (this is a parody) at Alasandras …. EEEEK!

Hoist with your own petard ~ [INAPPROPRIATE WORD DELETED]! (sic) … at Alasandras …. EEEEK!

Why do we care what Greg Laden has to say? at Principled Discovery… EEEEK!

Look, it’s a Lessenberry! at Doc’s Sunrise Rants … EEEEK!

Nematode at Doc’s Sunrise Rants (Doc can’t stop thinking about me) … EEEEEK!

Doc Finds Name That Fits School Sock Puppets “Laden” With Logic Disorders at Cocking a Snook! … EEEK!

Homeschooled kids are weird at O’Donnell Web … EEEK!

Aren’t We Due for a Homeschooling Post? at She’s Right … EEEK!

Duh! at She’s Right … EEEEK!

Comments

  1. #1 Libertalien
    May 2, 2008

    Dont forget http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/

    Some bloggers even help celebrate certain anniversaries at such sites *gasp*
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/05/carnival_8.php

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 2, 2008

    That gave me a nice chuckle.

    One strong undercurrent that I find in all the above posts and others by homeschooling parents that aren’t totally in it for the religion, is the ego of the parents. They are so self assured in their superiority in home-schooling their kids as well as what super-humans in intellect that they produce. All the backlash against you and any critics seems not about their kids but about them and their ability to educate. It sure does seem, from those posts at least, that it is all about them and not about the children.

  3. #3 Charity
    May 2, 2008

    “All the backlash against you and any critics seems not about their kids but about them and their ability to educate.”

    That is because our ability to educate is what is so often being attacked by said critics.

    I’m sure you could find plenty of commentary out there about how homeschooling is better for our kids. However, when responding to criticism about our ability to educate, for some reason, we tend to focus on defending our ability to educate. Funny how that happens.

  4. #4 Becca
    May 2, 2008

    Ya know, something’s been bothering me about your poor logic.*
    The fact you disagree with someone’s motivations to homeschool doesn’t imply that their homeschooling is a bad thing. Even if you don’t like the motivation (be it religious or libertarian), they may be homeschooling people you would find bright, well-educated and well-rounded. So why would it then be a bad idea?
    A good thing, done for the wrong reasons, is a bad thing? Well, I *might* buy that, if I thought that all homeschoolers who have religious/political motivations would keep homeschooling if they honestly thought it was bad for their children. Frankly, I’ve never met that person, nor have they commented on your blog, so far as I am aware.
    Now parents, homeschooling or not, can do bad things to their children. If you are aruging that homeschooled kids turn out messed-up, and you have some data there, that’s worth discussing. However even when parents mess kids up, generally speaking it is not out of “selfishness” nor out “evil”… but just missunderstanding of what is *good* for children (or their child). So attacking their motivations, and implying they must be messing up their kids (or otherwise doing a “bad thing”), simply because you don’t agree with said motivations, isn’t going to get anyone very far.

    *Of course, many things have been bothering me about your hypocricy, but that is a different matter.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    I actually have not said that someone’s motivation for homeschooling is problematic and a reason for them to not homeschool. I’m saying something much more specific and, in fact, damning. Indeed, terribly offensive to some, I’m sure.

  6. #6 Stephanie Z
    May 2, 2008

    I’ve been following this conversation for a while now. There’s one thing I really don’t understand, and I’m hoping someone can explain it to me.

    Greg says he’s in favor of homeschooling in theory. He says homeschooling is great for some people, that when it works, it offers opportunities and meets needs public schooling can’t or won’t. This question is directed at the homeschoolers who post defenses of their schooling practices. Why do you assume that Greg is saying you’re one of the problems?

  7. #7 Humble Woodcutter
    May 2, 2008

    Oh hi! Atheist, science-intensive, “I think I can do better than have my kids raised by the state in classrooms full of corporate advertising” unschooler here! I think you’ll find our kids spend a hell of a lot less time inside than kids who go to schools. Not sure where you get this information, but I haven’t met these people you are so passionately dressing down, and I’ve spent years getting to know secular home educators.

  8. #8 Ian
    May 2, 2008

    Quite amusing stuff there (and by “amusing” I mean “revoltingly self-involved”). I especially love

    Excuse me, but do you have any idea what we give up to homeschool?…I have no life. You, in all likelihood, do.

    Every parent manages to load their children up with guilt. But when you spill that guilting over onto total strangers…

    As for the whole religious angle – I suppose the poster child for that benefit of home schooling is located in Eldorado, Texas…

    Some people can homeschool their children and do a good job of it. Above some threshold (there are lots of people who couldn’t home school their children and damn well know it), I suspect that the quality of education you can give your children is probably inversely proportional to the quality of education you think you can give your children. (But that’s true of any teacher – beyond some threshold, the better you think you are, the worse you actually are.)

