In case you missed it yesterday, here's a highlight from Mark Steyn's stint on Rush:
. . . the scars left by being raised in a culture in which you're expected to go to the trauma counselor if you've been exposed to a gun-shaped Pop Tart does far more damage than being exposed to the gun-shaped Pop Tart.Creating irrational fears in children is abusive. Also damaging to young souls and minds is the institutionalized squelching of the imagination and the subverting of rationality (kids know that gun-shaped Pop Tarts can't hurt them), both evident in the Pop Tart incident. One wonders if the cogs in this machine ever speculate on the real purpose behind bureaucratic promotion of absurd, arbitrary rules, baseless fears, and mental paralysis. Hint: In what kind of society is a cowering populace a necessity?
Which reminds me of a sad and telling image from a Happy Warrior column from 2009:
A couple of years back, a neighbor’s kid was given a plastic sword and shield as a birthday present. Mom refuses to let her boy play with “militaristic” toys, so she confiscated the sword but, in a moment of weakness, let him keep the shield. And for a while, on my drive down to town, I’d pass the li’l tyke in the yard playing with his beloved shield, mastering the art of cringing and cowering against unseen blows from all directions. In a hyper-regulated world, it’s a useful skill to acquire. But I’m not sure it will be enough.I guess that mom wouldn't mind her son's school cracking down on Pop Tart brandishers. But what about conservative parents? I wondered yesterday, via Twitter, why more of them don't homeschool, and I got some interesting responses, including a couple of Tweets to the effect of, "Because we're working!" Surely no one imagines that only affluent families homeschool their children. It's just not the case.
I'm guessing that, though conservatives deplore this story and others like it, they're still pretty satisfied with their own public schools, the defects of which aren't great enough, in their view, to warrant pulling the kids out and taking personal charge of their education. Homeschooling can mean a huge lifestyle change, and it's a lot of work. If the easy,* "free," default way of doing things ain't broke, why fix it?
But I think the reelection of President Obama proved beyond a doubt that our education system is very badly broken. From a November 2012 post:
David Gelernter has a partial explanation for the degradation of the electorate. It's the schools, stupid:The switch to homeschooling can be a daunting prospect, especially for two-income households. But the benefits it bestows on the family make it an educational option worth serious consideration, even if you "can't afford it" or find it unacceptably uncool. I for one am grateful that Big Brother still allows it.
. . . you can’t graduate class after class after class of left-indoctrinated ignoramuses without paying the price. Last night was a downpayment.
Update: Many thanks to Mark Steyn for the SteynOnline link. Thanks also to Larwyn for linking. The same to DailyPundit.
Thank you all for your comments. One in particular deserves to be incorporated into this post:
*Homeschooling family of four here (and Steyn-linker . . . sounds like a Dutch beer).I agree with all of those particulars. Our family's life was greatly simplified when we switched from Catholic school to homeschooling in 1995.
Pretty much agree with most of this post, except the seemingly necessary but maddening qualifier that homeschooling "is a lot of work".
We do no one any favors by repeating this eye-rolling mantra. It just discourages people considering homeschooling.
Hard is rousting your exhausted and demotivated kids out of bed at 6:30 A.M. and whipping them into shape to rush them out to school in a panicked fury.
Hard is two hours of homework every night and weekend with exhausted and burned-out kids.
Hard is the inevitable sub-standard teacher parents have to compensate for.
Hard is the immense social pressures and anxieties produce by children who are the products of a vulgar society in the midst of full on family breakdown.
Easy is well rested, and un-rushed kids. Relaxed, happy, and safe kids.
Kids who can get done in two and a half hours of focused work, aided by a parent at the ready, what most kids don't get done in 7 hours at school --- PLUS two hours of homework.
Homeschooling is MUCH easier than sending your kids to school - and generally much better for them.
Especially in an age when curriculum are an internet click away, as are tutorial videos an documentaries.
Homeschooling, on the whole, is much much easier.
But it is easier, in lots of ways, to follow the default option, even when that creates innumerable problems. There are fewer choices to make and defend, and plenty of company, with no social stigma. Also someone else to blame when things go badly.
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