Thursday, July 22, 2010

Did You Know You Were RADICAL?


How the Nation Views Homeshooling

Did You Know You Were RADICAL? How the Nation Views HomeshoolingLike my last blog post - this one deals with the state of the nation's tolerance level for homeschooling.  I am, and have been for several years, under the assumption that the view of homeschooling in mainstream society was one of reluctant acceptance.  A view that had matured to a certain degree over the years to blossom into the idea that homeschool had become an accepted outer circle fringe choice for parents.  Maybe not quite mainstream, yet not the albatross of weirdness that it once was.

I was pretty confident in this assumption until I was browsing a National Review article called Coyotes in the State of Nature, by Kevin Williamson last week.  It is really a second amendment rights piece that illustrates how the Progressives hate the fact that the Constitution as it reads would allow just about anyone to apply for a gun permit.  Which just blew my mind anyway.  Living in Colorado gun permits means a conceal carry permit - not an actual permit to simply own a gun in your house.  Anyway - fast forward to page three of the article and he began to wrap things up with this paragraph:

"The horror that progressives feel for gun owners is in many ways like the horror they feel for homeschoolers, whom they recognize, correctly, as one of the few truly radical movements in America. Prof. Robin West of Georgetown University’s law school offers a typical reaction to the phenomenon: “The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.” God defend the holy tax base!" 

I was, in all respects, a little taken aback to be honest.  People really see us as homeless vacant lot living weirdos?  Is that the mainstream image of homeschool?  Are we, as Williamson points out, "one of the few truly radical movements in America."  Really?

How did that happen?  I mean, I know how that happened - it is a rhetorical question.  But ask yourself - how did educating one's child become such a threat to the Progressive ideology?  I looked up the “scholarly piece” Williamson quotes in his article and read it for myself.  Yup.  Sure enough Prof. Robin West of Georgetown University does indeed feel we are tarp-living homeless people who refuse to contribute their fair share of the tax base by having mothers stay home to - gasp - teach their own children.

So, is it me or are these people the ones living in Bizzaro-Land?  Am I the only one who thinks sending your kids to school for brainwashing is abnormal?

I guess it just stuns me that after all these years people still hate the homeschoolers.  They make up outrageous lies about us and "respected publications" such as Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, from The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland would print an article filled with such non-scholarly work.  A piece filled with bigotry and bias a mile long.  A piece that is titled "The Harms of Homeschooling".  I won't bother to link to it - that rag doesn't deserve my backlink.  If you really want to read the garbage you can do a search and find it almost anywhere.

My point for this post is the same as the last post - homeschoolers are still considered "radical".  Heck, when a guy who writes for the National Review can print the sentence "The horror that progressives feel for gun owners is in many ways like the horror they feel for homeschoolers, whom they recognize, correctly, as one of the few truly radical movements in America." and say it with conviction - we have to know we have a problem.


Kevin Williamson said...

Radical in a good way, I meant. When it comes to fundamental assumptions about the relationship between the individual, the family, and the state, homeschooling really does present a challenge to the regnant progressive ideology (for which these families deserve our thanks). Most homeschooling families do not intend their education decisions as a political act -- but then, most gun owners do not view buying a gun as a political act, either. But those are acts with political consequences, intended or not.

I've taught a lot of homeschooled students in my role as lecturer at King's College, so I know that they and their families are not the kooks and rubes of progressive lore and anxiety. But I think that the homeschooling movement is a much more fundamental challenge to establishment assumptions than is, for instance, the voucher-oriented school-choice campaign.

Kevin Williamson

J. Anne said...

Thanks for your comment Kevin. I was not attacking your words by any means - I just feel that maybe I am not as aware of the general perception of homeschooling as I should be and when I read that "paper" by West I was literally stunned. First, because I missed it last winter when HSLDA wrote about it, then because I truly was under the impression that people were becoming more accepting of home education. We are a threat because there is no way to nudge children into a certain global political ideology if the kids aren't available for said nudging. And that IS a good thing.

Dawn said...

I think you're drawing too much from the article maybe?

Mr. Williamson was referring to the views of a certain specific group, not the nation as a whole. He was also generalizing a fair bit as is done. I've met quite a few "progressives" who homeschool.

J. Anne said...

While I certainly appreciate your opinion Dawn, I doubt I am reading too much into Ms. West's "Paper" – Mr. Williamson’s article was just the catalyst for the post – not something I was actively objecting to. My question was “ARE WE RADICAL?” You certainly won't find anyone writing for the “Catholic Quarterly" espousing hateful bigoted prejudices against homeschoolers like those in the Progressive Ruling Class, yet those who fear the freedom we’ve obtained from the state school will spout off bigotry hidden in an "academic" journal every chance they get. To what end? I've been homeschooling the better part of a decade now. I've heard just about everything there is to hear about homeschooling from friends to those who think like Ms. West - yet like I WAS getting better. But the tide has changed in America I think. You may not feel it yet, being Canadian and all, but it has. My point was that American homeschoolers must remain vigilant against this bias and hate or surely we will see new homeschool regulations creep up on in ways that will stifle our parenting freedom. To be viewed as a “Radical Movement” is not what we want as homeschoolers. What’s radical is the total elimination of American History that is taking place in the Public School, and that point should be made at every opportunity.

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