Thursday, November 8, 2007

Is 'Family Friendly' Fair Justification?

In response to the kerfuffle (yeah, I'm going to keep using that word!) Sprittibee had this to say about the rule change to the Homeschool Blog Awards:

I think most reasonable people would understand the need for making these awards family-friendly.

Actually, I don't.

Reading the blogs of homeschooling parents is not a family activity in my house. It's restricted to one mature adult. I suspect that's the case for the vast majority of homeschool bloggers. Our blogging is generally a way of sharing news, advice and stories with other homeschooling parents. It's a break from our homeschooling days. It is NOT a part of our homeschooling schedule.

From Sprittibee:

We are teaching children - and you wouldn’t want your kid’s public school teacher to be using the F-word in class, now, would you? Don’t you think that the principal would get some complaints?

The analogy is false. We are not talking classrooms or principals. We are talking teacher's lounges or after-school get togethers at the local coffee shop. Nothing in that context needs to be classroom friendly.

But of course that brings up the question of what is 'family friendly'. Over the past year I've read homeschool blog posts on evil demons, teachers raping children, school shootings, corporal punishment...None of this is mentioned in the rules. Why not? Is this all family friendly? Do other bloggers really sit their children down to read about the latest school massacre? How is the expectation of 'family friendly' reasonable in those circumstances?

I don't think any of the issues or implications surrounding the rule change have been well thought out. It seems to have been done as an expedient way to avoid problems from last year and the strategy being used by the HBA people is to become defensive rather than address the issue fully. Granted, there have been some very angry responses but that's really when a person should know they have a problem that needs to be explored rather than brushed off. Those that have put forward 'calmer' arguments (in the comments) like Don have gotten no further, indicating that the HBA may not even want the topic up for discussion at all, no matter how polite or reasonable the opposing opinion is.

Once again, I think the HBA team is perfectly within their rights to change the rules but at some point reason demands they step back and take a serious look at how changing the rules changes their awards - who the awards reflect and who they honour.


COD said...

Remember though, in the typical fundie homeschool, they pretty much do public school at home. Dad is the principal with absolute authority over both the teacher and students, etc.

JJ Ross said...

Yep, I was noticing that when I clicked on a link to sprittibee's blog given somewhere. Wow, I was exhausted in five minutes of reading it, imagine trying to LIVE it. The Christian sensibility really isn't the chasm between us, so much as that relentless "school" sensibility driving the family even when kids are sick (and tired) --

Also I saw her photo and she looks SO young. (I am ancient and look the part.) Seriously, I think young moms start out approaching the adult world the world with MUCH more enthusiasm for rules and lists and such, in both schooling and homemaking, imposing it worst on themselves but also their peers and spouses, their kids, believing society should respect and reward rule worship too.

So it might be the school thing and the age thing more than the God thing, in other words.

Young (decidedly not-Christian) lefty feminists drive me and Nance just as crazy sometimes. They have a songbook too and boy, do they stick to the litany. You can't get one to take off the armor a minute and honestly relate to you like the nuanced, complicated human being (with some idiosyncratic mileage under the hood) you've become through experience.

Again, it's the age thing and the school thing. So similar to young helpmeets in most ways that I'll bet neither camp can tolerate it for a moment!

Finally, I connect this to Lego's well-meant but ill-conceived new essay contest rules and the embarassing results. Judges (including the Wired magazine editor-in-chief who should be very online-savvy) awarded $5,000 to an 8-year-old girl who seemed like a creative child who just loved "peace" --

They look like idiots now but they still can't figure out exactly where they went wrong. (It was your own poor design, dummies! You think socail engineering for profit is EASY??) It's a needless mess.

I guess no contests and rules and checklists and prizes can produce a real path for peace or generate true creativity, or excellent education (or excellent education blogging?)

If you really believe in the collective consciousness, you'd better honor it, not assume you can harness it with a list and a prayer.

Something like that . . .

Lori said...

The link that contained Don's comments seems to have been removed, which would support your premise that they don't want the topic up for discussion, period.

Dawn said...

COD - I'm begining think there are probably things I'm not getting about the conservative christian culture that a lot of you are more familiar with!

JJ - I had the same thought when I looked at her pic! Young righteous mom. I think parents need some time on the basement shelf to age before they're aload to talk. Of course I'm not much more then a spring chicken myself...:)

Lori - Bingo! I tend to always assume people really do want to talk about stuff but Doc really had Sprittibee pegged right from the beginning of this.

Anonymous said...

//JJ: Also I saw her photo and she looks SO young.//

JJ, I had the very same reaction that you did when I saw her picture. And, I agree with your general point about the arrogance of youth, too.

But, religion is a big component here, I would wager. There are scripture verses behind these rules, you know! ;)

Dawn. Wow, I'm actually a little angry at the way that guy talked to you. I may just have to go over there and rough him up a bit. You'll write to me in prison, right?

Dawn said...

Sure Lynn and they'll be full of profanity!