Here you all thought I was only going to post sweet little stories about my family life and swimming and how awesome things are around here. But guess what? I have this other life, which is called Reading and Digesting and Writing about our culture, devouring feminist and womanist and rad fem and anti-racist and PWD blogs and… well, lots of stuff. I thought I’d post a little roundup of the variety of asshattery I’ve found in the last couple days so you could share in the fun!
(Warning for sexist language, child-hate, mother-hate, classism, and anti-homeschooling / unschooling sentiments)
So first: who can find the sexist language in this (otherwise quite interesting) article at WebEcoist on “bevshots”?
Didn’t find it? Let me break it down for you with a quote:
“Beverage art is one way the more macho members of society can get in touch with their artistic side, and the unisex appeal of BevShotsâ€™ presentation makes it far more likely to be accepted by spouses who may balk at framed Budweiser posters hanging in their living rooms.”
Right. So, in no way should a man feel bad about being “macho” (i.e. objectifying women’s bodies) but he is free to augment his living room with artsy-fartsy. The whole “unisex”/”spouse” gibberish is also subtly coded heteronomrative, i.e. of anyone who might like a beer poster there are two sexes whom are straight and married. And I’ve saved the most glaring ass-tidbit for last: a heterosexual DUDE won’t have an objection to Budweiser girl posters (Duh! Why should he? Booooing!), it’s the spouse that won’t want it (eyeroll delivered to those sensitive wimmin folks, amirite?).
I’d stopped reading The-F Word.org although the title subjects – food, fat, and feminism – are passions of mine. No, I stopped reading because there are plenty of awesome FA sites that don’t pick on kids (which always, always translates to picking on mothers). Now the owner/author of this site has no children and wants to keep it that way which is great, because I support those without children (just like I support those with children!) and I specifically feel for people who don’t have children by choice (especially women), given they are constantly second-guessed and despised and sneered at (maybe someday I’ll link to some of those anti-childfree* nastiness examples to illuminate and analyze). But like so comments I read online (both from those with or without children), the anti-child sentiment is so prevalent on this site – and goes entirely unchecked within comments – it was just sapping my energy so I’ve concentrated on other FA locales. However feeling amiable the other day I visited the site to discover the latest post, “Open Thread: Talking to kids about fat comments”. In it blog author Rachel posts a story about family and a child who made many direct and not-nice-sounding comments about her weight and size. Rachel put together an email to her family (which was a good email) so that was pretty cool. But then… it started with the sentence, “I donâ€™t have children (thankfully) and I can usually only take kids in small doses before they mentally and physically exhaust me” and went on from there. Most of the comments were pretty cool and offered sensible support: we should openly discuss this topic with our chlidren. But pretty soon the parent- and child-snark started, and it REALLY started when I (had the gall to!) put up my own perspective – that I thought Rachel’s email was fine, that Adult Privilege was showing in the comments, and that parents have an uphill battle in combating larger social norms and the attitudes of children’s peers.
Four comments weighed in calling my points “ridiculous”, the list a Parody, that I didn’t support or understand “manners” for children (strawman! especially considering I’d commended Rachel’s email), and that acknowledging Adult Privilege would result in children getting killed. I am too exhausted to take apart “Jackie’s” comment (I’ll bet you one MILLION dollars this person has no child, since she gave the longest prescriptive laundry-list of “THOU SHALT” to apply to ALL parents). Of course the only thing these people (one person posted twice) paid attention to was the posted Adult Privilege Checklist – none of my other points nor my support of Rachel’s email. A little bonus bit of awesomeness, one commentor sneered at the APC author who clearly didn’t know how to raise a child, even though, sshhh! this author – and myself! are raising children!
One commentor posted: “Kelly, thanks so much for posting that link, and for giving me a term for the set of attitudes that has made me deeply uncomfortable on otherwise wonderful websites.” (Yay!)
