Quoting H. L. Mencken

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

For an interesting article that includes an impressive valedictorian’s graduation speech… check it out here.

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A Dad’s Homeschool Socialization Program

Updated! March 25, 2010 – Here’s a great 3 minute audio from Eagle Forum on when it comes to socialization, Homeschoolers Don’t Need It: Homeschoolers Don’t Need Socialization – Eagle Forum

The following is an essay of mine that has been passed around over the years, that deals with the homeschool socialization question. It gets posted around every year or so on our IndianaHomeschoolers e-list. I thought I would pass it on and archive it here, for your enjoyment. If it makes you want to “skip school” and educate your children otherwise, I think that would be great!

WARNING: This is supposed to be funny. If you don’t have a sense of humor, or believe that people who make jabs at public schooling are evil elitists, don’t read this. If you have the tendency to snort coffee out your nose while you’re reading funny things, don’t blame me. You’ve been warned.

A HOMESCHOOLING DAD’S PERSPECTIVE ON ‘SOCIALIZATION’

I am perfectly aware of the socialization needs of my children. As an involved parent and (home) educator, the awesome responsibility falls upon me to make sure my children receive all the diverse and broad educational aspects of the “public school experience” that they miss by not attending their assigned government institution.

So that others may learn from my experience, I submit for your consideration a few of my homeschool curricula plans to keep it real and balanced with the Government School experience called “Socialization.”

Every three months, I send my little school-skippers to Grandma’s house, where they are under strict instructions to beg her to bake dozens of cookies so they can sell them for a fund-raising project.They are supposed to remind Grandma that their education will suffer if they don’t raise money for their “school.” And just like public schools, the money they raise goes directly to … building maintenance, supplies and the administration. Me. The Administration offices need some new furniture and the teachers’ lounge needs a new microwave and espresso machine. (My union got that in the collective bargaining agreement. Caffeinated teachers make better teachers!)

When I sell them at the office, I skip all the details. I just say, “It’s for the children,” and keep the money. But I don’t do all the selling like some parents do for their children. Nope. Kids need to learn about how to use other people’s money to pay for more of the things their taxes already paid for.

[On a side note: If anyone is interested, I’m developing a home education curricula package on free-market entrepreneurialism. Once I teach them that there’s no hope of making a profit, after I impose inspection fees, (fines for minor infractions) taxes and surcharges — then hold up the building permits for their lemonade stand until October — they’ll learn quickly that it’s not worth working for yourself and get back to selling cookies for their school. For the children. At ONLY $30,000 per package, I expect lots of orders from public schools.]

ANYWAY: Any leftover cookies are sold door to door. The kids learn basic Progressive economics by selling them to the neighbors, not based on what the market will bear, but rather based on the appraised value of the neighbor’s property. The more expensive the house, the more the cookies cost.

This is a lesson-plan “two-fer” as it teaches the principle of progressive taxation and the politics of class envy all at once. People who don’t buy cookies are asked, “Are you against education or do you just hate children?” If they STILL don’t buy cookies, my little public school-skippers are instructed to sell the cookies to the neighbor’s publicly schooled kids as they get off the bus.

Any left-over cookies are sold back to Grandma. I understand that some schools make the parents contribute to bake sales then guilt the parents into buying the goods back. Sounds like a sweet idea to me!

As I stated earlier, the money goes to me (as head of the school administration) to buy educational enhancing tools like a new flat screen TV. It helps me relax so I can do a better job administrating my school. Anything that goes towards the “teacher’s lounge” likewise, advances the learning process. It’s all good, and all for the children. Mom pays for school supplies out of her budget (just like public schoolers.) Bonus: This leaves the family with less money for food and qualifies our kids for the free lunch program.

 

The Meat and Potatoes of my socialization Curricula

As part of my “Kids need to experience real life” lesson plan, every month or so, when the children are given their scheduled bathroom break (complete with hall passes) I randomly yank one of the kids into the bathroom and offer them drugs. When they “just say no” they get a swirlie and a threat that they better not tell anyone (like Mom) or they’ll be in REAL trouble.

After they recover I hand them a smoke and tell them if they don’t light up, they aren’t cool.

Then when they successfully cave in to the peer pressure and light up (because they don’t want another swirlie) I turn on ’em (putting on my Principal’s “We [heart] School!” badge) and give them a detention for smoking in the bathroom.

Lessons learned? Priceless.

You know… this just goes to show that spending an intense three months on our home based D.A.R.E. program wasn’t worth spit!

We should have spent the time teaching them to READ instead. That way they could have read the “Don’t Do Drugs” signs I posted everywhere.

Oh well… when you have to keep up with teaching just like the public schools do, some of the programs like reading, writing and math are obviously going to suffer.

Proper Socialization is just too important.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Homeschooling Dad, you’re doing a darn good job socializing your kids with a quality public schooling-style socialization program at home.”

Yeah… I know.

But I have to admit, there’s at least one difference between our homeschool socialization program and the average public school’s program….

I REFUSE to give the kids free condoms.

I know it makes me look like a prude, but I had to put my foot down: I make ’em pay for them. (Time for another cookie fund-raiser!)

/s/ BbBennett

Tip-o’the-Hat to April, Jay and Christa for letting me steal their material and for helping me keep my homeschool socialization program true to real life, accredited and up to Government School standards.
[The previous paragraphs were — of course — sarcastic. But for those who have NO sense of humor or sense of the ironic… no, we don’t really do those things. NO parent I KNOW does those things. Only an IDIOT would allow these things to happen to someone’s children. Sadly, I can’t vouch for the peers and officials at YOUR child’s public school. Maybe you should ask him or her about it. Don’t you ever wonder: If a parent were to do to their children, what is routinely allowed in today’s public schools, the parent would be in jail NOW? What happens to the adults who run our public schools? Think about it.]

