A mother is told she's too religious to home-school her daughter. The child has been ordered to attend public school. Watch the video, read the article here:
From that article:
"Voydatch had home-schooled Amanda between 1st and 4th grades. Then came the judge’s order in 2009 which sent the then-9 year-old to public school. Voydatch has been fighting the ruling and Simmons argued the case in front of the New Hampshire Supreme court in early January.
But not everyone sees it as a Constitutional case, including the attorney for Brenda’s ex-husband.
“It’s not really about religion,” says Joshua Gordon. It’s simply about two parents who differ about child-rearing philosophy. He says the two parents disagree about what’s best for Amanda:
“One wants the child very isolated and cloistered and the other wants the child to be worldly and be exposed to all the experiences one ought to have as an adolescent.” "
This is a tough one.
If there wasn't one of the parents who disagreed with the other (the mother), it would be far more insidious. I've always had trouble with the concept of homeschooling. It's good for when the only alternative is really poor educational institutions, I would agree. But that is a quagmire on many levels.
The good thing about public education is that we end up with a commonality among the citizenry, a community. We've seen where too much religion can lead; it can be a good thing, it can also and more typically be a bad thing and at times, a very bad thing.
The argument about charter schools is another misguided mostly right wing concept. Ludicrous at times when we really need to pour money into making public schools work. Rather than give a special group of Americans a charter school system to use to escape. To siphon off even more money to give those special people the option of protecting their children while aiding the abandonment of the children of those who cannot help themselves or their own children out of a bad situation.
It was an idea that originally started as a seemingly intriguing and potentially good idea. But it has devolved into an elitist program leaving too many others in the trenches who do not have the freedom or choice for their own children.
We have abandoned our children, their teachers and education system far too much and for far too long in a one sided effort to dumb down America to support one continually defective conservative Republican party.
If the parent is teaching the child poor religious views, let's face it, that is bad. Though admittedly that may even be a moot point.
The parents can and are still welcome to teach and raise their kids involved with public education, their views on their religion. Is getting a balanced view bad for a kid? Is getting an intensely one sided view bad?
We homeschooled our daughter in first grade. Then we put her into public school for second grade. They tested her and said she could skip two grades. We (mostly myself, as I have a university degree in psychology) were worried about her emotional maturity and ability to merge with older kids. I couldn't have been more correct.
I didn't really notice the issues until she was of driving age and all the other kids were getting their licenses an entire year before she did. It caused her a great deal of difficulty and I would have felt the same had I been her. A car isn't just a car. It's freedom, from parents, from home.. It's experiencing. It's community with friends.
Still, we homeschooled her, raised her and our son in an open minded way. He was not homeschooled, his ADD made it difficult either way. In our case without religious training, which they absorbed before graduating K-12 on their own, and with our (mostly my) guidance. Neither of us were religions. My wife would say she was Christian oriented but not religious. I was raised very Catholic, but after a several decades long search and survey of religions and mental disciplines, I ended mostly on Buddhism, but my own hopefully more enlightened sense of it.
I had noticed my grade school foundation in Okinawan Martial Arts brought with it an Asian orientation on philosophy which gave me a more grounded view of my religion (I had even been head altar boy in our small Slovak church as my mother was Czech and dad was Irish). When I discovered Buddhism it felt familiar (obviously) until I realized that the basis of Catholicism, in it's rejection of Judaism was based in Buddhism.
When I studied psychology and philosophy in college and at university, I then discovered how familiar still various schools of psychology were to Buddhism, which is not a religion at all. Though many who were born into it in their Buddhist country, might think it is. Humans are somewhat OCD by nature, it's a protection, built in, and functional...until it's not. Therefore, humans tend to want to turn anything they get deeply involved in, into a dogma or a religion.
There are uses for homeschooling, many reasons for it to be used, to be sure, But it needs to be used, not abused. We need our public schools for community, for Americans all being Americans and to retain that among us. And our children are only as good as their parents homeschooling them. Not every parent should be homeschooling for some have no ability to take on the task and it can harm the child. It can also harm our society, our country. Even our ideals. There are some pretty weird parents out there, some pretty destructive subcultures. Antithetical to American ideals and society.
We, I myself, have always been into our freedoms. Into our individuality of thought and action. But as we've found recently, there is a downside. This was originally a reaction against a 1950s and before mentality of group cohesion. Through the Beat generation and on, once we began to really think about it, we could wear what we want, have our hair whatever length we wanted. To have alternative views to living. But that was a strong reaction to break out from an anachronistic mindset.
Once that was broken in the 60s and 70s and beyond as we continue to evolve and mature as a nation, we have to slow down, lighten up and realize we have made strides. We no longer need to be so adamant about our uniqueness. Some tried and true methods of living have been there, because they work.
We have to realize if we each and all diverge too much from one another we begin to lose our cohesive threads of commonality. In our over striving for our uniqueness, our individuality at some point we all lose what it is to be an American. Individuals of a like mind, able to live our uniqueness ... separately together. As we're seeing today in this polarized America, it can work against our own best interests.
What this comes down to, and it depends on the parenting plan if both parents have equal decision on the child's education, is what the parents work out on subjects. So the mother really shouldn't have the final say. If the mother is primary parent,and has the majority decisions granted for educational and religious issues, then Dad needs to shut up and it becomes a moot point.
Then again, I'm biased as I've seen my share of unbalanced mothers raising kids in a much less than reasonable way. That being said, the education the child gets in homeschooling depends entirely upon the parents doing the teaching. Children need socializing outside the home. With other children, with other adults, with other ways of thinking, and how to deal with foreign forms of thought. Not in a narrow minded way, but in an open minded and critical thinking way.
My primary concern is in those who are ignorant, teaching their young and propagating and increasing their ignorance. I never considered that before recent times when I've seen those who obviously espouse ignorance and foolishness with pride. Who have organized and become a voice evoking changes in far too many of the wrong directions. While all the time thinking they were doing what is right and good. Perhaps doing "God's job."
What is "right and good" is an argument for another time, but the primary concern remains, a concern.
In the end continuing on with our original direction (and I am for the most part a believer in freedom of thought myself) may be the only thing to do. But it leaves me greatly concerned for our future. It then becomes a numbers game. Will we have more ignorant, or more educated in future American voting pools?
Consider as I understand it, that the uneducated tend to be the ones who have more kids, which the more educated have less. Same traditionally for the religious, to overwhelm by numbers if not reason. We see this too in the Republican party in pushing to eliminate birth control, abortions, to increase their numbers if by nothing else, by overwhelming their ranks through birthrates.
I had always thought that Truth in the end would win out, just because it is more, and most functional.
But perhaps I should have considered that Truth, like Good, may not win out in the end as I had originally been raised to believe, because the other side breaks rules, in order to win at any and all costs. Because they believe themselves divinely inspired and even protected.
I was raised by parents who believed mostly only what their parents had taught them. Which in many cases was simply wrong. In my mother's case, this was at times judged even by her own Parish Priest. I do try to judge by people's own logic or paradigms whenever possible and reasonable. And so frequently I find even that enlightened view failing them. For the break with knowledge and logic not infrequently from without but as well from within their understanding of the world,.
What direction will this take us?
I guess that begs the question. Do we try to direct our path or, do we simply throw caution to the wind? For it seems we do need to allow people to do what they want, for the most part and when reasonable and possible. This still IS America.
I just have to acknowledge that this is not at times unlike closing your eyes while driving. Or perhaps more so like closing your eyes while riding a horse. Which would be better I think as at least the horse doesn't want to ride into something dangerous.
But either way, driving or riding with one's eyes open is always the far better plan.