(As a sidenote, it’s funny how unapologetic child-hate – which is often mother-hate – always, always involves the kid-screaming-in-restaurants HORROR. It’s almost comical how routinely this comes up – the trump card and TOTAL PROOF of how much kids and parents suck! And how parents and kids can’t have a bad or emotive day in public, or how we should parent in some Magical Way or according to Their Standards, or how kids should always be seen and not heard! And many literally think kids should not be in evidence at all! Because having them in school most their waking hours and then at home in bed for a third of their lives is NOT ENOUGH! No really many people still believe this!)
I’d love to talk about the Adult Privilege Checklist and soon because I think it is brilliant (Thanks, Anji!) and challenging to many if not most USians. Most who read it – the very fact of its newness in a time when privilege checklists are So hot right now! is telling – are definitely going to be challenged and splutter, “But, but, but!” and bring up points of Safety and how kids can’t raise themselves and then paint really gloriously well-rendered pictures of kids going all Lord of the Flies and Running (Ruining) Everything while their Lotus-Eating parents sit back and smile benevolently.
Of course I am in fact raising kids with the APC firmly in mind and it’s going well, and my kids are just fine and normal and pretty damned awesome (according not only to myself but to many we run across). Such tish-tosh beneath-notice detail escapes those who’d want to shriek about the implications of considering kids as People.
Because that’s the thing. Refusing to even consider how kids experience their own lives (which you note says NOTHING about how a particular parent/carer should handle a particular challenge nor the vast landscapes of other-care) perfectly illustrates just how subhuman people consider the class of “kids” (keep in mind, “KIDS” are from ages 0 months to emancipated 18 years, I guess they magically turn human after that).
Or as Twisty Faster at my beloved I Blame The Patriarchy (oh rad fem… is there anything you can’t do?) says:
â€œKidsâ€ are a class of people around the discrimination, domination, indoctrination, and abuse of whom entire cultures, industries, pathologies, and oppressive social systems flourish. Youth is temporary for the individual, yes, but a youth class persists; there is a constant supply of replacement children to keep this class well-stocked with hapless victims. Furthermore, the damage inflicted by expertly administered adult oppression techniques hardly vanishes the moment a kid turns 18.
Finally, and I’ll keep this short: Homeschooling and Unschooling are being dissed in a recent Free Range Kids post, including Amy who says: “I fully support your right to ‘unschool’ your kids. After all, someoneâ€™s going to have to change my kidsâ€™ oil and make their burgers someday.” (Amy wins the Ass-Hat First Prize for brevity whilst displaying ignorance, classism, and good ol’ fashioned nastiness!). Donna conflates homeschooling with being uncool because it isn’t living in the inner city or something? and weighs in on the majority of intelligent, educated parents being terrible teachers for their children (aw how sweet! I must have missed that day she came in and audited us personally!). Sky compares my personal expressed joy in unschooling to something about collard greens (I can’t tell if she’s supporting or insulting me, there).
Believe it or not it can be personally exhausting at times to take on the subjects of social justice in America (and seriously? Tonight we got to hear a loud, racist rant from a patron while out at dinner, and my husband almost physically engaged this man, which was more bonus). Being able to take a critical eye to random asshattery and bigotry and such is a skill – and it’s a skill earned by a commitment to the self-work and takes no small amount of my time. One thing I learn: the work – social and Self – is never done (as an example, a recent post at Native Appropriations entitled “The Potawatomis didn’t have a word for global business center”? exposed my ignorance regarding Native languages). I do it because I think it is right but also, even when it tires me out, I do like to do it.
To those who read here in good faith, thank you so much for joining me.
Fortunately I know my readers here are awesome, awesome people and going to Blow My Mind in the comments.**
* Both “childfree” and “childless” are terms others dislike or find offense with; I effort to say “people without children” but sometimes I use shorthand.
** I usually just put up my personal journal here; for more of my social issues stuff you can read Underbellie (once-weekly posts, just about) or follow me on Twitter at either kellyhogaboom or underbellie – the latter more skewed to activism and posts from activist sources.
