Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Capital N, Small Y...

Big Fuckin' Q. That's Ny-Quil, baby. I'm rockin' a NQ hangover, but I do feel less congested this morning. Of course, had I not combined the two gelcaps with a Tylenol 3 I might be a bit perkier this am, but whatever. I had to make the coughing stop, people!

No photo content for you today, alas. Nothing done, though I should be able (God willing and the crick don't rise) to get the two baby sets done today. If I can find the other card of buttons for the girl sweater. One has gone missing to parts unknown and as such I am two buttons shy of a full band. Worse luck, that.

But I have a new washing machine at last! Yay! Got all the laundry washed and folded too, so that's not hanging over my head like a storm cloud.

Bug and Dave are all but fully recovered, but Bobo is taking the brunt of this cold and got herself a trip to the doc yesterday with a fever. She has the beginnings of an ear infection. Not bad yet, but on antibiotics to wipe it out. The doc said her throat looked "beefy" and ran a strep test but it was negative, so that's good. Might be why she's off her feed these days.

She's much better this morning already.

Now if my cold would go away, that'd be just swell.

Here's a tidbit I picked up from GMA this morning. Now I know I shouldn't watch that show because it irritates me, but my unhealthy obsession with Chris Cuomo won't be denied. Don't judge me.

I was interested this morning because Diane is in Lapland, wayyyy up there at the top of Finland. I guessed where she was when one of her clues was a Lapp hatt. I recognized it right off, and any knitting content at all is reason enough to stay tuned. And did I mention Chris Cuomo? Where was I? Oh yes, part of her report was on a couple and their baby and the fact that unlike the US, the Finnish government pays a parent to stay home for the first year of the baby's life. (I think it was the first year--it wasn't clear to me. And I'm not sure if the government pays the company or the couple, but they did say it was a law. I got that part right.) It sounded lovely to me, at any rate. Because no one is paying me to stay home, that's for sure.

In a following segment, just before Emeril unveiled the winner of the Crock Pot Cookoff, there's a discussion of Obama's plan to implement mandatory pre-K for all public schools. And a group of parents and educators are outraged at the waste of taxpayer money for supporting this. Their POV was along the lines of "Why shell out all that money for an unnecessary program? As it is we supply K-12 education for all children and we're woefully behind other countries in all areas. Why would adding one more year advance us at all? How about spending those tax dollars on improving the 13 grades we already have?"

Which I thought was a good point.

One woman, a parent and director of a private preschool said that as an educator she'd prefer to run her own school on private funds and provide an outstanding education experience than to become a public school and subject to the restraints of government. Plus, there are plenty of private preschools around, and if you can't afford it there are also publicly funded preschool programs as well, like Head Start. We are not wanting for pre-K education.

Also a good point, though I don't see why there's not room for private and public preschools. Even with public ed available, there's still a plethora of private schools from which to choose. And many do, for a variety of reasons.

So melding the two reports together I decided something. You know what I'd like? I'd like someone to cut me a check for the cost of putting one of my kids through a pre-K program for one year so that I can extend my maternity leave that much longer. My kids don't require preschool so far as I can tell. How 'bout Obama pays me to stay home for another year? That'd be sweet.

When did having your kids home with you as preschoolers become a bad thing?

Which has got me feeling a lot more sympathetic towards homeschooling families. I've always maintained that I would never do it because I don't think I'm qualified to teach my own kids. Knowing things yourself and being able to impart that knowledge is a skill, and my own skills there are rudimentary. I'd rather my kids be in the hands of trained, skilled educators.

I love teachers, and I always will. God bless them for the work they do.

Plus, I like to know that my kids will be meeting and dealing with a cross-section of people. They'll meet rich kids and poor ones, ones who were well-raised and ones who were raised by imbeciles. The world is made up of all kinds of people and we learn from them. We don't necessarily become like them.

I freely admit that one of my biases against homeschooling comes entirely from my own experiences with homeschooling families around here. The only ones I know do it for religious reasons and there's a fanaticism to it that bothers me. It's as if they don't want their kids to ever hear anything that goes against what their particular church teaches, or to spend time with other kids who might be of a different faith and upbringing. In short, all the homeschool kids I've ever met are frighteningly sheltered. I've never met any homeschool parents who want their kids to go out and suck the marrow out of life. Homeschool, church, and that's it. That's all you need.

