Two days ago, I got another email from Jesse Scaccia.
He wants to have a meaningful conversation on the subject of homeschooling. His words.
He’s sure we agree more than we disagree on the subject. Also his words.
He insists that his objection to homeschooling is purely philosophical — a point he’s made in comments on other blogs. He stands by the point he made in his blog post, but not the language he used to make it.
He closes by begging for my graciousness in giving him a moment of my time for the aforementioned meaningful conversation.
Three years ago, I asked for a moment of his time. Specifically, I asked him to read “The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List” and try to understand how it feels to hear the same criticisms masquerading as questions day after day after day. I briefly described a typical day in my homeschooling life and asked him to think about how I felt knowing that apparently I’m “pissing off” people like him just by getting up in the morning.
I received no reply.
I received a reply pretty darned quick later that day, when I emailed back asking if there was anything he wanted me to mention in the article I’d be writing about him.
Which told me that he wasn’t interested in meaningful conversation. He was interested in enjoying the feeling of power that went along with infuriating an entire community.
That’s not my interpretation of events, by the way. In a reply to a comment on his blog, he told a homeschooler named Tara, “I am delighted by your defensiveness!”
He had the power. When he was bored by the direction our conversation was going, he stopped replying.
Until he saw that I had some power in the writing department as well, and I intended to use it.
Even then, he wasn’t interested in graciousness or meaningful conversation. He was interested in trying to stop me from writing my piece.
When he couldn’t, he sent me one last email expressing his horror at the name-calling and insults homeschoolers had thrown his way in response to his blog posting. He didn’t understand why, if they thought he was misinformed, they hadn’t patiently tried to educate him on the subject. His words. This, he thought, definitely supported one of his points, which is that we homeschoolers are antisocial. Also his words.
That was three years ago.
Now he wants meaningful conversation.
I’m not interested in talking to someone who only wants to talk to me when he feels threatened by my behavior and wants to change it.
He insists that we should look past the language used in his blog posting and see the points he made instead.
So what does his “Case Against Homeschooling” look like, if you take away the abusive language?
#10: Because homeschoolers are a minority, they will be treated like outsiders when they go to college. Being an outsider is not a good feeling. Don’t do this to your child. (My aunt’s next-door neighbor makes this point against interracial marriage. He’s not racist, he insists; he just thinks that it’s not fair to the kids of such marriages, because they’ll be teased in school. By his kids, presumably.)
#9: Students should have a place dedicated specifically to learning. Homeschoolers don’t have that — they study at the kitchen or living room table. They should go to school instead.
#8: Homeschooling parents are wealthy and well educated. Their kids would do well in school, and they should go there.
#7: Instead of homeschooling, Christians should send their children to public school in order to proselytize.
#6: Homeschooling parents lack the training and education to teach their children as well as public school teachers can.
#5: Homeschooling as a concept is annoying to Jesse Scaccia.
#4: Homeschooling is a breeding ground for racism and other forms of intolerance.
#3: No matter what homeschooling parents say about how their children participate in plenty of outside activities — and what these parents say could be described as “garbage,” if we hadn’t already agreed to leave that sort of language out of this revised list — homeschooling leaves children socially unprepared.
#2: Homeschooling is a gamble, and a risky one at that. Again, if we hadn’t previously resolved not to talk like that, this would be the second time in this list that the word “arrogant” would be used to describe homeschooling parents.
#1: There’s no way of rephrasing this one, because it’s short and to the point in the original. Homeschooled kids are geeks.
Let the record state that Jesse Scaccia stands by the points made in his blog post — just not the language he used to make his point. All right. That’s the list sans language.
Feeling gracious yet?