Thursday, April 04, 2013

Adventures in Home-Schooling: Why iPads? Why Aliens? Why Magnets?

So as y'all know we homeschool the kid.

This is (mostly) not for religious reasons, although we did have some trouble with fundamentalist Christians relentlessly proselytizing my little Jewish five-year-old in kindergarten, trying to save her young soul from the pits of everlasting hell.  That got wearing.

No, the main reasons we pulled her out of school were threefold (1) she was outgrowing Montessori school, and would have had to go to Junior High in public school, which, argh, Junior High and (2) Public School combined with No Child Left Behind has led to an unpleasant focus on standardized testing, from what I understand and MOSTLY (3) my kid has not been raised, as most local kids have, with an unquestioning obedience to authority.

To wit, we raised her to argue when she thinks something or someone is wrong.  (Two Jews, three opinions, as the saying goes.)  This never sat well with her teachers, even at the Montessori school, and the other she got, the less well they took it. I began encouraging her to let some things go.  "Can't you just know they're wrong and keep it to yourself?" I would plead, tired of being called into school every fucking day.

"Ma!" she would exclaim passionately.  "Then they would be teaching the other kids lies!"

And really, it was hard for me to argue with her.  These were mostly things like a refusal on the teachers' part to acknowledge that Columbus had mistreated the Tainos, or to teach that natural selection actually functioned, or that the metric system was more sensible than our system, or that gay does (in fact) mean homosexual -- all stuff that the kid knew to be so; and probably things the teachers knew to be so, too, I have to believe, but which they were refusing to admit for various reasons.

Well, eventually, the psychic toll was too much for me, and too much for me to watch her going through, and we pulled her out.  Homeschooling has been better.  She studies on her own a lot, and on the net a lot; I do Latin and writing with her, and we have a tutor for math and art. She gets plenty of sleep, and spends hours -- literally hours -- each day working on drawing.  That last would not be possible if she were attending a traditional school.  Nor would she be getting the nine to ten hours of sleep she gets each day.  I remember when I was her age -- I slept, probably 4 or 5 hours a night, and was miserable because of it.

The one part I could do without is what we did today: homeschooled kids in Arkansas do standardized testing too.  It's not as bad as what the schools do, since it's only a half-day of testing, and only covers math and reading.  But it means getting up early, going down to the Baptist church, and it means I have to hang out in a room filled with home-schooling parents while the kid does her testing.

It's that part I could do without.

Because my shit are these people special.

I mean I'm sure some of them are perfectly nice, perfectly decent people.  Those would be the ones who are reading their iPads (like I was) or their books, being quiet, keeping to themselves.

But about 1/5 of them talk, loudly, to one another, about everything that is Wrong With Amuricah!

Here is what is Wrong With Amuricah! (In case you did not know):

(1) People keep buyin those iPads!  And those Phones!  You know a phone used to be something you called people on?  Now you read books on it!  And play music!  And watch movies!  And do chattin?  Everybody always lookin at their phone instead of looking around!  Always buying the newest phone, newest iPad or whatnot.  Read your Bible!  Read your Bible!  Jesus has something to say about that.

(2) Little kids need to be out bein kids, runnin around, not sittin in classrooms.  Why, 99% of those kids, the teachers force you -- FORCE you! -- to put them on drugs, cause they're too lazy to do their jobs, too lazy to teach, ruther turn'm into robots! Stead of letting them be kids, let'm run around, find a way to use their energy.  Just put'm on drugs instead.  And if they are ADD or whatever, really ADD, I mean, and not lazy teachers saying they's ADD, why, they's nature's way to handle that, with no Coca-cola, no sugar, natural foods and sunshine, you don't need to be drugging kids into robots!

(3) What we really need is guns.  Give ever teacher a gun.  Give'm two!  Arm those teachers, you won't have anyone shooting up schools.  Well, you might, cause you's always gonna have crazy people, but then the teachers could shoot back at least.  Put guns in schools, it's not rocket science!

(4) Aliens!  Aliens ain't ever gonna invade America and here's why, I'll tell you why.  We can't get along with each other now.  How's we gonna get along with a bunch of aliens?  Naw!  Never happen!

(5)  Naw, I don't teach my kids all that history. Or biology.  Well, I teach'm some.  But who needs to know all that?  Who's gonna use it?  Maybe a bunch of college professors, but other than that?

(6) They don't even teach cursive in the schools anymore.  Do you believe that?  My kindergarteners are learning cursive!  But my neighbor's girl, she comes home from third grade, she's still printing.  Naw, they ain't teaching her to write cursive!  Just printing!

(7)  None of these kids can read maps.  Don't even own maps.  Don't you have a map? I asked her.  Oh, I just look it up on my phone, she says. Now what sense does that make?

(8)  Opposites attract, everyone says, but that's just not true.  What about magnets?  Huh?  What about magnets?

(9) That's why they call'm Mooo-slims, you know.  Cause they're stupid as cows.  I mean, look at that guy, that Mooo-slim's prophet, their leader?  Nothing he said made any sense.  It's just not logical.  He said he was the last prophet!  And then he said he was the only prophet!  Well, if he's the last prophet, then there must've been other prophets!  Right?  Right?

(10) Then there's that big fat Buddha.  Bringing your big fat Buddha here, demanding we worship him.  Saying we gotta worship your bid fat ugly Buddha, and taking our God outta the schools at the same time, making it against the law to have our God in the schools, but forcing our kids to worship your fat Buddha in the classroom?  How's that make sense?  I say if you come to our country, you learn our language, and you practice our religion.  That just makes sense.

                                                         **** ***** ******

This is when I want to start laughing incredulously, because good shit, how can anyone, no matter how low information and no matter how deranged, actually believe any of that?

I have to believe -- on some level -- that like the kid's teachers and the bit about the metric system and Columbus -- they don't actually believe it: that they are only pretending to for politic or spiritual reasons of their own.

But Holy Cow is it depressing to listen to.

And it's equally depressing to know that when I say I'm home-schooling my kid, this is what people think I am.


dorki said...

Holy $#!+, how did you survive, I would have gone straight into The Madness Place in there!

Wear your strength and devotion with pride, you earned it.

Bardiac said...

I have to confess to laughing in my office, especially when I got to the big, fat Buddha. (I know some representations of the Buddha show him as fat, but it's still funny.)

I hope your kid wasn't too miserable with the tests!

delagar said...

The kid says actually the other kids are not so bad, although the monitor did keep telling her to smile.

"Did she tell the *boys* to smile?" I demanded.

The kid rolled her eyes.

Anonymous said...

All you have to do is think about how these are the people, the very ones, that aliens travel across multiple universes just to give one of them a proctal.

You say to yourself, wow, this hillbilly is way overdue for one of those alien ass exams. And it cheers you up. You can't help but smile. It works for me every time. --L

Anonymous said...

I was doing fine there until #8. Wha?

delagar said...

As with Bardiac, the fat-shaming of the Buddha is when I started to laugh. But yeah, the fucking magnets, how do they work non sequitur was a rich, too!

Unknown said...

I didn't make it past your #2... gods that pisses me off when people spout off shit about ADD being caused by sugar and TV and crap... if I had the energy to have steam spew out of my ears, I totally would...


lfconrad said...

Anyone who knows you KNOWS you are not like those parents...and no one else's opinion matters, IMHO.