Judge cites homeschoolers for violating U.N. mandate

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sheila, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Heads up homeschoolers.


    PS: No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth; just can't dig out from under all the cr@p that's been going on here.....
  2. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Clearly the judge has not stepped foot in an average modern public school. Though some are better than others there are far too many that have questionable staff, limited access to educational materials, have unhealthy cafeteria food and garden variety hooligans running the halls causing all sorts of mayhem. Toss in drugs, sex and violence and you can forget about worries of curriculum.

    Worst part is I probably just described schools from the "nice" side of town.

    My difficult child's school is considered affluent. (we bus in, lol) The science teacher was mad because she literally does not have enough supplies for an entire class to participate in lab experiments, most end up watching. They canceled ALL vocational classes like shop, VICA etc. The teachers are well known to be pot smokers and so so so much more.

    They also have the biggest and nicest football field, bleachers and weight room for several counties. *sigh*

    Yup, tried homeschooling for a year but difficult child issues put a stop to that. Going to keep my lil ones at home for sure though. I hear waaay too much about what goes on at school from my difficult child. It is shocking and scary.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    While most of these statements in the CRC I happen to agree with and don't have a problem with, this one would be a problem for us in Australia -

    In Australian public schools, the teaching of scripture must be made available to all students. Parents have to opt out rather than opt in. A lot of private schools are church-based and for them, religious instruction is mandatory for all students. We have Christian schools (various denominations); Jewish schools and Muslim schools as well as secular private schools. However, the majority of Aussie school students are taught in government schools but all have access to religious instruction (mostly Christian but if numbers permit, other religious education is freely available).

    I do worry about students who are home-schooled because the parents feel that the public schooling options available are "likely to corrupt". They happen to live in a society where that public schooling is a reflection of that country's society, and when they finish their schooling, I would expect (and hope) that those students will be given an opportunity to become active participants in that country's business life. But if they've been so sheltered form it and indoctrinated against it, how can they be able to cope? Surely it's better to expose them to it at a level they can handle, and at the same time educate the kids to be able to exercise the family moral stance while working in that environment.

    To label the country you live in as "corrupt" - why do they stay? They should move to a country where their ideas are better fitted, so they do not have to isolate their children from society.

    In our own family, the choice to educate difficult child 3 by correspondence is far more complex. If we're going to bring in UN regulations, then our Aussie education officials will find themselves in deep doo-doo.

  4. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Though the case was in Botswana it seems that there are a lot of themes that revolve around values and/or religion in the homeschool debate. I think my situation is the exception to that norm.

    My difficult child was "jumped" by a classmate and the classmates much older cousins when he was in 3rd grade. They threatened to kill him and I with a hammer. The reason? The boy was caught stealing one of my sons toys when he came over and was no longer invited over. That same year many of my difficult child's class mates wanted to be "gangsta thugs" (drug dealers) when they grew up. Not to mention the fact that the teacher was "new" and "forgot" to do spelling tests until the last month of school. Imagine it! No spelling tests for 9 year olds?!?!? She also sent home 3 hours of homework every night which left my pre-difficult child in tears because he barely had time to eat supper forget about play like a KID should. She didn't bother telling anyone that it was meant as a challenge and didn't have to be completed until I complained. Hellooooo. Terrible school, terrible teachers, terrible kids, terrible town, I did move but haven't seen much better.

    That was also the year my difficult child's behaviors and difficult child-ness slowly started to emerge. Hmmmmm....??

    I sure hope schools where you are at are better run. Sadly, all it takes is a couple spoiled apples to ruin the bunch. Lots of parents try hard but then there are those types who use television as a babysitter and public school as over glorified state paid day care. Kids from *those* families (regardless of race or socio-economic class) cause profound damage and alarming trends. Example: I have seen little girls as young as 4th grade trying to act *sexy* by wearing heavy make up, shorts that ride just under the cheeks and have "juicy" written in glitter on the rear end. I find that disgusting and feel it is my job as a parent to prevent my children from being exposed to that level of corruption until their intellect is developed enough to make sound, rational and mature choices/judgments. Religion has very little to do with it. Exposing them at a young age to what I cosider a deviant mob mentality is reckless. If they grow up drowning in an immoral pop culture they will never be able to see it as the social cancer that it truly is.