It's certainly off-putting, especially if you rely on a homeschooling group for social interaction and these are the only people in the group. Sounds neither social nor interactive to me. *shrugs*

I only know one family locally who does it out of other circumstances. They live in a sub-standard school district and have kids with special educational needs on top of that. I can't relate to their experience either since I'm in a fabulous school district. I really can't complain. Plus, those kids are in HS and are learning online. It's a little different at that point. And they're competitive snowboarders and skiiers on the junior national level and spend much of the year out in the snow. Regular school doesn't jibe with that. Homeschooling for that mom became more of a "you gotta do what you gotta do" kind of thing.

I guess when I think about it, I never want my kids to be "sheltered". If the downside of exposing them to the world at large is they learn too much, too quickly--well, that's what I'm here for: to sort things out for them at the end of the day. To teach them right from wrong and instill those values that we hold dear, as well as how to apply those values in everyday life, no matter who you meet or what happens that day.

So on the one hand, while I'm in no hurry to get myown kids in pre-K--kindergarten comes soon enough if you ask me--I certainly don't begrudge parents who do want their kids in for that extra year of school. But on t'other hand, I do wonder if that public education money couldn't be better spent elsewhere, you know? I'd never given it much thought before.

And my desire to keep my babies home with me for as much of their "formative" years as possible feels somehow at odds with my desire for them to have a good, well-rounded public school education.

I'd be interested in hearing from more homeschooling parents. Why do you do it? What benefits have you seen, and what drawbacks have you found? I want to know more.

I always want to know more.

Added in a later edit:

*Here's something interesting. If you want to homeschool your kid, but you don't want a religious curriculum, you're kind of hosed. Try finding information on secular homeschooling online. You will find information on pagan homeschooling groups or athiest homeschooling groups, and tons of brands of religious homeschooling in every denomination under the sun, but nothing in between. I'm going to keep looking, but WTF?

Maybe more people would do it if there was more middle of the road support? It's an interesting new thesis for me.


Blogger Meg Weaver said...

Not a homeschooling parent but I was homeschooled from 3rd - 10th grades. We chose to homeschool because we were in a not very good school district and there were no nearby private schools. We didn't use a purchased curriculum until I began high school. Until then, we used a combination of textbooks loaned to us by the public school (mandated by WV law, but not an option everywhere), old textbooks like McGuffey's Reader, the non-fiction section of the public library and "homework helper" types of workbooks purchased from school supply stores. When I started high school, we used a Christian curriculum only because we needed a school that would offer us a diploma (which I wound up not getting for a host of other reasons). For non-denominational curriculum, check out and

3:33 PM  
Blogger SiressYorkie said...

I think homeschooling isn't the OOoooh, creepy! thing it used to be. There are a lot more resources and materials available than there used to be. I'm all for it, in the right circumstances, and if we ever have to move back to Maryland, it will be a very strong option for Maxman. And I would be perfectly willing to teach him.

We also know of a family (Unitarians) like us who were big home schoolers and tried to join the social community. They were told flat out not to come back because they weren't Christian. "It makes others feel very awkward because you're not of the same faith". Yep. Direct quote.

I would've argued back that Jesus was black, wasn't at ALL Christian, and hung out with hookers, boozers, and tax men. Hey, if you're being flamed, may as well make the ride worth it. It could be why I don't have many friends.

I like the idea of Pre-K starting up. It's a great thought. The Brits start kids young, but they also graduate a full year before they're ready for Uni. They call it the Gap Year, and most kids do an internship or travel during that year or just get a job. Works out rather well.

However, the execution of such an education reform is, at best, quite muddy. Is the thinking, If we start them earlier, they'll go farther? And, as you mentioned, where will the money be found for such a system? More inexperienced presidenting, I think...

4:31 AM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

I'm just catching up with your blog. I'm wondering if I wasn't stuck in cache land. Anyways, I think there are lots of homeschooling parents out there who are not "afraid" of what their children will be exposed to, but what they WON'T be exposed to. They just do it...'cause they can. There is no particular perspective. (Though I often think about how I would manage the chemistry stuff.)

Brings to mind a former yoga instructor. She was a Penn grad, and home schooled her two children. She'd bring them with her to yoga and they'd spend their time working on their assignments. Seemed pretty well adjusted to me. The little boy DID have "baby chick blue" hair on occasion, but heck it's just hair. He also carried a soccer ball and wore his practice uni too.

11:20 AM  

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