Parenting Fail.

What’s the first thing I see when I wake up?


This was, of course, on Facebook. Also included was a post about how the person saw it on their friend’s wall, and how there was a comment from yet another person, stating that they homeschool, and this is what they teach instead of all those highfalutin’ maths.

Brace yourselves, the rant is coming.

Not about homeschooling — I’m okay with homeschooling, under certain conditions. Maybe a little about math, though, which will be hilarious and hypocritical, because math hates me.

And probably not right away, because I wanna have a look at the image, first. Really, look at it. Anyone other than me remember covering a lot of this shit in school?

Not all of it, obviously, but I learned about what taxes were and voting in a class that covered the US government. Banking and resume writing were covered in the business courses I took, because I couldn’t handle anything higher than Geometry. The banking part was probably covered way more in-depth than the Proud HomeSchooler could — unless she was an accountant. Or maybe she thinks that double-entry bookkeeping is as useless as Pythagoras.

Yeah, I didn’t learn all of it. I still don’t know how to apply for student loans, for example. But I’m guessing I could’ve learned at school, from the Guidance Office, where aspects of future-planning were covered. I could’ve learned about applying for grants there, too.

Also, buying a house or a car. And actually doing taxes. Those weren’t covered.

But, well, schools don’t teach you everything. They can’t, because, as I said in my last post, they’re constrained. There are shitty teachers, and the good teachers have to teach to the damned standard tests. Those things aren’t a reason to pull your kids from school and homeschool them, though — they’re a reason to get politically active and try to fix the system.

I learned the rest of those things — doing taxes, and the basic things you should do when buying a house or a car — from my mom.

Did I miss something? Was there a law passed that made teaching and learning a crime unless you were in a Certified Educational Location, or if you had an exemption issued for homeschooling?

Honestly, when did people start thinking that it’s not a parent’s job to flesh out their kid’s education?

Was it recently? Like, around 2004? Or was it actually before I was born, making my parents even better at their job?

This might be where the ranting comes in, because holy shit, people. If you have kids, you’re allowed to teach them things. In fact, you’re supposed to. You’re the parent. The parent/child educational relationship doesn’t end when school starts. You can’t fucking declare ‘job well done’ once you’ve checked off ‘kid no longer shits itself’, ‘no longer tries to eat by putting food into eye socket’, and ‘screams nearly whole sentences when it wants something’.

You want your kid to understand how our government works? Sit down with them and talk to them about voting. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, relevance-wise. We pick a new President every four fucking years, after all. If your kid isn’t old enough to get it one year, it might be next time.

Resume and taxes? That should be easy, as long as you didn’t shove the brat’s education off on the school system entirely. Sit down with it at the relevant time — probably around sixteen, when it starts wanting a car — and show it how to get a job. Here, let’s talk about filling out applications, and this is what you do for more advanced, non-application-having jobs, and by the way, this will probably change every so often, so you might want to keep up with the rules. And now that you’ve got a job, here’s how you’ll want to fill out this information for taxes. Now that it’s January, here’s what you do with your W-2, and how you fill out the 1040 EZ.

Get to it early enough, and they’ll come to you for help with these things on their own. Like, when it’s time to buy a car, if you want to leave your teachable moments to when they’re most relevant.

Or, you could teach them about it in other ways. Teach them that contracts should be read and understood, and that you shouldn’t ever sign them until you do. Take them along when you’re acquiring a car, and show them how, if it’s a used car, you should have a trusted third party inspect it.

Those are things I picked up from my parents. Because learning wasn’t limited to eight hours a day for, what, ten months a year? Nine?

Quiz time: You see one of your kid’s textbooks. It says ‘Biology’ on the cover. You have a peek, and are horrified that it’s ‘laced with Darwinism’. You don’t believe in that, and don’t want your kid growing up to be a filthy Darwinist. Do you:

A.) Explain to your kid that you believe that there are competing ‘theories’ [since it’s ‘only a theory’], and that one of them is this thing called ‘Intelligent Design’.

B.) Get someone in power to change the entire curriculum, because that’s the only salve for your butthurt?

If you’ve been paying attention to my disjointed bullshit, you’ll have chosen the correct answer: A.

If you answered B, then, well, hi, people involved in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. I have two words for you: breathtaking inanity.

That, by the way, is how I know that parents are allowed to teach their kids things after school hours, and over the summer. If there were a law in place restricting education to certain hours, certain Certified Education Locations, and certain permitted exemptions, things like that would be in the curriculum, along with ‘advanced not shitting your pants’ and ‘Things that don’t go up your nose’ [090-790]. And the kids would pretty much live at the schools, to prevent any accidental home-learning from non-certified Educators.

Before you think this is a good idea, think about this: sex ed would involve a lab, where you’d learn hands on.

You don’t want that. I know this because I get to see a lot of people screaming that this is exactly what ‘comprehensive sex ed’ is, with additional ‘gay sex indoctrination’.

And I don’t wanna hear about how I don’t get to say anything about this, because my lack of kids makes me unqualified. I’m perfectly qualified, because I used to be a kid. I was parented, unlike some people. It gives me a unique perspective: the perspective of a well-parented child.

A well-parented child who still turns to her parents, or other people, when she needs to learn something she can’t teach herself. This, in my opinion, is an essential life skill. I define ‘life skill’ as a thing that’s expected in this society, or essential for survival in this society — things like taxes, getting a job, managing a checking account, taxes, et cetera.

I think it’s part of the job description of parents to teach basic life skills, or to at least try. Not just toilet use and feeding yourself, but the other important things. The things on that list, how to ask for help when you need it. How to be something that resembles a competent adult, capable of survival. When did this stop being an important part of parenting?

By the way: The shit you learn in the same class as a2 + b2 = c2? You’ll need it if you ever buy a house, and want to improve it.

One thought on “Parenting Fail.

  1. Oh man.

    Taxes, voting, and loan applications involve filling out a form each.

    Banks have human beings which can guide you through any process more complicated than entering a pin and following ATM prompts. Here’s a cheat sheet: Pin, enter, checking, $20, no (receipt), yes (I will pay the fee).

    I’ll grant that resumes and cover letters are slightly free form… except they really aren’t because the first time you get something wrong you will be asked questions like “where is your work history”.

    Not everyone needs to buy a house.

    This leaves buying a car, as the only thing requiring any actual training whatsoever. And teaching a class full of people how to buy a car exactly the same way just has stupid idea written all over it.

    I mean okay if you hate math. I hate memorizing people’s last names. Everyone hates something they had to put up with in school. But you know what? If we’re collectively getting so stupid that you have to be taught how to flip a coin every four years, then I’m calling bullshit on whoever put that logo together actually knowing the Pythagorean theorem.

    In fact I can prove it. Take a quick glance at the last letter in the picture.

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