Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can You Teach a Cat to be Vegetarian?

I am not very good at arguing. I feel there are certain topics where it is near impossible to change someone's view. There will always be people and groups at odds with each other, and having them argue their points is like watching a boxing match--they dance around the subject, bobbing and weaving, deflecting blows and throwing punches. The only outcome is a few black eyes and maybe a bloody nose and a crowd of spectators riled up and closing ranks behind their opinion. In fact, a boxing match might be more decisive than watching a debate between two opposing views.

I recently received an email from the editor of Opposing Views. They seem to specialize in these kinds of debates. They have a debate they thought my readers might be interested in, because the topic is "Are Homeschooled Kids at a Disadvantage?"

Wow! Is that a title to make me cringe! The experts chosen for this debate are the California Federation of Teachers and HomeSchool Association of California. I don't think you can get more opposite than this. The first image that comes to mind is a musical number from Oklahoma! called "The Farmers and the Cowmen should be Friends." The second image is the rumble between the Sharks and the Jets in West Side Story. It's late. I think in musicals at this time of night.

My point is, I am not in the business of trying to change people's minds about homeschooling. I would have an easier time convincing my cat to turn vegetarian. Of all the people who have met my family over our years of homeschooling, an overwhelming majority have respected my decision, a few have been dubious, many have been confused or think we're nuts, and only one or two have actually been inspired to homeschool their own. My reasons for homeschooling are simple: I like being with my kids and I want to share my love for learning with them. I know it's not for everyone. And I happen to know some very good teachers who want to do the same thing. I applaud them for holding their own in classes that are much larger than mine will ever be. To pit us against each other divides us in a way that is unhealthy for our society. After all, our goals should be the same: The education of our youth.

I welcome you to take a look at the Opposing Views debate. Perhaps those of you with stronger stomachs than I would actually like to join in the argument. I prefer to just listen and advocate as I always have, through my artwork and writing.


Vicki said...

You have an amazing way of pointing out the ridiculousness of this argument. Neither side is a 'one size fits all' solution.

I LOVE your references to musicals which also points out the ridiculousness of these opposing sides.

What I don't understand is since we live in America, the land of the free, why we all aren't just left alone to chose which is best for our families? Shoot, lets take that one step further and add freedom to choose which school should get our tax dollars, too! Maybe if an individual's paycheck was tied to job preformance, the public schools would have less worry about where the students were taught! Only the schools doing a good job would have a job!

Problem solved.

ComfyDenim said...

What gets me is that the public side of the Teacher's unions all say - "Quality education" for all (Meaning their's is better than ours...) and the public school systems sucks badly.

I'm with you though, I'd have better luck teaching your cat, too. And that's AFTER I was homeschooled. They just prefer to NOT listen. Which makes sense, they weren't homeschooled. *L*

I also don't think that homeschooling is for everyone - but...the school system is seriously messed up.

Vicki said...

Hehehe....I just spent *too much time reading over all the *arguments and noticed an interesting trend. Mainly only homeschoolers have bothered to comment! There are very few who have spoken up who feel kids are at a disadvantage and even those comments lead you to wonder if that's how they really feel or are they just trying to provoke?

On a bright note, someone KNOWS your blog is special! Gee, an invitation from the editor to post a link to homeschoolers on a blog that EVERYONE loves!

I wonder which school teacher blog they asked to provide this service...

Anonymous said...

I look at this the same way you do; I don't even want to read the debate. Why do people feel a need to debate about what's best for ALL kids (as if there were a one size fits all solution)? Are they that desperate to validate their own choices? :-/

Jessica said...

I feel the same way. It is one of those arguments you realize you will never win. I have come to terms with this through the many discussions with my in-laws and now I just think- live and let live. I also feel that not everyone can homeschool and it needs to be right for the family and the kids. Which is why I get more frustrated with the fact that there is no school choice and the monopoly of public education. But really, I do think it is one of those discussions that is never ending. Sometimes I have the stomach for them, but not so much anymore. I get enough of it from real life to want to go at it on the net.

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