School

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We started school up at the end of last week. It’s been going really well. The girls have been having a great time with it (they love it actually) and I think we have a good schedule that really works… well, that is if I can find someone else to do my laundry. (o;

I’m not going to have as much time to blog now with school in full swing, but I’ll try to post when I can. At least a picture or two here and there. E may have more opportunities to add to her blog though if you want to pop over there every now and then to see if there’s something new.

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As a side note, I have a new sidebar widget over to the right that tells how many spam comments WordPress has blocked. I get a lot of spam, and it seems to come in waves. WordPress catches a lot of them, but unfortunately some of these comments get past my spam blocker and they sometimes contain filthy links, and that is why I need to keep my comments moderated. I know that takes some of the fun away, but you don’t need to worry about me not approving your comment (hopefully). It just takes longer for it to post, that’s all. (o:

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8 thoughts on “School

  1. As a teacher myself, I’m interested by your choice of homeschooling. Did you choose to go down this route due to any single reason? Also, do the children have the oppertunity to mix with other kids socially at any point during the day (is that built into the homeschooling schedule – I know that if a lot of people in an area homeschool they may meet up every day to share lunch or have a play after school)?

  2. Beautiful girls and a very good blog! I added you to my blogroll whether you want me to or not! I came across it through another one of my co-bloggers….

  3. Let me know if you are ever looking for particular curriculm stuff-there’s a huge homeschooling contingent on my AP Parenting forum and a trading post where moms sell or trade their homeschooling stuff.

  4. mmmmm homeschool… we started back too. Tim is lovin’ it as usual. Olivia likes the idea not the work. We still do a lot of learning by play. Tim has extracurricular PE and chess this year. He is learning in PE that roller skating is not as easy as it looks and that he isn’t good at everything right away. In chess, he has gotten beat by girls other than his Mom and he won some games too.

  5. John, there are many reasons why we choose to homeschool. This would be a very long comment if I listed them all, but feel free to email me if you would like. In a nutshell (without the explanation attached), I personally think, as a Christian we are commanded to, at the least, have our children in private Christian schools. Not sure what the government schools are like there in Scotland, but they are deeply rooted in anti-Christian, anti-family teachings here. (We have no problem with the socializing of our girls as well. If you knew them at all, you would never have asked the question!)

    Misslionheart, thanks for blogrolling me. (o: I’ll have to go check out your blog sometime.

    Ursula, thanks for the info. Also, great picture of you on your blog. You look great! I tried to comment on your blog but our stupid B-Safe Online thing is blocking blogger comments for some reason. We can’t remember the password to bypass it, and you can’t get your password if you forget it… we’ve tried. Frustrating. I think our trial period runs out soon, so hopefully if will stop blocking every little thing pretty soon.

    Jolly, E has the same problem of thinking that she can do everything right away without any problem (or training). To this day she thinks she can Highland dance by hopping around with one hand up in the air. She’s in for some rude awakenings! I’ll bet Tim would be good at chess. He’s always been such a smart cookie.

  6. John

    My wife and I are teachers, too. P’s right about there not being just one reason we school our girls at home, but the main reason is that that’s our job. I don’t know your personal views, but I know the generally socialist bent of the UK and much of Europe has lost much of what was once a pervasive sensibility. Indeed, the U.S. has moved considerably towards socialist viewpoints, but there is enough of a residual memory of true liberty to counter it.

    The socialist mentality basically sees the state as supplanting God and God’s purpose for the family. The socialist state sees the family as a sort of a convenient unit for carrying out the state’s will for its citizens–feed them, bathe them, put them to sleep, and then send them back to us to do the real parenting work. That, we believe, is not the job of civil government, and so we do not permit the state to do what is rightfully our job…train our children.

    As my wife indicated, our girls are plenty social. I’ve always thought the “socializing” argument against homeschooling to be a weak one (I’m not suggesting you are arguing against homeschooling, just recognizing that as a common argument). First, is that really the goal of education? John Dewey said yes, and most modern government “educators” owe him their livelihoods. While socializing properly understood is a good thing, I think learning things besides government goals of acceptable behavior is more important for schooling. How much real socializing goes on at school? Again, if you knew us and our girls, you would find the socializing concern ill-grounded.

    I’m sure some homeschool families are weird and unsocial…but would you seriously contend that the government schools are free of weird, unsocial people?! Besides, being weird and unsocial doesn’t require you to relinquish your parental duty and right to train your own children. That said, I do not find that to be the norm at all among homeschooling families. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    Second, what exactly is government school socializing meant to achieve? I have to admit, I have an odd sense of pride that my oldest does not know how to line up single file. Gasp! Horrors! She has yet to learn how to shuffle through the government soup line! I don’t mind that lack of socializing. I don’t mind that she’s behind in learning contempt for church and family, self-interested meanness towards peers, placid compliance with being a faceless number, abolition of private property and dependence on the government for salvation. That to me is anti-socialization, and destructive, and that seems to be the main “socializing” children receive in government schools. So if you mean by “socializing” whether my children are learning to conform to those government values for good little subjects, then no, they aren’t socialized. If you mean wonderful little girls who love to talk and laugh and play and help and serve and do nice things for other people, then yes, they are very socialized.

