Simcha Fisher, one of those important Catholic bloggers (you have to be on Patheos or at the National Catholic Register or at least on Fr Z's blogroll), wrote a funny-to-me post about ex-homeschoolers putting their children into mainstream school. I felt varying answers of a, b, c as I put Boy in half-day kindergarten last week (a blue-ribbon school! in walking distance! teacher plays the guitar every morning! I volunteer weekly!) with the hope that he will be (charterschooled) homeschooled beginning in the 1st grade.
But Simcha got a bit testy in the comment box, responding to some testy types; she knows some "humorless" homeschooling parents who are raising "dreadful dreadful children." Ouch- rather harsh, don't you think? .
It got me to thinking. I suppose some homeschooled children are "dreadful, dreadful" people (in the here-&-now-they-don't-smile-&-are-annoying-&-their-mom-isn't-doing-much-with-them sense, not in the eternal sense, thank God). And some traditionally schooled children might be as well. But I'd rather compare adults. Let's keep the children out of this.
just kidding, Simcha! (I'm sorry- I can't find the source)
I personally know families who homeschool traditionally, classically, Charlotte Mason, and eclectically in many different ways. Some use Seton, use MODG, use a public charter school to homeschool (that's me), unschool, or carschool. Each family has varying levels of 'success' and different ways to measure their success. I know other families that use public schools, charter schools, alternative schools, Protestant schools, parish schools, and independent Catholic schools. Each of these families has varying levels of 'success' and different ways to measure their success. And some families go from one way of educating to another to yet another depending on the child, the season of life, and family needs and abilities.
We need to be judgmental. I have made a judgement that for now my children will be homeschooled. It is this strong feeling that gives me the strength to oversee my children's education and to get in the car yet again for their many supplemental activities. I have made a judgement that public half-day kindergarten is the best for Boy. This strong belief gives me the strength to get him in the car by 7:45 in the morning with a healthy snack and his parented-checked homework. It gives me the strength to find time and energy to volunteer in his classroom.
But just because I have judged what is best for my children right now, this does not give me the right to judge another family's intentional choice. There are pros and cons to everything in life. School would make certain aspects of my life easier. If I hadn't judged that homeschooling was best for the children right now, I wouldn't be doing it.
I must admit that the diversity in Boy's public school is off-putting. In the homeschool world I live in, there are Catholics of all types (long skirts, skirts-to-the-knee, very conservative, almost liberal, classical, unschooling, etc), pagans (really), tattooed types, army types, Protestants, purple mohawk types, happily married, divorced, widowed, and people from every corner of the world. But at our local (blue ribbon!) public elementary, some of the parents are....interesting. Some dads proudly wear the regalia of the local gangs. A few moms seem (I'm a little jealous, but that's ridiculous) less than 100 pounds. But look closer and they have the teeth and skin of someone addicted to methamphetamine. I've never seen a drug addict bother to homeschool.
Because tax-funded public school is the default position for most parents, one finds literally every kind of person there. This can be a good thing, but sometimes it is scary and perhaps dangerous. In the Catholic and general mommyblog blogospheres, we all seem to be really intentional about our decisions as parents. Some might get judgmental of another family's choices, but this is only because we have strong feelings about our personal choices. If we prayed about our choices and then went boldly in the direction where God was leading us, there would be less need for a quiz like Simcha's. We would do the right thing- homeschooling, private schooling, public schooling- for our own children and not look back. Like our teachers said- "Keep your eyes on your own work!"
I hope it isn't wrong to comment about a comment...but her comment just 'inspired' this post- I think Simcha will understand what I am getting at- I didn't want to take over her combox.