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Rebuttal to Jen of grace-filled.net

Note:  To the folks coming over from Jen's Blog.  Jen banned me from commenting last week because I stood up for myself when she used an ad hominem attack against me in her 7-Quick takes post.  Apparently both she and Katia (her so-called college friend) like to dish it, but don't want to take any of it back. Apparently our ideas of courtesy and politeness are different as well.  Ever since they started commenting here they have been disresepectful, rude and snarky, although I'm sure Katia would call it "fiesty." 

That all said, I write from my experiences and my life story.  So does Jen. So does Katia.  What I write about homeschooling is true for me based on what I have seen and experienced.  Your mileage may vary!!  So just take that for what it's worth- no more, and no less.  I just never found an article that addressed concerns about putting a kid back in school - although there are many about taking a kid out!  So I had it on my mind to address it. 

I have never met Jen or Katia and up until a few weeks ago didn't even know they existed.  I certainly didn't have Jen in mind when I wrote this. 

Now here is my reply to Jen's rebuttal that she did without allowing me to reply, probably because she is incapable of handling a true adult discussion or debate.  

Special note to commenter Kym - No, I don't think my kids should not socialize with formerly homeschooled kids.  My point was that it is importanted for homeschooled kids to get to hang with other homeschooled kids, especially in the high school years and when they join a "homeschool" organization, whether it be for sports or part of the support group - that is the expectation.  It's just harder for them to find other kids in their situation when all the spots are taken by kids who used to be homeschooled but are now in institutional schools.  I think we could agree that kids in regular schools have plenty of opportunities to mix with kids in their situation.  Also for the record, if you spent any time at all reading my blog, you'd know that my kids participate in running clubs with all kinds of different kids, art classes, choir, and even went on a youth retreat this past weekend with kids from many different schools.  

Am I sensing a bit of a grumpy temperament here?
If you are Jen, it's your own grumpiness.  I was just writing a blog post. 
1. You’re breaking up the family. Literally. The best parts of the day the regular schooled students will be away form his or her parents and siblings. And yes I realize the rest of the society already does this and accepts it as normal. But if you’ve been homeschooling it might be a bit of a shock. No longer will the opinions of the parents and relationships with siblings be the most important part of the high school student’s life. Teachers will also get a say and have sway. And so will peers. Having and keeping “friends” will be more important than keeping up relationships with parents and being with siblings. It’s just part of the price.
I honestly would not agree that my mornings are the best part of the day — I’m not a morning person and would be positively bitey if I had to deal with schooling my kids then. Sports and such usually happen in the afternoon so that would be out. Truthfully, I miss working outside the home so I’d be pretty miserable if I was home from 8-3.
Generally speaking, 8 to 3 is the part of the day that we Americans find to be the most productive. The school day and the work day are set up for it.  Again, mileage may vary.
This also assumes that it is impossible to have family time with both parents working and the kids in school. The good parents I know *MAKE* the time. It means that certain activities don’t happen and certain nights are non-negotiable family nights. I know families that actually *gasp* sit around the table and eat dinner and take turns talking about each other’s days.
I assumed nothing of the sort.  Not once in the entire paragraph did I say it was impossible to have family time. The paragraph wasn't even about quality family time. BTW I went to regular school and my mother worked full time, so I know it is possible for the family to make family time. I also know that it was not as easy as it is for me to get family time with my children who are homeschooled. 
As for the opinions of parents and relationships with siblings suffering, that’s fear-mongering at best.
Nontheless, based on my anecdotal experience from life experience and from watching others, this appears to be true. My relationship with my own sibling improved greatly after we were through school and I truly think the institutional school structure hampered it. 
 I was in private school for elementary school and public school for middle school, high school, and attended a public college. I always respected my parents’ opinions even if I may have disagreed. 

I attended Catholic elementary and high school and then a private college.  I respected my elders, but I can think of specific times when my mother's authority and her opinions were undermined by the things I was taught and the attitudes of the teachers I had at the time. 

My relationship with my evil twin was actually *better* when we weren’t in the same classes and in college when we saw each other monthly. 

Two of my sons are each other's best friends. They even formed a rock band together and went to the rock festival together.  My daughters play together even though they are six years apart, and the two middle children are also good companions. 