    I’ve said a lot without knowing really where you stand. My comments are directed more at things I know many have raised against homeschooling, not you personally, necessarily. There is a great deal of misunderstanding, so I wanted to try to clarify a bit. People in the U.S. are starting to get re-used to the age-old idea of families taking primary responsibility for training their children. I’m afraid that with greater government encroachment into areas of life properly the domain of family and church in the U.K., the idea may encounter more resistance.

    ~Bon Dufus

  7. Thanks for the response – I have to admit that this is an area that I am genuinely interested in. To be honest I don’t really have a strong view either way about home schooling – not to say that I don’t recognise that it is a very important decision that needs to be made when deciding upon the education of children…it’s more just that I don’t have any of my own as of yet! I would add thought that I am glad that you addressed my fears about the social growth and education of children in homeschooling. I did have fears that it can be a very lonely experience for them (and for the parents!) and I am glad that you feel that your children are socially very able.

    I have the gift of being able to work in an independent school in Scotland (fee based funding). Whilst the majority of the staff are not religious, the school is traditionally Christian (boarders go to church and special church services are held a few times a year) and the principal and a large group of the staff in the school are Christian. This gives it a very different feel to a standard state funded comprehensive school which, whilst I know a lot of good Christian people who attended such schools, I would be very tentative about sending my children there due to some of the points you have raised – plus them being around some very dubious characters. Your arguments about the Victorian ethos of schools is a good one and a totalitarian society dominated by school bells and ever expanding class sizes will never progress.

    I would raise a point, however, just as a note of interest about the issue of closing ourselves off from the world in a Christian cocoon. I’m not overly convinced that this is the correct thing to do and whilst we shouldn’t go about trying to save the world through our children there is probably some wiggle room for the fact that it is of good benifit to society as a whole to have the influence of Christian families upon them every day. Rather than denying ourselves access to society (which, at times is a correct decision to make as a disciplined Christian), I am more concerened generally that the strongest God loving Christians are denying society access to them.

  8. John,

    (Introductory aside: As to which my Bride earlier alluded, our primary conviction is that a child’s training should be under the sole direction/authority of the parents, whether the parents themselves do the teaching or not. That doesn’t happen when there are truancy and compulsory attendance laws. We feel training at home will usually be prefereable, particularly for the younger years, but we do not hold that as some sacrosanct dogma. I have some dogma, and I like them. Dogma get a bad rap these days. That’s just not one of them!)

    Please excuse my brevity, I am very ill at the moment. I think you said a lot of good things. I’m too weak to expand on that point, so, naturally on to the only point of potential disagreement…

    I don’t find it loving to toss our children or even ourselves onto a sinking ship just so the hapless may have a few moments of redeeming cordial conversation with them or us (If that even actually happens in the gov school context….)

    In fact, I think we may do a lot more culture-engaging when we take 2.5-3 million students–not all are Christian, but many are–out of the system. It makes people wonder why, and then ask questions, and THEN you can do some serious culture engaging when we begin answering the hard questions.

    On top of that, you pile up high achievement upon high achievement (or for the mentally retarded, an education very specifically suited to them, providing for better adjustment and demonstration of partental love), and you begin to grab hold of the culture’s lens and focus it on the issues with which it must grapple or face sure ruin.

    I think it would be far more loving to separate from the descending vessel, gesticulate wildly and shout vehemently, while trying to find something to throw them. If they refuse to cling, why go down with them, or send our children down with them?

    (As another aside–I believe we find that in the Bible, whenever there is life-threatening danger, the women, children and infirm before the men, and the younger before the older are preserved safely first, leaving the able-bodied men to take on the serious threats. I think the schooling of children by a usurping gov qualifies as such a threat. I honestly don’t believe the world wants access to our children to learn about Jesus from them. They want their blood. They want their souls, in other words. I get the feeling you agree on this point from your comments)

    Otherwise, the point you were supporting in the cocoon paragraph is very well taken, and I am sure there are homeschoolers in a cocoon mentality, and that is wrong, I believe, or at least imbalanced. I’m probably tempted by it at times. But, I don’t think gov schooling is the proper antidote. But an antidote is definitely in order, as you well note. Look forward to mending and talking more about it.

    I guess that wasn’t so brevitious after all. Darvocet’s kicking in a little…

    ~Bon Dufus
    (that’s my cocoon code name, by the way ;>) It’s a tradition, I can’t stop using it now. )

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