Apparently, there is a one woman campaign out of Maine to “wake-up” society to the dangers of homeschooling, via Doris Anne Beaulieu and her book The Torments of the Modest Secluded Farm Life as well as her website, Life’s Ultimate Test. I’ve spent a little time looking for additional information, but unfortunately our library does not carry the book and all I could find online was the same description she left on my blog as a comment across multiple sites and no independent reviews. She has received some honors for her work, including some attention from the Obama campaign. (All block quotes are from the comment she left. Unfortunately, the comment was post length by itself so I’m going to try to pare it down a bit,)
. . . Who we become as adults is greatly influenced by the way we are raised as children. . . .
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I dare say this is one of the primary motivations which unites us as homeschoolers…the desire to provide positive models to our children.
. . . I believe that living a sheltered life at home and home-schooling is not the best way to raise your children. I was a sheltered child at home and attended a private school. Private schools have since improved in time, with legislation to accredit the institution and greater attendance.
I’m not sure that accreditation necessary translates to improvements, but I am not that familiar with the history of private schools in general, nor of Catholic schools in particular. At any rate, so far the argument being developed seems to be based solely on her experiences as a child raised in a secluded area attending a private school. One person’s experience, and it wasn’t even with homeschooling.
Home-schooling, however, has been left on the back burner without much legislation to monitor it and has turned into the private schools of the past. Who is ensuring that the home-schooled children are receiving an education that will enable them to be socially acceptable?
I would say predominantly the parents. As well as neighbors, friends, churches and pediatricians. In other words, the communities we live in. And just what is “socially acceptable?” A lot of people homeschool because their children are not socially accepted and find themselves bullied relentlessly. In fact, concerns about this environment are the top cited reason for homeschooling. Sometimes this world still catches up with them because you can never truly shelter a child from the world.
My book paints a very clear picture of the closeness of families who live a protective, sheltered life going to a private school(Which is not the home-schools of today). One’s only friends are those also living under that protective blanket, or in my case, only my siblings. One is raised to believe the whole world lives this way.
If you grow up in a small rural area, chances are you will find a similar environment in the local public school. These communities are small and your teacher may have educated all your siblings, your parents and graduated with your grandmother. I’m sure there is some culture shock leaving such a world, but I’m not convinced that there is anything the government can do to help that transition. Nor that parents are wrong or are guilty of anything but loving their children for wanting to bring their children up this way.
Individuals only speak the truth because one is taught a person is only as good as his word. It is also emphasized that everyone treats others with kindness as that is the pure moral way to live life . . . No matter the direction life may take, make no mistake, one’s childhood mentally follows him or her throughout life, causing doubt in every move because one knows how naive he or she was raised and things are just not the same in the world he or she now must live in.
So children need to be abused in a public system to grow up and transition into the world? I grew up with this harsh world she goes on to discuss as so shocking when she emerged from her sheltered existence. And believe me, having been raised watching the lying, stealing, favoritism, bullying, immorality, immodesty, etc., left me with plenty of baggage to carry mentally throughout my life.
. . . I had a conversation on one of the political sites onwhere a man said “I quit school at 16 because school was nothing but a waste of my time.” This same man said he was going to home-school his children. Can you just imagine the education his children are going to receive? And how are they going to adjust into society when they turn eighteen? Schools are all being academically measured up, but what are we going to have for these failing parents? What kind of society are we creating? In the year 2003 there were over one million children being home-schooled and various forms of unschooled. Yes, you heard me right “unschooled,” where counting eggs while picking them is math. . . .
He hasn’t failed at anything yet…except at fitting in to the public school model Ms. Beaulieu seems to idealize. What kind of society are we creating when our schools fail so many of our children? Twenty percent of high school drop outs test in the gifted range. It isn’t just the poor and the minorities we are failing in a system designed for the average rather than the individual.
And until the system can get it right, I’m not terribly confident in what it could possibly do to “improve” education in the homes of homeschoolers.