Thursday, April 3, 2008

Feminism and homeschooling...

This is a really excellent article.

I've written, then deleted, my response to this a bunch of times. Lets just say I'm still feeling betrayed and that I still feel Nature Girl was betrayed, and while we're making the best of a rotten situation, it still stinks.

To add to my glum mood the admissions officer at Shambhala School in Halifax called and invited us for a visit. Its the school that Enki Education's curriculum was developed for initially.

I do not think public education - anywhere - is the way to go with Nature Girl. She needs to be in an environment where ADHD is not addressed as a *behavioral issue*. Her teacher loves her, but in the classroom Nature Girl is singled out as a classroom management problem - she has to sit at the front away from distractions and friends. Her teacher is always having to redirect her attention and the Aide works with her sometimes. The Aide only works with kids who are "different, who are special". She gets segregated from her class for extra help in a resource classroom with one other child. Her spelling lists and math homework are different than the rest of the class'.

At Shambhala the curriculum addresses all learning styles as equally good and valid and "special". At Shambhala they have addressed the needs of kinesthetic learners in a way that ADHD is not an issue in classroom management or teaching style.

We also have a school at the end of our street - Landmark East - that is geared especially to the needs of kids with learning disabilities and ADHD is recognized as one by the province. We can even get bursaries from the province for her to attend. The girls there are THRIVING emotionally, and academically are getting all the support they need to make sure all their options are open come time for university.

I'm not against "school", in fact, I think a democratic free school is the perfect educational setting. We initially moved to Wolfville because of Fairfield School - a sudbury Valley School that had to close do to low enrollment (*cough* *cough* DELETE DELETE DELETE) but as long as school means the things discussed in this article -

" of the most troubling features of today’s public education system is the pervasiveness of sexism and sexual violence in schools. In fact, a recent report by the Toronto District School Board found that “violence against girls and young women is a pervasive problem” in Toronto public schools. Sexual harassment of girls by boys is too common; sexist attitudes and stereotypes continue to negatively affect the self-confidence and personal development of girls and boys; and the influence of peers, teachers and curriculum tend, in both overt and subtle ways, to pressure children into restrictive gendered boxes that distort the way they think, act, and try to look. So, yes, boys are harmed by what happens in schools today. But the problem is too little feminism, not too much. In fact, if the public system were really pushing a feminist and queer-positive agenda as the Fox article alleges, my son would probably be sitting in a cold, hard desk seat right now."

- it isn't a healthy place for boys or girls...when you add in a learning difficulty usually seen as a "boy" problem in a girl - it is a double whammy. Girls with adhd are more likely to fail academically, to engage in risky behaviours, to get pregnant in high school, to drop out.

There's only so much I can do to protect her self esteem and her sense of self after school and on the weekends....and the age where her peers opinion matters more than mine, well its fast approaching. I try to fill that precious time with kids who are learning in freedom. I want her peers to be the kids I know being raised by feminists, homeschooled girls and boys who have strong rolemodels at home and in the community. Its a whole lot healthier than the one I see on the public school playground.

Have I mentioned that Papa Pan is a public school teacher, working in Special Education, and he agrees with me?

No comments: