I was just surfing the internet reading up on the latest homeschool news. Always a mistake. Yes, I should be in bed but I'm trying to recover from a not-the-greatest day by spending some quality alone time. I'll regret it tomorrow.
Homeschool news always prompts comments. My hubby forbid me from reading those comments several years ago as they usually make my head explode (red-heads are known for their even-keel personalities after all) but every once in awhile I can't help myself. I keep thinking that the general public will stop making uneducated, ill-informed comments about socialization and lack of accountability.
Here's my biggest pet-peeve comment from anti-homeschooler commenters: "Homeschoolers just want to protect their children from the world. Their children will never be able to handle real life." (That wasn't a direct quote; I was using the quote marks improperly--just in case you were wondering.)
Isn't it my right to protect my children as much as possible from the harsh things of the world? Shouldn't every responsible parent protect their children from the worst parts of growing up if at all possible? Wouldn't the world be a kinder, lovelier place if that protection was in place? The logic of allowing your children to experience awful things is very questionable. If a child endures bullying does that make the child better? Stronger? More bitter? More angry? More unsure of himself? Is there any research to back up the theory that it will make the child stronger and a more competent adult? If so, why do we spend so much time passing bullying legislation and trying to remove it from our schools? If it makes children stronger and more capable of "handling life" we should encourage bullying and reward bullies for all the good they do our society.
What about sexual harassment? That's a good one. If a girl doesn't hear 3-10 nasty sexual innuendoes or crass comments a week she'll probably grow up to be completely unable to handle the workplace where that sort of thing is absolutely not tolerated. At least, not in any of the workplaces I've experienced.
What other lovely things must our children experience to truly "handle life"? Drugs? Loneliness? Isolation? I know--how about the vicious meanness my sister dealt with because she refused to allow other students to use her answers? Excellent. Can't manage life at all until you've experienced all that great stuff. Because I deal with it every single day as an adult. Right? Don't you?
And the next question is when should our children experience all this stuff to turn out the optimal adult? Pre-school? Kindergarten? Surely if your child can't handle basic bullying by age 8 he's going to be an utter failure in life. You should make sure he's getting his fair share of bullying right away. You don't want him to get behind. Definitely if your daughter can't handle a reference to her pubic hair (I'm a red-head, there's special criteria for harassing us) by the time she's 12 you might as well give up on her now. She'll be a complete failure in the "real" world.
Heavens, why not throw them in daycare at birth so they learn to compete for attention, feed themselves, change their own diapers, and comfort themselves when they get fussy? Wouldn't want to pamper them. Babies, after all, are only a few short years younger than the kindergarteners who absolutely must be in school to turn out as decent citizens.
My point is that our world is a harsh, harsh place and whatever I can do to allow my children to remain innocent of that fact, I will do. For as long as I can do it. The reality is that we can't protect our children nearly as much or as long as we would wish--regardless of how we educate them. While I understand people being wary of homeschooling (I certainly was before I tried it) the "bubble" argument is stupid. No two ways about it.