Monday, April 05, 2010

If you ask stupid & insulting questions don't expect to be treated with kid gloves

A rather immature blogger posted a list of homeschool questions some offensive, some plain stupid and some seemed to be serious questions. Then she got in a huff when homeschoolers didn't answer them the way she wished them to be answered. What is the point of asking questions about a topic if you aren't willing to listen to all the answers?

1. Why do homeschoolers choose homeschooling? Do the kids get a say in this choice?
This question was fine and seemed to be motivated by a legitimate desire to learn more about homeschooling. But why don't we ever ask public school parents why they choose to send their children to public school and if their kids get a say in the choice.

2. How do HSers (homeschoolers) know they will be good at homeschooling?
Again this question is fine, but why don't we ask public school teachers how they know they will be good teachers, or public school parents how they know they will be good parents? 

3. What are the benefits of homeschooling?
Good question but again why don't these bloggers ever question the benefits of public schools or private schools for that matter.

4. Okay. Seriously. If parents are stupid — as in, not all that bright from an academic perspective – should they homeschool? 
OK, this question is insulting. Why not ask if a couple isn't all that bright should they have kids? And if she means that they weren't top of their class straight A students, has she talked to any public school teachers. Most of them were average students who made B's & C's especially those who teach the elementary grades.

5. If parents are stupid, do they know they’re stupid and perhaps shouldn’t homeschool?
Another insulting question.

6. Or are the available curricula (check me OUT) so amazing that they render anyone a teaching genius, so it’s okay if you start out dumb — or dumber?
OK, this could be a legitimate question about curricula, but it is worded to insult. Why not just ask if the available curricula makes it easy for anyone to teach it?

7. What does a HSing parent do if they don’t understand something they’re supposed to teach? I’m serious here. I could never teach, oh, calculus, for instance.
Legitimate question and she managed not to be insulting.

8. Why does it seem a disproportionate number of homeschooled kids become obsessed with Ren Faires and crossbows and Celtic music and pan flutes and penny whistles, etc.?
OK, this question was insulting and STUPID and apparently no one ever taught her that if you ask a stupid question you are bound to get some stupid answers.

9. Uhm, is there a pan flute and penny whistle curriculum? 

10. Do many homeschooled kids think TV is the devil and therefore don’t watch it?
Another slightly insulting question and apparently she is assuming that all homeschoolers are Fundamentalist. Why not ask why some public school kids aren't allowed to watch TV?

11. Where/how/in what ways do homeschooled kids hang out with kids other than their siblings? 
A rather stupid question, but giving the blogger the benefit of the doubt perhaps she was clueless and really did want to know.

12. Do most homeschoolers belong to a network of homeschoolers who share their “worldview”?
Again she seems to be making assumptions and unaware how diverse the homeschooling community is.

13. If so, how do homeschooled kids get exposed to other worldviews and learn independent thinking skills?
Again another stupid question.

14. I mean this question quite sincerely because I don’t know the answer, but is there such a thing as a secular homeschooling curriculum or does most HS curriculum contain religious elements?
This was a legitimate question and is worded fine. But if she was really interested why did she delete many of the comments that answered her question. I gave specific examples of secular boxed curriculum in my response.

15. Is homeschooling an anti-culture choice or a hope for a better educational choice or both?
Legitimate question.

16. Does a HSing parent really have to come up with 5 or so hours of lessons every day? How do you handle the disparity of ages in children?
Another good question.

17. Do homeschools offer Christmas, Valentine’s, or Sadie Hawkins dances? What about senior proms?
This question was fine.

18. So how do boys and girls learn to interact with each other?
Another stupid question.

19. What about sports teams, drama clubs, etc.?
Some people do seem clueless about all the many opportunities homeschoolers have so I consider it a legitimate question.

20. If you homeschool, would you do it again or recommend it to a friend? Please explain your yes or no.
Great question.

My answers to her questions can be found here. At one point they were approved and showed up in her comments and then the next day they were gone. Not sure what she found insulting about them.

It is too bad she got in a huff and deleted comments. There was a chance for a honest and open dialog between homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers. Unfortunately since the blogger was too immature to handle answers that didn't pander to her prejudices that chance it gone. And bloggers if you genuinely want to learn more about homeschooling homeschoolers will be glad to answer your questions but don't ask insulting questions and expect to be treated with kid gloves.


