My Responses to the Herald Sun Articles

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jethro's picture

I have today responded to two articles written by Cheryl Critchley a columnist for the Herald Sun. I guess she has a job a little like mine sometimes – she writes for a living! I think maybe I do more typing than she does (I average about 1 million words per year).


Anyway the two articles were Is homeschooling good for kids? and the current controversy about the Bill Hensen Underage nude (art) photographs titled Are nude photos of children ever OK?


Nude photos of children answer.

Hi Cheryl

I completely agree with your comment that photos of nude children are inappropriate as forms of public art. While most families have shots of their kids naked, part naked etc they are usually as your photos of your kids are described, candid and funny reminders of times as a family where the nakedness is not the point of the photo, though often the focal point. Rather the point of these photos is the family fun and memories.

Art on the other hand is a communication form. Since the impressionist times art has been an attempt to communicated using ideas and concepts through the use of abstractions and colours (as opposed to the previous "realist" art) The use of nudes in art is a statement in and of itself in most cases. Sometimes the nudity is the point, other times it is just a by product of what the artist is trying to say. Photography as an art form however is very different from painting or drawing. It captures the reality that our eyes can see, and the meaning and communication the artist is trying to put forward is much more visceral and immediate. Yes the lighting, posing and so on can all be used to convey different messages and there is no denying that there is a obvious difference between nude art (adult) between that which is suggestive and lewd as opposed to that which is tasteful and does not exposes genitalia.

i have no problem with nude photography of underage children where that photo is designed to show a situation and does not expose genitals. For example a father holding a young baby against his chest is an awesome photo, and does not expose the babies sexuality or even gender necessarily.

Our government has made rules precluding the use of female and male models in porn magazines who are under the age of consent (18) and I think this should be extended to all art forms and follow the same rules. Thus no exposed genitalia or breasts and no parental permission allowed that can change that.

This still gives us candid family shooters the chance to display the funny shots to our friends and family while avoiding the problem of children being exploited sexually for the perversion of others.


Homeschooling answer

Hi Cheryl

Your article is an interesting one and of course it raises the most common question that homeschoolers are asked. and I quote [quote]"But are these children getting a realistic picture of how society works and what will be required when they are adults and have to study, work, follow a routine, be punctual, cope when things don’t go their way and deal with many different personalities? What happens when they get into the big wide world where not everyone is nice and they are one of many in a group?

Home schooled children are not exposed to the range of views and personalities that school kids must learn to deal with."[/quote]

For the record we homeschool our children. I was also homeschooled for my last year of school but attended public schools for the rest of my school life.

I will not take the time to address all your questions, others have done that admirably. As an employer I actually employed the 15 year old listed in the comments above - Laurel - [b]because[/b] she was homeschooled. I currently have one other employee who is a homeschool graduate and I head hunted her largely because of that.

I would rather turn your question around and ask the same questions you ask of homeschooled children of public school children.

Where in the work place are we required to work together in peer groups of the same age? This is in fact a most unnatural learning environment. In most jobs I have had I have usually either learnt from older / wiser / more skilled staff or have taught and trained those less skilled than myself. One of the first problems tertiary institutions and employers face when taking school leavers is to get them to stop thinking like a school child. To the contrary a homeschooled child has learnt to learn from mentors and usually can self learn and look after themselves.

What happens to a child who has grown up in the public system and bucks against the authority? They usually end up in remedial classes (or diagnosed with ADHD). They are not usually trained to succumb to the authority placed over them. When they hit the workplace these kids are totally unprepared. Most homeschooled children are disciplined at home by their parents in a way a school or teacher never can and as such are usually far better behaved.

What happens to a child who has grown up in the public school system and had everything handed to them on a plate - routines, timetables, courses of study, homework, goal setting? How do they manage a job where they must set their own schedules, work to self imposed deadlines and choose their own further education in order to get ahead? You probably have these same people in your office as I meet in offices around QLD. They cannot self manage, cannot handle a diary, are rarely punctual, and are propped up constantly by their co workers.

What happens when a public school child who has learnt safety in numbers, travelled in a pack of kids at school, succumbed to peer pressure in their dress, language attitude and behaviour, learnt that its cool to make snide, cutting, taunting remarks to the "uncool" kids gets exposed to the real world outside. None of that behaviour is tolerated in a workplace. It is usually called bullying. Having been a target of bullies while I was at school I know what that is like. Having seen it perpetuated in public servants with a schoolboy mentality here in QLD I see the direct effect of the pack mentality that is taught to the public school students. By the way if you think it doesn't exist today - just go to you tube and search for your local highschool and fights.

My summary Cheryl is that your question asked innocently enough is actually a very common “newbie” question asked by people about homeschooling. While you state numerous times that homeschooling is good for some and not good for others, you have not clearly defined why this is. Your readers and commenters have tried to impress on you the reasons why homeschooling works, and how it is vastly superior to the public school system in nearly every way. Yes there is a direct sacrifice of resources, effort and time to allow a family to homeschool. Most homeschooling families are single income or work from home families.

What you clearly do not realise is that homeschooling is not just an optional alternative to public schooling. Rather public schooling is the poor cousin to homeschooling, where the richness of our lives and the interactions we have with other people, families, businesses, government officials, public institutions (like galleries and museums) are shared with our children so they can learn from us – their parents and role models – how to integrate and relate to society. How many wild and crazy homeschool leaving parties have you heard of that the police had to turn up to? How many homeschoolers do you hear about causing a ruckus at schoolies week? On the contrary homeschooled children are largely polite, well mannered, excellent achievers, motivated to excel and perform, well read and able to hold intelligent conversations with adults. Yes public school children can do this also. I am not denying that, as you can no longer deny that homeschooling is a viable educational method.

I ask you to compare the results. Look at social interaction at the actual place where that interaction occurs, at teenage events, young adult outings and parties, in the workplace and tertiary institutions. Ask the university lecturers, employers and hotel owners in the gold coast. Who do they prefer: public school kids or homeschooled kids?