Unschooling can really go either way. It still depends on the parents consciously guiding their children to critically analyze, as you mentioned doing with your kids earlier. The parents who lack theses skills themselves, cannot be anticipated to instill this in their children. So if you are a less-than-awesome-person, unschooling is irresponsible. For a small percentage of the population, unschooling is the best thing you could do for your children.
I went to school, but for 4 years had the privilege of a gifted teacher who used unschooling methods for most of our school time. He let us run amok, and just asked curiosity questions. The male version of Mrs. Frizzle (The Magic Scholbus) I learned more and experienced more in that class than any other time in school.
That method would not have worked in most classrooms.
Sidenote: I have kids, and maybe its because I waitressed for 5 years (from dinner to fine dinning), but TAKE THE KIDS HOME when they pitch a fit in the (nice)restaurant. Starting to cry is expected, a few outbursts are normal(depending on age), being emotive is well and fine, but keeping them there for an hour and a half screaming (Servers make games of timing it) is just rude for the other paying guests. If an adult pitched a fit in a restaurant, they would be told to leave, in very short order. I suspect that you don’t let your children carry on (for more than an hour)in restaurants, and possibly cannot fathom how (often) ignorant some people are.
thanks for the adult privilege checklist! It’s awesome. I will share it widely.
I have been on this committee to plan a primary school (crazy, especially since my kid won’t be going there, but not going for some very important reasons) and I realized after our first meeting and later e-discussions that we never once talked about what the kids wanted (or what we thought they wanted) only what we parents wanted for them. And the meeting minutes “corrected” me by saying I felt that I was responsible for my child’s education, when what I said is that my child is ultimately responsible for his education (and then the context in which I said it was dropped).
I love it when I know people who talk about ideas, not just who did what and such. And because our interests are kind of different, with some crossover, we read different things and I get to find out about what you read/pay attention to, and I appreciate that you do it, and what you do. But not in that crappy “oh isn’t that nice, Kelly is thinking” kind of way, but in the real way. It makes life more fun, interesting and sparkly.
Thank you for your comment!
Hee, you have no idea how much I disagree with you. In fact I thought about not allowing your comment because everything you said (with the exception of the school anecdote) represents a lot of mainstream thought that is out there everywhere else, and this area is for constructive conversation delving a little deeper than those well-trod routes.
But you made these comments in good faith and have not resorted to hate language (which will never be published here) so I put it up.
Here are my thoughts:
I disagree a thousand percent with this: “if you are a less-than-awesome-person, unschooling is irresponsible”. Although I think you are telling me that I am awesome (so… thanks?) because I pass some kind of “test” in your mind. So by saying only this small amount of people should unschool, you don’t actually agree with the USian right we have to educate our own children. Your argument is used by those who fear unschooling and fear an examination of the problems within our education system. In other words the old, “Well it’s okay for YOU but let me go on and on why it wouldn’t work for ME and wouldn’t work for everyone else.” So far I have found people who have had this response and made this argument have known so little about unschooling I find it interesting they have prescriptive measures at all for how it should be applied (not saying this is true for you, just what I’ve experienced thus far).
In the next issue of Life Learning Magazine I have a piece that will be published deconstructing the, “Only awesome parents and/or awesome/gifted kids can/should homeschool/unschool”. I will link to it from my site if you are interested in reading.
Re: restaurants. Yeah, I waitressed too. I could pick apart your “take the kids home” adjunct to parents but I feel a little insulted. My post here is about children’s rights and anti-kid hate in corners of both the internet and in our daily lives. Heck I even made a joke about how discussion of kids’ rights turn into the”ZOMG this one time there was this TOTAL BRAT in a restaurant” tired derail. Your return to this familiar and well-trod territory isn’t furthering discussion at all.
Any further discussion of “bad kids in restaurants” will not be allowed in the comments. Go, um, ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET if you want to complain about kids in restaurants or offer “helpful”/dictatorial advice to parents.
