Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sometimes I Get Really Annoyed

So, last week I took the kids to our local botanical gardens to see the annual butterfly display. It is always fun to see the gorgeous hues flitting around.

We arrived a bit after one in the afternoon and bought our tickets. We then proceeded a bit farther into the building to hand our tickets to a volunteer who ripped off the stub.

One of those volunteers asked my kids if they had the day off school or if they were home schooled. Harmless enough question.

I replied that they were home school and had already done their school work for the day. She told me that was good because it is really important that kids not neglect their studies.

Now, maybe you think that is a pretty innocent comment. I thought it was rather cheeky and somewhat offensive.

Why? She would never have asked that of a public/traditional school student. "Oh, did you do your math, spelling, reading, writing, and grammar before you came today?"

It is assumed that they did or they didn't-but that school is happening regardless.

(for the sake of this post, I am using the term traditional school to mean public or private schools-not home school.)

I get annoyed when people are overtly prejudiced. When people display preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experience.

Home schoolers have to face a lot of prejudice and stereotypes. It is assumed that we are lay-abouts who sleep until 9, and stay in our pajamas until noon-if we get out of them at all. We call a trip to the grocery store a field trip. Illiterate and uneducated. And we are unsocialized.


I take the education (and socialization) of my children very seriously. We put in lots of hours doing traditional scholastics as well as digging much deeper. My kids read hours every day. They write letters weekly and reports every 2-3 weeks.

We don't take snow days. We rarely have sick days. Our vacation times are comparable to traditional schools. We have no in-service training days. We do every page of our textbooks. We are not slackers.

Traditional schools can take field trips to the zoo or museums or art festivals and no one blinks an eye. It is part of their school. They can have field days and picnics and go to skating rinks. That is part of school.

But, when home schoolers participate in the same activities, there is often a raising of eye brows and counting up of school hours.

The thing is, there are home schoolers who fit the stereotype quite well. They have given home schooling a bad name.

But, if you look honestly and unbiasedly at traditional schooling, you would also have to concede that there are people/students who give traditional school a bad name. Students who have no clue who Abraham Lincoln is. Students who reach graduation and can't read. Students who don't know their multiplication tables.

Is this typical of traditional schools? Probably not. Have I come across more than one student like this? Yes.

There are students both in traditional schools and home schools that are getting good educations. There are students both in traditional schools and home schools that are getting lousy educations.

My point is that there are bad apples in each bunch, but you should not discount the whole on account of the bad apple-whether in public, private or home education.

To do so is to display your own ignorance. It reflects badly on you-not what you are prejudiced for or against. Blanket statements are rarely ever justifiable or provable. There are exceptions to most rules.

Well, except God's rules.

Is there an area of your life that your are prejudging? Have you unjustly stereotyped anyone?