|T.V., Homeschooling, and Community||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Dianna Hine (cocoonbookswcinet.net)|
|Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 15:35:26 -0500|
Dear Folks, Just had to add to this thread. I'm a homeschooling mom who lived in cohousing for three years and I wanted to bring this angle into the discussion. How does t.v., or school, (or single family dwellings)contribute to our alienation? Schools have interupted family life and many times, so does t.v. All of us on this list are attracted to cohousing because we understand the need for more connection in our lives. More than ever kids need to re-connect with their families. They spend 6-9 hours a day in school,after care, and traveling on schoolbuses. Then they come home and turn on t.v.for a few more hours.The latest statistics I heard is that families are together approximately 20 minutes a day. Not much of a family life. Parents are not raising their own children- teachers, other kids, and t.v. are. I, by the way, do let my kids watch t.v. but they only watch educational shows, some of which are fantastic, (like Bill Nye the Science Guy), and a few carefully reflected Saturday morning cartoons.Since my husband and I are with our chidren a lot we can frequently discuss issues that are in their world like: why commercials are dangrous, what consumerism leads to why watching violent shows is bad for them etc.Kids learn primarily from modeling, or from what they see and hear around them. Homeschooled kids learn your values, see your problem solving techniques, and get your loving and sensitive interventions. The issues around t.v. are the same as any other issue in a child's life-- are they being exposed to the values you want them to have? Schools are just as powerful of an influence as t.v. John Gatto, who was N.Y's teacher of the year twice, has written some brilliant material ("Dumbing us Down"is a fantastic book) on the problem with schools.Just a few highlights:The model of education we have today was extracted from the German military.The explicit purpose of schools is to make us into good citizens who lack independent thought, who won't challenge authority, and who will be good worker bees. No kidding, it's written down and in the archives.Besides squashing creativity, surpressing natural curiosity,and limiting children's choices, schools encourage competion, use shame to modify behavior, and do not help children become appropriately socialized on the playground. Since children have little voice in what they learn and how they learn it, they also have little feeling of connection to their community of school and neither learn the lessons of personal responsability and respect nor experience the benefits of belonging to a group. The worst part of school though is that it turns so many off to their love of learning and their passion for whatever calls to them. I am a psychotherapist and a lot of the problems people come in with are primarily due to alienation and shame.By the way homeschool kids don't have problems becoming socialized unless you keep them in a closet.It's funny how many people voice this concern. The only difference between public and homeschooled kids is that when at home they learn how to interact in the world from you instead of their equally immature (and sometimes emotionally damaged) friends.Who would you rather be teaching your child how to resolve conflict, how to cooperate, how to cope with frustration, you or your child's third grade pals? As far as friends go there are many others homeschooling these days and my kids have played team sports,joined classes, and have had lots of friends. Anyway until kids are older (adolescence) they would rather spend the majority of their time with you. Just an added note to anyone forming or living in community-- don't sacrifice feeling connected as a group for meetings agendas or well-run kitchens.Too much time and energy gets spent on form and not enough on the underlying intention of enjoying our lives together.One suggestion is to minimize the number of decisions the group needs to make and orchestrate working together (literally, like when doing chores, maintenance etc.) as muchas possible. So much for my two cents. Didn't mean to turn this into a book. It's the first message I've sent..Dianna
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