Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cult not homeschooling at root of decision

According to the News & Observer Judge: 'Cult' factored in ruling.

Contrary to what the Fundamentalist Christians are proclaiming this is not a threat to homeschooling or some horrible injustice against homeschoolers.

The judge even noted that he recognizes the benefits of home schooling. His concern is that after Venessa Mills joined the Sound Doctrine Church of Enumclaw in 2005 she became alienated from her husband and her parents. (Her own parents testified against her) and that she was attempting to alienate the children from their father and their maternal grandparents. I also think it's important to note that he didn't DEMAND they immediately be placed in public school. They will start public school in the fall.

"Based on all of the evidence, the court finds that Ms. Mills engaged in behavior that alienates the minor children from their maternal grandparents, their aunt, and most importantly their father," Mangum wrote.

I don't even think you could call this a religious issue as he was fair to both parents.

Among other provisions, the written order said the parents will have joint custody of the children -- who are 12, 11 and 10 -- and that both parents can "practice their own religion and expose children to same."

Sadly these parents didn't share the same religious views and apparently their religious views were so incompatible it led to divorce. Naturally both parents want to share their beliefs and world views with their children. The judge made it possible for both to do so, there is no injustice in that.

And while hsinjustice vilifies Thomas Mills it was Venessa Mills who filed for divorce.

Even HSLDA says this isn't a homeschooling issue.
Despite the outcry, Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based group that backs home-school parents, say these kinds of custody cases are more common than people realize

"It's a tragedy of divorce, but we don't see any broad implications,"
Slatter said.

The outcry by some homeschoolers is uncalled for.

Hal Young, a member of the board of Johnston County Home Educators, a support group for home-school parents, said it is upsetting that a judge can so radically alter a family's lifestyle.

Let's get one thing straight the judge didn't alter this family's lifestyle Venessa Mills did when she filed for divorce.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homeschooling Concerns Baseless

VJACK's post Atheist Homeschooling listed some of his concerns about homeschooling in general and atheist (really anyone who isn't part of the Fundamentalist Christian Homeschooling community) homeschoolers in particular. This is my response.

First I don't believe imparting your moral values is a "wrong reason" to homeschool. This is my response to VJACK's post Homeschooling is About Indoctrination. Public schools also indoctrinate children often with views that are different then, even hostile to their parents world view. Unfortunately no matter who is doing the teaching be it a public school teacher or a parent their biases will be part of the lesson. Parents have every right to impart their "moral values" to their children. And while I am pro-choice anti-choice parents have every right to teach their children their beliefs. I am very disturbed by VJACK's desire to indoctrinate children through the public school system with his beliefs in opposition to their parents beliefs.

I suppose the thing I would most worry about if I were an atheist parent considering homeschooling would be the issue of academic equivalency.

I have no doubt that my children received a superior education compared to what they would have received in the public schools. My eldest son started college at 16, he is in his fourth year of a computer science degree. He is also paying his own tuition with a scholarship and the money he earns at his part time job. He will graduate debt free. My youngest son is in his senior year of high school and is taking a course at the local community college for dual credit, he has an A in the class. Parents who choose to homeschool invest time and money in their children's education we are highly motivated to see that our children are well prepared for college and life. VJACK basis his concern on this

As someone who teaches college, I have found that the homeschooled children who end up there are often seriously unprepared to succeed.

I wonder how many of the public school students who end up in his classroom are also unprepared to succeed? I also wonder how many well prepared homeschooled students are in his classroom that he never realizes were homeschooled because they don't fit into his stereotypes of homeschooling?

According to Associated Content

A common homeschool myth is the one that assumes children who attend a homeschool will not be prepared for college.

However, many college recruiters disagree with this myth, and in fact, some even prefer homeschooled students. Why? Many students who homeschool have advanced studying skills, such as the knowledge of various resources, as well as the ability to work well independently. Homeschoolers can also possess exceptional teamwork and social skills, which are very essential to many college courses.

