Friday, May 8

Soapbox mini-rant

As if the title weren't enough... I have been feeling the need to blow off some steam, don't have much venue where I can do that with this and this is *my* space, so I'm going to get up on my li'l ol' soapbox and have my say.

The events of this week have really clarified *why* Unschoolers feel (justly or unjustly) treated with intolerance in eclectic/diverse homeschooling groups. Well, not the entire groups, but certain factions within. (As I brag up my local inclusive group every chance I *get*, I know that the lion's share are super great, wonderful, open folks... but you know what they say about a couple rotten apples...) I guess I'm just not one of those enlightened folks who can just let it go (yet), because each time it comes up, it gets under my skin and irritates a little more.

Hypothetical scenario: "Betty" writes on her local homeschool group that she's stressed about her 3rd grader's math and does anyone have any suggestions to help them get through 3rd grade math? "Suzy" says that she hasn't used it herself, but she's heard really good things about "Acme" curriculum. "Joan" adds her opinion that Acme curriculum didn't work for them, but that they really liked the ease and diversity of "Beta" curriculum. "Freda" says that no, both of those curriculums are junk, that there is a site online that does wonders for 3rd grade math. "Jane" begs forgiveness for contradicting Suzy, Joan and Freda but that better than all of those is a video she has and will bring along for Betty to consider at their next library gathering. "Helga" says all the previous suggestions stink and that she has a computer program that will put all those to shame and that Betty has *got* to use it, and that she'll be bringing it by right after lunch today.

All those posts are accepted as perfectly normal, fine ways of "helping" Betty. Then along comes "Cindy", who doesn't suggest anyone use anything or say that any way is "right" or "wrong", but just talks about how their family doesn't use any sort of curriculum or learning program and how it has worked in their family and how they've learned without canned "educational" stuff *in their own family*. Why does this last post garner accusations of "finger pointing" and claims of "telling other people they are homeschooling 'wrong' "? Why does a little hint that it *is* sometimes possible for some folks to learn without "structured educational -something-" taken as a huge insult?? All rhetorical, but I am baffled.

In the current, real-life situation, the thing that really stamps the "Unschooler hate" sticker on the whole shebang is that FIVE days prior (9:45 pm), a similar issue was brought up on the very same group by the very same original poster (poster "A"), but more in the spelling/writing arena. A tried and true curriculum-user answered "A" with a reply that would have been *very* similar to an Unschooler's reply, basically, "no biggie, time will see an end to the 'problem' ". What did "A" say to the curriculum-user? Not, "Don't answer any of my posts in the future.". Not, "I know your philosophy". Not, "I don't want to hear *your* answer." Not, "That's not what I asked." No. "A" said "That's an acceptable answer" and "I'm glad to know it will change on it's own".

Maybe I'm just too used to open, honest discussions, where people can take or leave what they want from what's posted. I don't know. I just can't understand why a suggestion can be completely acceptable as long as it has a title or a name, but if the answer is "you don't *have* to use something "educational" ', all hell breaks loose as if someone said to tie the child up and force feed them dog poop until they barf all over themselves. Okay, maybe I exaggerate... but it certainly feels that way sometimes.

:: Big, heavy sigh... :: It's just really tough to let it all "roll off your back" or assume the best when you try to offer a kind, gentle, helping hand and you get kicked in the head for your efforts. Anyhow, the whole "scenario" part has been rolling around in my head since about noon 2 days ago (2 1/2?), and I thought that maybe if I purged it out into black and white, it might help me "let it go". I guess maybe it's just too intertwined with... other events... Gee, I just thought of a new definition for "brainwash"! 'Cause I'd sure love to be able to wash some of this right outta my brain! :~)

Tomorrow's another day, I have loads of friends who are so, so good to me and who I love *dearly*, life is good, me and mine have our health, so time for me to smack that inner optimist awake. :~D I think I'll dig up a quote to put at the *bottom* this time...

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in everything.
-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


Red House said...

You cannot expect rational behavior from irrational people. Its not you and its not unschooling, its blatant idiocy on the part of some.

