Chapter 3 of The Well-Adjusted Child, The Social Benefits of Homeschooling: What is Good Socialization, Anyway?

Gathercole begins by stating that there is no argument on whether socialization is important or not, but that the there is an argument on the way to socialize children. Her beginning argument states that human beings are born social, that we are naturally a social species. She continues by saying the intricacies of social skills and constructs are taught in the home by one’s parents and siblings, so additional time spent with family can be only helpful to a growing child. Gathercole has more accounts from actual children in this chapter than in previous ones and she uses them to point out that homeschool children actually have more time to socialize than conventionally schooled children as they go through their school work more quickly and have no homework.  Gathercole points out that schools are artificial models of adult life where as homeschooled children are immersed in community and family based existences out in the “real world” constantly.

While I don’t believe that schools are completely artificial, it is strange that we are supposed to be taught democracy and the beauty of it, the importance of it, and we are supposed to be taught pride in our country’s accomplishments in civil rights all in a system where we are not  under a democracy and where when we enter the premises of this system we actually lose those rights that we learn about in history class every odd day.


Chapter 2 of The Well-Adjusted Child, The Social Benefits of Homeschooling: What do Homeschoolers Do??

This chapter focuses on the every-day lives of homeschoolers and the vast opportunities that they have. The author, Rachel Gathercole, points out reasons that people would believe homeschoolers to be inactive and socially deprived (who are they to play with or do while all the other children are off at school, obviously getting all the socialization they need?) Gathercole refutes such ideas with personal experiences of her own children playing with friend from homeschool groups, dance classes, music classes, scouts groups, and generally not being at “home” for most of the day. She adds accounts from other homeschooling parents that she has interviewed for the book and lists activities that homeschoolers are able to participate in. She eventually reaches the conclusion that homeschooling children are with other children just as much as other conventionally schooled children and are out of the home even more.
I believe that Gathercole’s points are just, considering especially the amount of sources she uses. Cahtercole makes a point near the end of the chapter that people believe normal school is seen as the most fit because most people, having grown up with it themselves, see it as one with childhood. Riding the bus, going to dances, having a locker, voting for class president, having a class that you graduate with, are all seen by the majority as part of childhood and growing up. They are therefore seen as the way childhood should go, the stepping-stones that need to be hopped in order to have lived your childhood. Gathercole points out that some of these stepping-stones are still experienced by homeschooled children and more importantly that childhood doesn’t need to be one with elementary school, middle school, or high school norms.

Soapstone of At the Age of Peekaboo, in Therapy to Fight Autism by April Dembosky

At the Age of Peekaboo, in Therapy to Fight Autism, an article in the New York Times written by April Dembosky, explains a new study by a network of scientists across North America to look for signs of autism as early as 6 months (now it is only reliably diagnosed at two years.) The author explains the study through the experience of a family that is part of it. The family, the Aguilars, first son, Diego was diagnosed with autism at age two and since then, they have been greatly involved in his therapy. Mrs. Aguilar has especially aided research by donating biological samples and agreeing to keep journals of what she ate and what came in contact with her during her second pregnancy. Now, their second son, Emilio is 7 months old and is part of the study.

Subject: The subject of the article is the study and it is explained through the Aguilar’s experience.

Occasion: The occasion is the event of the study and its relevance to the Aguilars.

Audience: The story is aimed towards a reader who is interested in the fact of the study and the happenings of it. The author describes what happens in the therapy sessions as well as what their purpose is.

Speaker: The author incorporates observation into her writing and appeals to human interest by focusing on the family.

Tone: The tone is hopeful, though it does seem less hopeful towards the end when she explains the flaw to the study.

Soapstone of The True Mission of ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ by Susan Dominus

The True Mission of ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers,’ an article published in The New York Times, written by Susan Dominus, discusses the movement of legislation to require crisis pregnancy centers in New York City to clearly express their stance to those who visit them. The legislation would require, among other things, signs at the entrance and in the waiting rooms to inform women that the center does not provide abortions or contraceptives (if they do not) and to make it clear if no licensed medical professional is on the staff.

Subject: The possible legislation in New York for crisis pregnancy centers to make their stance and provisions clear.

Occasion: The author is writing this piece in response to the possible legislation and to, it would appear, agree with that legislation.

