“I think parenting these days is definitely different from when a lot of people grew up. As much blame as we give a lot of our kids for what they’re not doing… I also try to give them as much credit for dealing with things that we didn’t have to deal with. Bullying was one on one and face to face. Now it’s all over the Internet.” (Nelly)
Last night, I was browsing a local community group for my area on Facebook. Having been an admin of several groups in the past, no matter how large a group gets, there is always a handful of people who dominate the conversations, posts and threads.
Tangents are a part of the online community. One person posts something, then another person comments but adds to the original post and the thread turns into a small snowball, rolling down the side of a snowy mountain, until it has morphed into a runaway boulder that will crash into whatever is in its path at the base of that mountain.
This next portion will probably offend some. I’d apologize, but it would be fictitious because I absolutely believe this. You don’t have to agree or even like it, but it’s my perspective, my blog and there’s an unfollow option that you are free to utilize at any time.
One member posed a question, “how much are those strawberries that are for sale on the side of the road”. She gave the location and BOOM it was on! One guy commented that it was illegal and the police can cite the seller and buyer. Apparently, the one pointing out the truth of the situation, is a frequent participating member on multiple posts.
Many other members of this group rallied to the “illegals” defense because they are only trying to make money. They were telling him to “shut up” and stop being a “hater”. That’s interesting especially since the Admin had recently reposted about being respectful and no name calling. Guess this fell on blind eyes (instead of deaf ears). In fact, the Admin commented in the thread about the reposted rules and then gave them just “one more chance”. Yeah, because they know they can and will get away with this behavior.
Then the fruit-selling supporters reached to equate selling fruit was ok because they weren’t selling drugs to kids. Umm…apples to oranges people…let’s stay on track, please.
The woman who was posting rude comments was the first to claim she did nothing wrong. Clearly they are blissfully unaware (or ignorant; not sure really) and cannot understand how “shut up” is rude and calling someone a “hater” is, in fact, name-calling. Do I think the other person was offended? Probably not. However, it’s the fact the pack-like mentality exists online in in real life. Gang up and take down the person/persons who dare to offer a contrary opinion. Several people with Spanish names (not a judgement – just an observation), kept insisting those selling the fruits weren’t doing anything wrong.
I thought I’d throw my two-cents in for fun. I reiterated, just because they may not like what a particular person has to say, doesn’t make what that person says any less true. Illegals do sell fruit on the side of the road and street corners. Buying from them is illegal. The objective word is “illegal”. Meaning not allowed to legally be here in the United States (but that’s an entirely different post). Street vendors over-charge compared to what legitimate businesses charge; by a good margin too. I stated what a good group it was, but respect for one another was severely lacking.
Several people liked my comments. One supporter of the illegals offered to bake me cupcakes since I contributed. I wanted to respond unpleasantly. I chose to nicely decline her facetious response saying I’m an accomplished baker in my own right. Two can play that game.
It dawned on me why bullying is running rampant in our schools. The kids have these people as parents. They are oblivious to their poor behavior, lack of manners and pack-attack mentality. These are people in my community who think they are doing nothing wrong because they are typing on a keyboard. Their children aren’t punished for mimicking their behavior, even when it turns into real life altercations, because they find it acceptable and justifiable.
Last night, I remembered why I had terminated my Facebook account. For nonsense like this. People lack respect. I often find they are of a younger generation, not always, but often. I find myself questioning the kind of world my daughter will be forced to live in as she is not being brought up this way. She is held accountable for what she says and does.. She has manners. She considers others’ feelings.
I implore you, think about how you present yourself online and in person. Something surely needs to change. I personally am seeking out a group where behavior like that isn’t tolerated. Wish me luck.
This is a paper I wrote in tandem with a classmate. We had to do a research paper and an oral presentation. I suggested this topic, as I am passionate about it. I felt it was a good time to share this as I just read an opinion-based blog, trying to pass itself off as factual. While the practice of homeschooling isn’t always the preferred educational model, it’s a viable one for a growing population of parents. This paper has some technical terms, but I believe my point will be conveyed easily. Considering how horrendous the public educational sector has gotten, I can only see home school numbers increasing; substantially!
Education has been at the forefront of discussions lately. Whether someone is discussing a new school year, government standards for testing, school shootings and safety, or are deciding to home school; there’s always a difference of opinion. This paper will focus on the topic of home schooling and the on-going debate regarding socialization. Homeschooled children are not at a disadvantage in regards to social development compared to publically educated children.