I suspect that you donâ€™t let your children carry on (for more than an hour)in restaurants…
I suspect instead of guessing about me you could read about us on my blog (I suggest a few months’ worth) and then guess how I “handle” my kids (if you are interested). I’d love to then hear what you think (really and truly; I love getting emails from readers).
…and possibly cannot fathom how (often) ignorant some people are.
Oh, I fathom how ignorant some people are… but maybe not in the way you’re thinking I might.
I loved the story about your teacher. He sounds like an awesome teacher and he sounds like a wonderful exposure to what you call “unschooling methods” (which you cite as being more conducive to learning than any other school experience). I will point out a free-spirit and awesome teacher in a school environment is not unschooling, life learning, autodidactic learning, but rather minty ribbons of U/S flavor only. Even the best schoolteacher is steeped in environs of compulsory school attendance and so many school policy overlays that limit the unschooling aspect severely.
However, I am so glad you had this experience. Thank you very much for sharing.
A tangent: I would love to find more detailed stories of “unschooling” teachers and post them here at my blog. If anyone wants to submit some, I would appreciate it.
Janette, one point we do agree on (I think – correct me if I’m wrong). Most teachers in public schools have even less autonomy in HOW to present their material than they did when we were growing up (I’m 33).
I am not surprised at all that school-planning does not include any vote nor input from children as to how it’s going to go down. We don’t think children know what’s best for them. & we raise them, from day 1, according to those principles, which has the further effect they sometimes don’t (although I am continually surprised how often they do, despite oppressive techniques employed in their schooling, socialization, and upbringing).
USians love to talk about those “innovators” who “thought outside the box” and are self-educated and all awesome (usually because they made a heap of money and/or did a bunch of Manscience), but man to we scream and stomp on the manifestation of these traits like a rattlesnake when it comes into OUR sphere of action (through children).
Kids are terrifying to so many. That’s why so many hate them.
Regarding the issue of how teachers are allowed to present material in school:
When I was teaching HS I had very little direction on how to present anything. Sure, there I was told what the learning objectives were for the English course I was (barely) teaching but I had no direction in the hows or the whats of presenting the skill itself. I pity the kids who had me for 9th grade English, since I wasn’t qualified to teach this course.
In the same school I was also teaching French (my expertise). No one had given me course objectives and since I was the only French teacher I had completely free rein when it came to what I presented and how. I rarely used the textbooks because I felt they were poorly written (this was the consensus of the French teachers in all the high schools in the county). Instead I used them as supplementary material when needed. I drew on my experience as a TA while in grad school and mostly used my own materials developed from the books I had used during that time, since they were written much better. The principal only questioned my teaching once and that was after he observed me and asked why I hadn’t presented him with an outline of what was to be covered that day. I told him it wouldn’t mean anything to him but he insisted on it so I gave it to him later that day.
He was pissed because it was written in French. Um, it IS a French class and you hired me to teach French. “How am I supposed to read this?” he asked. “I didn’t write it for you,” I said. “I wrote it for me. I don’t think in English for this class.” “Well how am I supposed to know if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” “Do you know French?” “No.” “Well then it doesn’t matter because you wouldn’t know if I was or not. I have a Master’s degree in the subject, it’s my expertise. You hired me because I know the subject so just trust me to do my job.” That was the first and last time he set foot in my classroom.
I’ll grant you that this was 10 years ago (yikes!) so I don’t know how things are now. And I think it depends on the school and the principal. Some principals are really into having control over what the teachers are doing. Others are willing to trust that the teachers know what they’re doing, especially teachers who have been doing it for a long time.