Audience: The author’s audience are people of New York City, and is certainly aimed towards those who have opinions towards abortion and the legislation.

Purpose: The author’s purpose is to inform her audience of the legislation and persuade them of its virtues. Though, the author also seems to be fighting for the case of the woman in the situation who is looking for, “the ideal, nonpartisan place where a woman could assume people would understand the depths of her moral dilemma,” which the author hints (at the end of her article) doesn’t include either type of center currently available.

Speaker: The author is clearly  biased towards the pro-choice cause, and, though she seems supportive of Planned Parenthood, asks a rhetorical question at the end of her article which suggests reform for both sides of the argument.

Tone: The author’s tone is reproachful and, at places, sympathetic towards the plight of the pregnant woman seeking unbiased help.

“Play-Doh? Calculus? At the Manhattan Free School, Anything Goes” by Susan Dominus

This article, written by Susan Dominus (link to another article by Susan Dominus) and published by The New York Times describes the philosophy and routine of Manhattan Free School, a unique private school  in New York. This school operates under the theory that students will eventually find their passions and “be eager to” learn about them, but that  until then, they should be able to do whatever they are inclined to. So, students are enrolled in classes, not exactly standard ones and the all of the classes are of the students choosing, but they may do something else, such as play with play-doh, instead of working on class assignments. There are no grades or tests, only two official teachers, and all matters of school policy are decided upon by a vote which includes students.

I do not believe that I would flourish under such a school system. I was home-schooled for two years when I would have been in 6th and 7th grade, and while I read as much Jane Austen and Laura Ingalls Wilder as I wished, my education in math, science, and the grammatical points of english suffered. I believe that in order for a person to flourish in such a system as the Manhattan Free School, they would have to find their passion very soon and be very determined to learn and study whatever it may be. There are problems with the accepted form of education, as there are with anything, nothing is perfect. But I believe that this form of education works for many people, myself included.

Soapstone of Judge Rules Health Law is Constitutional by Kevin Sack

This New York Times article, Judge Rules Health Law is Constitutional, written by Kevin Sack, describes the recent ruling by Judge George C. Steeh of Federal District Court in Detroit that the healthcare law is constitutional. The law has been challenged 15 times and Judge Steeh was the first to come to a ruling on the case. The legal challenge that Judge Steeh ruled on was put together by several Michigan residents and the Thomas More Law Center. The question of the issue is whether the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to require citizens to obtain a commercial product, in this case, healthcare. Judge Steeh ruled that the refusal of citizens to purchase health care qualified as “activities that substantially affect interstate commerce…. These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”

Subject: This article explains the happenings of the first ruling for a legal challenge against the health law. It also informs the reader of the two higher profile court hearings on other challenges that will happen in later in October and in December.

Occasion: The  article is in response to the court ruling  that occurred in response to one of many challenges against the health law that will start in 2014.

Audience: The article is written for anyone following the law or the challenges against it.

Purpose: The purpose is to inform the public on the happenings of a court case that could very well affect them.

Speaker: The speaker is not portraying any role or character, he is merely describing events.

Tone: The article is informative and unbiased. It is very to the point.

Soapstone of World War II Memories, and an Instant Connection by Corey Kilgannon

This article, World War II Memories, and an Instant Connection, by Corey Kilgannon of The New York Times focuses on two World War II veterans who met for the first time at a hospital before each was going to have open-heart surgery. The war veterans, Benjamin Klein and Victor Allegretti, after speaking with each other, discovered that they were both in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United Sataes Army, and both rode gliders into Normandy on D-Day mere hours apart. They marveled at their bond in to the night before their surgeries.

Subject: The article describes the encounter of the war veterans before going in to detail about their landings on Normandy and ending on the comments of the Klien, that he was not afraid of anything after coming out of World War II, and the surgeon, that these feelings were the same for every veteran of the war that he had met.

Occasion: The occasion is the rarity of meeting a veteran of  World War II, much less having two meet each other by chance.

Audience: The story is aimed at anyone interested in World War II, especially due to its focus on the events of D-Day.

Purpose: The purpose of the article is to describe the events of the meeting of Klein and Allegretti and describe their actions on D-Day.

Speaker: Kilgannon seems to have either been a World War II buff himself, or put a lot of research into this piece. His writing is very detailed.

Tone: The article is descriptive and memory driven.