    This is MY country just as much as it is for the corrupt. I'll be gosh darned if I let someone push me out from my home, my land and my country. I should not feel compelled to run and hide. I don't plan to isolate my kiddos, I plan to expose them, with guidance as their age is suited to. I will teach them the difference between moral character and the filth that infects our media and youth. I will teach them to rise above it, to see the world around them for what it is and learn to make choices with moderation. Moderation is a very important vocabulary word NOT taught in American schools.;) I have no plans for some exclusive zealot fantasy world that I see some homeschoolers strive toward. That is not practical and leaves their children painfully unprepared for reality as an adult in our community. I do however want to exercise some control over what things my youngsters are exposed to and taught before I, as the parent, feel they are emotionally ready for.

    I think that sort of avoidance will eventually turn my children into better citizens than if I had simply thrown them to the wolves. I'm not a fan of raising followers.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Those are horrible provisions.

    While I think the intent is good, I think the fallout would be that it would be much more difficult to remove children from abusive and/or neglectful situations.

    ETA: I think the Parental Rights organization is biased and I would like to read the UN provisions directly.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I never in my life thought I'd be homeschooling...

    BUT after moving into my new neighborhood and I attended "Middle School Orientation" for my son, I was appalled at the conditions. The school has been overcrowded for years, as it is. Students are already attending classes in 'portables'--which are small trailers that line the street in a double row for two blocks!!! and we were informed that this year there has been a whole new influx of kids - so classrooms will be more crowded than ever....and due to budget cuts...teachers are un-supplied and un-assisted. Kids eat lunch starting at 10:30 am in order to make sure that every class can get into the cafeteria to eat before the end of the school day.

    And my son, who had an IEP for years due to ADHD and some coordination issues, was finally completely mainstreamed just last year. My fear was not that my son would face "corruption"--as much as it was likely that all the academic progress we have worked so hard to achieve--was likely to be lost in such an over-crowded environment.

    Just because a child is homeschooled - do not assume that they are being "sheltered" from life by overly-protective or overly religious parents. Most homeschoolers that I know are trying to provide the absolute best education they can - not only by using mainstream curricula, but supplementing with social activities, field trips, and private tutoring for "extras" such as foreign language, music and the arts.

    When is the last time our public schools were able to provide one-on-one attention or private lessons in anything?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I want to emphasise that when I was talking about society, I meant in general, not the culture of the school or the streets in your neighbourhood. There is a lot more to a country than that. As our children grow into adulthood they move beyond the things of childhood (hopefully) and into opportunities to learn and to make their mark on their world.

    I am also one of those parents who pulled a child from mainstream to (among other reasons) protect him from the bad social experiences he was copping every day, and to help him learn good social skills and also reduce his anxiety to a point where he could also learn academically. But the only "bad" culture around him was primarily the youth in the school and in the area. The rest of society, and the country - it's good. As I believe it is for so many of you, too.

    My expressed concerns are about people who home-school because of their abhorrence for the corruption of society in general - these people who create a sort of segregated community in general, insulating the child permanently so that they grow up unable and unwilling to live in society in general; the children are so sheltered that they become unfit for any sort of interaction and as a result, I believe their later development risks becoming stunted. I'm talking only about the extreme cases, those who simply shut off all communication with the rest of the world permanently for themselves as well as for their children. No TV, no phones, no radio, no newspapers. No checks on what, if anything, the children get to learn. I believe this is definitely a human rights issue and I got the impression that this is what the Botswana judge was trying to legislate. The trouble is, he's stirred up a much bigger problem with huge issues for all of us home schoolers who are homeschooling for more specific reasons and not merely to permanently shield our child from involvement in society when they're adults.

    My hope and aim is that difficult child 3 will learn about how to survive in this country, how to contribute and how to enjoy living independently, capably and safely. For now, he needs our form of home schooling. But no way is he isolated, as I'm sure none of you isolate your children from society in general either. The trouble is, some people do this, primarily for the purpose of permanent segregation from the society and culture of the country in which they live. We do have these groups in Australia too and they are a major concern. They claim they are protecting their children from the corruption of society, but this shelter is extreme and extends to all areas, permanently. That's why I said that if they don't want to live in this society, then THOSE people should consider moving back to the society they are trying to emulate. Chances are, the utopia they crave no longer exists anywhere and their attempts to re-create it risks creating nothing but dysfunctionality. What can start as one family home schooling for the purpose of permanently protecting the children from the evils of society, can morph into a growing gated community where freedom is controlled by the decision of a very limited number (usually one) of people in charge. Once access to information becomes so tightly controlled, the ability for individuals to make informed choices is lost.

