One ‘common-sense’ opinion regarding home education is that the children educated away from their age-mates will be socially deprived. Despite articles in national magazines lauding homeschooling, despite homeschooling creeping up on the century mark as an increasingly popular educational choice, despite all the people who were homeschooled and are now successfully working, going to college or raising their own families, choice of an education outside the established educational bureaucracy is still viewed suspiciously by some.
I am writing on 22 January 2003. Recently on the television program Law and Order, the Jerry Orbach character made a comment on school vouchers to his character’s partner. The comment was to the effect that religious parents (nuts?) were brainwashing the next generation. His partner did not make a contradictory remark and that, to me as a viewer, indicated agreement with the statement. This is a stereotype about educational choice; that anyone who removes children from the public school system is seeking to harm the commonweal.
A later Law and Order program concerned a Russian immigrant family whose only child was a prodigy. After the crime, invariably murder, a lead character made a remark along the lines of, “She was homeschooling her child. How weird is that?”
I mention the above examples specifically because 1) I saw them, and 2) these small scenes were included in the stories at the expense of some other observation. Dialogue space in a prime time program is expensive. These comments were not only written by the show’s writers but also approved by the producers. Nothing in a major league television show is an accident or whim.
Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon
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