In addition to the above qualities, many homeschooled children begin taking college level courses before they are finished with their K-12 education, due to the flexibility of their schedules and the opportunity to advance at one's own pace.

The second concern involves the social development of the homeschooled child. In many respects, the social aspects of the school experience as as important as the academic ones. Christians who homeschool are probably going to have an easier time finding others homeschooling through their church than atheist parents can find through some alternative. How does the atheist parent attend to social development and prevent his or her child from being woefully unprepared to form positive peer relations?

The simple answer to this is you form your own homeschool groups or find inclusive and secular ones. There are also recreational sports teams/drama clubs/chess clubs etc. your children can join.

While I do not see this as a major barrier, I also wonder if it could be argued that an atheist parent who homeschools might be doing his or her children a disservice by depriving them of the opportunity to learn how to navigate the challenges of living as an atheist among a largely religious populace.

Funnily enough the opposite argument (it could be argued that a CHRISTIAN parent who homeschools might be doing his or her children a disservice by depriving them of the opportunity to learn how to navigate the challenges of living as an CHRISTIAN among a largely secular/materalistic populace) is often made in reference to religious homeschoolers who feel the public schools are a cesspool of secular humanism. Homeschoolers do not live in splendid isolation. We meet all sorts of people from various backgrounds merely by going about our daily lives. It's also ironic that VJACK assumes that his children will share his atheist beliefs, but then I suppose he intends to brainwash or indoctrinate them with his beliefs.

And before I start getting a lot of hostile comments for that bit of snark let me elaborate. All parents have the desire to pass their beliefs or values on to their offspring. We all believe our beliefs are the "right/correct" ones. But for some reason when Christians share their beliefs with their own children atheist often decry it as brainwashing/indoctrination. Ironically they are guilty of the same thing with their children but they don't consider it brainwashing or indoctrination because they are certain their beliefs are the only sane rational way to live. In a truly tolerant and diverse society both the Christians and the Atheist would respect each others beliefs and respect their right to pass their beliefs on to their own children.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Check Out The Blarney Edition of The Carnival of Homeschooling

The Blarney Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is hosted at The Homeschool Cafe.

Divorce at root of homeschool decision

I am baffled why Venessa Mills didn't think a judge would get involved over the couples dispute over the decision to send their children to public school or continue homeschooling when she is in the middle of a divorce.

This really doesn't seem to be much of a homeschooling issue although many homeschoolers are already up in arms about the judge ordering the kids back to public school.

Sadly the parents do not agree on what the best educational choice is for the children. The Father wants them to go to public school where they will learn about evolution. The Mother wants to homeschool them and teach them creationism. Someone had to decide which parent would win; and in cases of divorce it's usually a judge. If the couple were not divorcing then it would be up to the parents to reach a compromise, unfortunately when marriages dissolve judges wind up making many decisions regarding the children that are caught in the middle.

The Torment's of the Modest,Secluded Farm Life

Poor Doris Anne Beaulieu had strict parents who sent her to a PRIVATE SCHOOL, so now that she is all grown up she is writing books attacking homeschooling and parents who choose to homeschool their children.

If I had the time I would write a book chronicling the shitty experiences I had in the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM and how I am emotionally damaged because of them. But I would never assume that my experiences were shared by every public school student in America or demonize parents who send their children to public schools.

I am sorry that Ms. Beaulieu didn't have the childhood she thinks would have most benefited her but to assume that her life experiences are the norm for homeschoolers is ludicrous especially as she wasn't even homeschooled and she seems to know very little about homeschooling.

Her biased and prejudiced opinions deserve to be ignored as the rantings of a embittered woman who wants to "punish" homeschoolers because she didn't have the childhood she wanted.

Go orange for the animals

This April, the ASPCA will kick-off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month on April 7 when iconic buildings and landmarks across the country will support the ASPCA’s life-saving work as they light up in its signature color and “Go Orange for Animals.”

But before you contribute to your local SPCA be sure to check them out some SPCA's having been using their power to steal pets from their owners. Even though the animals are well cared for and loved. Read more about it at Jan's Funny Farm.