Here Is A Gold Star for You, and You, and You, and You, and ...

I didn't expect, but shouldn't have been surprised, that so many could identify with my post last Thursday. I decided there were too many wonderful comments to answer them all in that post, so voila! A new post.

I wonder firstly if the very things that made some of us confident to homeschool are contributing now to the wish for some kind of praise or recognition. I will freely admit that a large part of my initial thoughts about homeschooling centered around the fact that, well, some people might have doubts about their knowledge, but I knew that I was smart and had had an excellent 1-12 education, not to mention attended a first-rate university. I had taken Latin. In retrospect, I even had the much lauded "proofy" algebra, though at the time I just thought that was how one did algebra.

I'm also remembering now, after some of your comments, how my parents would get flack at church for their educational decisions, too. I was sent to a private school, and not one that was explicitly Christian, either.

Of course, I lived in the south, and the explicitly Christian schools had all been established in the decade or two following Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, so I think my parents were quite right to avoid them at that time. I'm sure they're lovely schools that have overcome that inglorious past by now.

I will add that there does seem to be a church somewhere in my area that produces a prodigious number of homeschoolers, since they all seem to know each other, but I have no idea what church or where it is - and it may be that it's so large that the homeschoolers are still a small percentage of the overall church. Churches around here tend to the very small (under 100 average attendance) or the very large (at least 800), so even 50 homeschoolers at a church could still be less than 10 or 20% of all kids.

I do think it will almost have to be different for these homeschooled kids. While they may have been in a classroom environment in enrichment situations, the one who were always homeschooled, especially, aren't going to have the same strong association with day-in day-out praise, stickers, awards assemblies, and the like.

As an aside, every time I see that there's (yet another) awards assembly at the local elementary school, I think to myself, "Too bad I don't count it as part of a school day when the spousal unit comes home and the kids tell him what they did that day. I bet over the course of the year, that adds up to at least a days' worth of instruction." In all seriousness, the local elementary school has an awards assembly after every single nine week grading period, as far as I can tell. (Back in the day, we just called that a "quarter," but they call it a "nine week grading period.") An hour to two hours times four times a year is between four and eight hours... and four and a half hours is the official legislative definition of a homeschool day in this state.

Above all, though, I think it's tied into society's general lack of regard for work that has traditionally been ascribed to women. I'm not saying that as a political statement; I think most liberals and conservatives alike can agree that the vast majority of our society only values that work which is done for monetary compensation, and devalues that work which is not. It's true for teaching in general (having been an "acceptable occupation" for women before just about any other), it's true for the acts of parenting, and it's true for homeschooling. If the work is devalued, then there is little reason for anyone to praise it. It's simply not on the radar as anything to even examine.


Daisy said...

Great post. ITA.

Smrt Mama said...

My mom's cousins were the "beneficiaries" of post Brown v. Board of Ed. private religious schools educations. One of them graduated borderline illiterate. Your parents made a good call.

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