Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good grief!

A couple weeks ago the kids and I went to a wedding reception. We ran into someone I've known since I was little. She is a kind, hard working, woman. But, I admit, I'm quite frustrated with how she interacted with my kids (Tyra mainly). I'm not only frustrated with her but her kind.

She naturally asked Tyra what grade she's in, which is fine, she was kindly starting up a conversation with Tyra. Once Tyra informed her that she's homeschooled she began to quiz her. Saying things such as, "So are you learning things like 11+21?" and then began to ask her multiple math questions and proceeded to give Tyra a math lesson right then and there in the middle of the reception as her husband stood waiting for her at the door.

Tyra, under pressure, had a hard time even answering the question "What about 4+3?" I know she knew the answer but here she was suddenly undergoing a math test by this woman she doesn't even know-she buckled.

So I'm left feeling frustrated. Why is it that people either A) have to prove to themselves whether homeschooling is a good thing (or not) by testing homeschooled kids? or B) Why does one make an assumption as to whether or not someone is smart (or not) by asking them academical questions?

I'm convinced that if she would have talked to Tyra in a human-like way, asking her what she is interested in or (if the woman's need be) ask her what she has been learning, I'm sure she would have been impressed with this little, yet big, individual.

Does one, when encountering a stranger/possible friend for the first time, ask them questions such as "Can you factor the polynomial x3yz4-x2yz3+2xy2z2?" to determine whether they are an intelligent or capable individual? The answer is obvious.

There's so much more to one's character. Who are they really? How do they feel about life? What drives them? What are they interested in? How do they relate to you? How much do they love to learn? How well are they able to connect with you in a humane manner?

Whether or not one knows a math problem is frivolousness (unless one is asking to learn).

Whether or not one has a good, well-defined, clear thinking, mind and character which thrives with an unclouded awareness as to what his own values are is what is vital.

Good grief, the last thing these kids need is to feel that academical facts are what makes them worth talking to or, of all things, what makes them an intelligent person.

There's so much more to intelligence than math problems or the like!


MARCIE said...

I just have to say that if this happened to Lindey I wouldn't have been offended. Whos to say this exact same thing wouldn't have happend to Lindey? You should not be offended. And hey I'll take all the mini math lessons we can get.(and for free too?:) I doubt they were trying to "quiz" them, probably trying to help them, was this person ever a teacher?? Don't worry so much. Now, when should we get these kids together? It's been too long. We could do something on the 16th? The witches are up at Gardner Village and we could watch Nightmare Before Christmas here after? I'll ask Em too.

claudia said...

You're right Marc, maybe I should see this ordeal as "free math lessons". I just wish she would've been asked questions that made her feel smart. . .but yes, we do need to get together...

I'll be giving you a call.

MARCIE said...

It is good for kids to have negative experiences, it helps them learn and grow!

Brat said...

How's Tyra feeling about this? I hope she's able to just take this in stride and maybe learn from it.

claudia said...

Oh, Ty is fine. Thanks for asking Britt.

Yes, bad experiences are growing experiences.

What happend was oddly done considering the circumstances. It was unnecessary. It sent too many frivolous messages. It was just weird!

It wasn't a "growing" experience for Tyra so much as it was for ME.

What did I learn? That some people have unyeilding issues with homeschooling and feel it their duty to (out of normal routine) make remorseless efforts to change what is being "done" to these children.

Thus, I decided to vent about it in this blog.

Sonja said...

You know, it's so interesting how people react to something that is new or unknown. It's almost text-book (no pun intended). :)

First fear or skepticism.
Then either embrace with understanding (which then leads to either further investigation or to just ignore as some oddity to file away for future reference)

or unfortunately in some instances, with more fear which leads to negative behavior.

I have found that a lot of good people become defensive when I say I homeschool, because they feel like I'm judging them for having their kids in public school.
(Which I never would, by the way)But if my kids are not as smart as their kids, then they feel justified in having their kids in public school.
Pooh! It's a no win situation!

