I have a whole lot of written resources on this website, under
the feature article, "Socialization:
the "S" Word." I know how hard it is to respond
to this sort of attack in a social situation. Sometimes the best
response is astonishment: "Oh, really?" "Is that
so?" "I'm not aware of anyone like that." This
person is dead wrong: the more a child is brutilized the more
likely he is to become a brutal person.
One of the BEST books I've read on this subject of so-called
socialization by desensitization is "The
Courage to Raise Good Men." In it the author quotes
studies that show that constant exposure of our boys to brutal
activity does NOT make them stronger and more courageous, successful
men. On the contrary, it is boys who have a close relationship
with their mothers, who are treated with firm kindness by their
fathers, and have a few close buddies to pal around with, who
wind up being the leaders in our society, the good fathers, the
active citizen, the homeowner, the well-off business man.
We do need to instruct our children on how to be "street
wise," but they don't need to be exposed to gang members
and people on drugs on a daily basis. Many children learn
about the dangers of fire by being warned by their parents;
maybe they manage to grow up with never even burning themselves
on a match, and wind up just fine knowing how to behave around
fires. Would this person suggest a parent deliberately burn their
child to teach them about fire safety? I doubt it! But sensible
parents don't even leave a child alone with matches in reach.
There are abusive and agressive people in our little world.
The man at the video store has often said some off-the-wall insults
to my son. He learned gradually not to take the bait from this
man. Finally, a new video store has opened nearby, with very
friendly and jovial clerks. We learned our "socialization"
lesson: we're taking our business elsewhere! That's what "NORMAL"
people do! Teach your kids to AVOID creeps! Public schools do
NOT give children that option: if a child is forced to sit next
to someone who torments him, his teacher is likely to say, "Get
used to it! Figure out how to deal with it!" I say the kid
probably HAS figured out how: to change seats, change classes,
change schools, but unless he and his parents decide to homeschool,
he will not be allowed to avoid his persecutor. THAT is not "real
life." In the adult world, if you wind up with an abusive,
alcoholic for a boss or co-worker, you can complain to HR or
change jobs. Homeschooled kids learn these strategies. Schooled
children think submitting to bullying is normal and unescapable,
or solved by bringing a gun to school and shooting everyone in
sight. Who is better socialized?
As far as not having multicultural experiences and friends,
that depends a lot on your neighborhood. Around Milpitas it would
be hard NOT to have friends of all sorts of backgrounds. Currently
my son has an hispanic friend over. This friend had spent the
morning trapped in his English classroom for three hours while
police practiced for a possible "Columbine scenerio"
at Milpitas High. While this football player teen doesn't want
to admit he was scared, he said he had several asthma attacks
as he sat in the total dark, totally bored.
Having a few really good friends of other races and religions
I believe makes a child more tolerant of others in general. Being
in over-crowded classrooms just makes everyone
irritable. Ethnic stereotypes get formed based on any one kid's personality
and personal problems. As soon as this fake "multicultural
classroom" lets out, everyone gravitates to their own friends
anyways. Tolerance being taught in public schools? Oh really?
Another book I've read is called "Protecting
the Gift." It is about trusting your gut reaction to
certain people, and thereby learning to avoid trouble and violence
before it can escalate. It's about teaching your children how
to do this as well. Schools spend so much time on desensitizing
children that they learn to not take action based on their gut
instincts, being told they are being over reactionary or worse.
Yes, you and your kids need to be able to recognize the signs
of "off" people and how they play their evil games.
But you don't need to throw your kid in with a bunch of them
for 180 days a year to do this! It is my take on these school
shootings that this is proof of this desensitizing: no one seemed
to be able to tell that these kids were "off." If they
did, they didn't know what they could do to get the youngster
help, or at least out of their way, without seeming "rude"
or "intolerant." I'm hoping that by raising my son
where weirdos are the exception rather than the rule, he'll trust
his instincts and be able to escape unsavory characters better
than some fellow who thinks weirdness is OK. Meanwhile, we also
include in our social circles people with a variety of eccentricities
and who have overcome physical or mental problems. Our son knows
that "weirdness" is in the heart of a person and not
in their outward appearance.
In most normal work places, there are no gang members, and
drug addicts don't last long. You aren't preparing your child
for a life on the streets. You are preparing them for a normal
adult business or professional life, where one only occassionally
has brushes with abnormal people. Whether or not a person is
prepared to handle weirdos is not a matter of WHERE they are
schooled, it is a matter of HOW they are taught to honor their
instincts. A homeschooled kid who has learned it is OK to say,
"I've had enough!" to a particular activity, and allowed
to gracefully change activities, will also someday be able to
say, "I've had enough of YOU, and I'm getting out of this
situation now!" No, you won't be raising a quitter, you'll
be raising a fully integrated adult!
Now, as for the "elitist" charge. Where does that
come from? This sort of charge only comes from people of low
self esteem. It makes them very angry to run into a person who
has taken charge of their life and decided to buck the system,
THEIR system! The one they are revolving their life around. If
it is good enough for them, it should be good enough for you,
too. And the converse: if they are suffering, you should be gracious
enough to suffer along with them.
Yes, there are the intolerant among us homeschoolers, just
as you could find in any large assortment of people. We are intolerant
of the "dumbing down" of our children in the school
Yes, we're "discriminating,"
when used in the sense of having "discriminating tastes."
Just as we are picky about the food that comes into our homes,
we also discriminate who we allow in our social lives. Just like
everyone else, we appreciate pleasant people, people who have
similar interests or excitingly different ones, people who are
bright and funny, or helpful and kind, people who like children,
Yes, we're "elitist." We think our kids are really
something special and we love them and want to keep them near
to us so they will grow into emotionally bright people. But we
aren't exclusionary elitists. Anyone can decide to homeschool
and be welcomed. No, this doesn't mean that we think you don't
love your kids if you send them to public school, but we'll try
to be here for you if you hit an insurmountable roadblock. Many
of us are former teachers or PTA leaders who loved our child's
school until something happened, something made us realize our
child could not thrive there.
Yes, some probably are "racist." Though this term
is sometimes overly used to describe white people who just like
being white, and not saved for people of any race who are hateful
of anyone not like them. Is it so wrong for anyone to want their
children to be proud of their heritage? If wanting your child
to have a good grounding in European (or African or Hispanic
or Islamic or Jewish) history is racist, then yes, I know a lot
of racist homeschoolers. If you mean being intolerant of others
because of their skin color, than no, homeschoolers, because
of their own minority status, are probably more tolerant than
you'd find in a public school.
But all this is a bit too much to say at a party. So practice