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Monday, February 13, 2012

On homeschooling and parenting

The shot heard round the world this weekend was that of a father who got fed up with his daughter complaining and lying about him on Facebook.  He made a response video in which he shot her laptop entitled Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen. It went super-mega-extravaganza-like-viral. 6 days, over 21 million hits and remember ya'll 1 million hits makes a video viral.

I am not going to judge him about his parenting skills because depending on the moment, I am either for or against him.... usually based on what my kids are doing or saying at the time.  I can say that I don't find his reaction that unusual.  I found another other parent electronic breaking video on Facebook, with the main difference being between a gun and a bat.  Beat a cell phone with a bat, get 6 thousand views.  Shoot a laptop with a gun... that's money baby!

Anyway, it all just gets me thinking about parenting in the homeschooling community.  As I watched the
video, I kept thinking that no homeschooled child that I have known would ever go on Facebook and write the kind of junk she wrote for many reasons.  First, we tend to friend not only our kids, but our kids' friends and their parents too.  There is a huge network of homeschoolers and parents so that no the kids know that they are monitored.  Secret Facebook pages... good luck. Most of us go on Facebook through our kids pages from time to time (I spent several hours this weekend helping my kid get rid of a Facebook virus that was invading her Facebook private messages through one of those silly games) we would pick up on their friends dummy accounts and ... BUSTED!.  So, no.

Besides that, the kids are raised to talk to their parents, and not about them. When I tell my kids to do something outside of his perfectly reasonable chore list, if he thinks it is unreasonable, he says so.  I don't find this being disrespectful, not at all.  He doesn't raise his voice, get sulky, or stomp his feet.  He looks me in the eye and either says, that he doesn't have time because of X,Y, and Z or that his sister left the mess and so she should have the honor of cleaning it.  I either tell him to do it anyway, say never-mind, or change my request based on the individual circumstance.  I want my kids to feel heard, even if it is inconvenient to me.  Because of this, they have no reason to complain to others about me, like the daughter in question. 

This doesn't make my kids' saints.  They are teens and they can by ANNOYING! But that doesn't give me the right to go all RAMBO on them. Yes, I lose my temper. Yes, I raise my voice. Yes, I make threats and carry them out- or not, but I also remember that I am setting an example for my kids.

On a side note, I once had an argument with a store clerk in front of my kids.  I was hungry and she was being a mondo-jerk.  After telling her off and the store manager too, I went home and stewed on it a while and realized I only had one option in what to do next.  I packed them back into the car,  went back to the store and apologized to the manager.  I could not apologize to her because she had been rightfully fired, ... she was THAT out of line, but I did not have to respond to her bad behavior, so I had to let me kids see that a good person makes mistakes but also admits to them.  ... and from reading the Facebook page of the father in question, it is clear that the attention has humbled him and he and his kid are NOW talking. 

Whether people like me saying it or not, there is a huge difference between homeschooled kids and non-homeschooled kids.  I know this because I have seen the difference between teens who have homeschooled for years, and teens who have just started homeschooling. The kids who have been homschooled for a number of years, look you in the eye, speak to adults, can hold a conversation with a 2-year-old and a 100-year-old effortlessly and are ready for the real world.  Meanwhile, kids who are new to the homeschool world, don't make eye contact, don't like it when adults speak to them, and avoid contact with those who aren't the same exact age.  How this constitutes being "socialized" is beyond me.  Similarly, when I had a parent complain about morale problems in a homeschool sports organization, I only had one question... how long had the kids that are causing problem been homeschooled.  Oh, they just started... I thought so.

Does this make homeschool parents perfect parents.  Absolutely not. There are many bad parents who homeschool in some shape or form... but the fact is that it takes a certain type of parent to want to homeschool... and that parent is going to be the one to have conversations and interactions with the child that will eliminate the need to vent and lie of Facebook, and so no laptops will be murdered.


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