Why? Because I'm not totally fluent in quadratic equations, the XYZ affair, and the literary symbolism of Banquo's ghost in Macbeth. Forget about the existence of such things as oh, I don't know, teacher's manuals, literature guides, reference books, online and community college courses, tutors, etc. Forget the fact that the typical elementary schoolteacher would almost certainly have equal or greater difficulty in teaching these concepts without any kind of reference material. Not to be too much of an educational snob, but I scored more than 400 points higher on the SAT than the average new elementary teacher and had a higher college GPA than >60% (the study unfortunately lumped together all the 3.5+ students so I'm not sure exactly at which percentile mine would place me).
Didn't you get the memo from Professors Susan Douglas of the University of Michigan and Meredith Michaels of Smith? The one saying that home educators need to be omniscient, spend the absolute entire day imparting knowledge into our kids, and feel a compulsion to have our kids step over others, be the envy of others, rise above the mass of the others, "to be, and to be seen as, well, a star"? That we are self-righteous zealots who consider ourselves to be the perfect examples of enlightened maternal virtue?
Pardon my French, but that's a big, fat, steaming load of manure. It's quite clear from reading the discussion of homeschooling in The Mommy Myth that Drs. Douglas and Michaels don't know the first thing about real-life homeschoolers.
The authors' bias is obvious in their treatment of the National Center for Educational Statistics study statistic about 30% of the homeschoolers surveyed citing the desire to "provide religious or moral instruction" as their primary motivation for educating their kids at home. Now, those of us inside the homeschooling community know how broad that statement is, and how extremely diverse the group of families are who might concur with it. No one group has a monopoly on morality and people of any faith or none whatsoever might decide to homeschool in order to teach their children in accordance with their family's values. Yet to Drs. Douglas & Michaels, they're all ultraconservative fundamentalists motivated by:
"an insistence that their kids never encounter the words 'evolution', 'birth control', or 'Oscar Wilde'."
Even the most conservative Christian homeschoolers I know teach *ABOUT* Darwinian evolution and sexuality. Drs. Douglas & Michaels may not like the way those topics are being taught by conservative homeschoolers, but it's a myth that homeschooled kids are totally sheltered from controversial topics.
The authors of The Mommy Myth truly seem to believe that homeschooling is super difficult for the parent doing the primary teaching. But honestly, I see what they would have me do instead of homeschooling to be way more stressful. Throughout the book, they make it abundantly clear their preference for women to hold full-time employment outside the home by glamorizing careers and presenting an excessively negative portrayal of homemaking. Yes, it can be tedious to do housework, change diapers, and so on but the corporate world isn't all fun & games either. I could go on at length about the tedious aspects of my last paid position. The point is, Drs. Douglas & Michaels would have me employed 40+ hours per week, and on top of that somehow find the time & energy to devote myself to the "rehabilitation of public education" by "[joining] the PTA and [giving] the local school board h***."
Forget the fact that the local school board has very little power to fix the problems with government-run schools. I'd have to try to influence things on the state or even Federal level, which would be a full-time job in and of itself. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'm a lot more cynical about the chances of me actually being able to bring about a significant improvement in the schools. Frankly, I'd rather spend my time and effort on giving my kids a good education at home than on some idealistic but likely futile crusade.
That's what I think truly bothers the authors of The Mommy Myth. They have this attitude that I should feel some sort of noblesse oblige to sacrifice my kids' well-being for what Drs. Douglas & Michaels see as the collective good. However, I don't see why the fruits of my labor should go to benefit "free riders" rather than my own family. Why should I invest my time & effort to help out the kids whose own parents are too lazy or disinterested? It's like the children's story of the Little Red Hen or 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "if any would not work, neither should he eat."