Yes, teachers get a say in things but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the teacher becomes the ultimate authority.

And yet when they do or say something to undermine the parents, it does put a question mark in the minds of the student. 


 Ditto with friends. Having and keeping friends never replaced my family. EVER.
I didn't say that they replace family - that's your strawman.  But for a time the peer group does rank higher than the family.  Again your mileage may vary.  Of course you have a 4-year-old and I've been through the teen years with two of my own children, so what could I possibly know right? 

2. Mom and Dad will no longer control the curriculum. Oh, there can be meetings with the teachers and principal and maybe there will be attempts to sway the school board from time to time if things get too out of hand, but for the most part, you won’t know what’s in the novels that are assigned (because for the most part, they won’t be classics that you’re familiar with!) and you won’t know what’s being presented in class that’s NOT on the syllabus.
Yeah… this is pretty suspect because it’s a pain to cover the material that *IS* on the syllabus, especially as teachers now have to “teach to the test”.
Talk radio and the internet was buzzing about propaganda that was passing for education in the classroom - i.e. it's against the law to criticize the president - that happened in a high school class room last fall and the student recorded it.  It was all over the internet and talk radio. 

For example of classroom propoganda see here 

 Anything not on the syllabus usually isn’t covered. As for the novels, I’ve checked with my English teacher friends and they’re more than happy to have you read the same books that your kids are reading in class — heck, I actually read a couple of the books on my own years before I encountered them in any of my classes. (I taught myself to read when I was three. I read graphic novels of some of the classics on my own in elementary school and read others because I heard them mentioned in books and was curious.)
There's a difference between a homeschool mom reading with her kids and a mom reading the same book her kid is reading in the classroom.  And yes, there are plenty of things that are coming out in the classroom that aren't on the syllabus. 

I also remember a time my sister was kicked out of class because she continued to read a book after she had already gotten her work done.  She was reading the book and the science teacher asked her if she had finished her assignment, and she had.  The science teacher then gave her another chapter to read and answer questions for.  My sister complied and then started to read her book again before the end of class. She was kicked out for insubordination even though her work was good.  
Regarding curriculum, any high school worth its salt will show you their curriculum and how it measures up to state standards and the standards of the various public universities. In California, my school showed the graduation requirements next to the entrance requirements for the CSU and UC schools.

Not every high school is "worth its salt."  Not everyone lives in California. 


 If you want your kids to have any kind of post-secondary education, you need to follow those guidelines. This doesn’t mean that you can’t teach your kids about something like woodworking, auto repair, music appreciation, or cooking outside of their school day. Lots of parents do. It’s called “spending quality time with your kids”.
The difference is, that in homeschool, the parents can buy the books and the other materials to cover the requirements and you simply can't do that in a regular school.  Plenty of homeschooled kids have gone on to college now that we know a strict adherence to that guideline is a little more fluid than that. I'm also not saying that you can't teach your kids stuff outside of school, but realistically it is a lot harder time and energy wise to do so. Also, that auto repair, music appreciation or cooking won't show up on a transcript of the institutional school unless it is taught there.
One of my friends was buying a book for her daughter that she needed for a literature class. While waiting in line, she opened the book and started reading about a pretty explicit sex act! She had no clue something like that was going to be covered in class at this particular Catholic School.
I’m mentally going through the list of books that I read in my English classes that didn’t have some kind of sexual subject matter in them. Shakespeare is chock full of sexual references and we encountered the subject numerous times in my junior honors English classes and AP English. Sex is part of life. Did we focus on the sex? No. Was it in context? Yes. I can name a few books where I don’t remember anything sexual (Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn come to mind) but if you’re going to read American literature, you’ll find it.
This wasn't classic literature. This was a contemporary novel that my friend's daughter was asked to read for class.  I don't think cunnilingus is something to be taught in the Catholic class room. original post. 
But more importantly, if the student comes to something in his or her studies that they find fascinating, there won’t be any time or inclination to study it in depth and even if there is, there won’t be any credit for it! at least not in this class. What the school, teachers and school board feels is important is what will be presented for study. Everything else will fall by the wayside.
This is where I seriously call “bull feces!” 

