Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Celebrations of mediocrity

I'm reading Sykes' Dumbing Down our Kids, about how the self-esteem movement has eroded our schools. I'm finding a lot I agree with and all the more support for our homeschool decision. Before I go further, let me say this: I started reading Steinem's Revolution From Within some years back and couldn't get into it. It just seemed too sickeningly self-affirming. I actually got rid of it--a rare thing in this house, to get rid of a book.

I just couldn't deal with it. Thinking highly of oneself isn't bad, as long as one has a reason for it. I know I'm a pretty good cook because my family and palate tell me so. My housekeeping... it's an area of improvement. I can't realistically evaluate how good a mother I am until my kids are grown, but they show evidence that I'm at least adequate. [that didn't happen in a vacuum, either--see previous post.]

But to say "I'm wonderful just as I am and I don't need to improve" is malarkey. To hearken to our Christian ethics, God loves us just as we are but asks us to move closer to Him in His perfection. Which is one of those reasons I'm glad we're Catholic--to belong to a church that says "You're NOT okay just as you are. You need to reach higher, strive harder--and I will help you do that. I will lead the way, for I am the Way."

We hear that our schools don't have enough time or money to do and teach all they're being asked to do. That makes sense to me. There is only so much time in a school day and year (even homeschoolers don't have unlimited time). When you're teaching self-esteem, recognizing your needs, expressing your feelings, racial and ethnic sensitivity, creative self-expression, and waiting for the students to discover two millenia or more of mathematics, you run out of time for multiplication tables, correct spelling, and American history. Which are either boring, rote, stifling and uncreative or patriarchal, racist, and anti-multiculturalist anyway, so who needs them?

Okay, that last sentence is intended as sarcasm. If you look a little bit, though, you'll find those who believe it.

That brings me to my next point. I'm glad we've chosen classical homeschooling. Any parent who's paying attention can tell you little kids are like sponges. They pick up ideas, facts, and words at an astronomical rate. When they're little is the ideal time to teach things that need to be memorized because that's when they're the most adept at it. Primary and Grammatical stages, anyone?

The Experts will tell you they need to be able to express themselves, which is true, I guess, to a point. But if you want them to discuss who the better president was, Washington or Lincoln, and they have no idea who either was or what he did they have a hard time doing it.

The idea We're All Great... Whose definition of Hell is it where we're all gray? And wasn't there a Twilight Zone episode where this strange race all wore masks, because underneath they all looked the same? Maybe it was Star Trek. The lack of distinction or of variety of ability smacks of the feminist movement who want to eliminate all sex differences, or who argue they're societally conditioned. Equal doesn't mean identical, but that seems to be lost on some of them. It's not heightism to say "My husband is taller than I am." It's fact.

It makes me think of The Incredibles, where Dad calls the ceremony celebrating the advancement from third to fourth grade as "psychotic." I don't know if that's the right word, but his sentiment is spot on. I think it's Dash who says, "If everyone is special, then nobody is."

Now, I'm still noodling these thoughts. Bear with me since I think this is really the first installment on these ideas. And I'm still reading the book.

To be continued...

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At 6:48 PM, Blogger Kasia said...

I love The Incredibles, especially those two lines. But I think it was the villain who said that, not Dash. Or maybe they both did, in different ways.

Ah well - an excuse to go re-watch the movie... :-)


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