Letters To The Editor For May 26th

~Chapbooks Answer Not Complete~

Last week, the site you listed for the answer about chapbooks, pw.org, contained incomplete information.

It said:

“The origin of the word is either “cheap” book, sold at newsstands during the era of Penny Dreadfuls … or “chapter” book, because of its scant number of pages.”

No! It’s true there’s a link with “cheap” but not in the way you suggest. Chapbooks were sold by chapmen, itinerant pedlars who were common in England from the middle ages and who bartered as they went. Books obviously didn’t form part of their stock until much later, arriving during the 18th century in the main and reaching a zenith during the 19th. These pamphlets were often quite scandalous or partisan with a fairly cavalier disregard for accuracy (rather like many tabloid newspapers, for instance) although many later ones were didactic (often for children) or drearily religious.

The Old English was “ceapman”, the prefix “ceap” being the Old English for “barter” (which itself comes from Old French “barater”) and over time this became “cheap” and took on the current connotations.


~More on Homeschooling~

Hi Angela:

I just wanted to congratulate you on your decision to homeschool! It’s all we’ve ever done, and are finishing up our sixth year with it. It works for us.

While I agree it’s not for everyone, I do totally disagree with Mr. Wilkinson’s comments about parents who use homeschooling as a cover-up. What he has described is just good old fashioned truancy, plain and simple–NOT homeschooling.

I have no doubt there are parents who do this sort of thing (and yes, there are even some poor legitimate homeschooling parents–just as there are poor legitimate teachers in the public and private schools), but for him to use this argument against homeschooling (in a rather nice manner, I must admit), is ridiculous. Truancy is something that has been happening for decades–way before the whole homeschooling movement caught on.

I do not see why other homeschoolers who need to “police” these parents, since it is those types of parents who don’t even register their kids with the state or local school system–something every legitimate homeschooler must do. In New Hampshire, for instance, we must send a letter of intent to homeschool at the beginning of every school year to our supervisory unit or to the state board of education, including the curriculums we’re using. And at the end of every school year, each child must be evaluated, using at least one of a number of methods–all, by the way, on OUR dollar, not at the school system’s or taxpayers’ expense.

Do you honestly think these parents who claim to be homeschooling are doing all these necessary requirements? If they can’t even, “engage in the hectic task of getting out of bed in the morning to scramble the troops and head them out,” they certainly aren’t going to take the time or put in the effort to buy or look up curriculums, write it all up, and send it in. No, these are the parents who have been giving the school system problems all along. These are the parents who have been costing the system money in policing and monitoring before they ever claimed to be homeschooling.

As parents, it is our right to make sure our kids get the best education they can–whether that’s in public, private, or home schools (or have we become a socialist government and I just didn’t know it?). The parents who abuse and neglect their kids will do so whether they’re kids are in public school or a so-called homeschool. It is everyone’s responsibility to help those kids.

Carrie Myers Smith
Licensed Wellcoach and author of Squeezing Your Size 14 Self into a Size 6
World: A Real Woman’s Guide to Food, Fitness, and Self-Acceptance


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