Monday, April 27, 2015

Uh... WHAT?!?!?

There is a post on Blunt Moms about homeschooling (link no longer works, unfortunately :( if somebody has a cached working link, please share!) . Blunt Moms is supposed to be a place where moms can be blunt, direct. The problem is: there is a difference between being blunt and just plain ignorant.

Where, oh where shall I start? Perhaps I should just write it in letter form to Ms. Morrison:

Dear Ms. Morrison,

I read your post today. I was, to say the least, flabbergasted. That's the only way to express my feeling. And that was before I'd made it out of the first paragraph.

You believe that people need a teaching degree to teach. Well, I have a teaching degree and I say nonsense. One does not need a teaching degree to teach their child how to count, nor to add 2+2. And once that's done, one realizes, hey, I can teach her how to multiply 2x2 and 2x3. Oh, well, now I can teach her to divide 6 by 3. Okay, let's show her the fraction for it now. And on it goes until maybe you get to a point of, hm, I don't really get this. But this text/program does a great job of explaining this concept. This all applies equally to any other subject. And there are so many things you don't have to specifically teach any child, you just give them the opportunity to learn. I don't need to know about the War of 1812 to have my child learn about it, for example. I can have him read about it from a variety of resources, have him write something about what he's read, do a drawing, maybe discuss certain aspects with me (as I read quickly on the side to figure out what he's reading and if he's actually understanding it). It's not hard. It's one kid, not a classroom full of kids that I need to figure out how to reach them all and assess them all in a way that I can report it to parents. Which brings me to...

The whole point of a teaching degree is to teach and assess the progress of a large number of children roughly the same age at the same time. It is not to be a one-on-one tutor like in a homeschooling situation. Which demands the question: Do you have any idea how many high school students make money by tutoring? Even at tutoring places like Kumon? How in the world do you think they do it if they don't have an advanced degree?

You wrote:
The worst part is that they all think they have perfectly rational reasons for making this choice. They say that they’re saving their kids from terrible things like learning about evolution, or having to get vaccinated or, god forbid, being exposed to other perspectives on the world. They never seem to realize that this comes at a cost of stupidity with a giant side order of narrow-mindedness

You show utter ignorance as to why people homeschool and not just ignorance, but absolute judgment based on your ignorance, an assumption based on the few people you know of rather than informing yourself before spouting off inflammatory remarks. My assumptions of what your comment must mean of what you think about the Amish aside, there are so many reasons people homeschool, like thinking that since they gave birth to their child, that perhaps they'll continue raising the child full-time instead of some stranger and an unnatural grouping of kids all the same age, or because they just know that the school options available to them won't work well for their child, or sometimes there is a health problem, or educational values that have nothing to do with evolution, or perhaps the child has already been in school and things are absolutely miserable (sometimes even verbal abuse even by a teacher and the child isn't believed) and the child's mental and physical well-being are at stake, or many other reasons that you could find out for yourself if you took the time to actually learn about it before expressing your judgement and your own narrow-mindedness.

You also wrote:

To my mind, anyone who isn’t bright enough to see the value in an advanced degree and training shouldn’t be trusted with the education of their child. 

Your assumption is completely illogical. People who choose to homeschool don't do so because they don't value an advanced degree and training. There is absolutely no logical reason to jump to that conclusion--or to start with that as your premise. There is absolutely no connection between seeing the value of an advanced degree and choosing to homeschool. None. One can both value the advanced degree that school teachers have AND homeschool.

You do realize, or know, I hope, that up until fairly recently, people were schooled at home? The nobility and royalty of Europe were largely educated at home. The likes of Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Louisa May Alcott, Ansel Adams... Perhaps you think, "But that wasn't recently!" You should see the kind of texts used in the past. Much more challenging in many respects than today's. Some were also self-taught for the most part. Thomas Edison, after being taught to read, write and do basic math, was, at the age of around 10, left to learn on his own with the expectation he would keep learning things. Where was the advanced degree there? He learned from, gasp, reading books. Abraham Lincoln never went to school and never had a tutor. He somehow learned to read and from there, he read--thereby learning--whatever he could.

