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Ah, stereotypes. They always make us feel special. I’ve been trying to ignore this post, mainly because I have enjoyed reading the Huffington Post on many occasions before. Also, because it clearly already has enough comments to represent the whole gamut of opinions out there on the topic, including yours and mine. Basically, it is about how Russell thinks homeschooling should be restricted to special cases. I will say no more, because his post and the comments say it all.

Okay, wait, More…

maybe his post and the comments don’t say this; Summing up a group of people by dividing them in to stereotyped groups may be handy and even to some extent capture a truth. But a stereotype is an oversimplified opinion. There are really many issues in Russell’s post that he is glomming together. He is thinking about religious freedom, class struggles, the right to a good education and the freedom to choose your education, to name a few. All of those topics are immensely important to me as well as every other citizen of America.

What I think needs to be recognized though is that opinions about how to educate and what an education is have been raging for centuries and although it is not comfortable or easy perhaps to defend free speech for example (because there could be Nazi rallies or other unpleasant protests) it is the golden rule being applied. To apply it socially/politically means that we should only make a law or rule that we would want applied to us regardless of our stance on an issue. The law which secures our right to choose (whether it be an education, a religion, what to say or how to think in general) gives us all freedom which we expect. Wouldn’t you want to be able to chose what to think, protest and say? Similarly, don’t you want to be able to chose, hopefully with your child’s input, which school your child attends? Is someone going to a Catholic school, Montessori or even a small private college an elitist too? Or sheltering? Sure, some are, but couldn’t that school be the best environment for a particular kid, regardless of whether their child is a princess genius or not? It is so easy to jump to hateful conclusions about people when political issues which scare us rise to the surface.

Most people have been raised to feel that public education is one of the pillars of our democracy that has freed children from the class restrictions of their environment as well as from a life of slave labor. Now kids could get somewhere based on merit rather than who they were. This was true, and still is. But because something is true doesn’t mean it is the only truth. Making it the only truth reduces its value and creates a dogma. There are accepted alternatives to public education out there and homeschooling is one that is fairly entrenched now. Why people would feel the need to put homeschoolers in an “overprotective” box because they choose one alternative is silly. That is bordering on fascist thinking. To claim that each child must have an education by a state institution because the state knows better what is necessary is against the principles I see America being founded on.

Since I would fall more in to the hyper do-it-yourselfer category, I feel the need to address this one in particular. I am not a wealthy suburban woman who can afford not to work because my husband pays the mortgage. We don’t have a mortgage because of the choices we made. We don’t have a lot of other luxuries either. On the other hand, we are not starving or homeless. We simply put our children’s education at the top of our to do list and we make sure they see the real world every day. Isn’t that what every other parent tries to do? I can see how a person might disagree with our choices, but if that person could look at us and call us spoiled, genius princes/princesses (those phrases were in the comment section, not the original post) than I think they are full of resentment about something other than homeschooling and are looking for a target. Okay, now I’ll say no more.

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