Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two interesting things that came up in my class on Religious Discrimination.

1. In UUism particularly, we tend to think of everything in a Christians vs. everyone else, or a theists vs. everyone else paradigm. Actually, because the United States is so protestant-dominated, the real issues have often been protestants vs. everyone else. For example, public schools used to offer "silent bible reading time." The professor said that the protestants in the positions of power were so entrenched in protestantism that they found it difficult to imagine why any Christian could object to their child having a bit of time every day in class to silently read the bible. But Catholics aren't really into people interpreting the bible for themselves with no priest there to help them out, so they ended up siding with the Jews and the atheists and everyone else who tried to stop the practice.

2. In a discussion of homeschooling, someone brought up that she had a friend who works at a historic site for the War of 1812. Like most historic sites, it gets a lot of visits from homeschooling families. One mother asked the tour guide whether the War of 1812 was World War I or World War II and refused to take "Neither" for an answer. I've always supported homeschooling, though I wonder about the parent-teacher's ability to learn enough about all those subjects to teach them. I hadn't realized that standards are so low, at least in that state.

CC

11 comments:

DairyStateDad said...

One mother asked the tour guide whether the War of 1812 was World War I or World War II and refused to take "Neither" for an answer.

Thunderstruck. One of those conversations I have this train-wreck-rubbernecking wish I could have witnessed in its entirety.

But then, my 10th grade world history teacher -- at a very high quality Quaker school -- told us one day with great confidence that "Einstein" (besides being the brilliant relativity theoretician) "went to Russia and made movies." [She was conflating him with Eisenstein...] I knew she was wrong but didn't contradict her...

Chalicechick said...

TheCSO thinks that someone is pulling someone else's leg in that thirdhand story. I tend to believe my classmate that it really happened.

The Eisenstein thing seems sort of sweet and endearing, though teenage CC would have pointed out the teaacher's mistake in a hot second.

CC

Philocrites said...

During the last semester of my senior year in high school, a classmate grabbed me in the hall and said, alarmed, "We had a civil war!" "I know," I said. "Why didn't I know that?" she asked. And, to that, I had no answer.

My favorite case of mistaken identity is the story of how Winston Churchill mistook the songwriter Irving Berlin for the British political philosopher (and wartime agent of the British government) Isaiah Berlin. http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/tribute/2berlins.htm

L said...

I believe in the right to homeschool, but I haven't been impressed with the homeschool standards. Here in AK, there pretty much are none. I think homeschoolers should be held to the same standards as public school. If you can't do that (and let's face it, we're not raising a nation of geniuses here), maybe you shouldn't be teaching your kid.

Chalicechick said...

L,

That's exactly what I was wondering. I'm reasonably well-rounded as people go, but I would have huge gaps if I tried to teach someone all of high school. I think I could manage English, History, Government, Art History and math through Algebra II but I couldn't teach high school chemistry if you put a gun to my head.

CC

Julianne Lepp said...

I agree with Chalice that there are certain subjects that are more difficult to teach. You can't be an expert on everything. Having a homeschooling family myself I'm slightly prejudiced, yet I've seen homeschool co-ops and group teaching that are well done. Also, older teenagers can often take courses from their local community college. As with any freedom in our society, there are some that handle it well and others that do not.

Desmond Ravenstone said...

Homeschooling is a perfect example of the linkage between rights and responsibilities. Parents may have the right to educate their children as they wish -- but are they all capable of exercising the full responsibility that comes with it? Plus there's also the responsibility of teaching one's children to socialize with their peers.

Not surprising, then, when I read that many families actually take a "hybrid" approach, arranging to teach some things at home while learning other subjects at the local school. Not to mention that there are multiple educational philosophies behind homeschooling, including secular approaches.

PG said...

(1) Yep.

hsofia said...

It would be nice if there were standards for homeschooling - although many states have mandatory testing and homeschoolers typically outrank schooled kids. I don't doubt I could coordinate a better education for my kid than most of the high schools around here. And in Washington state, homeschooled kids can attend any part of public school part-time. My brother took science, PE, math and maybe something else in junior high, so he went to school about three hours a day.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned it before years ago on my own blog, but a former roommate (who'd graduated high school just three years before) was watching "Glory" at our house one evening, and asked, So who won the Civil War? She was told, and her response was, "Oh."

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, that one's kind of a bummer if you're watching "Glory."

CC

kimc said...

DairyStateDad -- If you enjoy reading those "thunderstruck" kind of stories, read this one:
http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/304243.html