Thanks to our work on a Cybils award committee a while back, I’ve become online pals with Kris Bordessa. She lives with her family on the Big Island of Hawaii, which means she gets to post awesome, envy-inducing blog photos taken from her back porch and the like. On her blog she talks about this and that, including the books she’s writing, the freelancer’s life, and homeschooling, which is a subject dear to her heart.
In her new post “Silent Judgment”, Kris talks about the tacit criticism she sometimes receives from those who “disagree” with her family’s decision to homeschool their boys. I put “disagree” in quotes because, in truth, outsiders are in no position to form any sort of opinion on whether Kris & Co. are doing the right thing by their boys — especially when, as in this case, the outsiders did so without knowing a damn thing about Kris’s approach to educating her children, much less the results that this form of education has had on the boys themselves.
Kris knows better than to get too exercised about it all, because she’s, y’know, a grown-up — unlike her judgmental interlocutors. But I’m a little exercised about it, even though my family has chosen to send our kids to the (excellent, highly rewarding) neighborhood public school. So, just to vent a little, I thought I’d take just a moment to note a few individuals who did pretty well in life without the benefit of copious formal schooling:
The fact that many of these people lived before the advent of modern public schools (or outside their reach, in the cases of Maclean and Love) in no way undermines this observation. Clearly, the mass of youngsters in the days before widespread public education didn’t receive adequate education in the sense that we would define “adequate” now, but, just as clearly, some did. Especially given the prevalence of single-parent households and two-working-parent households, most youngsters today probably do need public schooling if they’re to receive “adequate” education. But by no means can public schooling — or private schooling, or any sort of formal schooling — be taken as the gold standard of adequacy in education. Such a generalization is simply untenable, and to believe this generalization is itself a mark of ignorance, full stop.
Here endeth this rant.Â For now.