Like this year, I wish the principal had been more interested in the fact that Maeve’s teacher was so inexperienced and less interested in the fact that Maeve had lots of tardies, about which I give a rat’s ass. I had several times when Maeve brought home spelling tests with words spelled correctly but marked wrong and with the word written next to it by the teacher with an incorrect spelling. I told the teacher “I expect that sometimes you look at a word and don’t really see it and may mark it wrong. But when you mark it wrong and then write the word incorrectly next to it, that tells me something. I expect that a 4th grade teacher knows how to spell all of the 4th grade spelling words. How many of the children spelled this word right and now think that your incorrect spelling is the right way?” So there you go. Sorry to ramble.
I feel like I must leave a comment, because you have been talking a lot about unschooling (duh, because that is a part of your life) and I just want to put my thoughts out there. The tone of your posts about parents who do send their children to school seems quite negative. I completely agree that a large percentage of kids are sent to school to be “warehoused”, but not all of them are. I genuinely miss my daughter when she is at school and can’t wait till she comes home. I don’t send her to school to get some “me” time. I send her to school because I fully believe the educators at her school are well educated and know how to teach her math/language/science/etc.
I know I could teach her if I absolutely had to, but I would prefer someone who has been taught how to teach a child to read or how to multiply. The tricks I have learned from working in the school district or in my daughters classroom are valueable. I tried teaching her how to read before kindergarten, but we both always ended up frustrated and upset. After working with her teacher, I know what to do and can help her at home.
The main reason I am posting a comment is just to put out there that not all kids are sent to school to be “warehoused.” Just as you don’t want to be included in the assumption of homeschooling is for lazy parents, I don’t want to be included in the group of parents that send their kids to school for free daycare.
I did a search for the term “warehouse” on my blog and didn’t find it, so if you could kindly point me to where I said it I could probably respond better to your complaints. Also, if you’ve seen me weighing on on individual parent’s choices I’d like to know where I’ve done that.
I absolutely don’t believe ALL parents who send their kids to school are doing so to warehouse them and I don’t know of an unschooler who’s said such a thing (although I’m sure I could find one… the internet can get nasty).
Parents send kids to school for all sorts of reasons. Many genuinely believe school is a good thing. Many do it because “everyone else” does so they don’t even think about it much (98.5% of kids in America go to school). Some do it because it makes their lives easier (or they believe it does). Some are afraid to try something different, especially considering the dearth of support for such a choice (I could testify to that!). Some think of homeschooling as a “gold standard” but lack the confidence to try or think it will be exhausting or suck for some other reason. Some absolutely have no choice but MUST rely on school so they can earn enough to pay bills (I think about this group a lot, actually).
Many could do it but are unwilling to give up income sources and change their lifestyle drastically, not to mention rock the foundations of their own upbringing, risk the wrath of family/society, and then live under a microscope of “WHY?” and people constantly evaluating their children for ANY sign of social or academic backwardness.
(Holy shit, I’m talking MYSELF out of homeschooling… *grin*).
Some do it because they really do want time away from their kids.
Some just don’t wanna, and they don’t have to answer to me or anyone else (except their Lord God or their conscience or whomever, if they’re so inclined).
I used to be in many of these camps including these last two; I wasn’t a horrible person or an unloving mother back a few years ago when I looked forward, with joy, to my kids being enrolled in school. I was Me back then, just another passionate parent finding my way through mentors, self-reflection, conversation, and research. That’s Me today, too.
Unschooling/homeschooling is an uphill battle in many ways (because of our larger social pressures, kid-negative attitudes, fear culture, and pro-consumer mainstream) and I don’t expect many families to grasp that bull by the horns – but I’m here to help those who are considering it or considering broadening their perspective to apply unschooling/life learning facets to their household. I have not once tried to argue an individual out of any one of the abovementioned reasons, rather I have written frankly about unschooling/homeschooling for those who have the desire and want a different perspective than they can find EVERYWHERE else; I’ve written to help those who are curious but have not overcome their barriers to trying. I am proud to say I know I’ve been influential in helping many families.
