PBS Show on Homeschooling

January 14, 2007 @ 12:49 pm | Filed under:

This week’s episode of the PBS show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly focuses on homeschooling. If you miss it on the air, you can read a transcript at the link above. Frankly, I found it disappointing. Plays right into the "oh those poor sheltered homeschooled kids being indoctrinated by their parents" stereotype, largely thanks to the talking points of Robert Reich.

Reich: "If parents can
control every aspect of a kid’s education, shield them from exposure to
the things that the parents deem sinful or objectionable, screen in
only the things which accord to their convictions, and not allow them
exposure to the world of a democracy, will the children grow up then
basically in the own image of their parents, servile to their own
parents’ beliefs?"

The answer is no, but I don’t suppose he’ll take my word for it. "Not allow them exposure to the world of democracy"ā€”??? Give me a break. I am so tired of hearing this guy speak as some kind of authority on home education when he clearly doesn’t remotely understand it.

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10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Laurie says:

    You know, either they’re saying we’re letting our kids run loose like crazed maniacs (thanks “Dr.” Phil and your talk about unschoolers a couple weeks ago…and to all the others who’ve done it too) or they’re saying that we have TOO tight a reign on the kids and don’t let them think for themselves, like the above idio…umm…person. šŸ˜€ 20/20 even did a piece on unschoolers several months ago where I was expecting a little less bias but again, they picked the most extreme unschoolers to follow around and interview. I suppose it’s all in the ratings?

    What I find odd is that anytime I mention to a real person in my real life that I’m homeschooling, they think it’s a great thing and comment that homeschoolers are so much brighter and better behaved, etc. than their schooled counterparts (which isn’t always true but it’s nice that they think that…lol). I also typically find, if I talk to them long enough (like more than 3 sentences about it), that they will start giving reasons why they didn’t homeschool their kids. Am I judging them by stating what we’ve decided to do? Nope. I don’t get it. But there it is every time I get into the conversation, which is the reason I now avoid it if possible. ‘Course the 6yr old is now piping out to everyone we meet, “I’m a homeschooler!” so it’s getting harder to shove under the carpet. lol

  2. Jennifer says:

    I didn’t see the piece, but what he is saying is kind of why I homeschool; so that my daughter shares our values and not those of her peers. Obviously, there are cases when that isn’t the ideal (the homeschooled twins who idolize Hitler come to mind) – and obviously I want to her to think for herself as an adult. But yes, I DO try to screen her from things that I deem sinful or objectionable. We were watching “Dances with Wolves” the other night and I thought that, at age 6, K.Costner’s bare bottom and parents being scalped was a little racy for her, so I covered her eyes. We are gradually introducing concepts contrary to our own beliefs, but I pray she grows up a virtuous Catholic.

  3. Carlie says:

    Lovely. One more reason why I find t.v. deplorable! Bah! I’m so sick of being misunderstood and mis-characterized.

  4. Melissa Wiley says:

    Jennifer, the thing I object to (one of them, at least) is the spin Reich puts on the idea of protecting your kids from harmful influences. What you’re talking about is the kind of thing all responsible parents do, according to where their own lines of “appropriate” and “inappropriate” are drawn–whether they homeschool their children or send them to school.

    Reich portrays this as an evil of homeschooling, a protectiveness so extreme it wants to make robots out of the children, not critical thinkers. And that is, as we know, a grave falsehood.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Lissa: Thank you for the clarification. I actually have not ever heard him speak. Yes, what you said is completely true. Critical thinking is one of our top priorities. We are studying the Greeks right now and “Lucy” is already questioning polythesim vs. Catholicism. It is a conversation and that I welcome. I am going to try to find the time today to read through the complete transcript. Thank you for your response.

  6. J says:

    Hmmmm . . . just wondering . . . is there a decent documentary out there on homeschooling? With all the interest, it would probably do pretty well in a film festival competition.

  7. MamaJen says:

    I just wanted to let you know – I sent this post to my dh, and he got a “bee in his bonnet” and actually called up and talked to Prof. Reich. He’s writing a series of posts over at his blog about homeschooling, thought you might be interested! Here is his blog URL:


    Thanks for your blog, Melissa – always gives me food for thought! šŸ™‚

  8. Karen E. says:

    “will the children grow up then basically in the own image of their parents, servile to their own parents’ beliefs?”

    The irony of such a comment being, of course, that if he agreed with the parents’ beliefs, he’d be all for it.

  9. Leticia Velasquez says:

    You hit the nail on the head, Karen! One of the great unspoken tenets of public schooling is the chance liberal educators see to indoctrinate our children in their world view. As a former public school teacher, I can assure you that public school teachers consider parents the ‘great unwashed’ who are barely qualified to raise, much less eduate their own children. They see themselves as saviors who will enlighten our children in the ways of political correctness. Why do you think Adolf Hitler made homeschooling illegal? If you have any doubt about this, just try and tell a schoolchild that you don’t believe in Global Warming! My CCD kids were horrified when I told them! They have such trust in their teachers, and take everything they say as doctrine.

  10. Melissa Wiley says:

    For what it’s worth, I do believe in global warming, and that manmade emissions are very likely contributing or accellerating. The U.S. Catholic bishops agree that it is an issue to be taken seriously:

    Global Climate Change:
    A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence,
    and the Common Good