  9. #9 Mrs. C
    May 2, 2008

    Hello. I found you through Dana’s blog. I happen to have two children in public schools, and I homeschool two younger children.

    I’m glad that you’ve stated you’re not baiting, and that you in theory could be supportive of home education. Otherwise, I wouldn’t think it worthy of my time to attempt any sort of discourse with you. And *certainly* you wouldn’t find it worthy of your time to respond to what I’d have to say, which I hope you will.

    So here goes:

    It seems to me that both public and private education institutions can run the gamut from superior to downright crappy. It doesn’t seem that more regulation of curriculum or increased testing requirements necessarily result in a better, more educated populace. I’d think we’d have seen quite an increase in demonstrated applied skills and intelligence in our teens at large were that the case.

    I won’t argue that every homeschool is perfect, just as I won’t argue that every public school does even a passable job. What I will say is that parents acting in the best interests of their children should have full control over their education unless and until they’ve been proven incompetent or abusive.

    I’ve chosen to send two of my children to public schools because one, who is autistic, gets quite a bit of extra help from the staff there. Another is in the gifted program and participates in the orchestra.

    The other two are at home because our local public elementary school has a penchant for locking children in a closet when they misbehave. It’s called a “safe room,” and it’s employed more often than public school administrators would like to admit. Instead of enabling my younger autistic son (yes, I have two) to function in the classroom by giving him an aide and modifying instruction, it’s far cheaper to thrust the child into a “regular” classroom and then punish him when he’s unable to attend appropriately.

    To my mind, the school failed to act in my child’s best interest. Negotiations over appropriate helps and placement were one-sided at best, and they dragged on while my son suffered at their hands. Homeschooling gave us an option that was tailored to my son’s needs at the time. I don’t feel that enabling the public schools to have a monopoly over the education of America’s children by setting curriculum “standards” or by mandating testing is the answer. My child has autism. It will *not* go away even if I could teach him from the “perfect” curriculum.

    And yes, “socialization” is difficult for him. I got to the point where the “socialization” the school offered was less helpful than what he would receive at home. I grant you, he does not receive speech or social skills therapies the school could offer (but won’t) that would be useful to him. That being said, I can’t imagine where the school locking my child in a closet every time he is “bad” will help his socializing skills, either.

    I understand that one story does NOT make for an indictment on an entire system. But it is a true story, and it’s one too many. I do appreciate your concern that some homeschool parents may take this option SOLELY to indoctrinate their children or sheild the abuse in the home. I’m not sure that any amount of regulation would put a stop to that, just as no number of traffic laws will prevent EVERY accident from occurring. Even one case of abuse is too many, but to my mind it shouldn’t matter who is doing the abusing.

    I thought I’d drop by and perhaps tell you my opinion as someone who happens to use BOTH options simultaneously in the hopes of giving all my children the best education possible. I like the idea that, should things go badly in our local school, I could pull the older children out tomorrow and educate them at home without spending outrageous sums of money on a private school. I like the idea that the folks at public school my older sons attend know very well that I not only know that I have options, but am willing to employ them when I feel negotiations have broken down.

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 2, 2008

    That is because our ability to educate is what is so often being attacked by said critics.

    Well it sure comes off like you are more worried about some slight against your ego than a slight against the quality of the education of your kids (which I’m not sure is even the case).

  11. #11 Cherish
    May 2, 2008

    I’m just a bit concerned over the inability to converse normally or reason clearly, the reactionary nature of the conversation, and the apparent (please tell me I’m wrong) use of children … one’s own children … to express one’s neurotic obsessions.

    That’s because your idea of “conversing normally and reasoning clearly” is that we should all lie down and be passive and listen to you because you’re obviously an authority figure who is so much smarter than us.

    That’s what normal people in public school learn to do, right?

  12. #12 Carlie
    May 2, 2008

    Alasandra’s a real piece of work, isn’t she? I popped over and was astounded. At first I thought it could be excused by her youth, because she sounds exactly like an average self-important teenager, albeit one who suffers from mean girls syndrome. Then I realized no, she’s the MOM. The one who is doing the teaching. Wow. Her grammar and style leave an awful lot to be desired, and her bizarre non-defense defense of using offensive playground taunts makes me worry for her social quotient as well as her intelligence level. That’s just frightening. She’s the kind of mom who yells obscenities at the kids and coaches on the soccer field, I bet.