There are a lot of misconceptions about home schooling. By 1989, “home schooling had already been given a certain kind of meaning by the popular media: home schoolers were quixotic idealists, bucking a great big system, engaged in an activity of questionable benefit to their children, a homespun anomaly in an increasingly rationalized world” (Stevens 17). While the media may paint a volatile picture of parents rebuking the public education system, look at why some parents choose to take on the arduous task of educating their children.
One of the first lessons home schoolers teach the careful observer is that in fact home schooling is a collective project. Home schoolers have always worked together to surmount the multiple challenges that come with doing things unconventionally (Stevens 4). Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, “humans are social being, they learn from observing others, even without personally receiving any reinforcement” (Berger 22). Where does it say children must learn from other children? “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily, into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service and adulthood, with an eye on eternity” (Klicka..The Socialization of Homeschool n.p.).
Every so often, the government will get involved and change what they think should be the norm for students to be tested on. Yet, standardized tests do not accurately assess skill or achievement levels. For instance, “in the cities of Brazil…street children sell fruit, candy and other products to earn their living…However, most young peddlers are adept at pricing their wares, making change and giving discounts for large quantities – a set of operations that must be recalibrated almost every day” (Berger 241). It wouldn’t come as much surprise that these unschooled children would do poorly on a standardized test, yet know a real life skill that students are taught. In the end, does it matter how the child acquires the skill as long as the skill is acquired?
“Vygotsky asserted that educators need to consider the thought processes of the child and design their teaching accordingly” (Berger 241). In a public school setting, it is not always possible to create individualized lesson plans for the majority of students. Yet, home schooling parents do this by scaffolding, “support that is tailored to a learner’s needs and abilities and aimed at helping the learner master the next task in a given learning process” (Berger 174) They prepare lessons and skill building based on their child’s capabilities.
With the introduction of Common Core Standards, on top of the existing issues of over-crowded classes, limited resources, budget cut-backs, school shootings and reduced staff in the public education system, parents are taking back the primary role in their children’s education. If during a social outing, with other children, should issues arise, the kids can attempt to resolve the problem. With parental monitoring, “parents on-going awareness of what their children are doing, where, and with whom” (Berger 356), they will assist in resolving their children’s conflicts should adult intervention be required. It then becomes a learning objective unlike being sent to the principal’s office, where he decides the outcome based on hearsay.
The primary argument people have with keeping their children home, and not in an environment with other children their age, learning and interacting together will have an effect on their socialization skills in life. To quote Samantha Lebeda responding to her relatives, “Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate” (Lebeda 99). There are things like bullying, “repeated systematic efforts to inflict harm through physical, verbal, or social attack on a weaker person” (Berger 294) and negative influences such as sex and drug abuse, “the ingestion of a drug to the extent it impairs the users biological or psychological well-being (Berger 392).
Vygotsky’s apprentice in thinking, “whose intellectual growth is stimulated and directed by mentors who are usually older and more skilled members of society” (Berger 173). If children’s behavior is based on social learning, “learn via observing others” (Berger 132), would it not be prudent for them to model adult behavior instead of succumbing to negative peer pressure, “encouragement to conform to one’s friends in behavior, dress and attitude” (Berger 357)? According to Dr. Larry Shyers, “A child’s social development depends more on adult contact and less on contact with other children as previously thought” (Klicka n.p.).
Most believe that social development is mainly accomplished when children or adolescents attend public school. Reason being, these learning institutions have an over-abundance of other children and adolescents of the same cohort, “a group defined by its members’ shared age, which means that they travel through life together” (Berger 9). It’s here that they are able to experience dealing with peers or others outside the comforts of their nuclear family, “a family consisting of a father, mother, and their biological children under 18” (Berger 282). They come into contact with experiences that could be either more positive or negative depending on the situation, but in whichever case they are developing the necessary social skills that they will take into adulthood.
Public school children also have more access to extra-curricular activities that encourage peer bonding such as sports, clubs, and fun activities such as rallies or dances. They are also able to join the organization of these events; encouraging involvement with their peers who may have different ideas and opinions contrary to their own. All this plays a huge role in helping children to build their self-esteem, “a person’s evaluation of his or her own worth (Berger 198) and a positive self-concept, “a person’s understanding of who he or she is” (Berger 198). On the other hand, a home schooled child, build self-esteem by taking pride in completed work and understanding of learned concepts without undo peer influence.
