If homeschool were an op, what would it look like?

  • It would frame homeschooling as the only way to protect your children from evil liberal influences.
  • It would frame economic fragility as a moral good and a sign of superior parenting.
  • It would, when families crashed into the income strains of dad not actually earning enough to support a family on one income, suggest that the solution was high-risk, low-reward occupations like MLM or online selling.
  • It would redirect grassroots organizing energy towards the most unstable and ineffective group structure possible— the co-op.
  • It would redirect lawfare and regulatory organizing energy, and political energy towards inventing a right to homeschool and then legally codifying that right. This drains the pool of legal talent that could pursue legal remedies within the conventional educational system. It also makes it much easier to ignore the wishes of parents within the conventional educational system. After all, they can just use their “legal right to homeschool” if they don’t like what’s being taught.
  • It would be avidly decentralist and fight any attempt to develop a baseline of skills or credentialing that might present a viable alternative to the conventional public education system.
  • If homeschool were an op, it would look exactly like homeschooling has looked for the last 35 years.
  • Homeschool is an op. And it’s the most effective op in half a century.

For righties, 50 dollars is 50 thousand when it comes to funding normal living and healthy social dynamics.

The title says it all, really. Spending fifty bucks in a month to have someone else do some dropoffs and pickups a couple times a month so you can have time to prepare homeschool curriculum or run some errands all on the same day or do a couple more labor-intensive chores without interruptions is heard by the generic average right wing, conservative, Republican, etc person as “So you’re saying I need to spend fifty thousand bucks a year on a full time nanny/cook/housekeeper/whatever”.

Fundamentally righties are against spending money at all, ever, even on a minor, incidental, occasional basis for small tasks to help structure and smooth their lives out. They are all unwittingly echoing the evil and broke Lady Susan from the Whit Stillman take on Jane Austen, Love and Friendship: “As there is an element of friendship involved, the paying of wages would be offensive to us both.”

So the left slices, dices and turns into an antisocial, corporatized transaction every kind of task like that and the result is bad working conditions and pay for the people involved performing the services and tasks, further social atomization and isolation and just that little bit more difficulty in building and maintaining that kind of community glue. Because that sort of incidental labor used to be very common in American society. It was looser, more casual and certainly more occasional in scope, but Americans did used to pay people to do various tasks, at even lower-middle class and poverty-class income ranges. The complicated favor trading systems still present in some poverty-heavy communities are remnants of this broader pattern.

A couple years ago I paid an art student to draw and paint with my kids for about three hours five or six times so I could clean out the garage. Righties tend to be of the view that my husband should have watched the kids, or I should have done the clean out at some mysterious time where the kids weren’t around (but also homeschool because public school is too secular and icky) or that I should have a similarly mysterious large pool of people who will just show up and help out for any amount of time for free with zero notice.

And yes, righties say that paying money for services is an impossible luxury nobody should expect to have while…paying homeschool co-op teachers. I guess there’s the exception and why it has remained the exception (and not quite as much of one as you’d think, plenty of co-ops implode over lack of people willing and able to co-op it up completely salary-free) for decades is left as an exercise for the discerning intellect.

Fraud Alert, John Taylor Gatto edition

If you’re going to set up alternative sources of authority, you need to vet them for fraudulence.  John Taylor Gatto is demonstrably set up as a homeschooling authority figure and even when his name isn’t directly mentioned, the boilerplate about the “Prussian system” and “everyone was college-level literate before the evils of public school” shows up in plenty of conservative advocacy of homeschooling. But Gatto’s claims are not vetted, and when they are questioned, the response is that *footnotes are a tool of the man to keep you from going on a heart journey*.  An example of not vetting Gatto is the claims he makes about literacy being higher before compulsory public education by comparing WWI literacy *data* with literacy *reports* from before WWI.  Subjective reports that ranged from being able to compose a complex essay to being able to sign one’s name are not really a useful way to assess historical literacy or compare it to hard data after the World Wars, yet that very digging into the primary sources and trying to get at the heart of things is ostentatiously absent when it comes to Gatto among homeschool advocates. This is part of a larger problem with modern people conservative and liberal alike running screaming from explicit authority, but then becoming ensnared by the allure of false authorities.

Why the right in America is basically hippies all the way down.

The right in America is countercultural because it’s people who were unhappy with managerialism (rule by midcentury technocrats and proto-Ifreakinglovescience/VOX.com types). This turned out to be flower children and fundamentalists. During the 1960s and 70s, they literally got together and had babies and those babies are mostly what we call “conservatives” or “the right” or “right-wing” in America. We also use phrases like “Evangelical Christian” as well. So it’s not that righties have no principles, it’s that the two big righty principles are anti-managerialism and a hankering for pastoral living. When you look at the last few stereotypical secular/nonChristian hippie types remaining, you see that there’s not a lot of sunlight between them and your organic chicken raising, homeschooling Christian mom of 2-4 kids.

