Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pinky, We're Going to Take Over the World!

Well, it’s almost time to begin the new day.  In a few minutes I will gather my hand-picked students, chosen for their unique gifts and abilities, and start them on their daily lessons.   That is the position of Tracy, a teacher writing on a Wall Street Journal community forum.  In her post, Tracy wrote:
Homeschooling - I have no problem with homeschooling, but please don't compare that with my job. There are VERY FEW similarities. If I had only 3-4 self-selected students to educate in the comfort of my own home with any bathroom/food/physical activity/food break and could set my own hours and discipline appropriately, etc. etc. etc ------ I could get even better results than those parents. If you don't believe me, then please fund that study and I will be happy to participate. I will even take 10 students.
She discovered our secret.  Homeschoolers self-select only the best students.  This self-selection process skews the results of home education unnaturally higher than those of our public school counter-parts.  Tracy is such an incredibly talented teacher that if she would do the same, her homeschooling performance would be better than the rest of us teacher-wannabes.   I’m stepping up today to raise my hand and admit, “Guilty as charged!”
I self-selected only the best students for my homeschool.  I did not simply accept the children that God gave me.  I self-selected a girl with a congenital heart defect.  She’s a stroke victim with learning delays that caused us to hold her back one year in school to better prepare her to complete the first grade.   It gave us time to help her gain the ability to hold and manipulate a pencil.  Nothing screams “academic success” like repeating kindergarten!  I self-selected OCD Boy.  He’s the child that must ask the same question three times in a row before hesitantly accepting the same answer given three times in a row and gingerly moving forward through his exercises.   If he had his way, I would be holding his hand through every question on every task that he completes.  His ability is high.  His self-confidence is low.  I even self-selected Walter Mitty, my teenager whose hold on reality is tenuous on his best days.  I wanted him to possess a genuine talent for mathematics coupled with a genuine loathing for the subject that allows him to stretch even the simplest math assignment into a five hour marathon.  
I’m a bit of a sadist that way.
I’m fairly certain that if I asked my homeschooling friend Daniel, he’d admit that he self-selected autism for his oldest boy.  Teaching a non-autistic child would be so…mundane.  I’m quite certain that most of the thousands of the parents who homeschool their special needs children would agree.  And those homeschooling parents who chose “normal” students?  Selfish buggers.  All of ‘em.  They could have self-selected special needs children, but nope, they opted for normal.  And we all know that normal homeschooling children never act up, disobey, sass, fail to complete their work, fail subjects, miss deadlines, lose assignments, daydream, lollygag or repeatedly make the same mistake that their parent-teachers have explained to them over and over and over again until they are banging their heads on the refrigerator in frustration.  It never happens because those traits have been self-selected out of normal homeschooled children.   
It’s time to let the world in on a little secret.  Homeschoolers hold all the secrets to manipulating DNA in order to produce only the best possible students.  Pinky, we’re going to take over the world! 
Or maybe…just possibly…Tracy has no idea what she is writing about. 


  1. Dear Tracy,
    I'll take you up on your offer. But in the interest of scientific purity, let's set a few parameters to make the study "legit."

    1.) No can do on the "you fund the study" part. Homeschoolers don't get funded. You are very much on your own in the money department.

    2.) We'll go ahead and let you have the 10 kids you claim you can teach better than we can. But honey, homeschoolers rarely have more than 1-2 kids in the same grade level. But in the interest of fairness, well give you a little bit of a break. You can have two sets of twins. So your 10 kids will only be at 8 different grade levels.

    3.) You have to find, select and pay for the curriculum for all 10 kids.

    4.) No can do on the "self-selected" students thing either. (See Arby's post above.) You will receive a randomly selected, representative sample of students. For sure, one least one set of your twins will be at the same grade level, but have two totally different learning styles. Bummer.

    5.) You have to homeschool those 10 kids in YOUR home. With furniture, food, materials, etc. that YOU purchase, beg, borrow, or steal yourself.

    6.) You can't "go home" at the end of the day. You have to live with, cook for, do the laundry for, shop for, wipe the noses of, and EVERYTHING else for the 10 children you've chosen to homeschool.

    7.) Plus there needs to be at least one other "extenuating circumstance" in your life. Normally these circumstances pick us. We don't pick them. But we'll be kind. You can pick.

    a.) You're juggling homeschooling and a part-time job. And being the director of the local food co-op.

    b.) Your spouse is out of work so you're down to NO incomes.

    c.) You're caring for your aging parents who live 60 miles away and require regular visits and care.

    There. I think that about covers it.

    Still want to participate?

  2. BOOOYAH!!!!!!!!!! Exactly. Well put Arby and Linda. I couldn't have said it better.

  3. Linda, let's add that each kid has to have an extra-curricular activity like soccer,band, basketball,or karate so that they get their 'socialization time'. Tracy gets to escort each child to their event, while homeschooling the others in the car. Oh, we can't forget the doctor, dentist and orthodontist vists.

  4. BTW, I LOVED, loved, loved this post, Arby!!! Well done!

  5. Oh, my, I did enjoy this post! And Linda, your comments are priceless.

    Sigh. Will they ever get it?

    Ring true,

  6. I'm playing catch-up on all I've missed so far. I'm glad I'm not drinking anything, I'd be snorting it out my nose!
    What a great post!