NEA for Jobs Not Kids

Really? Can that be true? Surely this idea is coming from some sort of teacher-hating, anti-government, right-wing radical that wants all kids homeschooled and all public schools to fail. Right?

Well, let’s just get to the point.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Arne Duncan

“When an ineffective teacher gets a chance to improve and doesn’t – and when the tenure system keeps that teacher in the classroom anyway – then the system is protecting jobs rather than children. That’s not a good thing. We need to work together to change that.”

– U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, taken from a speech he gave to the National Education Association

I agree. Don’t you? I think it’s time we all get behind Mr. Duncan (on this issue) and ask all of our public school board members if they would please stop cowering under the threats of the NEA (and the state affiliates) and see if we can fire a few bad teachers. Like These.

Don’t you think Arne would like that?

Hat Tip: Linda Dobson for her post at ParentAtTheHelm.com

BbB

If NCLB Poisons, Obama’s RTTT Kills

Look for the NEA and statewide teachers’ unions (like Indiana’s ISTA) to begin to rail on President Obama’s education reform plan. Thanks to Arne Duncan’s idea that MORE MONEY will help failing schools, the unions and public school statists are once again placed in the awkward position of complaining that the money has too many strings, and “the right people” don’t have control of the funds.

Too many of those darn Republican governors will get to hand out the grants. Read “Bennett and Daniels: Using Race to the Top as an excuse to Kill the Teaching Profession” for some, uh… perspective.

For a more tame and realistic point of view, EducationNews.org has this to say:

Instead of triggering a fundamental rethinking of education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s billions will simply hasten the destruction of the institution I love – universal, free, public schooling.

Notwithstanding the press releases about the expected miracles from unleashed market forces, the money will be spent trying to salvage the institution rather than transform it (a strategy familiar to those who follow the banking industry).

This is an interesting comparison! Is he saying that all of this money will have the same effect on schools that the TARP money had on the banking industry? One point he misses, is that Government Schooling has never been a private industry. If the banks (then GM) were taken over because they took all that money and still failed, then what happens to public schools that are already controlled by the bureaucracy? (They grouse about having to be accountable, for one thing.)

Public schools have always been  government run and taxpayer supported. (Just like HealthCare will be. Keep that in mind when you don’t get to choose your doctor. How many people are going to get nightmare doctors that remind them of their nightmare teacher in fifth grade?) Schools can’t be “taken over” any more than they already are.

American education, simply and emphatically, is on a wrong track.

My question is: “When did it jump from the right track?” Was it doing fine until an evil Republican with a vial of poison called NCLB came along?

As a vehicle for intellectual development, it began to slow down the day the young were pulled out of apprenticeships and other real-world learning experiences, put in rooms insulated from the real world, and made to sit, hands on desks, eyes front, mouths shut, being fire-hosed with facts.

This perfectly describes public education since the middle 1800’s. Actually, ever since compulsory attendance laws were enacted. None of the above symptoms of the failing nature of  state schooling have anything to do with money or funding schemes. They all have to do with PEDAGOGY and the Prussian Model of national (state controlled) education. [Watch John Gatto on Prussian Education]

The vehicle moved slower still starting in 1893, when the so-called “core curriculum” was adopted, narrowing the focus of study to math, science, language arts and social studies, and ignoring the integrated nature of knowledge.

It came to a stop and reversed when Congress mandated “No Child Left Behind.” “Race To The Top” will accelerate its backward movement.

Complaining about NCLB and now, RTTT, does nothing, and will do nothing to accomplish the real reform that needs to happen. Compulsion and lack of competition is what is killing Government Schooling.

What are the consequences we are headed for, with or without funding and attempts at fixing something that is running as its supposed to be running?

Exodus: We will begin to see an ever quickening exodus from the government schooling sector to the private and alternative education markets. Government will also continue to shove money into the public education pit (unions complaining all the way) until the people finally revolt, pointing to empty school buildings with thousands of government employees teaching to empty seats. Tea Parties of the summer of 2009 will seem weak compared to millions of property tax strapped parents storming public school buildings, pitchforks in hand.

Will our leaders still say, “They’re too big and important to fail?”

Save the Planet: Skip School

Click to go to re-nest.com
I propose all children should be skipping school until our government follows the green example of Bali.

Really, it’s time to get serious. My daughter took a carbon footprint green survey at school (to avoid learning about math or literature, I suppose. Oh… she just told me this was a replacement for learning some real science….) and after devulging much personal information about our family lifestyle and habits, it was determiend that if EVERYONE lived like we do (on a farm with methane producing animals and only 5 CFL light bulbs) we would need … WAIT FOR IT! … 44 earths to sustain all of us. (SOB Planet Killers, that is!!!)

This is my solution:

I propose that all publicly schooled (taxpayer supported) children skip school until each and every government school building is made of 100% sustainable materials, all children are not bussed and all textbooks are banned.

I thought of possibly replacing textbooks with Kindle Wireless Reading Devices but that means you’d need electricity to charge them. Bummer.

Think about it, each public school must have the carbon footprint of a small factory! Add in all those breathing children (exhaling literally TONS of toxic greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere every year) and you have a monumental carbon footprint! At least factories produce something of value.

Schools?

It’s obvious that anything public schools do to “save the planet” are only going to scratch the surface until they address the masive waste and pollution they produce every day. Bali is taking the lead here. Once again, making America a laughing stock in the advancement of environmental earth security. Bali cares not only about the planet, but they care about education as well.

A school with its own farm, a bicycling program, solar power, and an organic chocolate factory? Attendance must be through the (sustainable, bamboo) roof.