People don’t like terms like “babysitting” and “warehousing” (and I don’t think I’m spouting those off all the time either but again, show me where I have) because of two things: One, our culture is terribly hard on parents (especially mothers), constantly claiming parents (mothers) should examine every little thing they do and try to do it BETTER and worry about every little thing (you guys have a TV, right? So you know what I’m saying), and compare themselves to those “better” moms (you know, they feed their kids better or dress better or have nicer clothes or better bodies or do more crafts with their kids or have awesome careers or take enviable vacations)… As women we’re constantly told we should be comparing to others and aspiring to do better. Rising above these messages and learning to be secure in one’s choices, well those are quite the trick.
So parents feel good and safe about school. Hearing it described negatively in any way is upsetting, because damn, at least they were getting that ONE thing right. And it ruffles their feathers. And I can empathize.
Also, many people don’t like the element of truth in those terms whether I use them or other people do. But the fact that school, as an institution, functions in these ways (and functions in some neutral ways and some positive ways too) means nothing in particular about any parent who uses it – not that they’re “bad” or “unloving” nor that they’re superior either (as many schooling parents claim when they make jokes that Unschooled kids won’t know how to do math nor read, har har). I’m not going to pretend school doesn’t have these warehouse elements any more than I’m going to pretend schools don’t have a culture of bullying or pretend schools have no positive aspects either (for instance, as a child I liked school very much indeed and maybe I’ll write a post soon of what I loved).
One thing I write liberally on is the culture of “perfect parenting” and especially how it pertains to mothering. I kind of feel like this culture of perfection is where you’re getting the idea that I personally am criticizing all schooling parents (that is a really big claim, Christie). I examine my feelings and I only feel support and solidarity for parents, even many, many parents that OTHERS don’t support. I only get truly pissed when the mainstream screws with my day-to-day rights and remember, this is a personal blog and you will see some venting now and then!
Most every parent I know is doing what they think is best and loves their children as fiercely as I love mine. If you think I in any way I believe I love my kids more than schooling parents love theirs, you have not been reading very closely.
For more perspective on the origins of modern education you can read a slideshow by John Taylor Gatto, which I personally found fascinating.
Tangentially, I have a lot of thoughts on parents who say they have trouble trying to teach their child (as you bring up with regard to C. and reading); I’ll write a post about this soon because I think it is an interesting subject. I used to struggle with these issues myself, and I’ve had more than one friend tell me of similar frustrating experiences.
Also, on a personal note, I know you and your family and not have I once felt some kind of judgment on you for schooling. Not once. I know your husband and children are your life’s passions and you are not some shallow “me time” mom (which I’ve never, ever called an individual anyway and I object to those who do!). I know you look forward to when C. comes home; I remember how much I missed Phoenix when she was in kindergarten. I know a stellar set of parents when I see them and both my husband and I respect you and N. and your choices despite our many differences (and they’re not just about school either, cough-cough McCain-supporters!). 😉
I hope I’ve addressed your concerns and I thank you for your comments. In my passion to analyze and deconstruct the prescriptive model of mandatory public education I don’t want to be insensitive with my language in a way that harms parents/carers or children – I want to be accurate. Please do send me examples if you have them because I am not above considering a correction to my blog. I’ve done it a few times before.
Just stopped by to say hello. I love your one sentence description of reading Amy’s post – and I’m off to see what The APC is. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by! I liked what you had to offer in the FRK site. And I see we do not live so far from one another!
The APC is kind of mind-blowing but it makes more sense if you’ve read other Privilege checklists and understand the concepts behind them.
Honestly, that FRK thread wasn’t TOO bad, except for a comment here or there. Most people were discussing homeschooling/unschooling rather civilly; I was pleasantly surprised.
Thank you for your comment, and thank you for stopping by!
First of all, LOL at McCain.
The warehouse comment was from what you posted on the other website in your second comment (comment 33, 3rd paragraph) – not on your blog.
Since I know you outside of your blog, I know you don’t truly believe that “normal” school is always a negative thing. It was just the feeling I have been getting from your posts lately (cause you know I love to stalk the Hogabooms!) not a normal tone I read from you so I just thought I would let you know.
