Lip Gloss and Homeschooling?

Sunday, November 28, 2004
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The usually-confused Laura Berman – a Detroit News columnist – takes a nasty poke at homeschooling that fails to make any legitimate point whatsoever:

I never thought the day would arrive when I would understand the impulse to home school.

The idea of removing children from the real world and educating them in the cloister of your basement rec room — in essence to deprive your children of any knowledge but that which you spoon-feed them — has always struck me as problematic, if not wrongheaded.

Until last Tuesday.

That was when my daughter asked a question I’d presumed to be still years away.

“Mommy, can I have lip gloss?”

She’s not yet 4. We were eating breakfast.

“No, you may not have lip gloss,” I responded.

Then, I wondered: How does she know about lip gloss? Who is giving her lip gloss?

And so I conceived the first component of my personal home-school curriculum: It would provide a 100 percent lip gloss-free environment for children under 6. In fact, the entire industry of cosmetics for 4-year-olds would not be allowed in my home school.

Therefore, a child getting too old too fast is Berman’s impetus for thinking that there has got to be better ways than homeschooling to keep your kids from all the sin and corruption out there in that, you know, “real world.” She uses homeschooling as a target – a target for pointing out that you’re some kind of an idiot if you think you can shield your kids from life’s little realities, like, you know, having them ask what an orgasm is at age five, smoking cigarettes at nine, and having oral sex or intercourse at age ten.

Apparently, it’s not “real world” to:

* have your child spend 3 hours per day on high-level, individualized learning, instead of six hours being either overwhelmed by lesser morons, or underwhelmed by no intellectual challenges whatsoever.

* teach your child classical piano, how to read music, how to study intellectual history, speak Latin, and learn calculus, and all of that by age nine or ten, instead of sending them off to a public craphole to play “Lowest Common Denominator” or “Who’s got the condom and how do I put it on?”

* spend your day teaching your kid how to lead a virtuous, educated life according to your vision of the world, instead of shoving them off on a public system where uneducated strangers would tell your kid how to live and learn according to their prejudices and their ideals. Imagine that horror of taking it upon yourself to hand down religious values, virtues, and moral teaching? The GALL of a homeschooling parent!

In addition, it’s terribly sad to see people so attached to the notion of a spoon-fed, public education (that’s right Laura….that’s where the real spoon-feeding is), that they cannot even dream of an instance where parents would take it upon themselves (gasp!) to educate their kids, via their own dollars, time, and energy, and without the force and dollars of the State to do it for them.

(Read why the Detroit schools are the worst on the planet. And here. And here.) Here’s one fuzzy little comment I can’t resist:

In Detroit, all of its 41 high schools failed the federal standards.

Ain’t that nice Laura? The Chief Executive Officer of Detroit’s schools, Kenneth Burnley, makes a quarter million a year, in a totally failed school district. And that isn’t a market-determined wage.

Out in the ‘burbs, things don’t get a whole lot better, except the passing rates are a little higher. Berman is pathetic, as she essentially tells the reader that all homeschooling is “removed from the real world,” as she, by way of her carefully-placed words and mindset, glorifies the spoon-fed, force-fed, collective, welfare education handed down by a bunch of greedy, overpaid, hapless bureaucrats that park their asses in overpaid jobs and fancy offices, enriching themselves and their little power trip at the expense of local taxpayers, running public-fed schools into the ground.

Berman is what I call an Education Nazi, or one who would do anything so that parents could not have control over their kids’ education, as they see fit. And they’ll rationalize the need for public education any way they can.

Newsflash Mrs. Berman: not everyone who homeschools their child is a fundamentalist nutbag that wants to shield their kid from lip gloss, short skirts, and bad words. If you don’t have enough love and guts to do this, then shut up and get back to your PTA meetings.

UPDATE: I wrote a whole column expanding on this, to be on soon.

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