Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why do public school Mothers have to trash homeschooling in order to feel good about themselves?

Why do public school Mothers have to trash homeschooling in order to feel good about themselves? Kathleen Byrne Confessions of an autism mother: Why I’ll never homeschool.

I know. I know. Never say never. I feel so strongly about this topic that I honestly think that I’ll always hold our local school system responsible for the education of my children, including my daughter on the spectrum. Notice I didn’t write local “public” school system. I’m open to private, parochial, or some in-between “non-public” school, another category that we have here in New York.

So she is just against homeschooling although many of her reasons for not homeschooling would apply to private and parochial schools too. Apparently Ms. Byrne is one of those people that believe that only parents who are able to afford the tution at private or parochial schools should be allowed to choose an alternative to the public school system.

We Americans pay taxes, a lot of taxes, to provide every child an education. From a purely financial point of view, paying taxes for public education and then keeping your child home and bearing the financial burden of educating them simply doesn’t make sense. New York City Schools alone has a $21 billion dollar annual budget. Why write a school tuition check and then keep your child home?

This argument would apply to sending your child to private or parochial schools as well as homeschooling; so why she just applies it to homeschoolers is beyond me. The answer is simple I pay taxes for a lot of things I don't use, everyone does. Single people who don't have kids and older couples whose children are grown still pay taxes to support the school system. By paying these taxes I am insuring that all children have the opportunity to get an education. But I owe my children the best education I can provide for them. For my children it happened to be homeschooling

I’m as anxious as the next mother about dropping my children off at school and placing their education into the hands of others, some capable, some not so capable. It seems inevitable that our children will experience some bad teaching, just as they will have to cope with bad bosses, bad public servants and other incompetents in positions of power. Shielding them from bad authority figures will make the transition into adulthood harder than it has to be.

In the real world incompetent people get FIRED and you are free to seek employment elsewhere if you don't like your boss/job. Personally I would find my child being exposed to "bad teaching" (honestly I am not sure what Ms. Byrne means by that) for any length of time unacceptable.

Finally, I am dismayed that, when faced with fighting the system and making it better or fleeing the system to make the same mistakes on someone else’s children, homeschooling parents choose the latter. Schools are our children’s first civics lessons, citizens coming together and pooling resources for the common good. Homeschooled kids learn that it’s better to take care of your own than to fight for a common cause.

Well I am dismayed that any Mother would sacrifice her children to a cause. Schools (and I notice she didn't say public schools) should not be our children's first civic lesson. Their first civic lessons should be going with Mom or Dad to vote as toddlers as they mature there are many worthy community events they can take part in. Sadly I am left wondering why Ms. Byrne felt the need to trash homeschooling in order to justify her decision to send her child to public school. Maybe she really believes she is sacrificing her child to the common good of public education. In which case I feel sorry for both Mother and child.


  1. I have noticed that my colleague over at examiner.com often makes remarks that angers large groups... I am beginning to think it is more for the traffic than conviction.

  2. Excellent rebuttal.

    There are certainly reasons for some families to send their children to public schools, but the ones listed here are not the most convincing [smile].


  3. I get so annoyed by this sense that we parents who are fortunate enough to have educational options have some sort of noblesse oblige to enroll our kids in the local government-run school.

    Why should I have to expend an inordinate amount of time and effort to change the status quo when the chances are almost certain that it'll have no real effect?

    There may be all kinds of valid reasons for deciding against homeschooling an autistic child (personally I'm not sure I'd have the patience required), but this woman didn't offer any.

  4. What really annoyed me was her statement that it was OK to send your child to a private/parochial or some in-between non-public school just not to homeschool and yet all her arguments against homeschooling would apply equally to private/parochial or some in-between non-public school.

  5. This looks like a valid reason FOR homeschooling an autistic child:

    Our Boy Would Still Be Alive"

  6. Excellent post, Alasandra. Really, sometimes the non-sensical arguements against homeschooling amaze me. My tax dollars pay for our local police and fire services, too. I've never had to use them. Maybe I should get myself thrown in jail so that I'm not wasting that money, too.

  7. Oops! Just so I don't get the "look at the homeschool mom who can't spell educating her poor kids at home" people all riled up, I do know how to spell "arguments." It was just a typo people! ;-)

  8. I think I'll go to the DMV and stand around all day. Sure, it's a pretty pointless endeavor, but hey, my tax money is paying the electric bill so I might as well get my use out of their AC. Right?

    Yeah. That argument works.

    You know, she kind of makes her point about why SHE shouldn't homeschool. And I don't say that lightly.

  9. When I tell people I homeschool, many dismiss the idea for selfish reasons--the "I don't want to be bothered" types. They don't care if others homeschool so long as they have free school to send their kids.

    Others, however, usually my well-educated colleagues, seem to try and explain to me why they don't. Almost as if to say, "Well, I would do that too but I have secured the best out-of-home education possible and my career makes the world a better place." There's a twinge of guilt they mollify by spending the money and effort on extraordinary private education.

    Perhaps she has some kernel of guilt that she can only easy by vilifying homeschoolers. Maybe several people have even suggested she homeschool because she has an autistic child. She may be sick of seeing all those homeschooling blogs by parents with autistic children every time she tries to Google autism + education.

    Let me ease her guilt and say, "Not everyone is cut out for homeschooling and that does not make you inferior or bad. You're doing fine by your child, so let us do what we think is fine by ours."

  10. You made some good points Kris. Not everyone is cut out to homeschool and no one should be "pushed" into doing so.

    Unfortunately I know some public school parents who were "pushed" into homeschooling by a public school system who no longer wanted to deal with their child (discipline issue) and maybe she is in this category. It must be very furstrating to have a public school teacher or principal tell you " you should homeschool because ............" when you don't want to.

    On the other hand I do appreciate all the public school teachers who encouraged me to homeschool because they believed I could give my children a better education.

  11. I particularly disagree with the last sentence of her post:

    **Homeschooled kids learn that it’s better to take care of your own than to fight for a common cause.**

    I want to say ABSOLUTELY!!!! Our first priority is to our FAMILY, to raise ingelligent, strong people & create an unbreakable bond. THEN fighting for a common cause can happen.

    But taking care of my own first? YOU BET. And I'll never, ever be ashamed of that!

  12. OK, after re-reading my comment it made no sense!

    I don't disagree with her statement. I disagree with her saying it's a BAD thing! :)

  13. It astounds me that the exact same women who don't drink, smoke, eat soft cheese, soda... while pregnant, buy every educational toy known to man for their baby, research preschools with an abnormal intensity, drive Junior all over creation to art, dance, sports class, etc. drop off their 6 year old child at the local public school with NO idea who is teaching their child, what they are doing all day, what they are learning.

    They just seem to run out of parental energy after going full-steam for the years that the child doesn't even remember. Maybe it is all guilt for wanting to quit that they feel the need to bash homeschoolers for even existing.

  14. When people get that vehement about homeschooling, I find it is usually because they feel threatened by it in some way.

    Most often, they are insecure in their own abilities to homeschool, and hence feel personally threatened by someone with the confidence to go ahead and tackle the job.

    It's rare I come across people like that who will actually say something to my face about homeschooling. People who ask usually seem genuinely curious.

    Whenever I do encounter that kind of hostility, I will say "Hmmm.... " and then turn and walk away. I realise tha vagueness of my response will only serve to heighten their anxiety, but really?

    I couldn't care less what they think anyway.

  15. Audrey has a good point. We don't need to treat every attack as if it were rational when usually it's not. :)


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