  13. #13 Elizabeth
    May 2, 2008

    Doc,

    I’ve looked at your site, your comments, and have concluded that you are an obnoxious twit. That was before this most recent comment. Now, I know that you are a rude obnoxious twit.

  14. #14 Becca
    May 2, 2008

    @ Dr. Laden-
    You are correct, you aren’t (just) attacking their motivations- you are saying that all the people who you have linked shouldn’t be homeschooling. Which might be “damning” if you were in a position to judge who gets into educator-heaven. Let us pretend for a moment that you have the power to damn people to educator-hell…
    Can you please explain to me what about the post you linked to, exactly, renders the writer of “principled discovery” unfit to homeschool? Why exactly is it a bad idea for her to do so? Why is she “damned” in your judgement? As far as I can tell, all she did was disagree with you. Coherantly. And liken her reaction to you to her reaction to a festering sore, which I suppose isn’t all that sweet, but I can certainly understand.

    @Stephanie Z- I can’t speak for all commenters, but I’m not assuming Dr. Laden is attacking me personally. Indeed, I trust he has my best interests at heart, since he spends so much time advocating in favor of the rights of children who are being homeschooled (some of that should spill over on adults-who-were-children-who-were-homeschooled, right?). That is what this is all about, right? It’s not petty bickering about whether certain principles of religion or politics are correct, or even an honest disscussion about parenting styles and how much ego one ought to have in raising one’s children, but insteads it’s all focused on the best interests of the children, right? ‘Cause I don’t know if that’s always 100% clear from Dr. Laden’s writing. Of course, probably my reading comprehension or social skills are crippled from my homeschooled background. You’ll have to forgive me if I have mistaken Dr. Laden’s intent, and if I am wrong in thinking it might not be 100% pure concern-for-children.

    Look, Dr. Laden- you give every impression of considering yourself at war with certain religious and political viewpoints- and everyone who has those views. Moreover, with respect to homeschooling, you seem to be taking out your frustrations with certain views on a *practice* that some people with those views engage in. A practice which you have been repeatedly told, improves the lives of children every day.
    It would be lovely if you would focus on how we can improve homeschooling so it improves the lives of all children (and it would not be amiss to have the same discussion of public and private schooling, though it is not necessary).

    But as long as you come off as patronizing, and with a huge ax to grind, I will not be suprised when you bring out the most childish side in others (even in normally reasonable homeschoolers). I certainly don’t think of it as damning evidence of *them*. Particularly the ones (like the writer of “principled discovery”) who refrain from childishness entirely.

    On another note, I do think the criticism of homeschooling parents as ‘in it for their own egos’ is interesting. One of the odder statistics I’ve heard emerge from homeschooling research is that, in our current society, stay at home moms* suffer from low self-esteem… unless they are homeschooling.
    I like to be a little optimistic about this and believe it is because 1) our society does place lots of value on educating our young (and so a stay-at-home-homeschooler gets a more positive reception than a ‘regular’ stay-at-home parent)… though the receptions we give teachers might argue against that explaination. I also like to be a little pro-homeschooling and think that 2) these women see the effects of homeschooling on their kids and are happy that they are devoting time and energy to it.

    I also try to be scientific, and consider that these are not random samples… so, 3) the women who are happier being stay-at-home moms may be more likely to homeschool.
    Regardless of the reasons for that statistic, it might support the anedotal observation that people seem to have some ego invested in how they educate their children. Of course, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.

    *From a feminist perspective, I’d also be interested to see whether these data are true for stay-at-home dads, but I think getting statistical significance is challenging there.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    I think principled discovery is a great blog, I think it is even on my blog roll. If not, I’ll have to put it on.

    It would be lovely if you would focus on how we can improve homeschooling so it improves the lives of all children

    That is an impossible conversation to have with most (but not all) blogging homeschoolers. Unless I lay down prostrate before you and say yes, yes, whatever you say is right, conversation will not happen. Obviously. That is the point of this little game we are playing now.

    I have had this converation with a number of individuals and it has been helpful. You, Rolfe, a few others, seem to be interested in engaging in this conversation, though a bit too skittish sometimes even for my well known saint-like patience.

    Boo.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    Oh, I should mention: The post I linked to on P.D. was obnoxious. In what way would that not be true, Becca?

  17. #17 the real cmf
    May 2, 2008

    Greg ” Unless I lay down prostrate before you and say yes, yes, whatever you say is right…”
    Greg, at first I thought you said “prostate”…and immediately wondered if in fact you weren’t talking to the fauxminists, who expect that kind of white female Victorian style entitlement….

    DOC: exemplifies the weird double posturing that HS’ers do in regards to “bullying” by using the phrase “edutards”…she almost has as big of a problem with the mentally handicapped and the mentally challenged as PZ Meyers…

    Rev BDC: notes that “the ego of the parents” is a crucial component of the HS profile, but I think Rev BDC meant to say the “Id” of the parents in conflict with their “super-ego”, resulting in some serious maladjusted views?…

    Carlie: exhibits a brilliant analysis of Alassandra “and then I realized she is the MOM!…playground taunts…” yup, and yup: Alassandra seems to be a poster child for maladjusted adult using her kids and HS as a juvenile bully pulpit…when I make similar observations like that tho, I get called “massageinist…”

    CHARITY: comes up with a rare,honest gem of homeschooler navel gazing (and insightful) self-criticism of the HS mindset, to whit: notorious HS’er “defensiveness” in regard to the self involved HS schema!”when responding to criticism about our ability to educate, for some reaso

  18. #18 DRK
    May 2, 2008

    It’s spelled “skittish”, actually, although I love the mental image conjured up by “skiddish”, as all the home schoolers go careening indignantly down the hall in their stocking feet, only to slip and end up in a heap down in front of Dr. Laden’s office door.

  19. #19 Becca
    May 2, 2008

    Well, if somebody likened me (even by implication) to a festering sore, I’d probably think they were obnoxious too. But I wouldn’t take it as evidence their decisions on the education of their children were bad. The two things seem completely unrelated to me.

    If your point is “some homeschoolers are obnoxious”, it was made competently.
    But what you *said* was that some homeschoolers had a bad idea when it came to their homeschooling. Which is undoubtably true- but the criteria by which we should judge the wisdom of a family’s decision to homeschool is not “how much Greg Laden finds said family personally obnoxious”.

    As far as your first comment- apparently I am confused about the “game we are playing”. I’m begining to suspect that the game you are playing is demonstrating you can provoke people you happen to disagree with. You seem to want to prove that some people (homeschooling parents) can behave obnoxiously- in a “I’m not listening to you”-childish fashion when you act in a patronizing fashion toward them… This is evidence only that you have incredibly amazing powers for inducing irritation. Is that really something to be proud of?
    Even if it is something to be proud of, can’t we get you to use your powers for good and not evil? Aren’t there better targets out there?

    In the interests of playing a new game, may I ask you some questions, which you could maybe address in future homeschooling-related posts?
    *What is one thing would you like to know about the homeschooling community as a whole? What statistics would you like (if they could be derived accurately) to determine whether certain anedotes are representative?
    *What are the range of motivations found in homeschoolers? (If part of the answer to this is “religion” “politics” or “personal ego” – so be it. If part of the answer is “a legitimate concern for their children’s wellbeing”… try to touch on that too.)
    *What are the range of personal characteristics of homeschoolers?
    *What criteria should we use to determine if homeschooling is a good idea for a particular family?
    *How can we, as scientists, reach out to homeschoolers?
    *What should parents and educators do for profoundingly mathematically and scientifically gifted youth who do not thrive in standard educational settings, and can homeschooling play a role?
    (I put these questions to you not because they are the most important to me directly, but because I believe you would have something valuble to say on many of them, if you would simply put away the other game you are playing)

  20. #20 Steve
    May 2, 2008

    @DRK -

    I swear, I have been looking at that title for five or ten minutes trying to find the joke or pun or whatever that produced the “skiddish” spelling.

    Steve

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    How come my spell checker does not know that?

  22. #22 Moses
    May 4, 2008

    A puerile and fact-free attack so you can make a link farm and generate web traffic. You’re a transparent ass who uses great bloggers to generate traffic you wouldn’t ever see (Seed) and the worst kind of link-farming ass, Laden.

    I bet your spellchecker knows that. And I’m sorry to see some of the brighter posters that post at Seed blogs actually reading this dog’s-skid-mark of a blog.

  23. #23 Rick Schauer
    May 4, 2008

    Wow, touchy subject…and this is a rant…but think about the fact that the amount of knowledge we have is doubling every year or so and is doing so exponentially! Not even well-trained teachers, passionate about their subject matter, can keep up with all the new information out there…where does that leave the home-schooler and parent?

    I digress..The one comment: “The other two are at home because our local public elementary school has a penchant for locking children in a closet when they misbehave. It’s called a “safe room,” and it’s employed more often than public school administrators would like to admit. Instead of enabling my younger autistic son (yes, I have two) to function in the classroom by giving him an aide and modifying instruction, it’s far cheaper to thrust the child into a “regular” classroom and then punish him when he’s unable to attend appropriately.” …has my sympathy, however.