    That is a separate debate to home schooling but this Botswana judge has focussed on home schooling as a target, I think mistakenly. For us, we all have our reasons to pull our kids out of school and keep them with us. Not necessarily at home - a home schooled kid is a portable kid, I often say. The best lessons a kid can learn about life, they can learn at your side as you do your daily duties (including shopping, balancing the budget, organising the household, greeting the neighbours, helping other people, interacting with the wider community). We've taken difficult child 3 around the country with us (and overseas) and consider this as a vital part of his education both academically and socially.

    I don't get the vibe from any of you, that you want to permanently keep your child insulated from the world around them and from finding a career path they enjoy that helps them contribute productively to society. I DO get (and agree) that sometimes you need to protect your child from local, nearby, bad influences. So do we. That is not the same thing that I was talking about and I believe you are doing a GOOD thing by helping a child make decisions that, at that age and under these circumstances, your child may not be able to make for him/herself just yet. But your ultimate aim is NOT to keep doing this for the rest of their lives.

    What upsets me is, for some people that IS their motive. Their main motive. And for those people (and their children), I am deeply concerned.

  8. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    :DOh, you meant cults, lol. Those freak me out too.

    Dangerous as well...
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Not just cults, FarmWife. More what happens before a cult forms...

    The church husband & I belong to now, resembled a cult 20 years ago. What it was then would have frightened us off. But somehow it adapted and grew (and threw out their leader, although she's now welcomed back in but as an equal, not someone in control). It is very much about choice, and any situation that removes informed choice also risks exploitation. And the rest of us get tarred with the same brush when we don't deserve it.

    Especially through difficult child 3's correspondence school I've known a lot of home-schooling families. Most are people who have made the choice to home-school for reasons similar to yours and mine. But I remember one girl who attended the school a couple of times for lessons, she was a lovely girl whose mother told us that they were using the correspondence school for the girl because she had asthma. OK, fair enough. But the girl was wearing very plain clothing, all the same shade of brown and all-covering. They were not Muslim, the girl seemed to be dressed more like a nun from the pre-Vatican II days including a crucifix. She was 12 years old. At these optional study days at the correspondence school, the kids get to mix and mingle, so do the parents. I made a point of chatting to the girl's mother and just listening, she told me how her daughter is precious and needs to be kept safe from the evil influences in the world. I got the impression that the asthma was just a handy excuse; also got the impression that the mother was equating the asthma attacks to a direct damage effect due to the girl's exposure to the wider world.

    I only saw the girl a couple of times, then she stopped attending study days. I saw her name in the list of students for a few years longer.

    At least with correspondence, the curriculum is still the one set by the Board of Studies. It can be modified for students who need support, like difficult child 3. But I have also had teachers complain to me that some parents want their child's work modified to exclude references to events or concepts that the parents don't want the child to know about. Censorship, in other words.
    OK, we kept difficult child 3 from knowing about 9/11 because his anxiety was so extreme, he would have gone into panic overload. He was in Grade 6 when it was raised in class, and the teacher found himself in trouble when difficult child 3 began to get upset; thankfully we were then able to say, "That happened a few years ago; you are safe." But censorship of knowledge is a different thing, and when a home schooling environment is sought after purely so a parent can completely control and limit a child's exposure to life in general, so utterly - then I think it risks a great deal of harm, even though the parent is primarily motivated for the good of the child.

    The problem is, cults do it (home-school) so they can control what the children do and don't learn. Random families also do it for similar reasons, but they're individuals, not cults (not yet; maybe not ever). And those of us who do the right thing suddenly find ourselves in the firing line too, having to justify what is working so well for us, it should be patently obvious that the right to home-school is a valuable one.

    It is easier to home-school in the US than in Australia. Here, we either have to enrol in a program like difficult child 3's (which required a lot of documentation and justification from doctors) which they don't refer you to or tell you about. We happened to hear of it form other kids with problems, it's really not good to have such good opportunities hidden from those who need it. Or parents have to write their own curriculum for their students, submit it to Dept of Ed for approval plus send in reports on their child's progress and endure regular inspections to ensure they are actually doing what they say they are doing.

