Homeschooling is not a Swiss Army Knife

It is, of course, treated as such by conservatives.  No matter what the family situation, homeschooling is presented as the cure to lack of money, lack of community, multicultural conflict, bad marriage, no marriage, the list goes on and on.

Homeschooling is increasingly used as another way to retreat into a private but not domestic sphere.  I used to be very “you do you” about homeschooling, but now when I hear about yet another friend or family member opting to homeschool, I just see another couple who won’t be bringing anyone meals, who won’t be volunteering, who won’t be sitting up with the sick old lady at church, who won’t be participating in local civic life.

It is understandable to protect what is nearest to you, but it’s not a movement.  Or an all-purpose fix-it solution for the loss of posterity and social life.

Home Alone with the kids: A Coronarant

One of the hardest parts of dealing with the global phenomenon known as Wuhan virus, corona-chan, and more scientific names like Sars-COV-2, is the unbearable smugness of antisocial right-wing homeschooling types on twitter. Due to mass quarantines, twitter is putting the pitiable scraps of social into social media, with thousands more people using it daily now. Anyway the upshot is that you have a handful of right-wing types who are smugging it up about all the parents whose kids are now home all day and who have to teach those same kids for several hours a pop when they previously didn’t have to. Much of the snottiness revolves around saying that those nasty, terrible (public school implied) parents just don’t lovelovelove their kids because it turns out to be really challenging to both teach and have them at home all day with nowhere to go and those parents beef some about the situation. But the smug crew just snidely grins and says “I don’t get it, it’s just such a joy to always be near my precious children, teaching and REARING THEM MYSELF ALONE AND NOT LETTING OTHER PEOPLE RAISE MUH KIDZ. It’s just nonstop joy over here. Only a coldhearted person wouldn’t want to spend all day every single day with their own children!”

The question of whether they’re lying or not is irrelevant, what matters is that they are being cruel and of the nastier sort of whited sepulchres. They’re sneering, not sympathizing. It’s not a good look, much less a good witness. And yet calling it out just gets you yelled at and told you must also hatehatehate your precious children. Whatever. The reality is that my kids, being relatively emotionally and socially healthy, need and desire to be around other kids and adults. We’ve also raised our children to respect and honor adult authority that is valid and properly ordered because we can’t and shouldn’t be the only adult authority they acknowledge. Because we’re sane, our kids had social outlets and *gasp* left the house frequently and *doublegasp* even went to school part-time.

It’s never been normal to be locked in a cabin with your kids and a tiny patch of yard and not even see or talk to other people except on a screen of magic aether. It’s a super bad ultra dumb idea for homeschooling, Christian and Christian homeschooling types to present it as not just fine, but superior and properly ordered. It is in fact deranged to present quarantine-schoolin’ as a-ok and better for your kids.

This isn’t to handwave public schools’ numerous problems at all. It’s just to say that it’s idiotic to crow about how unable you are to function around other people and how super keen it is that you’ve raised kids who can’t manage it either. It’s like parents who brag that nobody can babysit their kids, not even people they know well and who they have strong personal trust with. It reflects on you, and not necessarily for the better.

It’s rocky. They miss their friends, they miss their enrichment classes, they miss seeing other adults who love God like Mamma and Daddy do. This isn’t basically great and easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. They miss libraries (wait, I thought libraries were approved of by the Karens of Homeschooling?), they miss playgrounds without caution tape (wait, I remember something about how Good Homeschool Moms always take their kids to parks a bunch? Guess I was dreaming it!), they miss many small things we have to keep explaining aren’t allowed or available due to “the virus”. All of this is ACTUALLY FOR REAL HARD. It absolutely isn’t like this if you’re “really” “full-time” homeschooling. If it is so barren and cloistered for you and your kids, well, you can search yourself and ask why you think such sparseness of exposure to life and other people is acceptable or reasonable in home education of children.

Or you know, continue snotting it up on twitter and other social media until the lockdowns end. As for me and mine, I’m done venting about and feel much less crabby about the gaslighting now.