Real Talk for SAHMs: 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.


Deconstructing some homeschool myths

This is a general attempt to cover some of the myths of homeschooling that liberals seem peculiarly prone to thinking.

Myth #1: “Homeschooling works, but only because smart liberal college-educated white women do it!”

I have no idea why so many liberals really seem to believe this is the case.  Homeschooling’s effectiveness is boosted by selection bias, but it’s mostly in favor of conservative, intelligent, often (but not always) college-educated women.  Clever people can in fact be conservative and even go to “real” colleges like Swarthmore or Yale or Vanderbilt.  The entree of “crunchy” unschooling liberals into homeschooling has not panned out so well at all, and it’s interesting that anyone thinks so.  There is an idea that “ultra-conservative” homeschoolers are simply by virtue of being conservative and Christian too stupid to educate their own children.  Funny how that works.

Lydia McGrew (linked above) is far more typical of the original vanguard of conservative Christian homeschoolers than the mythical “fundie high school dropout” that is apparently associated with homeschooling and conservative Christian faith now.  Likewise, much of what became unschooling was not the product of what current liberals would consider “liberal” at all.

Myth #2: “Crunchy liberals collectively organize brilliant co-ops and arrange access to tutors and public school resources for their homeschooled kids, but conservative Christians just never, ever do!”

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  I have beefed at great length about the problems with collective organization among Christian homeschoolers, but among non-Christian homeschoolers, there isn’t even anything to beef about.  For the most part they flail around and their kids suffer for it, as fewer such mothers who can make it happen without any other resources are neither Christian nor conservative.  It is true that much of what passes for homeschooling today can’t compete with Oxbridge tutors, but the idea that fundie and conservative women are just uneducated slatterns incapable of teaching fifth grade level reading, math and writing to children is basically misogynist.  Which is also par for the liberal course.  Liberals do not organically organize for homeschooling as any kind of norm.  Conservatives kind of do  as a norm and sometimes effectively do.  That’s a huge difference.  And every single time, the functional cooperatives involve the support of the local neighborhood, parish/church and community.  Funny how that works, too.

I was going to cover some more, but I think that’s well enough.  I do think homeschooling is part of a path to better schooling overall, but that it can’t work with an assumption that each individual mother can do it all alone along with all the other household stuff.  I do find it interesting that I consistently see among liberal criticisms of homeschooling the idea that liberals can somehow pull Exeter-level cooperative private schooling out of thin air when there is zero statistical data to that effect but that all conservative SAHMs everywhere are uneducated drudges who are probably teaching their kids that the earth sits atop a turtle and is only 400 years old when there is also zero statistical data to that effect.

A brief bit of realtalk before I end this post.  The fundie kids getting the craziest bad education in homeschool settings?  Are being taught by their fathers.  It’s the people who make weird idols of a “patriarchy” of a single family (which is not patriarchy) and really do think the women are too stupid for words who are doing that sort of “educating”.  Not mothers, not even mothers who didn’t finish high school.

And this is why feminism isn’t normal.  It can’t stay away from misogyny because it’s a critique of men that ends with despising women.