“Many educators, child development specialists, and social scientists claim that home schooling deprives the child of the ability to develop socialization skills” (Lebeda 101). It is through social comparison, “judging themselves on the basis of what they see in other people” (Berger 274) that it can be argued, that one would need to develop these skills. In order for the 4th stage of Erickson’s psychosocial crisis, industry versus inferiority “children try to master the skills that their culture values…as competent or incompetent, productive or failing, winners or losers” (Berger 273). Based on this, social cognition, “the ability to understand social interactions, including the causes and consequences of human behavior” (Berger 293) could only be achieved in a public school setting.
While educating children in a public school setting it’s still the primary social development option. “Adolescence is defined in humans as the period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood” (Burnett, Blakemore 51). It cannot be denied that parents who choose to homeschool, may still provide adequate socialization experiences through private organized sports, volunteering, church groups and community-based projects. As long as parents are diligent in allowing access to a variety of social activities, the debate regarding enough socialization for home schoolers is a non-issue.
It’s estimated that there are over two million K-12 children currently being homeschooled. Those numbers increase annually. “Homeschoolers typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on academic-achievement tests” (Miller n.p.). If academics play an important role, then home schooling surpasses institutional learning. “Home schooling is one of the most formidable educational causes of its time” (Stevens 11). While its origins may not have been the social norm or preferred education option, it cannot be denied, home schooling has dug in its heels and is here to stay.
Berger, Kathleen Stassen. Invitation to the Life Span. 1st ed. New York: Worth, 2010. Print.
Stevens, Mitchell. Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement. Princeton University Press, 2003. Web.
Klicka, Chris. “Socialization: Homeschoolers Are in the Real World” n.p. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.
Burnett, Stephanie, Blakemore, Sarah-Jane. “The Development of Adolescent Social Cognition”. Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1167 (2009): 51-56. Web. Full Text. 19 Nov. 2014.
Lebeda, Samantha. “Homeschooling: Depriving Children of Social Development?” Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 16.1 (2007): 99-104 Web. Full Text. 19 Nov. 2014.
Miller, Lisa. “Homeschooling, City Style: Why More and More City Parents are Teaching Their Kids Themselves”. New York Magazine Oct. 2012. Web.
I’m sure some of you have seen this when it first happened. A student in Oregon if frequently a few minutes late to class. The school believes in public shaming, as others have confirmed this is standard procedure. Now, I’m all for accountability. Perhaps we should take a look at some facts that I temporarily omitted.
- The student in question is a 6-year old first grader
- He has a 3 year old sibling
- His mother isn’t in the best health
- The family car doesn’t always work
The school’s administration thinks segregating a small child from his class at lunch, making him sit behind a cardboard barrier and make him eat his lunch in isolation is appropriate.
Here is the link so you can read about it and see this child being held accountable for something that’s completely out of his control.
I was outraged as the next parent. I would have definitely lost more than my cool had I walked in on this and saw my child being treated by his “educators”.
There is some good news to come out of this. I heard about it on the radio on my commute into work. A local radio DJ ran with the story after his mother posted her son’s punishment on Facebook. In the outrage, the post and picture went viral. The good news is the community rallied to support this family.
They received a donation of a minivan, gas card and some oil changes. I was so glad to hear something good came out of all that hurt.
Every day, stories like these make me grateful that I chose to home school. With bullying running rampant in our public education system, it’s hard not to wonder about the safety of your child when they are not with you. They are supposed to be receiving an education while at school. They are supposed to be safe.
I will make the statement that part of the reasoning bullying is completely out of control is because of school districts like the one in Redwood, Oregon. Why haven’t those “educators” who thought this was an acceptable form of discipline come forth to defend their asinine decision? Are they not proud for humiliating a 6-year old child for something he couldn’t control? Where is the compassion for a mother with a medical condition that is partly responsible? Is it because she doesn’t have a serious enough disease like cancer? Where is the school district and it’s investigation?
Until the school districts, administrators and teachers who practice and get away with bullying children are held accountable, how do we expect them to hold the kids at school accountable for their bullying actions? Oh wait…they don’t. Therein lies the rub!