    For us, we've found ways to make this work. A friend of mine who recently chose to home-school her boys for a couple of years, managed to meet all the rules. But I know she did SFA with her boys' education, she pretty much let them run wild. WHen her older son asked to be allowed to go back to school, she agreed (thank goodness) and found that in some areas he was ahead, in other areas he was behind. But I do remember being concerned at her lack of actual education in any formal sense. I organised a couple of joint excursions for them with difficult child 3, we had a lot of fun. But if you home school, you have to DO stuff, not just let the child do nothing, or turn the child into a midget mine worker.

    It is so ripe for abuse. We do the right thing, but get scrutinised more closely because of those who abuse the privilege.

    Very annoying.

  10. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Yeah, I guess I see your point. My similar train of thought is how frightening some homeschool types have cynical preconceptions that come from a place of not accepting differences, narrow mindedness with a side of fanatiscism.

    Easy for me to point the finger when I have so much in common with them, in theory. I have old fashioned values, I have seen a decline and moral decay in society just in my lifetime. America was never a utopian ideal but just in the past two decades I have seen such rapid changes. The cliche "good ole days" are slipping. I see technology advancing faster than our humanity. That is where the similarities between myself and the ultra religious homeschoolers diverge.

    I celebrate differences, other cultures, other ways of life. Culture being a key factor. Sure the decay as I like to call it is a sub culture that I will teach my children about. It will be a unit of study much like I will teach them about many world faiths and customs. I detest war but will certainly do a unit in school on several wars because they simply are a fact of life, like it or not. I do stop at the point where I don't want my kiddos living in a war zone and likewise don't want them living in the current social climate, as kids anyway.

    I see some religious homeschoolers as frightening because there is a degree of censorship, as you mentioned. I have spoken with many parents who do hide in a sheltered cloister that can't possibly be a realistic view of the world. It goes so much deeper than the creation vs. evolution argument. It crosses boundaries of evolved thought by condemning entire groups of people simply because they are not one of them. It doesn't stop at explaining a particular unsavory act or way of life as immoral but rather places the parents and their exclusive group above all others.

    Long story short, teaching that someone carries on in a naughty fashion and could make better choices (my version) is waaay different than teaching that other people that aren't from my group are bad people.(the fanatic version)

    Molding, shaping and guiding a young mind is not at all like indoctrination and brain washing.:smug: If nothing else, I believe that truly great minds must come from a well rounded world view. A good foundation does not come from mental enslavement. That just breeds programmed responses. Free thought is a requirement for innovation.

    Okay, stepping away from the soap box. I think I'm preaching to the choir.:laugh:
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of schooled kids turn out intolerant.
    I am against the state stepping in to tell us how to educate our kids or how to raise them unless they suffer physical abuse. As an American, I doubt this will ever flyl in our country. Sure, there are some nutcases, but they wouldn't send their kids to school anyway. I know parents who don't register the kids in school at all...just homeschool them. They don't like the government to know their business. So they aren't even on the record.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm with-MWM.
    This is awful, and what a lot of people are afraid of:
    The letter points out that one of the parents was "threatened that his application to become a naturalized citizen of Botswana will be opposed if he does not 'cooperate' with the secret police."
    It cites the U.S. judge who wrote last January while approving asylum for a homeschooling family whose members had been persecuted in Germany, "No country has a right to deny these basic human rights."
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    FarmWife, difficult child 3 is currently studying war poetry as part of a unit of English. Remember, this is correspondence, a branch of mainstream but administered primarily at home. I could give you some details of this if you like. The way this topic is set out, is to first show the early war poetry of WWI (the first modern war, where humanity really ramped up the mass destruction of armies in systematic, chemical and explosive way). The first poetry was still aimed at charging up young men to enlist and to fight. The attitude was, "If I die fighting for my country, it is a glorious death and I will be a hero." The first lesson is basically WWI history (briefly) followed by a look at some of the romanticised early poetry.

    The second lesson is the change, where some poems were written by soldiers in the thick of it who were saying, "This ain't pretty, and you should stop telling innocent young boys that fighting for your country is a glorious thing."

    The next lesson is more modern poetry (very Australian, in this case) including songs written during the anti-war movement. The whole unit, taking it all together, is balanced. It's not anti-war, it's not pro-war. Instead, it focusses on the changing opinions and the way society attitudes towards war have shifted.