Righties need to accept the historical transition they underwent and acknowledge who and what they properly are, so they can stop being led around by Ayn Rand acolytes into the very managerialism and hyper-urban life they loathe and fear (mostly rightly, pun very intended). Righties are less formally social than lefties, and this is to be expected since one can only arrive at fandom for managerialism by being overly formally socialized. Note that I’m not saying rightie levels of socialization are necessarily too low or poor (sometimes yes, sometimes no), merely that the left embraces levels that are unnaturally ordered in their formality.

This is, incidentally, why the “homeschool or die” thing is so dumb. It’s exit, done in a way that…forces you into overly formal settings for socializing! It’s worse than public school for locking you in with a very narrow, insular group of people. The righties who are doin’ it rong, who are truly UNDERsocialized, they’re the tail wagging the rest into less socialization, less civic participation, and ultimately less ability to be ORGANICALLY social in the semi-formal, not very managerial environments they so greatly prefer. We don’t have to choose from only social distancing life or the overly regimented daycare to grad school pipeline (pre-pre-k to MA, increasingly). It’s a false binary.

Where are the young Christian marriage partners?

Evangelical Christian private schools.  There is a great blog that tracks research and what data exists on homeschooling, and in this link there’s a discussion of some research into whether homeschooled kids marry and have kids differently than kids educated other ways (particularly public school kids).

In a nutshell, evangelical Christian private school attendees end up marrying before 25 and having their first kid a few years later.  Catholic school attendees marry around 28-30 and have their first kid ASAP.  Homeschool and public school kids have higher rates of teen and early 20s pregnancy and marriage (still fairly low in raw numbers) and higher rates of being unmarried at 39.

Without extreme religiosity, which drives most of the homeschool early marriage, homeschool family formation and childbearing is pretty much the same as public school family formation and childbearing, which is useful information for homeschoolers to have now that the extremely religious are a much smaller minority of homeschoolers these days.

I still haven’t cross-referenced this fully with lifetime births per woman, but I suspect based on demographic patterns that this means homeschoolers and public school kids have slightly fewer lifetime children per woman and probably per man than religious private schoolers of either Catholic or Evangelical Christian persuasion.

Anyway my rapscallionate brood has ended up doing some time in evangelical Christian schools.

Realtalk for Righties: Homeschooling promotion vs. homeschool reality

It’s presented as easy to jump into, especially by conservative men talking out of their hats, but there are numerous obstacles and regional barriers.  A few of the more common ones are listed below.  Actually, this should be an ongoing series, with each one its own post.  A project for another time.  For now here’s the capsules.

  1. “Just go join a co-op!”  LOL.  As if they’re listed in the phone book, or posted at your local church (if you even have a local church, the commuter-Christian phenomenon is painfully familiar and common, and has been for much of American history).  The existence of contact information does not prove the co-op is open to new families.  The lack of contact information does not prove the co-op is closed to new families.  This is, needless to say, confusing as all get out, especially considering the state the average Christian SAHM is in.  Sure, I’ll take my sleep-deprived, pregnant self around to ten or twenty churches and ask about their homeschool co-ops, towing my four kids under 5 behind me.  Or I’ll compose a dozen emails because doesn’t every homeschool co-op have a well-designed website with contact information and details of how the co-op works prominently labelled?  Oh, oh, wait, wait, let me make PHONE CALLS while KIDS SCREAM IN MY EAR.
  2. “You can easily homeschool older kids with littles around!”  ROFLMSMBO (rolling on the floor laughing my shiny metal butt off).  Not really, no.  It’s hard to end up with the mix of personalities that would allow this to be possible, and what is rare and unusual at best is all too often presented as a normal, reasonable expectation in homeschooling.  But everyone lies.  It’s just not real.
  3. Not distinguishing between HomeSchool and School at Home.  The latter is just a way to bring all the ridiculous pedagogy from public school into your house for no gain and a lot of needless hassle.
  4. “It’s always superior to public school!”  LOLOLOLOL.  The homeschool vanguard, with exceptionally well-educated mothers who had access to classically trained elites (because that was their cousin or uncle) could not produce employable children.  They couldn’t even produce the army of little Lee Kwan Yews they were very convinced they would end up becoming the new elites.

Brought to you by my attempts to find other homeschoolers locally and the honest experiences of homeschoolers online and off when it’s just us ladies realtalking while the kids run around.