Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Still Homeschooling the Old-Fashioned Way? You betcha...

In the last month or two, I’ve been receiving emails - at least one per week - from a well known and popular homeschool magazine. The emails are from the president of the magazine, advertising a new way to homeschool. The subject line of the email reads. “Are you still homeschooling the old-fashioned way?”

Wrong inbox to send to…

I’m Christian, I homeschool, and I so some marketing.

This one broke all my rules.

First of all, here’s a short marketing lesson: There are several kinds of marketing. One is clean, in my opinion, it doesn’t make the customer feel bad or pressured, it simply gives them a choice banking on their intelligence to choose correctly for their particular purposes. Another kind is dirty marketing, in my opinion. It plays on negative emotions and creates need in your life.

Here’s a few examples we're all familiar with:
One advertisement you’ll recognize easily is a commercial for dentists. Not all of them, but many say things like “Avoid cavities, see your dentist every three months!” This implies that you will get cavities if you don’t go to your dentist often. For some people with unusual dental issues, this is true; but for the majority of the population, this is a created need and the fear motivator is you will suffer if you don’t.

Another marketing ploy is to play on someone’s lust. They create a situation making you feel like you don’t have something and then supply the fix for a price. You see a mild version of this in commercials for bubble bath. They show a harried woman with children and laundry surrounding her. The created need is for more time to herself free from responsibility. The answer is the bubble bath to give her some time in that magic land of me, myself and I. It says you aren’t getting enough time alone and then it supplies the bubble bath to give it to you.

Another plays on self worth; you need this hair color because you are worth it. This plays on pride. So if you are worth it, you’ll use that product and the implication is everyone who doesn’t, isn’t feeding their self-worth.

Imagine my surprise when this sort of dirty marketing, arrived in my inbox from a respected Christian homeschool magazine? And about homeschool itself!

I expect Christian homeschool products to be free from worldly influence as much as possible without nitpicking. This was definitely glaring.

Before I even opened the first email so many alarms went off in my brain.

1. I must be homeschooling the old-fashioned way (whatever that is)
2. I must be tired of it
3. I’m somehow not caught up with the times or other homeschoolers because I’m “still” homeschooling the old fashioned way…whatever that is.

This created the fictional situation that I’m homeschooling badly, that I’m probably tired of it and why the heck don’t I catch up to everyone else, which plays on a person’s fear of comparison, not keeping up with the Jones’ and fear of inadequacy. Comparison is rooted in jealousy which is rooted in adultery according to scripture.

Then I opened this email to find out what the old-fashioned way actually is… not a happy moment for this 18 year homeschool advocate veteran.

And an even bigger surprise coming from a Christian homeschool magazine whose market branding supposedly is to support traditional Biblical values and Biblical homeschooling.

What the email said is old-fashioned, implying out-dated, is actually anti-biblical…big surprise there after the dirty marketing.

The advertisement is for an online homeschool designed by a Christian homeschooling family and for so many dollars a month I can homeschool the NEW way, keep up with the Jones’ and not be tired of homeschooling, oh and get results I never could get using the old way…

as if I was tired or inadequate or lacking good results in my old homeschool…

and hundreds of my fellow co-laboring parents are enjoying the NEW homeschool and having marvelous results.

I bet they are...

I wrote the president a polite note reminding her a homeschool is defined by the parents teaching their children, not some other parents teaching their children, according to the Bible. I’m not tired of homeschooling and I don’t need the new way of homeschooling which is just a thinly veiled disguise for a private school. It’s no different than the public or private schools I’m avoiding by teaching my children myself. The only thing different for this school is they don’t have to look at my children and perhaps deal with behavioral issues. The only thing different for me if I put them in this online school is I wouldn’t have to cart them around to any building except my own.

It’s a win-lose, they get my money and I get my children a private education and a much needed nap for myself which are things I gladly gave up long ago for the joy of teaching my children myself at home.

So many things that say they are Christian, aren’t. So many companies that say they are promoting traditional Christian homeschool values are being infiltrated by the desire to make more money and recently specifically geared to grabbing the homeschool dollar. Why else would a homeschooling magazine promoting homeschool buy into this false advertising and false homeschool?

It’s bizarre.

Now I’m sure there’s a place for an online school for some families. But let’s not call it homeschool or the new homeschool. Yes, it’s school at home but it’s not homeschool as defined by the Bible. Does that make it wrong, maybe not for some. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I haven't received a return email.  Let's hope it's because repentance is taking place and the emails are getting pulled.  This same woman was quick to answer a friend's concerns about other questionable things a few years ago.  We'll see if she's maintaining her previous or rather old-fashioned standards.

Next week I'll give my opinion on the homeschool dollar, the companies who lust after it, and what they are doing to get you to feed their cravings.

photo credits:

1 comment:

  1. Please keep in mind this article is not against online schools. Sometimes it's the best solution to use an online school. This is a great alternative to sending your child(ren) out of the house. It keeps them home and gives you time to do other necessary things like recover from illness, take care of elderly parents, etc.

    An online school is not traditional homeschool but alternative homeschool.


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