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Apr 23, 2009 07:33PM
I'm still in the middle of reading this book, but I feel like I'm having a dialogue between the author and my mind. Sometimes I agree with him, but I'm often saying, "Well, to an extent, but..." Since it's a library book and I can't write down my thoughts in the margins, I wanted to post some thoughts now. And if you've read the book, I guess I'm just looking for someone to talk with about it.
LABELS: Like Katie, I've got my own stereotypes and biases, and I like that this book is giving me a new perspective. However, as much as it is trying to show that labels aren't what really matter, I feel like the author is really hung up on defining a "crunchy con." And I must admit--although it doesn't make me feel good--that part of me gets aggravated because I feel like the things I like about the left are the things that now Dreher is trying to say are really conservative. So I guess the lesson for me is that my stereotypes go so deep that I'm bothered when someone tries to redefine arbitrary labels.
FAMILY IN THE HOME: I actually had a problem with the section when he talks about how it makes so much sense for women to stay home with the kids. I didn't have a problem with the idea of someone staying home--my mom did it, and it was wonderful--but I have a big problem with the assumption that that person needs to be the mom. I think that when women and men are both fully valued in our society, we will be able to accept that men can stay home, men can nurture, men can be sensitive. Women have made such great strides OUT of the home, but until we (women included!) can let men make strides IN the home, there won't be balance and things won't be right.
HOMESCHOOLING: Of course as a teacher I take many of the homeschooling arguments personally. However, I felt like Dreher did a nice job of rationally explaining all of the reasons his family chose to homeschool, and I could live with all of them. I can agree that parents--with a lot of structure and work--can provide a quality academic education for their children; I can agree that parents have a right to instill their values in their children, rather than have the school do so; I can even agree that it is possible to still provide socialization experiences when homeschooling. But sadly, I think that school provides something that the best homeschooling can't (and wouldn't want to) provide...experience dealing with really pain-in-the-ass people. It makes me a little depressed to admit that I think this is a necessary part of education, but there it is. When you grow up and go to work, there are still turkeys you have to work with that get under your skin or may even be downright mean. Unfortunately, I think dealing with those people as kids in your class makes you better prepared to negotiate and come out a winner when you are grown. How sad that the only remaining argument I have FOR schooling is that you get exposure to the "bad" kids.
(Please note: I am still an ardent supporter of public education, because most families do not have the resources or ability to provide homeschooling, and a quality education is a basic human right, in my opinion. I'm just saying Dreher convinced me--mostly--that people who homeschool aren't making a horrible mistake.)
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Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature ... America
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