Fundie, mentally ill, and anti-vax wannabe hippie parents love homeschooling! Gee, I wonder why…
On bratfree we were making fun of the crazed homeschooling breeders, and swapping tales of our own personal experiences with homeschooling. Or should I say, unschooling. If you’re a Beverly Hills Cop I & II fan like me, then you know who Judge Freaking Reinhold is. A few years back he had a TV sitcom (that lasted all of 8 eps) called The O’Keefes. The premise was a hyperactive pretentious family homeschooling their supposed intellectually superior kids now transitioning into public school. Can you see how these characters might be the posterchildren for unschooling? I know I can.
Now as I bitched in my last post American public, religulous, and charter schools are SO FAR OFF THE FUCKING MARK, only a cultural revolution could change them. But, hey, this is America! And when do things really change? My father suffered from Paranoid Personality Disorder and codependency (like my grandmother), and several of the big red flags of these disorders are inflated ego and capability, projecting blame on others and even things, and quick loss of interest. In ’93 I was pulled out of my second Catlick school because I was the target of bullying. I had been the target of bullying up until I was in high school (I said this before). My father couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the reasons for this was my social maladjustment because of isolation, being biracial, and being overweight (PCOS played a big role in my weight problems I later found out). I had been out of school (the first time around) for 44 days. At the time Rudy Giuliani had been crowned king of NYC and he was overhauling the BOE big time. The big problem was truancy, the other big problem was the shit ass educational programs, but neither really got solved. Dad nicely informed the BOE that he would be homeschooling me for the remainder of my educational career, to which the secretary on the other end of the phone replied, “Put her back in school.” And hung up.
This fell on blissfully deaf ears. Mom, Dad, and me tramped down to the WNET (Channel 13) Building at Rockefeller Center to buy me GED workbooks. Now I always believed that the GED programs were for lazy ghetto-ass high school kids who don’t feel like doing anything (which is largely true since I know so fucking many of them), but Dad never figured out that 1) I was 13 and these materials were made for older teens and adult education and 2) in order to complete the work in the books you had to follow a set program series that aired at certain times of the morning on PBS. You can’t imagine our embarrassment upon walking into the smoky glass and steel monolith of establishment liberalism with a Hispanic man speaking too loud wearing grungy three sizes too small clothing barely stretching over his beer gut. The volunteer country club and 5th Ave. Synagogue old lady members stared us down with puckered disgust, and the uncomfortable college kid who rang him up (paying for the books with rolled up coins) was forced to listen to his insane diatribe that I was being homeschooled because I was a “misunderstood genius.” I seriously considered suicide for the first time when I got home that night.
At WNET they also sold the GED VHS series, but they were grossly overpriced and I think you had to have qualifications as a GED instructor to purchase them. So needless to say Dad felt that I was smart enough to figure out the material on my own. He forced me to watch the series in the middle of the lessons (consequently I was unable to follow them at all) and then sent me to my heatless room to do my “homework”. I found out that the workbooks had the answers in the back, making the whole thing pointless, and I just abandoned the books in my closet and proceeded to make dollhouse accessories from swatches of old clothes. This went on for a week, and Dad no longer brought up my homeschooling in favor of watching video taped eps of Star Trek: TNG, Forever Knight, and prime time crime dramas over and over again. After 44 days the school sent a letter requesting my return, or ACS would come a-callin’. I went back willingly knowing what I would face, so Dad put cotton balls in my ears to block out the abuse, but when Mom questioned how I would follow the lessons, he ignored her. I finished out the ’93 school year barely passing, and my parents didn’t pay the rest of the tuition (they didn’t deserve it), but I didn’t return to school until November ’94, and my bro Archer was pulled out of school for three months in September of ’94. We were both held back a year because of Dad’s (and Mom’s) actions, Archer became destructive, I fell into the deep well of an eating disorder and became more withdrawn and paranoid as I was not allowed to go near a window when I was at home during that very long year.
We should have been removed (as ACS did come to the house that year), but chances are nothing would have been done. Why? Simple, Mom, me, and Archer are white. We live in a clean, white middle-class neighborhood. I had no idea that Dad was mentally ill because his character was always unstable and I chalked it down to racism and the abuse he suffered from his equally insane family. I always saw homeschooled kids as being abuse victims, and this post from a Midwestern fundie cow of eight hailing from a piss-poor farming community in Buttfuck, Minnesota with no real job trolling the internet when she should be “teaching” her kids (especially when among them are disabled) reaffirms my belief:
“I have a feeling that you don’t know a whole lot about homeschooling, but you do know a lot about public school. You need to understand that homeschooling can be very different from public school. There is no law in Indiana that says an 11-year-old must know how to read well, or the parents have been neglectful. I wonder if you know the family well enough to know if that girl has a learning disability. As the other answer mentioned, it is legal for parents to encourage reading in a more gentle fashion, instead of forcing it on a child who is not ready or willing.As for what the children tell you, they might forget that they did tests, since tests can be far apart in time. As for lessons, homeschooling fits into the everyday lives of the families, and the children may not realize they are doing school. They might be learning through lots of activities, interaction with parents, and through books and movies. For example, some of my kids are studying the Vikings. Yesterday, they watched Veggie Tales “Lyle, the Kindly Viking”. Tonight, we are planning to watch “The 13th Warrior”. Videos and movies like these give lots of useful info about historical subjects. If I didn’t tell them, my kids might not realize the videos are part of their schooling. Also, last summer, I took them to the Kensington Ruinstone Museum.
For homeschooling, families do not usually have the kids in desks with the mother by a blackboard “teaching” them. It can be a lot more casual, and spread out throughout the day. It fits into the families’ lives.
If you reported this family, you would have to have first-hand knowledge that the parents are not in compliance with the law. If the law only says that the parents have to notify the public school of their children being homeschooled, and has no specifics about what or how the children are to be taught, then the parents are free to do it how they see fit.
I just urge you to be educated on the subject before you go and cause turmoil for this family. Educational neglect is a very serious charge. If you falsely accuse the family, you can expect that you will never see those kids or your sister or brother again. Talk to them before making judgement. Tell them your concerns, and ask them to explain their homeschooling philosophy and plan. Keep in mind that you may not agree with what they are doing, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. If you won’t talk to the family first, then I question your motives. Possibly you are against homeschooling in the first place, and you just want to “get” them.
I have had my disabled child in public school for 2 1/2 months, and I can tell you, we were doing much better with him at home. There are no “magic special teachers” who can make the kids normal.”