Monday, September 21, 2009

Heroes of Homeschooling

Bizarro is brought to you today by Homeschooling.

I have no doubt that the end of this sentence will get me in trouble with some of my readers, but homeschooling creeps me out. Sure, some homeschooling parents and home schooled children are probably fine. But most of them have to be a shade on the wrong side of psycho.

First, from what I've gathered in the extremely limited exposure I've had to the subject, most parents who choose homeschooling do so because they are religious nuts. That is to say that they don't want ideas outside of their own religion taught to their children. This is the sort of person who looks at their child more as a VCR they are programming than as an organic being with a mind of his own. Good luck with that.

I'm guessing there are also people who do it because they don't think the local schools are providing a good enough education for their kids. Fine, no argument. When my kids were school age, I, too, often suspected that many of their teachers were not all that good. In fact, I knew it. I'm sure that some of them couldn't correctly answer a single question in the first round of Jeopardy!. But I also knew that if I didn't get my kids out of the house for a large part of each day, it was going to end in a murder/suicide of some sort. I figured whatever educational edge the occasional half-ass teacher wasn't providing them, peer pressure and access to recreational drugs would make up for.

Finally, what could better prepare a person for dealing with the cruelty, mediocrity and gang-mentality of a world run by humans than 12 years of public school? When you're not putting up with a dull-witted bully, you're kowtowing to the chowderhead in authority and trying to avoid personal embarrassment by acting like you know what you're doing. Sounds like real life to me.

That's my authoritative, albeit uneducated opinion for today, now read the lengthy comments explaining how wrong I am. :)


Unknown said...

Sorry, but I cannot disagree. I have a precocious little vegan second grader that just doesnt quite fit our midwest mainstream. He begs to be homeschooled, but I insist he continue to go.

A: the murder/suicide possibility(very real)


B: What better way to thicken the skin and learn to rebel against bureaucracy than public school.

At the end of the day I don't care what he learns, I only care that he learns how to learn.

Finally a humorous light on the subject. Ta for that.

Larry Devich said...

Wow, for the first time ever you are totally wrong about something. Many people homeschool just because school really sucks. Check out

for a different take on things.

Also here is a professional who equates school and prison:

We homeschool/unschool at our house because we are wild eyed anarchist nuts, not because we are wild eyed religious nuts. See, there are lots of reasons to reject school :-)

Mike said...

I love your perspective on humans! I secretly think that the human species is a virus on this planet.

Leo said...

I agree, how else will I stay out of jail for murder AND the kids learn about real life if I do not send them to public school!

Unknown said...

I am a product of home-schooling. And I agree with you 100%. My mom, while a great person, was not a fantastic teacher. I ended up learning a lot of nonsense that I had to later un-learn. Imagine, for example, how amazed I was to get to high school and hear about evolution for the first time.
But no matter how good a teacher any parent may be, the biggest problem is simply a lack of socialization. It took years for me to learn how to properly interact with people - we weren't in a cult or anything, but I really only met with people my age on Sunday, which is why I loved going to church so much.
I survived home schooling, but I would never recommend it for anyone.

L. Erskine said...


There are a lot of really good home schooling programs out there... many of which are new. Stanford just began offering home schooling for the High School years.

My son was home schooled during first grade. The school he was attending decided to put him in the "kids with special needs" class because he was speech delayed (so he pronounced some words wrong). They did it without our permission. He came home calling himself "stupid", etc.

Since the school sucked, he got home schooled until the end of the year when we could get him into a better school. It was a difficult period... and I think he missed out on some social experiences... but he wasn't going to get those hanging out with the mentally handicapped kids.

The programs more readily available now actually provide home schoolers with regular socialization so the kids have the opportunity to learn how to behave a little less like a cult member.

My son has just started Jr. High (in a low income, gang riddled area) and he's been BEGGING to home school again. He has figured out that school is 80% waiting on the other kids to STFU so the teacher can teach. He just wants to learn and plow through the work. I told him that if the Stanford program sticks that I will consider it.

Waldo said...

My daughter had a teacher who, at the best, was completely mental. We tried to home school her until the end of the school year... it lasted 2 weeks before that we know that homeschooling was a HUGE mistake. Maybe it is because we are not the "control everything at all time" type of people, but letting trained "professionals" do the job was a better choice. (but at a private prep school - $$$ goodbye new Volvo, vacation, food, clothing, air, etc...)

But the thing that makes me laugh are the ones who think that the private religious schools are too liberal for their precious breed.

Anonymous said...

