Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm a hipster parent... who knew?

Warning!  Only read ahead if you can stomach a full dose of snarkiness!  And yes, I realize it is not a terribly gracious reaction on my part.

This article from the New York Times was passed along to the homeschooling support group I belong to.  If you don't care to go and read it, essentially, it is about how some young, well-off NYC parents are choosing to hire young, hip tutors to teach their children in small co-op groups.  It seems homeschooling, or at least whatever these parents are doing, is the new in thing.  I know I shouldn't be surprised that I find an article in the New York Times about New Yorkers to be annoying at best and completely condescending at worst.

Normally, I would hit the delete button on the article and let it go.  But, it does such a disservice to homeschoolers of all stripes (from conservative Christian to hippie radical), that a couple of the comments need to be addressed.  First off, after reading this quote, "Eight months pregnant with the couple’s third child, a girl, she [the pregnant mother in question] is the epitome of the glamour mama, utterly lacking the whiff of patchouli one might associate with the home-schooling movement."  I do wonder how many real homeschooling mothers the writer has met.  (And yes, I knowingly use the word 'real'; as in mothers who do the direct, non-outsourced, educating of their children.)  I know quite a few, and none of them has ever smelled of patchouli.  However, I'm not sure any of them qualify as a 'glamour mama', nor do I think any of them would find it to be a compliment.  On the other hand, not a single one of them looks as though she would qualify to appear on What Not to Wear, either.  Why does motherhood always have to equal frumpy in people's minds?

Secondly, while I hope the disposable income these young families have makes them happy, it hasn't made them modest:   ' “It’s obviously gentrified more,” Trejo says of the new home-schoolers. “Definitely more from people who have a privileged background, with one parent who has the luxury of working from home, which is not an option for a lot of working-class families.” '  Gentrified?!?  Really?!  I didn't realize I had been living in such a low estate.  I'll go them one better, I have the luxury of not only not working out of the home, but not working (for money) from my home either.  I have the time to take care of my family myself.  And I am fully aware it is a luxury, one that not everyone is able to manage, but is also one that we have by living very, very carefully.

But in the end, I just can't figure out why all of this has warranted an article in the first place.  It sure sounds as though the nice little experiment in alternative education ends for these children anywhere between kindergarten and third grade.  You know, when it starts to matter.

2 comments:

Stepping On Legos said...

wow - I wonder how much that gig pays?!?! Now I know what I'll do when I retire! ha. Seriously that is totally bizarre.

Ann said...

You make me laugh girl! I always admire your passion and willingness to speak out.
I do have to say tho that I would find it very complimentary to be called a "Glamour Mama." Maybe because I really would and could be put on the "What not to wear" show. LOL!

In all seriousness, I do think that it ALWAYS matters when a child is homeschooled, in whatever way parents can find to do it, whether it's just for preschool, for one year, or for every year through college.

I wish I had been homeschooled for at least a couple years. Maybe then I would know what patchouli means :-)

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