A downside of choice
I'm glad that Lucy Banwell saved and re-posted this in early 2013, or it would've been lost. :-)
I'm glad I found it in late 2014! I will quote from some other, related ideas, too.
This bit of writing from Sandra Dodd seems particularly relevant to my family life just at the moment:
When the women's movement was big in the U.S. in the early 1970's, it made a lot of women unhappy, and they were mad at other women, and it ruined a lot of marriages. It made people unhappy that others were saying "You have a choice," and "the traditions you're following are hurting people."
They would have been happier if they had never heard of equal rights. Some would have stayed really unhappy because they were in traditionally male jobs, making less for doing the exact same work. Some would have stayed unhappy because they were being sexually or physically abused. But as long as they didn't see that they had a choice, there was a stasis, and an innocence and they could accept their sad fate without feeling it was in any way their own fault.
Having a choice about sending kids to school or not affects everyone. It affects teachers because they need to step up their game. It affects the kids in school who know there's an option but their parents say "no, we're not going to homeschool." When I was a kid and was unhappy with school (which only happened occasionally, because generally it was a game I played well, and a chance to meet other people and not be home), my mom simply said it was the law, and if they didn't send me that they could be taken to jail. It wasn't her fault.
Having a choice makes some family relationships harder (just as the women's movement did). It can make it harder for kids to get along with neighbors. Other people see our choice as being critical of theirs to keep their kids in school. That can't be helped; it DOES challenge and make more difficult their (newfound) "decision," because it shed light on the fact that it IS a decision, since homeschooling is an option.
From a chat on "Schooling" in 2011, in an argument against proselityzing, and against school bashing.
There are problems with showing people things they don't want or can't have. It can make them unhappy. It's better to concentrate on learning it, doing it, really living it.
The women's movement in the late 1960's and early 1970's is a case to look at. A LOT of divorce and extreme frustration and unhappiness came up in a very short period of time. Huge waves of male-bashing and indignation and sharing of horror stories brought upheaval and noise and there wasn't a lot of understanding and improvement attached to it. Gradually things settled, but there was a ton of social rubble.
(and there's some more, in group discussion, at Online chat, "Schooling," page 13, Big Book of Unschooling
If we concentrate more on politics and the awfulness of school, we're not paying attention to our kids. I won't sacrifice my family on the altar of social change. My family will be a light, not a bonfire.
I think people without kids should be the ones who risk their lives to bring about change. Not parents…. And that is something [parenting as we were discussing it] that owes some of its existence to the women's movement, I suppose. Reproductive options. If people can't choose to be parents, they're less likely to be really dedicated parents
Parental resentment, and resentment of mothers toward husbands was WAY, way higher when sex could mean another and another pregnancy. If someone chooses to be a parent they have more obligation and a higher likelihood of desire to be really hot-shot great parents. As opposed to people who end up pregnant and have no safe, legal options. It creates a new reality, and a new relationship to reproduction and parenthood. Even for those whose beliefs won't let them consider abortion, they too have chosen.
|So that this will have a photo, for pinterest, or for an association for the reader, I'm using the Just Add Light that was new the day I made this page.
Fewer folks farm than used to. It's understandable.
Even without a farm, though, what's planted might grow. What is tended thrives.
Not everything can be controlled, but many things can be accepted and appreciated. Mentally gather up the positive results in your life and be grateful for your harvest.
And so that's part of why you should be wary of telling other people that they have options.
When a family knows, for sure, really knows, that they could have homeschooled, then they become responsible in a whole new way for any emotional, psychic or physical damage their child experiences from school. If there was no option, they are blameless. So be careful passing out what you think is knowledge.
Those ideas are about compassion for children whose parents can't consider homeschooling at all, and for other parents who would love to unschool but can't. Don't rub their noses in your happiness. It's cruel.
It's not as easy to choose three related links for this, because I don't know what will have caused people to have found this. Usually the three-link plan is simple!
Creating an unschooling nest
Responding to family members
Just Add Light and Stir (daily inspiration)