I try to deflect the fear/sketicism/ defensiveness with a cheerful disposition and to remember, "you can't please all the people all the time." It's just never going to happen. So I limit my pleasing abilities to a small circle, the first priority being Heavenly Father. This is something I've prayed about, received and answer to, and brings me and my family joy, most of the time. I take confidence in that. It helps when my kids inevitably commit a social faux paux that catches the glaring eye of a well-meaning critic. As a mother, it hurts the most to have someone be critical of your mothering, but no matter WHAT people will find something to be critical about (working moms, stay at home moms, soccer moms, ambitious moms, lazy moms, moms with lots of kids, moms with only 2 kids, etc.)

Typically, when people see that my kids are happy and that I'm happy they go back to worrying about their own.

Good. Grief. :)

claudia said...

Thanks Sonja. I absolutely agree with you. And thanks for the advice!

James said...

This comment is not related to home schooling. I have no problem with how you are educating your kids. However, I would like to comment on education and on what makes intelligent people. I believe that education is not about filling a bucket, it is about starting a fire. That means, of course, education is not rote memorization of facts. But, without learning the facts (i.e mathematical rules the laws of physics and chemistry, history of the world and cultures, painting techniques and art theory, and many others) then there is no fuel for that fire to burn however strong the flame may initially be. Louis Pasteur said "Chance favors the prepared mind." All of the great minds of the past could have done nothing by only being a good, well-defined, clear thinker, and having an unclouded awareness. In order to be intelligent I think you have to have all of those things that you mentioned, AND also have the facts. The more scientific, philosophical,spiritual and historical facts you know, the bigger your arsenal for coming up with original, creative ideas and solutions that can bless the lives of a lot of people. So in defense of hours and hours of endless study as a current student, I say if you want to be intelligent you need to start the fire, but, keep the fuel coming... Also again this has nothing to do with Tyra and home schooling. In defense of Tyra. I think she is really smart, she is the only one who answered my questions on magnetism when Joanna and I did our little science show:)

julianne orth said...

I don't understand why people think they need to tell you how to raise your own kids. I would have been offended too, and i probably would have buckled under the pressure too!
At least the people that really know Tyra know what an intelligent little girl she is

claudia said...

Thanks Jimmy Joe, that quote has been one of my favorites for a while too! I absolutely agree with what you said. If the desire is there but the ability to work through problems isn't what good is the desire then?

When I said it's important to have "a good, well-defined, clear thinking, mind and character which thrives with an unclouded awareness as to what his own values are is what is vital" I believe if one has that, then they., more than likely, will desire to learn and gain the abilities you spoke of.

And BTW although we homeschool our children we expect them to follow footsteps such as your own and spend those hours upon hours of serious learning and study.

Thanks for your example and your insight! You and Joanna are great!

Joe said...

Before being offended at a person's remarks, they should be examined for merit or truth.
Many people agree that people who are weak in the traditional "3 R's", reading writing and arithmetic (math) will have trouble functioning in any type of position in society, or religion. 4+3 was not an unfair question, but the other questions bordered on ridiculous. Education is not just learning about things that you enjoy, for example, very few people enjoy higher math, but higher math opens the doors to many types of science that can become exciting to a person: biology, astronomy, computer science, music theory, etc, Jimmy Joe is an example of that. My math opened the door to computer programming which proved as exciting to me as playing computer games. I think parents have to be careful about actually limiting their children's education, and potential. If a parent hates or is bored with math and science or history or politics, or music, or physical fitness, etc, and were never good at these, then, this will be passed on to the children. A rounded education is much more than following children's bents and whims, and goes far beyond a good knowledge of the 3-R's.

John said...

can of worms. 4+3 is a can of worms.

claudia said...

Thanks Joe. Education definitely does need to be well rounded.

John said...

oh, was this a discussion on education?

I thought we were talking about biases, prejudices, and social misbehavior.

Silly me...I must have misread the comments.

I guess my lack of negative experiences has stunted my mental development. Oh well.

Angela said...

That is terrible! I hate when people feel they have to prove themselves!