Some of the homeschool Mom blogs I have read are extremely negative regarding Mom’s who send their kids to school. (I have found the exact opposite is the same as well) It is a shame that Moms can’t support each other with the decisions we make for our own children. I am so very thankful that I don’t normally feel like I am not supported or respected for my choices in parenting, but it could be because my main circle of friends have very similar values as I do. Sometimes I think many people spend too much time thinking about differences negatively rather than positively.
So glad I stopped by here today. I also get overwhelmed reading sites where the comments (or posts) devolve into unsupportive rants, and I thank you for the times you’ve waded through the muck anyway and stood up for children. I love Anji’s Adult Privilege Checklist, too, and it’s really given me words for the ideas I have regarding how children should be respected and in what ways they are not. I hear a lot of talk, even from parents, about how children are terrors and need to have limits imposed on them â€” and the checklist lets me verbalize just how many limits they already have imposed on them, and how, um, maybe we don’t need to add more.
I have more than one “stalker”, ie people who read almost every word I write publicly (that they can find), people who’ve subscribed to or follow not only what I write here but have subscribed to/follow blogs I recommend and read so they’re seeing comments I leave elsewhere (not even just the ones I directly link to from here and Underbellie).
So I expect more from my stalkers; if they are worth their salt they should check themselves before getting on me about a specific word they found offensive (again, the only thing you’ve brought up is this one word, and something about a “tone”, which just isn’t specific enough for me to address).I’ve also rather specifically covered this before re: “Is Kelly Hogaboom dissing every parent who puts their kid in school?” and very recently so you are disappointing me in the stalking department. (Incidentally this post also covered the, “I think you should be careful with your language because you are saying things I donâ€™t like” business here – in my private journal, which I’ve been awesome enough to make public for anyone to read.)
Some of the homeschool Mom blogs I have read are extremely negative regarding Momâ€™s who send their kids to school.
Yeah, and I understand how this can suck, and I’ve put more shoeleather down regarding how much anti-mom discussion is out there regarding family stuff and I’ve stood up and made my voice known in those spaces. Although of course, as one of the parents of the 98.5% of children in school, a little acknowledgment of your privilege in being the vast, vast majority might go a long way. Homeschooling parents – especially mothers – are underfire in a way you simply cannot fathom (they just made h/sing illegal in Sweden… h/s rights are by far not guaranteed and public treatment of h/sing parents can be vile, vicious, and scary… I’d like you to show me the place in this country where schooled families cower in fear and powerful backlash orchestrated from h/sers).
And finally, that link to that site and thread where I used the word “warehouse”? That was Enemy Territory. I was specifically addressing people who think our entire country is kid-focussed and we cater too much to breeders and our annoying, ill-behaved kids. I still stand by “warehouse” by the way (thank you for locating where I said it), and so do people with amazing, incredible minds ahead of the curve who we’d all stand to benefit if we read with an open, inquisitive mind instead of defensiveness.
Hello and thanks for stopping by! I truly hope the APC is helpful for you as it has been for me; I’d love to hear any other thoughts that percolate over time.
Something you said inspired so much thought-process in my wee little brain:
I hear a lot of talk, even from parents, about how children are terrors and need to have limits imposed on them â€” and the checklist lets me verbalize just how many limits they already have imposed on them, and how, um, maybe we donâ€™t need to add more.
Several things are currently blowing my mind about anti-kid sentiment in our culture (which is what this particular post was mainly addressing:
1. Many people don’t realize how truly, truly segregated our society already IS with regards to children/adults… and some people want to make it even MORE so, so they are “inconvenienced” even less from all these brats. And these people don’t realize they’re being jerks and go largely unchallenged, even in the social justice sphere on the internet.