Of course you would, because you seem incapable of having a dialogue with someone you disagree with without resorting to ad hominems. 

The Internet didn’t really become a thing until my junior year of high school and yet I found lots of time to pursue my own interests through Girl Scouts, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, checking out piles of books from the library… I knew more about geography and world politics as a 5th grader than some adults do because I was fascinated by countries and cultures. I had pen pals from all over the world and I explored my interest in Broadway musicals through piano and choir. When I got Internet access, I stumbled across Celtic Christianity… and met my husband Jon because he had a webpage on it on his student site at St. Olaf.
Very nice. And also anecdotal.  And I'll bet you didn't get any sort of academic credit for it. i too was a big reader and a member of girl scouts.  I was fascinated with Greek and Roman mythology.  But again, it never got recorded on any sort of transcript and wasn't really counted as part of my formal education. 
Anyone want to tell me that it’s impossible to explore one’s interests now?

I'll tell you it's impossible to do it in the institutional school setting, during school hours and actually get credit for it unless you are in a selected themes type of course, and even then the time allowed will be limited. 
3. Lots of parents give up because they think they can’t teach this that or the other thing. Well news flash – there are teachers in schools that can’t teach them either. I still remember Mr. Ball, my 9th grade religion teacher that made discussions of theology so dull and boring that I didn’t want to take up the topic again until I was in my early 30s. Then there was Mr. Drum the math teacher – not so affectionately known as Mr. Hum Drum. But my favorite of the unfavorites was a science teacher with a Ph.D. behind his name that giggled when he was trying to explain to me about fruit flies mating and passing on genetics. Seriously. And I’ll bet if most of these parents who are so willing to pass on the task of teaching thought back, they could think of some not so stellar performances from their academic background as well. It’s not like we’re homeschooling back in the 80′s! If you need help teaching a subject, there are plenty of ways to find help! This is one of the lamest of excuses these days.
We’ve all had crappy teachers. I didn’t love chemistry until I took it in college and I think that I would have loved it if I’d had a certain chemistry teacher in high school instead of the loser that taught me. Ditto with geometry. However, I had some teachers in high school (my teacher for Algebra 1 and 2) who was passionate about making sure her students learned and who would meet with kids before school, during T period, and after school if they needed help. I was a peer tutor in my high school and tutored a number of subjects. Yeah, there are stupid teachers but there are also teachers that LOVE their subject so much that their students learn.
I never said there weren't great teachers. I had several teachers that I loved.  What I said was that people think that they can't teach and that there are some teachers who can't teach.  Having a degree in education does not a great teacher make!
4. Passing on morals and values. My 9th grade son and 8th grade daughter do not know what twerking is. I’d like to leave it that way.
I actually had to go onto Facebook and ask what this was.  According to my teacher friends (both parochial and public schools), it is verboten at dances and at some schools, it will cause you to be suspended. 

My sons have collectively gone to three different high schools for proms and homecomings - it is very common here.  How many Ohio teacher friends did you ask? 