Chin Up, girl. Don't carry their crazy.

aslanssong said...

Ditto Red House, there was nothing wrong with your post and since I'm the moderator/evil dictator, post away! :o)

De said...

Yeah, I *was* carrying it. I was hoping tossing it out into the open like that might help me be able to quit carrying it, but at this point, I'm thinking I might just delete the whole blog entry so I'm not making *others* carry it instead!

Anonymous said...

I have also given this a lot of thought over the past few days, and your blog post nailed it for me.

You are right, and I am wrong. I wish there was a way I could post that to the FG without bringing it all to the forefront again, and JP and EM did a good enough job of finishing the discussion w/o my doing so, but at least here I can give you a public apology.

"I" get tired of being told to relax (not by you but in general by others because I am a high strung person), and "I" took it out on you via by getting hacked off at a post that was not even directed at me and one I should I have skipped.

It has been brought to my attention by my friends offlist that you WERE addressing a part of her post (which the first time I read I missed) - and that was the stress J was going through. Why I missed it is probably because of the unschooling thing - my brain is not tuned that way - and so it came across as criticism for her feelings instead of an attempt to take away stress.

So, I am sorry.

I am glad you wrote your blog entry because it made it a lot clearer for me. You are right that I gave her advice in the past that she could relax about an issue or work with it away from pen/paper, and it was taken. I missed that!


De said...

LJL: I don't think you're "getting it". No, I didn't tell you to relax. I didn't tell *anyone* to relax. That is the entire purpose of why I post about myself-so that there can be *no way* I can be pointing fingers at anyone else.

In General: Often times, something in a post I read makes me think of things in my own life, which I then share. If you read my posts with an eye for that or even trying to find where I am accusing others or telling others how they should "be" or "do", you will find that I don't do that. There have been many, many times that I have read posts on other groups that were not directed at me in any way, yet I've taken something from it for my own use. That person who posted not only didn't "aim" it in my direction, they don't even *know* me. In fact, some of the things I read when I first started reading about unschooling were on groups that I hadn't even introduced myself on, so no one even knew I was *there*.

If I write something and someone takes something from it, I have no control over that-whether it be something good, something bad, or whatever. I *do* post about my own experiences in hopes that something I've struggled through *might* help someone else deal with something with less effort, less stress than I did.

Again, I will say it clearly: I DO NOT judge other people's homeschooling, nor think anyone should homeschool in any particular way. (It gets very frustrating to keep being accused of such when it is not happening). I love to hear about other people's experiences and am glad when people share that and I can learn more. Again, I can only talk about what I know, what my experiences are (just like someone who's only used Sonlight curriculum could only talk about their experiences with that), and my experiences are 90% unschooling.

Again, this is my *own* experience: when I find myself having a strong negative reaction to something I've read, I usually end up finding that it was touching on something I had "subliminally" been concerned about, and the words had brought it either very close to the light or completely out into the open and it was uncomfortable for me to "have" to examine it in full light. *This is my own experience.* I am not suggesting *any*one else feels the same way or has the same experiences.

Anonymous said...

You are right that I was not getting it prior to when I wrote my post to you on the FG board, but I got feedback from my friends offlist and after reading your blog entry it was sort of an ah-hah moment - so when I wrote what I did here it was after I "got" it.

I was just trying to explain where I was coming from when I first read the entry on the FG - why I reacted the way I did. I wanted you to know it was not you, but me - that's where my apology was coming from - that it was me that made the mistake - not you in posting.

Like I said - I read it from the perspective of somebody who gets told frequently (and like I said - not by you but by others) to relax and go with the flow.

Sometimes it's hard to read a post without putting your own bias on it. Two people can read the same thing and get two separate reactions to it. I know in Buddhism they try to teach you how to listen without your own thoughts. That's a hard one for me, but not something I have given up on in myself.


Bridget said...

There is a reason you don't find me on any of the national lists anymore. I decided it wasn't worth my time or energy to deal with that kind of stuff anymore.