Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Can't we do better than this?

Yesterday my boy had his first day of standardized testing for the year.  (He goes back today for round two.)  A local homeschool evaluator organized this group testing at a local private school during the spring break. Though classes are not on, there are students and staff around; the campus is quiet, but not empty. 

This campus is a beautiful place.  It's quite small. There is a lovely old house that is used as the administration building, some other old and pretty buildings, a couple of new, ugly ones, and well-cared-for grounds with gorgeous, beautifully-shaped, mature trees.  At least one tree is a memorial.

Yesterday afternoon, the testing organizer sent out email to all the participants, asking that everyone please obey the traffic direction signs on campus.  Apparently people had been driving out the entrance, or in the exit, or otherwise not following the clear signs.  Like I said, it's a small place; it's not complicated.

A few hours later I received a second email, asking parents to keep their kids from climbing the trees.  She understood that the trees are inviting, and would be tempting to kids who just spent hours in a chair, but... the school asked that the kids stay out of the trees.

I mentioned this to my husband, who had picked James up after the testing.  He said he'd been surprised to see a kid playing on a ripstick in the driveway, right by the entrance.  He was astonished that a parent would let a kid play right there where cars come in off the street.

So, we have homeschool families coming onto private property (invited, to be sure), ignoring the traffic signs, playing in a (potentially) dangerous place, and playing on and endangering the trees (not to mention themselves). 

And this school should open its door to homeschool testing in the future because... ?

Sometimes we homeschoolers are our own worst enemies.


HomeGrownKids said...

Sadly, I agree with you. I've seen this sort of thing too often. We, as homeschoolers, often shoot ourselves in the foot.

Another way we shoot ourselves in with consistently bad grammar or poor spelling. I don't mean the odd typo or spelling mistake. I mean the continued use of common grammar/spelling errors. Does not look good.

Sandy said...

Ugh. Completely agree with you. I stopped attending a library hour for homeschoolers when my kids were small because the behavior of the other kids was so bad that I didn't want the librarians to associate my kids with that group. I didn't want that to be their only impression of homeschoolers. That may sound harsh to some, but the librarians complained frequently about homeschool behavior. There is just no reason kids can't be taught to behave properly in public places.

christinethecurious said...

Sometimes a reminder from leadership before a homeschool group meets up can go a LONG way. If you can get them to listen or read their e-mails.

We are such a small minority that we often must take all comers, especially for politics and testing groups. Coops can usually self select, but that doesn't solve as many problems as you might think.

Some of us homeschool because we are the best option our children have; they got their ADD from us. We are still better for them than a bureaucratic place where you need public permission to use the bathroom, but we aren't always that impressive otherwise.

Are Creatives ditsy? Do people living alternative lifestyles forget conventions? (those are supposed to be rhetorical questions). This is the reality you are dealing with.

If you are in leadership, use your imagination to anticipate problems, learn to communicate, and persuade. You have to get your flock to stay in line, you have to get the outside world to accommodate them, and neither will appreciate your efforts most of the time.

If you aren't in leadership with homeschoolers, buy your leaders some flowers; or headache meds; or offer to babysit. Trust me; she rarely gets thanked, and she's always in trouble with somebody.

christinethecurious said...

by the way: I usually read your blog from Google reader, but boy, what a great site! I love your lit links.

Marbel said...

Thanks, all, for your comments.

Christine, your suggestions are good ones. Unfortunately in this case there is no group, or leader. The testing was set up by a woman whose business is homeschool evaluation and testing. She contracted with the school for the space and advertised via homeschool mailing lists and message boards. This was a business venture, not a volunteer effort.

Of course people are people and we all do the wrong thing sometimes. In my experience homeschoolers are quick to point out all the ways in which we are superior to the general public, except when we misbehave just like the general public. :-)