I want to make something quite clear here.
I am not critical of Nicole and Joe’s “parenting style.” I don’t care what time her kids go to bed. I don’t really care about how they discipline those children, provided they aren’t beating the shit out of them. I just don’t care.
But if you’re going to present yourself as some expert on “unschooling,” you might just spell-check your titles.
This is called “deflection.” She’s answered this question before, but she doesn’t want to do so here. So she “answers the question” by asking another question. She thinks this is clever.
There’s the actual answer to the question. And it’s not really what it appears to be. She says she would “allow” private school. However, Nicole and Joe Naugler can’t even pay their basic bills. It’s for damn sure they wouldn’t be able to afford private school tuition. The kids would never even ask.
But I will answer Nicole’s deflecting question.
Our son indicated to us, as I’ve described before, how unhappy he was in his private school (the one she thinks would be fine). So we homeschooled him. And when he came to me and said, “I’d like to go to public school,” I replied, “Okay. Let me look into it a bit.” And I did. And he did.
So our son had all three types of “schooling”: private, public and homeschooling.
I’m not sure what her point here is, except to use this as filler material. Parents differ. Family dynamics differ. Yeah. We know that.
I don’t know anyone who thinks they “have the authority to change how other people parent,” or that if the parenting “has a negative effect. . . we should intervene.”
Children are not – and I will repeat this because not understanding this causes big problems – they are not the property of their parents. At the moment of a child’s birth in this country, he becomes a citizen of this country. And as a citizen, he has rights.
Joe and Nicole love to argue and fuss and whine about their supposed rights. But their children have rights too.
One of those rights that the children have is the right to an education. That was the whole point of the establishment of the public education system, so that every child could obtain a basic education. This leads to an educated citizenry. It means we have an educated work force. It provides us with an educated electorate.
Joe and Nicole Naugler are systematically depriving their children of the basic right to an education. I don’t care what they say about “unschooling.” They are not educating those children. Joe does not do shit when it comes to any sort of schooling. They scored poorly on the testing done by CPS for only one reason: they didn’t know the answers to the questions.
“Unschooling” does not mean “don’t do anything at all.” It supposedly means that you tailor the learning to the child. It’s actually much harder to do, if you do it right, than conventional homeschooling. And it becomes harder and harder the more children you have.
I am tired of Nicole insisting that “everyone who meets the children knows how wonderful and educated and superior and intelligent” they are. Everyone does not know that. Furthermore, I’ve seen enough of her oldest child’s writing (or what purports to be his writing) to challenge that statement.
This is very like Joe’s insistence that “everyone who meets me loves me.” No, they don’t. I have met Joe and I cannot stand him.
If children fail in public school (and children do fail in public school), we know about it. We can see test scores. We can see that the child is not doing well. We can evaluate how well the teacher does. If half her class is struggling, we can try to figure out why. Is it the children? Is it her?
But with Nicole and Joe’s kids, we can know very little. We have her word that one of the children read ten books in three days.
I did some math. I know it’s hard, but I struggled and did it.
In order for what Nicole claims there to be true, and assuming that the child reads at the level and speed of a college graduate, she would have been reading non-stop for 9 hours every day for three days.
I used to take my homeschooled child to the library and he would bring home a box of books that rivaled that one, maybe once a week.
He would then go through those books exactly the way I went through the library books I checked out. He skimmed some of them. He thoroughly read a couple of them. He might read part of one and then quit. Apart from books that he was required to read as part of his school curriculum, I didn’t care. He had the books. Read them or not. His choice. That’s what adults do and that’s what he did. It’s also what the Naugler child did.
But Nicole insists that she read every word in every book because the child is “exceptional.”
Let’s assume for a second that this is true, and that this kid reads at that speed with comprehension and devours books like M&Ms.
If that is the case, she is even more deprived than we can imagine, because she is not being given opportunities to develop her amazing talents. Instead, she is living in a garden shed with nothing.
Nobody really knows. The child might be doing fine. The child might not be doing fine. Nobody knows. The child’s rights are being held hostage by her parents, who believe they are accountable to nobody.
And that’s just education. There are other rights we could discuss.
The reason this stuff is important is because the rest of us, the rest of the citizens, have a stake in these children. Not just Nicole and Joe. Society cares because in a few short months, the welfare of one of their children will cease to be their responsibility entirely and that benefit (or burden) will fall directly on the larger society. And then a year or so later, we’ll have another one. And then another one. And so on, until we, as the larger society, absorb all eleven of them, for better or for ill.
She makes these great leaps of logic.
Do we get a say in how another parent raises their child?
Yes, we do, as Nicole and Joe learned last year when the state of Kentucky came down on their heads and said, “No, you cannot have your children housed a three-sided shanty fit for livestock.” We get a say if a parent is beating the hell out of their four-year-old and endangering the child’s life. We get a say if Mommy is letting her boyfriend sexually abuse her 6-year-old daughter. Yes, we do.
We go to lots of trouble and have lots of really interesting, good conversations about how to achieve the twin goals of allowing parents as much freedom as possible in choosing how to rear their offspring, while simultaneously protecting the rights of the child and the rights of the large society. We’ve worked at this for, oh, 230 years. We’re doing okay, I think.
Are we trying to create a society of clones? Do we embrace individualism?
See? “If you make me adhere to even the bare minimum of standards, you’re trying to create a society of clones. You aren’t embracing individualism. You evil statist.”
The first US public school began in 1821, just 32 years after the country began. So we’re talking about a system that has been in place for 200 years, most of our history. Anybody look out across the face of America and see Stepford wives marching? I don’t. Is “individualism” a trait that most Americans embrace enthusiastically? I think so.
Let me give you a little hint about something. Whenever somebody starts talking about “sheeple,” it is safe to disregard everything they have to say.
Especially when they purport to have brilliant, educated children with no effort whatever, and can’t spell “helicopter.”