Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Today's Most Absurd Homeschool-Hysteria Article

Oh no, the scary, "They're not being properly socialised" argument.

So let me get this straight-not letting teenage girls wear makeup, dye their hair, pierce their ears, have sleepovers or date is cause to call children's protective services?

So who wants to break the news to the Amish?

I don't want to make light of this (although it is truly absurd) because it appeared in a syndicated advice column in a major newspaper. Based on the small amount of information in the letter, by a daughter that sounds awfully estranged from her mother, is it really sound advice to recommend calling in the authorities to "save" these poor teenage girls that aren't being exposed to late capitalist society because they don't care about fashion and might get "made fun of" later on? Yeah, I don't think so either. The advice columnist describes the mother as "selfish", and "disturbed", and praises the daughter for having "escaped."

The only thing "selfish and disturbing" here is a columnist that thinks her snarky responses and employment as some sort of expert takes precedence over putting a family through the hell of being investigated for something that in my part of the country would be called good parenting. How can anyone so casually, in such a public forum suggest an act that might well result in tearing apart a family based on any number of factors from who gets sent to their home, to how well the house was picked up that day?

There's very real, documented "abuse" that takes place every single day-to suggest that any of what was cited in the article warrants investigation, let alone intervention is outrageous. She's essentailly given an estranged daughter the encouragement to interfere with the parenting decisions of a mother she disapproves of. Well gee, isn't that swell? At the same time, the columnist gets to use her awfully broad brush to paint homeschoolers as weirdos that don't let their children outside of the house, or permit them to read a book published after 1920.

What if you don't want your children socialised into a a world (or as it is called so often in these arguments "the real world") where it is acceptable to dress your teenage daughters as trollops, dye their hair, send them off to spend the night away from home unchaperoned, and spend time with people that do not share your values? In the "real world", of adulthood, you get to choose people who share your interests, values etc. to spend time with. Yes, you will have to work with bullies and terrible people-but they generally don't stroll up to your desk and belt you in the mouth for kicks either. The "real world" of adulthood has ways of working these things out, mostly through a desire for continued employment. See, you've been socilaised to deal with bullies and didn't even know it.

Again, I don't want to sound glib (difficult, I admit given the idiocy of this), If someone is opposed to homeschooling, they need to be honest about their reasons rather than resorting to the tired accusation of poor socilaisation. It amazes me how such a weak accusation (cliche, actually) gets repeated as often as it does. Accusing homeschoolers of isolating their children and then applauding parents who refuse to let their children go to a playground alone based on some irrational and unfounded fear of strangers waiting to abduct them-you tell me, what is isolating? I don't hear anyone suggesting calling a state agency to investigate families because the parents only permit arranged "playdates" with vetted individuals. That's not strange and controlling? Can't let junior have tools-might get hurt! As parents we are encouraged to monitor every morsel of food that passes their lips, clock every minute of screen-time they are exposed to, micro-manage every play activity so that nary a second of "teachable time" be lost to the recklessness of unsupervised play. We are told to negotiate with toddlers, to never take our eyes off them until they've reached the age of majority, to call their friend's parents to double check their whereabouts. and in the newest scenario-to stick a goddamned microchip with a GPS in their clothing, so to better observe them. Funny, the mother in the column is starting to sound less fanatical, isn't she?

The columnist has done little but encourage the adult daughter to engage in harassment. If that's the sort of reasoning one gets from being properly socialised to live in the "real world", we're all in very deep shit as a society.

No comments: