Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No Man Is An Island. . . .

Ah, accountability. How we all despise being asked for it. Wouldn't it be nice to tell people to shut up about their standards, because the only standards that matter are our own? Not yours, just mine? And to yell at anyone whose opinion differed and tell them to shut up? And then smirk and brag that you got the last word, when in fact all you did was rant and rave and run away?

But you see, this attitude is a red flag by all accounts. Our children are everybody's business. What is going on in homes that close their windows and doors to all accountability but their own?
Sometimes, wonderful things, that's what. And sometimes, not-so-wonderful things.

I have spoken with parents who had the attitude that "I made 'em, I'll dictate what happens to them for the rest of their lives."

I fully understand a family's desire to shelter and protect their children; all good parents have that desire. I also believe that it is within a family's rights to keep their children at home, rather than send them to school where they might learn something the parents don't already know pick up bad habits, or come home asking questions about family values that don't have pat answers, therefore frustrating and infuriating some adults into a frenzy.

It is also true that homeschool is often the best route for gifted students, or students with disabilities that a school can't handle properly because of sheer numbers. Some kids just were never meant for formal schooling; they do best one-on-one. School is stifling for some students with diverse and amazing talents.

If a family decides to keep its children at home, and teach them in such a way that their personal family values take precedence over everything else, then so be it. We all have that right.

But there is something sinister about a family that does not want anybody, ANYBODY, checking up on what's going on in their house, since their kids don't go out to school and are not seen regularly by other adults.

I'm sorry. I have nothing but total respect and admiration for the homeschoolers I know who do not fear the world, and who are teaching their children to experience the world and all of its wonders, and who not only do not mind nosy people like me asking all kinds of questions but actually welcome them and are proud to try and answer them. My homeschooling friends wouldn't mind a bit if their children were asked to take a test to see if they were keeping up with all the other children their age; their kids would probably blow the public school kids out of the water.

But to forbid their children to take a test? What, are they afraid their home-based instruction isn't enough to pass a test? Are they afraid of intervention if their home-schooled children don't have the home-base of knowledge that the other children their age have? Do they fear a test that doesn't take into account an individual child's brain-clock, which is still telling him that 14 is a good goal to shoot for, literacy-wise? Well, they should.

Have any of you ever seen those tests? They're not rocket science. The ones we use in Indiana are downright simplistic. (I would still fail the math portion; I panic and waste time sweating over one or two problems and time runs out. . . . .but that was MY problem, nobody else's.)

Several of our homeschool groups here take great joy in having their children tested. It's a source of immense pride for them.

And there are many kinds of 'validation.' Why fear any of them? I believe that any kid who behaved, paid attention, and did the work all along, has nothing to fear from a test. I gave a big one last night.

A man may believe that he is King of his own Castle, but outside that castle, each person stands alone on what he knows and what he can do, and we are all accountable to each other. And if, inside that castle, everyone must blindly obey the King, then I have some advice for these people: Run away, run away, and don't look back. Escape. Go.

This does not take away individuality; it allows us to use our individuality to help make the world a better place by helping each other, not defensively assuming any innocent question or comment to be a missile in disguise.

It's useless, really, to continue beating this poor dead horse. It's not going to leap back to life, and nobody is going to give an inch.

So unless somebody posts something that has the sour stench of ignorance emanating from it, I'm done.

After all,". . . the only standards that matter are mine."

Why does that make me sound like a cunard? Well, because it does.

Oh, and by the way, when we brought parents into the office to ascertain whether or not there was 'something wrong' at home, ie potential abuse of some kind, the first words out of their mouths were almost always a variation of "Mind your own business."

Brrrrrrrrr. . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:29 PM | |


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