Perfect or Putrid

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Something struck me as odd today: We, as homeschoolers, end up on either side of a huge spectrum in people's minds, but never in the middle.

I read a post where Spunky (aka Karen Braun) points out that we must shake the urge to compare ourselves with other "perfect" homeschoolers. Spectrum side right: Homeschoolers are perfect.

Then I read a post from Dana Hanley refuting the implied claim that homeschooled children are untaught and destined to be criminals. Spectrum side left: Homeschoolers are putrid.

But hang on... either we're perfect parents or raising hoodlums?

Putrid or Perfect

That feel weird to anyone else?

But now I realize that this kind of dichotomy is rather rampant. Most "hot button" topics are discussed this way: Politics, religion, education, finances, government, etc. No wonder I get so confused at times. Are proponents of one side so blind that they can't see the potential pitfalls or growth areas? Are the detractors so ignorant that they refuse to see the good?


Or maybe it's just easier to talk and write in generalities. Maybe it's more effective/fun/scathing to write in absolutes and hyperbole.

Maybe not as many people actually cleave to these extremes as us writers like to put down in black and white. Because, for me as a homeschooled Christian with political views of my own, while I may write and talk in such a way as to perhaps overstate my position, I'm actually fairly reasonable at times.

May we carefully consider how we talk and write and discuss issues and topics, especially around children. May we teach them to be even more even handed and level headed than we have been. And perhaps then, inflammatory rhetoric in the future will be seen as what it is: A lot of hot air someone is trying to vent, and damaging assumptions will be ignored.


In other news, I have now added a "Share This" button at the bottom of my posts. If you're one of those really "with it" people--I am not, so don't worry if you aren't either--please feel free to Digg, Stumble or otherwise share the posts of mine that you like. I'm always on the lookout for more people who may find this blog interesting as well.


~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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  1. trumpetmic

    Hey good points! I've heard of this school of dichotomies referred to as "dualistic thinking". It's used in theory behind our tendency to prefer binary choices. For example: Republican vs. Democratic, or Apple vs. MS.

  2. Dana

    Great points. My basic thought is that those we are mostly referring to are marketing something.

    Those portraying the "perfect" homeschooler are generally trying to sell us their products to help us get there. Those portraying the "putrid" homeschooler are trying to sell everyone else on their suspicions.

    Honest discussion doesn't sell as many books, get as many page views or receive as many comments.

    I don't see this kind of forced good/evil of most topics in personal discussions with real people.

  3. Mrs. C

    Well, it makes me angry to hear people talking about abusive homeschoolers as if that were the norm. Especially since I withdrew Elf from public school because he WAS being abused there.

    I also notice people like to assume that homeschoolers are all conservative Christians who have never been off the farm... except to go to church and Fred Phelps rallies.

    Go Fred!


  4. Julie

    We do attract some rather strange stereotypes, don't we?! I do think that it's rather common to go "black and white" with most things because it's easier (and quicker) than actual consideration of the topic. Do you think the "perfect" stereotype comes from homeschoolers who may be a bit defensive of their position and therefore try to smooth over or play down the problems, challenges etc of homeschooling?
    Just a thought. J

  5. Luke

    Great points, all! Thanks for taking the time to give you feedback.

    Today's been a little nuts here (see my next post), so I haven't had much time to respond to everything individually.


  6. Ganeida

    I don't get this so much in Oz. Partly I think because our communty is small enough people know us & know perfectly well my kids are no odder than theirs & while far from perfect are neither angels nor demons. We ge odder looks for the activities we allow ours to participate in. What sort of madwoman drags her wanna be Australian Idol round to music classes? Just let her sin in the shower! (We tried that; it revebrates too much ;D)

  7. Ganeida

    oops! My keyboard is dropping out letters & while I'm sure the child does *sin* that's not what she does in the shower. There should be a *g* in there.

  8. Luke


    <laughing> I was wondering what songs you were singing in the shower to convince your neighbors you were sinning in there.

    It is frustrating at times that you can't go back and edit your comments. There have been many times where I have a typo, only to realize it's too late. It happens to all of us.