And seriously, how are you going to keep them from finding out? Lock them in an ivory tower until they turn 30? If they do any kind of post-secondary education, the term will come up. Why not explain now why it is unacceptable behavior?
I do explain it is unacceptable.  And if you were as smart as you think you are, you would have already noted that my oldest three kids have been to proms and dances at public schools. but they were upper classmen before they went, not 8th and 9th graders. 
They also know what the church teaches about sexuality and marriage, something even their Catholic high school counterparts seem a bit shaky on. Which is not to say that they’ll always stay on the right path, but if they veer off it will be a conscience decision and not a straying due to ignorance.
I’m pretty sure my LifeTeen leader friends are pretty clear with their kids on what the Church teaches regarding sexuality and marriage. (Actually, I *KNOW* they do. I’ve seen videos of their talks on this.)
Again anecdotal.  I've blogged a couple of times about the disappointing outcomes of Catholic school kids who have gotten knocked up, or are shacking up even after four years of Catholic high school education.  And we don't have LifeTeen in this area. 
 There’s this entire thing called “Theology of the Body” and I have friends who specifically study it and teach it. Again, is she planning to cloister her kids until age 30?
I'm sure they teach it at St. Vincent- where the most famous alumni is Lebron James - the baby daddy to two. 
5. You won’t reap the values of all of your hard work to date. The hard part of homeschooling is getting these kids to read, write and get to grade level in math. The rest of it is cake. But we get these kids to master the mechanics of reading and English Grammar, and then we pass them off to someone else to reap the benefits!!
Wow… so my brother learning math and being able to calculate area/volume to build raised beds for my mom’s garden doesn’t count? My brother composing an entire impromptu speech on the color blue for his “Communications” merit badge is irrelevant? My mom proof-reading my “Project B” (a 30+ page research paper for AP US History) on “The Scopes Trial and the Debate over Creation and Evolution Teaching in America” was minor?
Why must you always dance with strawman arguments? I obviously meant the benefits of teaching the richer and more advanced stuff after the basics have been formed. 
Why?
After all of these years we can finally read the great books and delve into them for analysis and discussions with our own children! Our kids can finally write something that is actually interesting!! and the science and math are actually challenging! Why on earth should I let someone else get my students when it’s finally getting to be less of a chore and more of a pleasure? It’s like being in a two man relay and letting someone else finish the winning lap and get all the glory. Nope. I’ve enjoyed crying through Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Call of the Wild and next year I can’t wait to do Shakespeare and read my kid’s research papers. I’m invested in the curriculum financially, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally – a lot more than I would be if I was just waiting for grades to come out a few times a year.
By the way, The Call of the Wild is on the 7th grade required list in California.
Yea, well I found a school that I linked to above that uses it in 9th grade.  The whole country isn't California by the way.  
 You might want to reconsider your comments on “getting your kids to grade level”. I’m also a bit amazed that your kids haven’t done Shakespeare yet as we were doing that in 7th grade at my middle school and Greek tragedies in 6th grade. Did I mention that my parents had read the plays before and could actually discuss them with us? Did I mention that I’ve read a few works like The Little Prince and The Stranger (Camus) in both English and French because of my crappy California public school education?
Well it's my curriculum so I can do Shakespear when I want.  My very expensive Catholic High School didn't hit it all when I was in the 70s.  We did Beowulf though for some reason. 
I’d also assert that my parents were quite invested in my schoolwork and it wasn’t just about grades that came out every 6 weeks. My dad helped me with my trig homework and my mom proofed my English papers. My dad was forced to learn some French because my evil twin and I would have conversations in it when we were out with him.:) (This led to some really interesting adventures.) My mom went over our resum├ęs in Social Studies with a fine-toothed comb and talked me through some of the personal statements I had to write for college applications
Good for you!  But again that's not the same as doing it in the home as part of the actual school day.  Your parents were great. My grandmother spent long hours helping me with math- but it was always at night or on the weekends and frankly, it was exhausting. 
And that’s what I would give up if I gave up homeschooling for the high school years.
Yeah… I think I’ve made the point that my parents didn’t lose out on any of this. :)
You've made your point that it's all about you.  I'm not saying regular school is impossible - I was merely pointing out that there is indeed a sacrifice to be made when you send the kids back to school.  If you don't mind that, then fine, go a head. Send the little guy off to school. For others maybe there are some things here to consider that they hadn't thought of before. 
**NOTE: I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU SHOULD NOT HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. THAT IS YOUR DECISION TO MAKE. THE POINT OF THIS ENTRY WAS TO POINT OUT FALLACIES IN HER ARGUMENTS**

And all you managed to do was point out that in your world, you loved regular school. Message received. Of course since your own kid is only 4 you don't have any real world experience with this of your own as a parent.  

******** updates******
A Simple Woman Post where I responded to some hurtful things that were said about my children from Katia's (Jen's friend and also a minister's wife) defunct blog, under the "I am Thinking" heading and where I rethink blogging under the "I am Pondering" section.

Briefly mentioning the controversy under the What I'm Reading Section of this post.

The whole situation not helping my health here. 

A post about an article Simcha Fischer wrote that backed up the points I originally made about putting a student back in regular school.


