Letters To The Editor For May 5th

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~Picked Up Another Lead From Writersweekly~

Hi, Angela:

Just wanted to say thanks. I just picked up another lead through
WritersWeekly.com.

Best,
Eva R. Marienchild
Professional Writer and Public Relations Specialist
http://www.hometown.aol.com/evarmarienchild
http://www.happyhealthbilingual.com

~Some Parents Should NOT Homeschool Their Children~

Dear Angela:

I read with interest letters from your readers devoted to homeschooling. I felt compelled to write a few lines on why it’s not for everyone. Educated and devoted parents, whether in the sleeper of a big rig, or simply in a cozy little spot in the North Woods, make homeschooling a very good thing.

But the trend toward homeschooling, and the rights groups that pop up around any “cause” like mushroom after a warm rain, has created a subculture that has disconnected many children from the benefits of a structured daily education. For some parents, and I have seen this firsthand, and very closely at that, homeschooling is little more than a dodge, with rhetoric attendant to it a tiresome litany of impinged and infringed rights.

Children whose parents engage deeply and daily in their education add reams of experiences no public, nor private, school can even attempt to offer. The can children fare as well, or better, than kids going to a “real” school. The problem is this: Dysfunctional parents, many with paranoid overtones, substance problems, little more discipline than they had in middle school, or who are just plain lazy, run for cover behind the homeschooling banner, and the kids get nothing. Those parents who cannot, or do not want to, engage in the hectic task of getting out of bed in the morning to scramble the troops and head them out, opt to remove them from school. They cannot, or do not want to, place their children in a public situation where their circumstances can be scrutinized, reported, and addressed. The kids then become little more than experts at video games, running to the store, and cleaning the house.

The enthusiastic responses of your readers who homeschool is not the focus of my observations, nor is any slight or criticism intended. But now that I’ve whined about a problem. What suggestion do I offer to help solve it?

One answer lies with homeschoolers themselves, who have an incentive to do a little policing of those I’ve described. At first glance such policing appears antithetical to the whole idea and ideal of homeschooling. However, for the privilege (and it is a privilege, not a right, but we’ll dispense with the legal/philosophical stuff for now) to homeschool to continue, the abuses have to be quelled. School boards, educators, and administrations can only monitor some of it. Even then, so long as reports are filled out properly and submitted timely, who’s the wiser? Abuses may lie undiscovered until it is too late for some kids. Legitimate homeschoolers may not like the public education system but still need to appreciate its power and work with it to keep the programs honest. The homeschooling privilege, if programs become too costly to monitor or impossible to police, can be taken away.

The point here is that not one of the people who applaud homeschooling, extol its benefits, and celebrate its virtues would stand by if a child was suffering abuse. None would hesitate to step in or contact the appropriate authorities. Sham homeschooling is little different from immediate or continuing physical and emotional abuse. In fact, I would argue, it’s worse, more insidious, and with consequences that follow the child through life in very real terms. Bruises heal, crying stops, but ignorance and an inability to function in the world may be permanent.

Respectfully,
Neil Wilkinson

~Aaaahhh~

Angela,

I just wanted to let you know that you have now discovered one of the true pleasures in life — being inside in an RV while it rains outside (My wife and I have an RV trailer on our wooded land in West Virginia. Few things are as nice and soothing as waking up in the morning, comfy and warm, and listening to the rain on the roof. In addition, it really is conducive to writing; the aforementioned environment is my favorite place to write. Unfortunately, my daughters (ages 13 and 5) don’t always agree with my sentiments, and prefer to go walking in the woods, swimming in the creek, chasing bugs, or… (And I have to admit, I get lured away more than I should allow!) Hope you’re having a great time.

Best of luck!
Tracy Widner