Friday, June 14, 2013

On Wanting to Punch Somone In The Face

I know my title isn't very loving, and not reflective of who I'm striving to be at all, but it is the only response that quells my deep seated anger at an individual who is a ravenous wolf, trying to appear like an expert committed in helping others with a lifestyle she clearly knows nothing about. Just reading the Mission and Vision Statement on the About Page causes me to growl. Her name is well known in the Home School Community now but not in a positive light.

She actually wants to control and manipulate what she refers to as a 'system' and make money by doing so.

From "About Us" on the website:

I support regulation (mandatory notification of intent to provide home-schooling) of home-school in Ontario to keep an accurate count of children being home-schooled.

I believe that being a parent is a great responsibi
lity, and an educator, an even greater one. I believe that it was intended for parents to provide for their children in both capacities; however, the responsibility of life and multiple children can lead to anxiety, burn-out, frustration and in some cases, abuse of the child or children . There are also different levels of abuse that can be misrepresented by some groups as gentle discipline.

Parents who are teaching their children at home have the responsibility of providing adequate education to their child or children. Parents teaching more than one child at a time and taking care of other responsibilities in the home can also affect the amount and quality of education a child receives.

I am therefore in support of,

mandatory notification of intent to provide home-schooling for parents of registered and non-registered (with school board) children implemented satisfactory education for home-school initiatives that educate home-school and non-home-school families on child abuse and related issues.

I can't explain her website any other way.  I don't fault her for wanting to make money at all. However, the community has been up in arms ever since she was discovered. She's been questioned. She's had official letters written to her by official organisations. She's been offered help, but through it all she has refused and threatened to bring legal action against veterans who have seen and done it all because in her mind if a group doesn't side with and join her that group is harboring abusers.


Home-school support groups and organizations should connect with us to ensure the future of home-schooling. Operating separately and independently as most home-school groups do, will significantly decrease our chances of building effective infrastructure that will sustain the home-school industry for generations to come. It has been proven on many occasions that high quality governance (regulation) result in better outcomes and a more sustainable future. We welcome home-school support groups and organizations of all denominations.

She's viscous. She states she welcomes all, but they MUST conform to her business model, no ifs ands or buts.

She's purposefully working towards getting laws changed, laws that many have fought to be established, so that parents understand they are in full control of their child's education no matter what, whether they home educate is irrelevant.

This woman is striking me square in my gut over and over every time I read her statement.

This is her website.. Since she began it's been edited, changed, and now it's back 'under construction'. It seems someone else is directing her, or she is taking bits and pieces from similar sites and play-d'ohing it together. Clever wordage can masterfully hide the underlying intent.

When my mom first started homeschooling it was unheard of. It caused quite the stir with relatives and neighbours and friends alike. I don't remember much of what happened in the early years but I do know we were under close scrutiny by the board of education, and at one point the CAS was notified. I remember being worried about showing my work to a total stranger, wondering if I was 'smart enough', afraid that I would be forced to go somewhere my parents didn't feel comfortable sending me to. There was also that looming threat of us being taken away, that somehow my parents weren't qualified to teach us so therefore we needed to be removed if our work wasn't satisfactory. I got used to the frequent visits from strangers but my feeling about it never changed. Once the examiner even asked me if I wouldn't rather go to his school, to which I replied, "Why?"

Being constantly watched/interrogated made my early education difficult on an emotional level, and I carry the scars from that to this day. I don't blame my Mom or my Dad, in fact I fully believe they did exactly what they thought would be the best thing for their children, and it was. I know I received a superior education, an education built around my gifts and talents, customized. I had the freedom to do what I wanted. I would be given a short list of tasks Mom required and once I finished them I could pursue other avenues that interested me. My love of writing started very early, and I was able to compose until I had calloused fingers. (I didn't get computer time very often as I had two older siblings who won out most of the time, so pencils became a close friend.)

If we had been regulated, like this woman is pushing, I would not be me. I would not have thrived. I do not do well with formal education, rules, lists, WAITING. I get bored very fast. I'm pretty sure I have ADD but I won't bother to be tested because who cares, I deal, and my approach works. My best is someone else's worst and visa versa. No one is the same, no ones education should be. I'm not bashing public education, in fact I know there are many excellent teachers who truly care about their students. Some may even be able to do things outside of the approved curriculum the government supplies, but for someone like me, with the learning style I have, I would have fallen through the cracks. My mom recognized this and as we grew her method of strict classroom desks/chalkboard/textbook/ changed, and we branched out in whole new territory, especially in my high school years.

As this will be my 7th year of educating my children, I've noticed my own tactics have morphed into more of an unschooling model. I teach my children to read, and we read the bible together, but then everything else is fair game. We run on curiosity, have adventures, and practice living. Math is done on a daily basis, just not in a book. (Mostly) My youngest knows if he has two cars and his brother has 3, they would have five cars together. And what child doesn't recognize a sibling that has more of anything! Kids play card games, the older ones bake, the younger ones help me measure out laundry detergent, I could go on. Education is meant to prepare a child for the rest of their life, and that is exactly what we're doing.

"Unschooling is an acknowledgment that schools and education are in many ways contradictory, that there's an implicit tension between them." says Jason Price, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria.

"People learn by playing, thinking, and amazing themselves. They learn while they're laughing at something surprising, and they learn while they're wondering, 'What the heck IS this?" Sandra Dodd

"Some focus on allowing the child to lead, even if it leads to using textbooks and workbooks and other schoolish materials — unschooling as "child-led learning." Others focus on encouraging the child to learn through real life situations and discoveries rather than textbooks — unschooling as "life learning." Unschooling is also sometimes known as "natural learning," "delight-driven learning," "experience-based learning," "independent learning," "non-coercive parenting," ... Each of these phrases has a slightly different nuance and emphasis, confirming that there are as many ways to manifest unschooling as there are families living it."

My journey this far has been hard, but super rewarding. When I see my child figure something out on their own, the expression on that perfect face makes all the exhaustion of having 5 children home all day seven days a week worth every minute.

That's why when someone comes in with no warning and no humility saying my lifestyle is abusive to children, my she-bear awakens, and the gloves are off.

I've learned to be careful about what I say, but even tact doesn't work sometimes.

I've been blocked from commenting on her facebook page for her website, as have other veteran homeschooling moms and dads, which is all the evidence I need to know her true agenda. If she really did want to help, would she not want to have as much information from those that KNOW what homeschooling is, instead of floundering around in the dark making assumptions and in one case accusing parents of hiding or wanting to diminish actual abuse?

I'm thankful there are groups that will ensure she doesn't get far, and I pray they will shut her down quick. I hope she finds a niche that works for her, without infringing on other people's way of life.


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