    It's good stuff.

    MWM, you said,
    That can't happen here in Australia unless te births were not registered. But then, if the births are not registered ten also the child never gets our national health care and you'd have to be crazy to not register for that. So once a child is "in the system" at least for health care, the government knows about them and their education is tracked and must be accounted for.

    I realise that for a lot of people in the US, the Aussie system sounds very Big Brother - our government has cross-connected every department and linked it to services so vital that everyone in the country is known. it makes it almost impossible to cheat the system in any way and get away with it.
    But it does mean that some of the really bizarre home schoolers (the ones that really concern me and can give the rest of us home schoolers a bad reputation by association) are known to the system and can be so successful at arguing their case, that supervision standards drop. One particular cult is a major concern, they get away with bending the rules to breaking point because they also fund one of our major political parties to a huge extent. ANd when this cult can set up their own gated community and exclusive school with a curriculum that is never put forward for scrutiny, t hen other weirdos do the same thing and say, "If they can, then so can I." Scrutiny and child protection then goes out the window.

    I won't mention the cult name, but they have been under close scrutiny by the Aussie media in recent years but they are too well protected by their political friends. A worry.

  14. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Generally I feel pretty strongly about a parents right to teach their children whatever they want. I briefly made the acquaintance of a young couple who had me question that. They were pregnant and were opting for a homebirth. homebirth in itself is a wonderful, natural thing assuming it is for the right reasons. This family however was doing so in order to "hide" the birth from authorities. Their next plan was to not get a birth certificate and to not get a social security number for the child. Essentially the child would not exist in our governments eyes.

    That frightens me.

    Though they have every right to feel strongly against "the mark of the devil" as they saw it, I still have to wonder about a family so paranoid about a government/satan/gestapo-esq potentiality that they were literally going to hide the existance of their child. They also lived in a very rural area and rarely left their farmstead. Although they seemed to have pure intentions that scenario could be potentially very dangerous for this child.

    Then add in the factor that upon adulthood this child would be virtually unemployable unless the job was "under the table". The child could not qualify for a higher education and government grants to do so. If the child was to be a boy he would be in violation of selective service laws. The child could have no credit rating therefore not buy a home unless it was with cash but then they couldn't put it in their name. They also could not have a bank account, health insurance and so so much more.

    Unraveling all that mess in the governments eyes would be a nightmare. Thus the parents extremist political and religious views would essentially cripple the child financially before they were ever at an age to decide what was best for themselves of their own free will.

    Our government does make accomadations for recognized groups such as the old order Amish that I live nearby. Their separation is organized, recognized and left to itself. The do have an "exclusive" community wherein their children are educated according to their value system alone, they even speak English with a very heavy German accent even though they are native born...they are that isolated. They also take their children into town to shop and at the age of maturity the children are "cut loose" to go find themselves (Rumpspringa) and to decide if they want to stay within the church or if they want to live among the "English". In that way even this obscure, sheltered group still makes plans for a reality check and FREE WILL inclusion into the group when old enough to know what it means. (free will is a very important concept for me)

    I think there is a fine line between safe, sane isolation and hiding from society in an unhealthy way. A parent has rights, obviously, but I think that they should never supercede the rights of the child. This could someday errupt into a political debate about separation of church and state. That doesn't even take into account parents who homeschool but are poorly educated themselves or do not give the children an adequate education for whatever reason. I think it is a terrible shame that a few misguided individuals on the outer fringes could bring the whole house of cards down on the majority of other homeschoolers, people who have good intentions and see public school as undesirable for well thought out reasons.

    Marg-That does sound like a fascinating unit on war. Do you have links? I did have some materials preselected but it would make a nice addition. (Here I am with a toddler and yet to be born babe and already planning my curriculum, lol)
  15. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think that a parent's right to raise their child is sacred. To interfere with that right should require extreme circumstances (proven abuse, extreme neglect, etc). We ALL censor things from our children. I'm sure none of us have discussed our sex lives with our children, allowed our preschoolers to watch R-rated movies, etc. Just because someones censorship line is in a different place than the majority does not make it wrong. And from a legal point of view -- it isn't censorship; censorship is when the government blocks something, not when parents or even private institutions do.