  1. You noticed that too, huh. She closed it early yesterday, shortly after I replied to her questions. I wondered about it too especially when I saw that she had closed the comments section to that post. I thought it spoke volumes about her and was confused why you linked to her site for so long. I really respect you a lot and love your site and linking to her site was uncharacteristic.

    Some questions were valid and some just pretty dumb. I thought the dumb ones were added to add some levity to the whole thing.

    Oh well. As for me I am just glad there are sites like yours around. Keep it going girl because you rock!


  2. One more thing.... the moderator of the blog in question is very religious. I don't think she liked the secular answers she received especially about the text books.

  3. When I first read her questions I thought she was genuinely interested in learning more about homeschooling. Knowing what a diverse bunch of readers I had I thought she could learn a lot about homescoolers from my readers responses, and like you I thought the dumb questions were added to add levity. Apparently I was wrong on both counts.

    Thanks for the compliment.

  4. Wow...I don't even know what to say. Unfortunately, many people out there think that we are obviously "anti-social" or "overly-religious" since we homeschool. But, you're right...with the fast rate of decline the public school system is experiencing, why can't people realize that homeschooling is a BETTER option for our children??? Sorry, I get so many negative reactions to homeschooling, even had someone call the cops on me once for having my kids playing outside (throw me in jail now!) that things like this really get me riled up...LOL

    Anyway, keep it up, I've read many of your posts and have loved your blog so far! :-)

  5. Actually, ladies, some of the questions were tongue-in-cheek as I stated on the blog and some of the comments I got in moderation -- which nobody saw -- were quite offensive. It wasn't that I didn't want to continue the conversation; I didn't want to continue the conversation in that particular way.

    As bloggers, I'm sure you understand that, yes, your blog is your house and, yes, it's an open house, but in my real house or cyber house, I maintain the right to intercede if things become unruly, impolite, or just too vitriolic.

    Again, some of the comments I didn't approve were simply not edifying or adding to a civil discourse.

    I *was* interested in learning more about homeschooling and, in all honesty, thought some of the answers I got were a bit defensive and confrontational.

    "Religious" isn't a word I care for, but if that's how you choose to characterize me, I'm not going to try to dissuade you.

    Sometimes there are choices I feel necessary to make on my blog when the conversation takes a turn. I was interested in opinions that could be stated clearly and without defensiveness. I -- and others I heard from via email -- thought the conversation was taking an unfortunate turn. I was frustrated with the *tone* but I don't think I resorted to labeling anyone's *character* or *intelligence* in a negative way, as has been done with me.

    I'm open to civil discourse. I don't find any of you "immature" or "stupid."

    I find that we disagree and have differing perspectives.

  6. I also thought many of Tracy's questions were rude. It just added insult to injury that she had the audacity to claim offense from those who called her on it.

    We have been homeschooling for 7 years and with a Masters degree in Education I know how little public schoolers are taught. Why do my 6 kids play cards and run around outside all day and still learn more than the average kid sitting in a brick box with an awful teacher and 25 rotten little monsters.

    See? It isn't very nice to ask questions that attempt to be funny by being mean. I have great respect for those who chose to teach other people's kids. It is not fun and not easy. I prefer to teach my own rotten little children. I love them more than anyone else could and want more success for them than any stranger.

    If you want to learn about homeschooling then read blogs and articles or go to a support group meeting. If you want to get a laugh by being rude then state it clearly rather than by being sly.

  7. For someone claiming to be ignorant about it, she sure had her stereotypes down. Wouldn't want to upset her "worldview."

  8. My only issue, not that I really care, is it appears she wants attention. If she truly desired to know of any of which she asks, she could simply do a Google search.

    It's April,the sun is shining and I am in too fine of a mood to be wasting my breathe on the likes of her.

  9. Vicki, some trolls have their own blogs and we were gullible enough to feed it.

  10. I have to say, I love how you handled this. I may not be a huge fan of home-schooling (actually, I'm not a huge fan of public/private school either. My daughter is only 2, so I have a little time to figure it out.), but I would never insult anyone because I didn't agree with their outlook. I truly appreciated the answers to some of the questions too. I don't know if I would have been able to handle myself with such poise on the insulting ones though.


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