2. Child-hate and interaction with children that demonstrates this flavor is not at ALL only the parlance of those without children (like you say). Plenty of parents have it too, it’s just so deep-seated in many. Even loving parents dominate, oppress, coerce out of their inability or reflexive unwillingness and fear of letting go of (the illusion of) Control. To which I say: don’t feel guilty and terrible about this for more than a minute, but come with me and let’s do things a new way. I’m getting pretty good at it.
3. The whole, “Well of COURSE kids should have less rights too, they’re DIFFERENT from adults!” (followed by ridiculous and fruity depictions/predictions of toddlers getting gun permits and swilling whisky all day) is first a nice way to demonstrate a rather knuckle-dragging attitude and loud clown-horn proclamation of ignorant worldview. The Convention for the Rights of the Child has not been ratified by the US, but USians love to feel all smug and like we treat our kids/educate our kids is far better than any other country. Too bad evidence this isn’t true is coming in from all corners (I also just found out Hey, guess who it’s legal to hit in our country? That’s right, one’s own child! Lauren, I could hit you and be rightfully charged with assault. I can hit my kids with legal impunity!).
4. Those shouting “Kids rights are different and they should be that way, end of discussion” always, always use super-simplified examples, doomy predictions (toddlers with assault rifles or some other such silliness), and the restaurant-brat anecdote. Those people never, ever acknowledge the necessary questions we must ask: Gee, IS a thirteen year old boy SO much different than an 18 year old emancipated citizen?, and Gee, IS there a cost to a lifetime of oppressive parenting techniques? or Wow, I realize I’ve been limited in my thinking until now, but look at this parent saying she’s found Another Way, what’s that all about? In other words such people (and sadly there are many) want the Niceyness of Perfectly Well-Behaved Kids (I love, love, love this. We don’t expect kids to read fluently at 12 months because we know they aren’t developmentally ready; but we expect them to behave like perfectly mannered grownups according to our prescriptions and in kid-negative spaces – and developmental appropriateness be damned!) but slide quickly out of discussions on the very negative effects of a combination of modern and culturally-condoned parenting/child-rearing strategies: enforced manners, authoritarianism, Might Equals Right (“I’m in charge so what I say goes, the best you can hope for is for one day to be in charge in your own home”), and a categoric lack of acknowledgement that precisely because kids change so quickly attempts to Control and Mold Like Modeling Clay are very risky indeed and don’t bode well for our children’s children, their pets, the environment, and the leadership policies we will see shaping our near future.
Oh and, parents who have authoritarian streaks statistically end up far more likely to be put in managed care and not visited by/cared for by their kids. A little something to think about for those who feel all awesome about the rules enforced in their home.
5. Those shouting against kids’ rights ignore those of us who parent differently than the mainstream, and the fact our kids are shining examples of awesomeness, not disrespectful monsters, blah blah.
Whoops, this should have been its own post. But, whatever.
Thank you, again, for your comment.
Kelly- you don’t see the UNCRC as a threat to the right of families to choose homeschooling? It’s a slippery slope IMHO from giving the child the “right to an education” to deeming that only attendance at a government-approved school allows the child to exercise that right. Look at what’s happening in Germany, Sweden, and Brazil if you don’t believe me…
I don’t see the UNCRC as threatening the rights of homeschooling families although I know some Christian homeschoolers and the HSLDA has seen it as such (I’m not a supporter of the HSLDA or at least the agenda as I know it). I do know what’s happening in those other countries and I’m starting to be more interested in the status of homeschooling in other countries. I think homeschooling is here to stay in the US for the forseeable future, but I also think we need to keep our eye on worldly events and domestic attitudes… it’s one of the reasons I write so freely on H/Sing and U/Sing.
Thanks for your comment!
Stopping by on the recommendation of Lauren/Hobo Mama and echoing her thanks for speaking out against all of the kid hate. I have a post going up tomorrow about comments made to me about my child *in front of him* (like he’s deaf or too dumb to comprehend that people are referring to him). It’s excruciating.
Off to read the APC and more of your posts!