No, for the most part you're absolutely right. My sister and I (she's 22, I'm 25) were both homeschooled, largely because our parents didn't think we were being challenged in the local public school. There was a homeschooling group in my county which measured, at its largest, over 30 families; as far as I knew, most of the families did so for academic, rather than religious, reasons. The homeschooling religious nuts have made the rest of us look bad, unfortunately.

elizabeth said...

I agree that quite a lot (or most) of home schooled situations are not really, um, ideal. I suspect that many or most of the ones who read your blog, though are probably more normal. My brother and I were home schooled during middle school (not elementary or high school) because I was bored in public school, and my brother needed more individual attention than he was getting. And my mom has a degree in microbiology and purchased professional (non-religious) home schooling curriculum, so we ended up getting a great education for those three years. And we participated in extra-curriculars to keep us decently socialized.

So yeah, we non-crazy ones do exist, even if we're not the norm!

Don Berg said...

If homeschooling were done the way you imagine it, parents reproducing the isolated classroom tyranny at home, then you would be correct in your assessment. Fortunately, homeschooling in the real world is much more interesting.

All the homeschooling families I have ever met have their kids involved in lots of interesting activities, including classes, and most of those activities happen in the community, not at home.

The social skills of children who have the opportunity to be actively involved with people of all ages are better attuned to reality than those children who are restricted to hanging around with one or two dictatorial adults and 20 or more people all the same age. But, then again, I am not cynical, so my view of reality is fundamentally different than yours.

And while the religious nut jobs took an early lead in championing homeschooling in the 70's my impression is that the majority are now doing it for secular reasons.

Finally, homeschooling parents are still bucking the tide, so they are more likely to be thoughtful and conscientious about making the decision and the practicalities of implementing a good education than those who send their kids to public school without thinking twice.

I am sure the comic will make it onto a lot of homeschooling refrigerators in any case. Thanks!

b0b said...

I think that your cartoon isn't funny because it's too true. Kids who are homeschooled don't get enough social interaction with their peers, and yes, bullies are a part of their peer group.

So as social commentary, your cartoon works. As humor, though, I just don't see anything funny there.

Annette Levy said...

Here's your first comment from a bona fide student of homeschooling, or as my "teachers" would call it, "unschooling".
I can say without a doubt that I got the best education I can ask for; my parents are the best, and I am a free thinker who hasn't "let school get in the way of my education".
I can well understand why people are wary about homeschooling, but consider this: Thomas Edison never finished regular school, and he went on to be a great inventor with a thousand patents to his name.
Even though you don't know much about homeschooling, I think your blog post was okay and didn't insult anyone. Good job!

Rachel said...

I enjoyed the commentary to the 'Home schooling' comic. And I agree with Dan for the most part about the suicide pact,etc. However, I want to say that I actually chose to be home schooled versus GOING to religious school. I went to religious schools all through elementary & junior high, and despised it. Since my parents refused to send me to a local public high school, I insisted on home schooling (better then four more years of religious nuts. Jeez, do they hate everything). Yeah, I know it's sad, but the bright side of it is, I graduated in two years, instead of four, & so college took a shorter time, too.

Juan Cascallares said...

He, he, no lengthy comments yet. Seems like people are finally thimking as you. Or you as them. You may start being part of the mass... Just thinking. BTW, I agree totally with you

Anonymous said...

No lengthy comment needed "to tell you how wrong" you are: I think "from what I've gathered in the extremely limited exposure I've had to the subject..." and "That's my authoritative, albeit UNEDUCATAED opinion for today" wraps it up nicely. Along with the words "sweeping generalizations" I have nothing more to add because I have to make sure my little zealot is properly secluded and not trying to actually get a dose of "real life" and forming a mind of her own.

~~Homeschooling mom of 5 years

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm gonna go with the crowd saying you're buying into the stereotypes, Dan. A few nutcase families don't make all homeschooled children religious freaks or antisocial outcasts. You might want to do a little more research next time.

Unknown said...

You are somewhat correct on your views of home schooling. I am one of them, so I know. Just thought I'd add another reason for hs'ing to your list: we have an autistic child and public school couldn't provide for her... so, she's at home. It works pretty well, actually. But we're not religious nuts (maybe a bit on the religious bolts side, but certainly not nuts).

Not to mention, that anyone who writes a comic called "Bizarro" should find some sort of kinship with the zany, daffy world of home schooling.

Thanks for the laugh!

Michelle said...

