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Homeschool For The Holidays
December 31, 2006: Yes Virginia, many people do socially beneficial things without taxpayer support! Take homeschoolers. "Please" say those who think homeschools turn children into illiterate religious nuts. As opposed to illiterate godless nuts. No such thing as a godless nut? Think again. The most extreme form of fanaticism manifests itself in the organized mass destruction of people who, in some way or other, don't measure up. The score for wipe-outs by the rabidly religious is indeed high. But secularists have an equally impressive record. See Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. When ego kings go forth, be they worshipers of god, man or nothingness, woe unto those who contradict.

As for illiteracy, if homeschooled children were to arrive at colleges (which they do consistently) only able to read a battered Dick and Jane, they'd still be better off than many public high school grads.

On December 19th, the One Week Short of a Year Carnival of Homeschooling was hosted by homeschooler Dana Hanley at her blog, Principled Discovery. Blog carnivals are generally based around a theme established by the carnival host. Bloggers contribute links to relevant postings on their own blogs. Hosts publish the links with a brief description of content.

The "One Week Short" postings were a much needed Christmas spirit lift. In Iraq, daily life for millions of average people has become hell on earth. American troops die by the handful each day. Meanwhile, Dubya plans to surge forward and Dems hope to ride anti-war sentiment to the White House without political risk. Talking heads look heavenward to Obama the Unknown but speak reverently of the Mammon raised by Hillary. Will Giuliani the Overrated trump McCain the Warmonger? Did consumers spend enuff to make Christmas pay? Nice to know another world exists in the same time and space.

Speaking of alt worlds, naysayers claim homeschooled children miss out on socialization by not spending lustrums in lock step with armies of kids the same age. Peering into the eyes of one's peer group for reassurance being the true measure of socialization. Thankfully, all those unsocialized Americans of yore who attended mixed-grade, one room schoolhouses and entered the mixed-age adult world in their early teens, didn't have access to shopping malls. Like, how would they have known what to buy? Amazing that they managed to hook up and produce future generations. How did they know who was hot?

The growing number of politicians who don't take positions until opinion polls define them, are models of peer-based social adjustment. Yet this up-to-date trait turns many voters off. Which is why they sometimes vote for obstinate mules. Saying "at least we know where he stands". Hee Haw!

Though oft called out-of-date, homeschoolers have embraced the Internet. Through it they form far reaching interconnected circles. If one parent lacks expertise in a particular subject, or is seeking teaching materials, others provide assistance. Homeschoolers also come together in real time, pooling their teaching and recreational skills. Many are careful to see that their children take part in social activities outside homeschool circles. And since most homeschoolers share the concerns of other parents re their children's college eligibility and future employment, science and math are not jettisoned in favor of Jeeter Living. However, the majority of homeschoolers do believe an education in Christian beliefs and moral values (aka "socialization") is of central importance to their children and are making sizable sacrifices in order to provide it. Some of those sacrifices are financial.

Unlike charter schools, homeschools receive no government assistance and siphon no money away from regular public schools. And homeschools are a true grassroots educational alternative, not the creation of a government faction. Hence homeschools, unlike charter schools, don't serve as vehicles whereby public officials (typically municipal administrations) try and wrest power and taxpayer dollars from local boards of education. In such battles, virtuous claims that charter schools will give inner city parents and children "choice" ring hollow. Since restricting "choice" in all things, including housing, political representation, and the awarding of public contracts, is what the majority of urban pols are all about.

But back to the Christmas uplift thing. Despite the financial burdens of homeschooling, plus the hostility and misunderstanding its practitioners often incur, spirits seem bright at the "One Week Short of a Year Carnival of Homeschooling". Downright exuberant at times. A good example being Chickadee's Art Lesson. Wherein Ms. Chickadee describes (with pictures) teaching her 3 children how to paint like Dega, Monet, and the Abstract Expressionists.

Overall, it's possible the homeschoolers of "One Week Short" are in such good spirits because, as G. K. Chesterton put it: "The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice." Chesterton said this in 1901. Imagine how much more fun defending/teaching those virtues is now!

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

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Copyright (c) 2006 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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