What Jesse Scaccia Meant To Say

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?

13 Responses to “What Jesse Scaccia Meant To Say”

  1. Nance says:

    Pass the popcorn, would you, Deborah? I’m still feeling delighted by the back pedaling, but gracious? Hmm, nope, can’t say I’m feeling gracious!

    • Nance Confer says:

      Oh, he can go pound sand.

      But, more importantly, who is this with a name spelled the same as mine? I’m Nance in Florida. Hi! :)

      • Deborah says:

        The homeschooling world is full of awesome Nances.

        P.S. Bonus points for your use of “go pound sand,” an expression that just doesn’t get enough love these days.

  2. COD says:

    2 or 3 years ago I would have fisked the hell out of his post. And maybe I did, but I’m not finding anything when I search my blog.

    Today, meh. I just can’t work up any emotion for clowns like Jesse. My son is headed to college in the fall, my daughter is a national champion in her personal passion. We already won the homeschool debate. That clowns like Jesse don’t get it doesn’t matter to me anymore.

    But I appreciate you still fighting the good fight :)

    • Andrea_R says:

      What Chris said.

      I’ve proved my point by raising three functional adults – who did just fine in college, despite people pointing and laughing (oh wait, sarcasm there. NO ONE COULD TELL they were homeschooled) – and did it with a functional literacy rate better than my local school system. Imagine.

      The evidence is there, he refuses to see it and I’m not interested in arguing with someone unwilling to change he mind. He just wants to be right. He’s not. He can go fart in the wind. :P

  3. Deborah says:

    Totally understood! Even I, a professional Bitter Homeschooler, have not spent the past three years fuming over this. But when I got the email from Scaccia telling me he was running for public office — well, it made me a little chatty.

  4. KimWW says:

    He says that home school kids would be treated as outsiders in college because they are a “minority” and yet asks grade school kids to preach to their peers? He needs to decide whether being treated like an outsider is or is not what he wants, because I cannot think of a faster way to get there than “Have you heard the gospel?” spoken to your fellow 13 year olds.

  5. Emily says:

    gracious |ˈgrā sh əs|
    1 courteous, kind, and pleasant : smiling and gracious under challenging circumstances.
    • pleasantly indulgent, esp. toward an inferior.
    • elegant and tasteful, esp. as exhibiting wealth or high social status : the British painter specialized in gracious Victorian interiors | gracious living.
    2 (in Christian belief) showing divine grace : I am saved by God’s gracious intervention on my behalf.
    3 Brit. a polite epithet used of royalty or their acts : the accession of Her present gracious Majesty.

    I’d say you are plenty gracious. Here is a list of graciousness:
    10. Patient, informed and consistent in your ability to field a barrage of traditionally schooled people who simply fear the opportunity and action involved in choosing to homeschool, and participate in their children’s lives in a positive and meaningful way without excuses.
    9. Creating a community group that enables and activates students outside their ‘home’ or ‘school’ environment.
    8. Making your living at something you are good at and passionate about while setting an incredible example of success for your child that is not defined by monetary compensation, but does include the importance of budgeting and stretching a dollar to include the purchase of dark chocolate whenever possible.
    7. Founding the spectacular Secular Homeschooling magazine.
    6. Continuing your lifelong pursuit of education in all it’s forms, as well as seeking out specialty teachers that are in the top of their field.
    5. Being willing to have a meaningful conversation with those that aren’t so willing.
    4. Creating a diverse community group that welcomes, and is genuinely welcoming, to any and all participants regardless of race or religion… or milk or dark chocolate preferences.
    3. Carting your child around to various activities that traditionally schooled children either don’t have time to properly participate in or have to give up some of their school time for- in order to honor your child’s natural abilities and talents, sense of wonder and fun.
    2. Taking a tradition in schooling that has been around longer than public or private schooling and assisting to adapt, update and unify that tradition.
    1. Geeks are the Forbes list holders, the innovators of modern technology, trendsetters, and purveyors of all that is cool. Geek is the new chic.

    And you, your gracious Majesty are the the chicest.

    • M.H. says:

      Your list is good, but isn’t calling homeschooling a tradition that has been around longer than public or private schooling kind of like calling an outhouse a tradition that has been around longer than toilets?

      • Deborah says:

        No. It’s like calling cooking from scratch a tradition that’s been around longer than frozen microwave meals.

        • M.H. says:

          Yeah, those Puritans made a delicious, if a bit bland, loaf of bannock.

          • Deborah says:

            Is this random comment day? Yeah, those Puritans made boring bread. And their schools were full of bored students learning entirely by rote. So?

  6. Stephanie says:

    Your sanitized list sounds spot on to me.

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