    I was a special ed. teacher for 13 years in a level five EBD setting…heck, we threw kids in “safe rooms” constantly…and I hated it and have since left teaching all together because of it. Didn’t make any sense to me then and still doesn’t…it left me thinking all we were doing was training the next inmates. This demonstrates, in effect, public education loses its focus from time-to-time! But let’s not get too side-tracked to what is important and that is imparting knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. Frankly, we are doing a piss-poor job of educating in public schools and with a few exceptions in home-schools as well. Why? Too much knowledge, not enough editors and moreover not enough resources (money) to do the job well.

    Just the fact that learners in public schools don’t have laptop computers is telling of the resource situation…think about composing/writing without a computer or trying to compile knowledge without one….try to run a business without one but schoools can educate without them? WTF!

    Yet, we have resources and can take those same electronic chips, throw them in a cruise missile and blast them at a house like the Flintstones live in and wipe out entire families as we defend our homeland…and this crappy education system? Houston, we have huge fricken problem! We don’t even understand doing onto others!

    Religions stand in the way of education, too. They were responsible for dividing knowledge into little specialized subject matter since way, way back due to the fact that religions regulated colleges and universities (think Oxford, think William and Mary, one of the oldest colleges in the US…all church owned)and they hid knowledge from us. This division of knowledge and lack of communication between subjects is largely responsible for many if not all ills in education, IMHO.

    But there is one big hope: INTERNET and it has done a huge service for bringing all educators together on a level previously unknown. Subject areas like biology and evolution are finally being widely discussed thanks to Internet and knowledge is being released…simply observe this blog and its effect. Hopefully, we can rid society of its delusions and get back to the task at hand which is imparting knowledge and wisdom to the next generation.

  24. #24 Tom Fiddaman
    May 4, 2008

    I’m just a bit concerned over the inability to converse normally or reason clearly …

    Me too. How to reconcile this:

    I actually have not said that someone’s motivation for homeschooling is problematic and a reason for them to not homeschool.

    with this?

    The reason that I think a lot of home schoolers are not doing a great job is because their motivations are not really in the interest of the child.

    This series of posts strikes me as baiting, not conversing. It uses all the rhetorical tricks of a climate denier’s screed. It’s a big strawman, with lots of cherry-picked “evidence”. There are strong yet apparently baseless assertions as to the representativeness of the evidence (“That is an impossible conversation to have with most (but not all) blogging homeschoolers”). Selection bias, anyone? There’s no reference to actual research, even when handed to the author on a platter. There’s the ridiculous airplane analogy. Responses to substantive criticism are conspicuously lacking. It all reflects the unscientific yet common approach of proving one’s preconceived notions by selectively seeking confirming information, rather than challenging them by testing against information that could disconfirm.

    If that is true, perhaps home schooling should be shut down as an unregulated, unsupervised practice right now.

    Why stop there? I’m sure your kook-baiting would be even more fun if you proposed to take their kids away altogether.

  25. #25 Crimson Wife
    May 4, 2008

    Rick Schauer wrote: “think about composing/writing without a computer”

    Hmm…seems to me that the majority of the greatest authors seemed to have managed just fine without a word processor. Think Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Virgil, Dickens, Cervantes, Dante, Milton, Chaucer, Descartes, Voltaire, Darwin, etc.

    Technology is merely a tool. When used properly, it can enhance a student’s education but it won’t fix the problems of America’s government-run schools. If it were somehow possible to eliminate the so-called “digital divide” overnight, there would still be huge achievement gaps between affluent and disadvantaged students.

    There was a study done that found children of affluent professionals hear an average of 30 million more total words spoken to them by the age of 3 than children of welfare recipients. It seems reasonable to think that this “language gap” has a much greater impact on academic achievement than whether or not the child has access to a computer at school.

  26. #26 the real cmf
    May 4, 2008

    Moses:
    You write like a classic no-brain twit. Who are you to talk about lack of substance? You don’t even have your own link, you twink.

    And does your spellckecker pick up the word “brighter” as an adjective as well? You dimwit.

  27. #27 Gwenny
    May 5, 2008

    When I lived in N. Carolina a couple decades ago and was engaged to a black Air Force officer, my home teacher, a member of the KKK, advised me that he was usually against inter-racial marriage, but he thought my relationship was okay.

    I have to say that if I pressed and you were to approve of my having home schooled three now adult children, I would feel about the same. So I won’t press. I’ll just lump myself with the great masses of unwashed idiots who had the temerity to want more for their children than public education could provide.

    I have no clue why you hate home schooling parents so much.

  28. #28 the real cmf
    May 5, 2008

    Hate is a rather strong word for this situation. Too southern…

    How about to largely “repudiate”; or to “distrust”; or to “suspect”; or to find “amusement” in; or…