Most parents who choose home schooling aren’t motivated by religious reasons, points out Diana West in Opinion Journal. They think they can do a better job of teaching their children. West explains why she rejected the “excellently rated, wealthy and very white public elementary school” her daughters attended in Montgomery County, Md.
Thanksgiving, as described in a holiday assignment to read “multicultural stories of family and immigration,” became “a time when families get together to celebrate their traditions and their heritage.” It was the “their-ness” of the formulation — as opposed to the “our-ness” of the holiday — that could make any happy thanks-giver choke on the stuffing. Defining the holiday as an occasion for families to celebrate “their” separate traditions and “their” separate heritage gives the day of national thanksgiving an unmistakable international-night-at-the-community-center flavor.
Which was typical of the way the school framed all subjects, cropping anything universal for a clear shot at the ethnic label. Book reports for young readers, only just delving into decent chapter-books, were pegged to race or gender –never writerly merit or imagination — in such assignments as “Hispanic book month.” (This fourth-grade assignment, not incidentally, revealed the slimness of identifiably “Hispanic” pickings. Most were insipid books from Mattel’s American Girl doll company about Josefina, a child in 19th-century New Mexico.)
One daughter’s big fourth-grade history project was to portray Tiger Woods in a “living wax museum” that the class created to mark Black History Month. (A handout went home prohibiting face paint and wigs in the children’s costumes.)
In a 1999 Education Department survey, nearly half of home-schooling parents cited “a better education” as their primary motivation; 38.4 percent cited religious reasons.