Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What bit of difference does it make?

I have a news tracker from the Googles that emails me updates about news stories with the parameters of: [homeschool -"john legend"], and [home+school -"john legend"].  (I had to exclude Mr Legend because he opened a recording label with the title Homeschool Records and threw my news stories into a report of every contract he received.)  So THIS comes into my inbox this morning...

Mother charged with beating obese son to death: I homeschooled to spare boy fat taunts

Why is the word "homeschooled" in there?  Did homeschooling cause this child's death?  Do publicly schooled children never get beaten or killed?  How about molested?  Raped?  Turned into lemmings?  Where's the mention of school choice in THIS ARTICLE about two dads arrested for encouraging their sons to brawl out in the street?

The same thing happened back when I was in DC with the woman who told people she was homeschooling... wasn't... and wound up killing her children.

A google news search for "killed her children" returns 38 results for 2008.  "Killed his children" returns 46 in '08.  Add the word "homeschool"... You aren't even given an option to filter by date there are so few in the archives and I've mentioned two of them here. (13 for "her" [if you count all of the "Andrea Yates" stories as one, you get 3 total] and 4 for "his" [and some of those are from the "her" category, as in "she killed his children".])  **Reminder**, these homeschool totals are from the Google news archives... not solely 2008.

What I'm trying to point out here is not that one schooling option is safer or riskier than another.  I'll let life sort that one out.  What I have a problem with here is the idea that the word "homeschooling" somehow belongs in that particular news story.

Would tighter restrictions have prevented this?  I don't think so.  She filed all of the proper paperwork including curriculum.

Would the requirement for homeschoolers to have a bachelors or masters degree have prevented this?  Does that paper prevent public teachers from misconduct?

Would more social department intervention be the cure?  Don't even get me started.

J and I were talking to a friend the other day about "Free Range Kids".  Ask yourself honestly... if you were to release your 8 year old to walk to the corner store (purposefully... not a random wandering) would he more likely be:

  1. Shot
  2. Nabbed
  3. taken by a social worker
  4. taken by a "worried neighbor" who really wants to be a social worker

Before you answer this (mom) think about what you were allowed to do as a child, what you allowed your children to do, and how we are treating our children today.  Are there more drugs now than in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s?  How about violence?  Or have we just been saturated to the point where we see only the worst and are worrying ourselves, and our kids, to death.

It used to be "Look both ways before you cross the street", then "Hold hands while crossing", now "Cross with an adult"

It doesn't take a village.  It takes parents.  Parents who care.  It takes parents who care enough to teach their children be it solely or in addition to curriculum they're receiving elsewhere.

Homeschooling is not the problem in that news story.  The problem is that, from time to time, bad people have kids.  The problem is that, occasionally, bad things happen inside a home and not out for public scrutiny.  These are not the norm.  Don't buy into the hype.  News makes money by shock and awe.  Unless they make you afraid, they don't sell papers.  Clam chowder recipes get shoved to the back.  They know where they make their money.  Death abroad, domestic deaths, Congress, White House scandal, shootings, riots.  When was the last time you saw a birth announcement on the front page?  How many times has NANDO had the state football champions on their cover?  When was the last time (Presidential election results excluded...those only make half the people happy) something POSITIVE appeared above the fold?

We all saw the police gearing up for the riots sure to come from the election results.  It was big news.  Fear... possible violence... maybe someone will die.

Nothing happened.  Is that not news?  I actually find it more shocking that people were semi-civil.

I need a coffee refill.  TTFN

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