    There are people raised with wonderful values that are not raised in mainstream culture (eg. Amish) and there are people raised in mainstream culture that are bigoted and immoral. Exposure to everything isn't necessary to develop tolerance and compassion.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good point, JJJ. I think the issue comes down to reason and balance as well as ensuring the child has choices available in the future.

    As I said before, we hid some things from difficult child 3 until we felt he was able to handle it. This is a parent's prerogative although society can intrude and take that from you. For example, we realised at about the time difficult child 3 was diagnosed, that we needed to be truthful with him at all times about everything, which meant we needed to shield him from the usual childhood mythologies of Santa and the Easter Bunny (not sure if he would ever cope - didn't want to have a 40 year old still believing in Santa). But well-meaning adults in our life would not shut up, and really made a mess of things for us. "What do you want from Santa this CHristmas?"
    But this was for an exceptional child under exceptional circumstances. We could not shield him; the amount of protection, the layers of cotton wool we'd have had to apply, in order to succeed, would have also locked difficult child 3 way from almost all social interaction and would have caused us even bigger problems.

    In Australia in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, there was an ad on TV known as the "Grim Reaper" ad. I had a bit more understanding than average of HIV and was appalled and disgusted by the ad. The point of the ad was to convince people that AIDS potentially affects everyone; it was not just a gay disease as some of our right-wiing politicians were saying (they were calling for all homosexuals to be compulsorily tested and if found positive, to be incarcerated in sanatoriums). The ad showed a close-up of a robed skeleton with a scythe (and it was a very yucky, drippy depiction of Death) at a bowling alley. Only the pins were people. We had a close-up of the people (including crying children and mothers holding babies) as the bowling ball approached, then knocked them down. Then they showed the pile of "pins" as pile of dead bodies, including the same children. It was awful, it was meant to shock and upset, and there was no way I was going to let easy child, at age 5, to see it. We had quite a job, to get hr out of the room before the ad got too far into it. Other parents who were less successful made a huge stink about it but the ad ran its course for several months before being taken off for the next round of more acceptable ads.

    Yes, parents censor input for their kids. We hear a man swearing on TV, we turn off that TV show. But it is still an interface between our child and the world, with us on the edge guarding, controlling, educating. To completely remove that interface, to shut out the world entirely because it is easier for the parent to not have to stand guard at all, is to set your child up for some nasty shocks when they are old enough to choose (assuming they are informed enough to choose) and to leave and discover what the world is really like.

    Farmwife, about the war poetry - there is a website but it's student log on only. But I've just grabbed his notes (hard copy) and I will try and put here what I can. Bear in mind it is from a UK-Aussie point of view because Australia's history in war is tightly linked to Britain. In WWI, Aussie troops (together with NZ troops all known as ANZACS - Australian & NZ Army Corps) were the only volunteers in the war. They also tended to get used as shock troops by the British commanders, so copped a lot of losses. The landing at Gallipoli in WWI was a huge tactical blunder, but they dug in and held without being repelled, until called on to leave some months later. The departure was enhanced by some unique touches by ANZACS to keep the enemy thinking the beach was still covered. The enemy at that time, the Turks, are now close allies of ours and Anzac Day is celebrated every April 25 by Turks as well as NZ & Australia. A bit of background.
    So - the first unit gives information on WWI and what it was like for the soldiers.
    So after it's certain that the student understands the terminology of WWI, they get into the first poem, "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by WIldred Owen.

    Wilfred Owen was a soldier who told it like it was. He also was killed later in the war. His poetry is bleak, depressing but it is deliberately so, he is trying to counter the enthusiastic recruiting of a lost generation of British youth.

    Next lesson - the poems are British, and very patriotic and romantic. Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier".
    There was another poem, I can't recall it. There are many, I'm sure yo will find one that is similar.

    Next lesson - the answer to romanticism - "Does it Matter?" by Siegfried Sassoon.
    Then Wilfred Owen again, "Dulci et Decorum Est". An absolutely brilliant anti-war poem.

    Next lesson - more modern poets, very Australian point of view. These are both songs - "I Was Only Nineteen" by Redgum (John Schumann)
    There is a YouTube video clip of the song, well worth downloading.

    Also in this set of work is another Aussie song although written and performed by a Scot - it's about WWI, but from a modern non-romanticised viewpoint - "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" by Eric Bogle. "Waltzing Matilda" is an iconic Aussie song, pretty much our national song.
    Here is the YouTube link to the performance.