On March 1, 2014 Jen wrote:

 I try not to pick fights… too often. (Maybe once every few years and only on subjects where I’m pretty confident that I’m right.) It’s not worth my time (especially these days) and I know I hate it when people pick fights with me. Any comments left on this blog that are nasty go right into the spam folder and the offending party has their I.P. banned.
Last summer, I saw a post on a blog with which I disagreed so I refuted her points. That irritated her and she waged an all-out war on me on her blog and in my comment box where she created new identities and I.P.’s using a proxy server. A pastor’s wife friend of mine dared to defend me so she went after my friend on my friend’s blog and in comment box the same way. After praying about the situation, I decided to be the bigger person and called a truce because sitting back and eating popcorn while watching her self-destruct was not a godly way to handle the situation.
Why am I bringing it up (other than her bringing it up on her blog nastily a few months ago)?
A couple of points:
  • She and friend Katia, picked a fight with me, not the other way around.  I didn't even know they existed prior to their attacks.
  • My original post was written for homeschoolers considering putting their students into regular school.  It was not about 4 year olds with learning disabilities. It still boggles my mind as to why Jen took it so personally.
  • She called me a liar and a moron and then she doubled down and said she stood by her words. 
  • By "nasty" she means comments that disagree with her, or reports of the mean, hateful things her friend Katia wrote to me. 
  • The "war waged" was simply the rebuttal above. I was not allowed to comment in her comment section because she blocked me then, as now. As far as I know there was nothing inappropriate, rude or hurtful written in her com boxes in my defense. She did however, allow her friends and readers to take me apart pretty good. 
  • Jen may be a bigger person. However, she is not a saint.


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Comments

Emily said…
Just because you go to a Catholic school doesn't make a Catholic (re: LeBron James reference). I don't agree with how you talk about Ohio like all schools are full of trashy dances and such. I went to a Catholic high school in Ohio and had nothing but a good education that fully prepared me for college. The school was fully in line with Catholic teaching, even firing a teacher for living with her boyfriend. I am not saying homeschool is not okay or whatever, but there's nothing wrong with traditional schools. My parents both worked full time and I never thought I was being neglected or we didn't have enough family time. I went to both Catholic and traditional schools (I grew up Protestant). While I definitely would send my kids to a Catholic school over a public school, not everyone's experience is the same.
You also cannot guarantee that when the kids grow up they won't make a bad decision. You can only hide so much from your kids and I would fear that college would end up being problematic for my kids if they weren't exposed to other kids before then.
In fact, many of the students I went to college with who were homeschooled were socially immature. They didn't know how to deal with other people other than their family and honestly didn't know how to carry on a conversation. I'm not saying that is how your kids are going to be or if that is the majority, but it's something I definitely am taking into account when deciding (or not) to homeschool my future children.
While I really do not believe I will homeschool my future kids someday, I respect your decision to homeschool yours. It's just something that is not for me.
Hi Emily,

I live in inner-city Akron and my kids have attended dances in Akron, Springfield and Cuyahoga Falls. I think location makes a big difference when it comes to dance styles - it certainly does when it come to fashion!

Lebron is sort of a sticking point with me. If we are truly teaching the beauty of Catholicism to our Catholic and non-Catholic students, shouldn't more of them want to live holy lives? At least getting married before reproducing? I'm a product of a Catholic Education 3-12 and I know that "holiness" was probably third or fourth on the list - with academic excellence and athletic prowess being #1 and 2.

Do you really believe nothing is wrong with traditional school? Nothing? All I hear in the media (liberal and conservative) is how to fix the education system. People may disagree on what is wrong with it, but I haven't met anyone yet who thought there was nothing wrong with traditional schools. My mother had a 30-year career as a public school teacher and I never got the impression from her that there weren't any problems.

I blogged about homeschooled kids making bad decisions last year:
http://www.mydomesticchurch.com/2012/03/saving-lost-adult-child.html

What I am finding with my 15 year old (fourth kid/fourth son) is that he has no problem talking with adults and older kids, but his own age group (youth group, running club) won't talk to him - they do eventually and he has lots of friends but our experience has been finding it hard for him to break more easily int the peer group. The older three were social butterflies and son 2 and 3 even formed and perform in a rock band together.

Congratulations on your marriage and I wish you much success and happiness in the future. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Elena