Glad you are expecting and prepared for comments!
I homeschooled my two daughters for six years. I did so after having been a teacher and then a very active parent volunteer. I watched my daughters enter the system with a spark for learning that was very quickly snuffed out by the environment of the public school. The day my Gr.1 daughter came home and complained that she'd been given the SAME word search 6 times that day (when she finished her work ahead of the other kids, she was given a word search to keep her occupied) I decided that if my kids were going to be bored at school, I'd rather that they be bored at home where they could at least do something!
My daughters, now 23 and 21 and both university educated, look back on their days of being homeschooled with fondness. They had six years to do all of the things that so many of us don't seem to have the time to do; read voraciously, draw, paint, cook, bake, sew, explore, etc etc. Our only rule was no TV viewing during the "school day".
So, not all of us homeschool for religious reasons. Some of us do it because we recognize that you're only a child once and it's nice to be able to give your kids the gift of time to enjoy their childhoods!
And no, I'm not independently wealthy either. We just made our kids our priority while we were self-employed making a living far below the average family income.

FSM_Ed said...

Wrong? Not from my experience. I've known only one home schooling family, they were religious breeders like the quiverfull group. Scary folks! A real idiocracy at work.

Neil J Murphy said...

I've had teachers who couldn't correctly answer a question in the first round of celebrity Jeopardy!, so I know what you mean.

Pubic edu-mo-kayshun(I ain't gots no lernden') said...

Wow, those photos that you have included with this posting are really creepy... I have to imagine that homeschoolers are really confused and upset that they weren't able to pull their kids from class to avoid the president's Kenyan, commie/nazi socialism indoctrination message the other week. What am I saying? I forgot that television is "the devil's picto-cube" and most of these people don't have one.

Katherine said...

I feel the same way. I'm sure there are many normal children who are homeschooled, but I've known ten families that have done it, and only two of those are what I would call healthy. The rest were crazy. But I wouldn't say most of them were religious--in fact, most were totally liberal/atheist, but in a crazy way.

Kilgo4 said...

I love it!! I just started homeschooling this year. It is not something I longed to ever do, but I know it is the right thing. Koodles to you, keep up the awesome work.

Anonymous said...

Dan, looks like you found

Josh Duncan said...

If public schools required Bible-studies or history from a strictly Christian perspective, many caring parents who disagreed with that worldview would not want their children propagandized, and would likely remove them from the system, either putting them into a private school or perhaps opting for home school. I don't think a secular parent who did not want their child to be forced to read the Bible and be told it was true would be acting narrow-minded if they made such a choice. In a country with a plurality of views on what is good and true and beautiful, parents should be able to choose to educate their children in an atmosphere that respects their worldview.

That principle should hold true when the situation is reversed.

doug nicodemus said...

well,"my dad stole it" adds another dimension because most of those family values families aren't

Anonymous said...

My parents didn't homeschool. They just sent me to a Christian school to be brainwashed. I graduated over 10 years ago but I still have nightmares.

June said...

Homeschooling in the US generally provides the same function as the madrassas in Islamic countries. However I homeschooled my son one term when we moved to a rotten neighborhood (danger in the street). Then I found a socially liberal, academically rigid private school run by a defrocked priest and the lay teachers from a Catholic high school. He actually learned things.

The Vermilion Sparrow said...

I wish I could have been homeschooled, or private schooled, or even magnet schooled (suburbs don't have magnet schools--my parents purchased housing they couldn't really afford because the schools were "better", so I got to grow up mercilessly teased for being poor on top of normal nerd-teasing).

I spent all of school completely bored. I managed to get straight A's without even paying attention, then when I got to college... Okay, I was even more bored there, so I dropped out. Is there anywhere I can actually learn something without having to teach myself?

Prospero said...

I see you discovered

Hilarious, isn't it?

Piet said...

-A public school teacher
PS What's Jeopardy? :)

Piraro said...

@ Piet Hussein...
Jeopardy! is a TV gameshow in the USA that has been on the air for several decades.

Idzie Desmarais said...

Yeah, this is a long time after it was posted, but I only stumbled across this now (I used to read your blog frequently, but haven't been reading as many blogs lately). I'm an 18 year old homeschooler (an unschooler, to be precise), and I have to agree with the second poster, Larry, who said they homeschool because they're "wide eyed anarchist nuts", not for religious reasons. ;-)

It never pays to make broad generalizations, because those very often, I'd say virtually always, turn out to be false.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, where I live, religious nuts homeschool their kids because they're not allowed to pray in school. We homeschool because they DO allow prayer in school.

Not really, we just do it because we like our FREEDOM to do and study what we want, when we want. Mating pigs are fascinating don't you think? You won't see THAT in school.

Anonymous said...

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles will survive the 1000 years. They will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during Planet Earth's history.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial element in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

Only children go to heaven. By the time you hit puberty it is too late. This is charecteristic of the gods:::Once you realize what you have lost it is too late.
Now you are faced with a lifetime to work and prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.