    A warning - here you will find cultural differences in what we Aussies consider swearing. A certain word referring to purgatory is used in Australia and not considered to be swearing, and is freely used in these two songs. Appropriately. But if you have a concern, make sure you check this material out before you share it with your children.

    What I am suggesting here is some material you could use to develop your own war poetry program. I would also suggest you include Walt Whitman's "A Sight in Camp" purely as an American poet's perspective on the casualties of war.

    However, the Whitman poem moves a bit further away from war itself and comments on humanity in general. It also comes closer to the romanticised view of war.

    There is a TV program that difficult child 3 watches, called "Arrows of Desire". It comes out of Britain, you my be able to get your hands on it. I highly recommend it for all students, especially those who are home-schooled. That is where aI encountered this Whitman poem and there are other US poets there too, although most are English.

    Oh, one more - a lighter, more ironic touch on war poetry - John Betjeman's "In Westminster Abbey".
    It's a marvellous poem, even humorous considering the wartime setting, when Britain really copped a lot of bombing. The character speaking is very upper class and condescending; but so very human and fallible.

    Anyway, I hope this all helps. Together, it would give you some good material for a couple of weeks' solid work, hopefully also very enjoyable.

    Any more ideas wanted, let me know.

  17. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    I WAS only 19 when I joined the Army Reserve (then known as the CMF) mainly to avoid the draft which would have sent me to 'Nam.

    I did this in discussion with my father, an ANZAC who had served in WWII and did not want me going there. Neither of us thought it was a place we (as a nation) should have been. There was a lot of politics that is too involved to go into here.

    This song has special meaning for me as I had a few mates who had been and others who were damaged by war in other ways.

    I break down and cry pretty well every time I hear it or read the words as I realise just how close I came to being part of that experience myself.

    Even now I'm seeing through blurry vision.

    Marg's Man
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Back to the pregnant woman and her husband: If they do have a home birth and the child has no SSN or birth certificate, then the government won't know about the child and there is nothing having a Big Brother system could do anyway. Did you know the Amish do not register births, take ANY pictures of anyone, have SSNs, send their kids to school beyond eighth grade, etc? Their schools are not public and the teachers are not college grads or educated much.

    I don't approve of that, but is it my place, or our government's place, to tell the Amish how to educate their kids? They are a very segregated group and often very afraid of people of color. Do we force them to assimilate?

    I thinkt he government should stay out of parenting choices. Not everyone is going to be tolerant, even if he or she goes to school. We know that there is hatred and conflict amongst certain groups in certain schools...school can't stop that.
    I think it's scary that the UN would have ANYTHING to do with schooling in the US. I don't think that, in the end, the US will accept this ruling. Most of us prefer to make our own decisions about our children without government intrusion. When there IS government intrusion, they seem to do a horrible job. Just look at CPS. They can be frightening.
    Anyway, JMO ;)
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm chiming in without looking into and reading everything posted here just to express an opinion that I feel strongly about- if parents are staying within appropriate boundaries as far as not abusing or neglecting their child and complying with laws, I personally don't think anyone has a right to tell them how to raise their children. And in our country, we would lose the whole essence of our freedom if our government keeps moving in a direction where they want to tell us how to raise our kids. That doesn't mean I agree with every other parents' choices, I can assure you I don't. But every parent has a right to teach their children their beliefs, morals, etc, whether I happen to agree with them or not, as long as they are staying within those basic boundaries. Yes, there are ignorant parents out there, but having a government dictate to them how to raise their children is just wrong and goes completely against the freedom we are supposed to have in our country, in my humble opinion. The way to help that problem is public education- and that means "educating" those in the sd a little more too. No, it won't fix all of it, but having government employess tell us how to raise our kids doesn't produce any better results. People will usually do better when they learn better, not when they are dictated to. The people who work for the juvie court system here use that method and not only do I think many of them are pretty ignorant, but obviously, it didn't help difficult child learn any better and it destroyed everything in my life. Before the people working in the government start making people raise their kids a certain way, they should make sure they know how to do a better job first- do you really want lawyers who became politicians making those choices? Or do we end up having questions on the ballot like "do you want all children to be required to go to public school?"

    Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. :)
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DF, I assume you are going to be using the SC connections thing I see on tv. I think you are lucky down there that it is available. NC doesnt have it yet. I wish they did when Cory was in school.