The Luv Doc: Home schooling
As Confucius says, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”
Dear Luv Doc,
Me and my brothers and sisters all went to Austin schools. Our teachers were sometimes great and sometimes not so great, and we all had individual social struggles, but in the end we ended up with college degrees and good jobs. Now my youngest brother's wife is telling us she intends to home-school their two children even though they live in a perfectly good school district – the same one my kids are in now and that I really like. I am sad to say that my little brother seems to be going along with this even though my sister-in-law's education has been, at best, spotty. She was home-schooled herself and in my opinion has some large gaps in her education. My brother doesn't read much, but I know he reads your column. Help me out here.
– Sad Sister
Well sister, I don't know if I can help you. As Confucius says, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." I'm not just saying that because I was home-schooled – I wasn't. I am saying it because it's both absurd and a little bit silly to attribute a Western proverb to an Eastern philosopher. That's something an uneducated person would do: One who, like me, was educated in public schools. Had I been home-schooled, I might have nailed the attribution, but completely ignored the opportunity for some mild humor. Why? Because I am not sure home-schooled kids have a sense of humor. At least, they don't seem to when you're mercilessly teasing them about being socially awkward. I could be wrong about the sense of humor thing, and if so, you will have to excuse me. I am a product of our public school system.
Rich kids who go to expensive boarding schools are similarly socially awkward. My guess is that awkwardness stems from an unswerving sense of intellectual and social superiority, but I can't be sure of that. I have never been to an expensive boarding school. All I know is that expensive boarding schools seem to churn out more than their fair share of arrogant dicks. Our president is one. He might have struck out intellectually, but I don't think anyone who isn't a graduate of an expensive private school would argue that he isn't a total dick. Well done, New York Military Academy. You managed to prepare President Bone Spurs for literally nothing except being a dick.
So my pitch to your little brother is this: Yes, there is a small possibility that your wife might turn out to be Captain Fantastic. She might mold your sons into paragons of intelligence, manners, virtue, and athleticism, but if she fucks up – when she fucks up – there likely isn't going to be anyone standing by to right the rudder. The beauty of a school system is that it's a system, and systems are generally designed to mitigate the likelihood of fuck-ups. A bunch of intelligent people get together, come up with a plan, put it into action, and then make adjustments – sometimes over the course of years, decades, and even centuries.