Hephaestus's Blog

Adolescence and Victorian socialism
March 31, 2013, 22:06
Filed under: Uncategorized

Adolescence is that peculiar time when you cannot decide whether to be liberal or conservative, and so are both liberal and conservative. – Eli U. Nauda (Not a quote from a famous person, but I wish it was. Since it isn’t, I unfortunately had to quote myself, and that’s rather arrogant, isn’t it? It only says adolescence because I am not that good at choosing deep words.)

Okay, now to expand on that a bit. It came to me while watching HRG&SP perform Utopia, Limited by W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan. My mind must have wandered, and I realised that I, like the Victorians, sometimes feel rather socially conservative and Victorian. And other times, I am a bit of a liberal socialist. I also stay up late at night writing. Now, to end it with another quote:

The Soviets misused Communism. They used it to rule a nation with a totalitarian regime, and unfortunately their successors in Asian Communist states (cf. North Korea) seem to do the same thing. – An unknown socialist-leaning liberal conservative


Top Seven Misconceptions About Homeschoolers
March 2, 2013, 20:27
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have noticed that there seem to be many misconceptions about homeschoolers. Being homeschooled myself, I feel that I should address this topic with a blog post, so here it is:

Top 7 homeschooling misconceptions*

First, I think I should clarify some terms. Homeschooling, in the context of this post, means education without school.   Unschooling is a subset or synonym for homeschooling, depending on context. Pure Unschooling is my term for unschooling without any school-style material at all, such as that promoted by Sandra Dodd at her website sandradodd.com, as opposed to Llewellyn/TLH unschooling, which is just homeschooling without school. Note that these are my own definitions, and other people’s definitions may vary. 

1: All homeschoolers are superreligious fundamentalists.

This is simply not true. Although many homeschoolers are superreligious fundamentalists, quite a few are not. There are enough non-fundamentalist homeschoolers just in Eastern Massachusetts that I know several- better yet, I am one!

2: Homeschooling means parents teaching their children rather than sending them to school to be taught.

This seems to be a very common idea among people who meet homeschoolers, that in order to homeschool they would have to teach their own kids. As many parents, especially as their children get older, have a hard enough time even with their children in school that they assume that it would be extremely hard on the parent-child relationship if they had to be the teacher as well as mother or father.

3: Homeschooling is initiated and overseen by the mother.

Although this is the case in many homeschooling families, I know there are exceptions. In fact, I personally know one family where the mother is a teacher and the father homeschools their daughter. (does Warren Senders read this blog? If he does, he knows what I mean.)

4: (Occasionally expounded by the more fanatical proponents of homeschooling) School is bad and homeschooling is the One and Only Good Way to teach your children.

This is just nonsensical. It is just the opposite of the idea that homeschoolers can not learn anything without school-style “education”, which is just as nonsensical.

5: Homeschoolers are geniuses.

This is related to No. 4 in that it claims that homeschoolers are smarter than their conventionally educated peers. Although there are a number of homeschoolers who could be classified as geniuses, the idea that anyone would be smarter because they are not in school is just as ridiculous as the notion that:

6: Homeschoolers are stupid.

I don’t have much to say about this one, apart from the fact that it is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the previous one. If lack of school implies lack of intelligence, apart from the occasional genius, then all those people who succeeded without school are obviously so smart that they should be ruling the world, or at least the nation. As they are not, forgetting Lincoln for the moment, that implies that something is wrong here. Either the whole idea that school is necessary should be abandoned, or we give up the government to the homeschoolers. Okay, I actually had a lot more to say on this than on No. 5.

7: Homeschoolers have no social lives.

I suppose the reason I keep saying how utterly ludicrous these are is for the same reason they are in the top ten; they are utterly ludicrous. A prominent homeschooling advocate says that this one is one of, if not the most common question she gets about homeschooling: “What about socialization?” However, another homeschooling advocate points out that socialization means bringing an individual under the control of the group. While this is what schools do, in a way, I am skeptical that it is what parents mean when they ask this question. I can verify that I have friends if you do not believe me; however, if you read my blog, I hope you believe what I write on it.

* this is not arranged in any particular order, so a misconception’s position on the list is relatively independent of what i perceive as its importance, apart from that I thought of the first ones first, so they probably are more prominent in my mind.