Wednesday, June 22, 2011

what the hell kind of question is that?

Okay, I swore I wasn’t going to do this, but of course that only serves to ensure I would.
“Don’t you worry about socialization?” she asks me pushing an umbrella stroller back and forth giving the fussing toddler seated in it whiplash. Really? That is your best question?  Not does the state reimburse you for the taxes you pay into the school system? Does the state support your efforts with free materials and educational reviews?  Do you get a homeschooling discount at State parks and museums? 
The answer to all those questions is NO.

Honestly, they will ask it at the zoo, at the aquarium, at the park, at the market, the post office, the airport, the parking lot of book store…
Are you standing in the same gymnasium as I am? Can’t you see, smell, & hear the about a hundred little girls in here?!

New question please because I don’t worry about socialization, and if I did it would be about how to shut it down.  Reading homework, the door bell rings.  Spelling test, the phone rings.  History lesson at the museum and what? What did you say?! I can’t hear you over the school group here on a field trip.

Trust me we have friends buckets of them.  Kids play with rocks and sticks more often then they do plastic and kids make friends just about anywhere.  The short and long of this rant is somewhere you have been sold a load of crap about parenting and education and the strange separation of the two.  You don’t want your doctors' education sponsored by Merck so don’t parent sponsored by Toys R Us.  I don’t know if the socialization question is simply outdated or something more sinister like propaganda.  But slow down, think about it a second…I live in Salt Lake City, the head quarters to the Mormon Church, we have kids here, boat loads. 
And just to be a jerk who got an A in Ethics for her ability to argue. A. if your child is home schooled they will not be properly socialized. Therefore B. to socialize your child they must be ‘schooled’. If A. & B. are true then C. is true: you send your kid to school mainly to socialize.  Hence the reason we leave the museum when the school bus pulls in.

But you don’t send your kid to school just to make friends. I know that, you know that.  You didn’t spend all that time with the realtor asking about the school district or researching Magnet & Charter Schools for Sally to have a BFF.  And the teacher saying your kid 'talks too much' in class doesn’t end in a reward trip to the ice cream parlor for a double scoop. 

You send them to be educated and hope that they enjoy doing it.  And if A. your kid goes to school for education then B. the quality of their education is what counts and therefore C. socialization is a stupid question to ask an educator.    

I know kids who need to be in school.  And I know kids who should be educated at home.  I know home school parents who maybe shouldn’t be…and teachers who really shouldn’t be.  But socialization? I worry about sunburns, about the fumes from dry erase markers, about tetanus, and whether I am doing a good job as her mother-teacher.  My last report card was a Mother’s Day card my kid made while spending at day with my mother.  It said: What is the most important job your mom has? And my kid answered: To teach me to read.

“So which one is your daughter again?”
The one socializing in the middle of that huge pack of level 4 gymnasts who I haven’t seen in 6 hrs because she had back to back play dates then gym class.  And this must be your child clinging to your leg.


As I’m stewing over this strange assumption of home schooling, one of my favorite moms yells across the gym, “Misty, you homeschooling Evangelical Christian freak.”  I turn to the nearest parent looking at me, a little woman with a British accent knitting a sweater vest. 
“She's just joking, I’m not religious. I promise.”  But that is a whole other story…

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