Some of your post is just plain rude. Not blunt; rude. Blunt is saying, "That hair cut makes your face look rounder." Rude is saying, "That hair cut really makes you look ugly and nobody's going to hire you." Blunt is pointing out your FB acquaintance who is homeschooling can't spell well; rude and judgemental is making the assumption that because she can't spell, her child is never going to amount to anything.

This actually made me laugh, but I don't think you meant to make me laugh the way I did:

I don’t know when it became okay to take a DIY approach to the most important task we have in this world

Actually, the DIY approach was THE way things were mainly done for a very long time. Yes, there were schools, but not everybody who was educated went. To the point that school districts in Ontario, Canada, were advertising in the early 1900s trying to convince people to stop educating their children at home and have them go to school. Whatever happened during the time of Socrates was not the norm in the rest of Europe and then North America. Many of the highly educated were educated at home, by their parents or a hired tutor of some sort. And given there weren't any degrees for teaching until the past century or so, none of those educators were qualified, in your opinion. Do you think those teachers teaching in the one-room schoolhouses, all those different grades, had teaching degrees? Think again! They took a test (often while they were still studying at what we would call the high school level) that assessed their knowledge, much like a reduced version of the SATs, and if they got above a certain mark, ta da! They were teachers! Have you read Jane Eyre? Gives good insight into how people became teachers in the UK. Or have you read Pride and Prejudice? It was absolutely assumed that the girls were all schooled at home by a tutor or governess. While some students were sent off to schools, by and large, education happened at home. Educate yourself a bit.

There is a clear difference between being blunt and being ignorant. You describe yourself as smart-assed. I find nothing blunt or smart-assed about your comments, just plain ignorance. And in your ignorant attempt at bashing those who don't have teaching degrees and have chosen to homeschool, all you've truly succeeded in doing is getting those who are equally ignorant to go, "Yes, yes, you're right" and getting those who actually know something about it all shaking their heads at you. Perhaps next time you are ready to publicly judge and declare that Child Protective Services should be involved in a situation you'll do some extra work and find out if you are, instead of being a smart-ass, just making an ass out of yourself.


  1. Thank you for posting this! One of the parents of a homeschooling group, of which I am a member of, posted the blog you're responding to. I was amazed at how a person could, and would, write such a narrow-minded, ignorant, and RUDE post all about how such a large number of parents- with a variety of approaches, methods and standards are narrow-minded and advising that homeschoolers "all..." think/believe one specific thing. While yes, most of the people I know that homeschool do believe have our completely rational reasons for homeschooling, I have yet to meet one homeschooling parents who has stated they have chosen to homeschool to save their child(ren) from learning anything. Your post was wonderful and I am so glad you took the time to write it!

    1. Thanks, anonymous. And yes, I have yet to meet a parent who has said they were homeschooling because they didn't want their child learning evolution or some other thing. Except perhaps bad behaviour from classmates.

  2. Great response. I read the article this morning and was shocked! Your response was spot on and very appropriate.

  3. Thank you for your response. I found the original article completely flabbergasting.

    1. "Flabbergasting" really is the perfect word for it!

  4. Excellent point about highschool tutors. Thanks for your response!

  5. Outstanding!
    You never realize how close-minded people can be until you decide to come out and tell them you are going to home school your kids. Even your own family can get snarky with you.
    Once you enter the home schooling world, you really realize what a diverse group of people home school. It really opens your eyes.
    I think it is ironic and humorous that Lynn Morrison by generalizing all of us and calling us narrow-minded shows herself to be the narrow minded and foolish one.

    1. Absolutely! It often seems to be the most closed/narrow-minded who accuse others of being so.