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Pre-2008 Posts

Raised in the Revolution: Radical Women Homeschooling Boys

V Kingsley, who, with her son, Parker, created the above youtube video, recently commented here with the link to her amazing quilt.  (If you haven’t watched V’s video about the making of the Mermaid quilt, you should,  it is not to be missed!  Very inspiring.) V is a quilter, an artist, a lesbian, a feminist, a cancer survivor and a Michfest sister.  In light of discussions we’ve had recently, this video seems timely.  Music is by God des and She,  also members of the Michfest community, with their permission.  (I really enjoy God des and She. I have two of their CDs and listen to them all the time, though I favor their political and protest songs, my favorites of which are Struggle and What If.)

I facilitated a workshop at the Festival a couple of years ago on feminist homeschooling.  I had a great time doing it and met some memorable women.  I have facilitated hundreds of homeschooling workshops over many years, but this one was unique and will always stand out in my memory for so many reasons: the brilliance of the women there and their thoughtful contributions and questions.  The fact that all of the women there who had children  — all, every one — were raising children of color.  And the fact that most of the women there wore no shirts!  A first, I am sure, so far as homeschooling workshops! 

There are quite a number of youngsters being homeschooled in progressive families,  including by radical feminists and lesbian feminists.   I have been  homeschooling for 24 years now; my two youngest, Sol, 12, and Maggie, 9, are still being homeschooled and have never gone to a regular school.   It’s an interesting thing, raising children away from the sexism, racism, classism, lesbophobia, and other destructively socializing influences of school kids and school hierarchies of all kinds, with a commitment to seeing to it that your children  spend time with with others who are being raised as they are.  V’s son, shown in the video, goes to “Brother Sun” camp at the Festival every year, a camp for boys ages 5-10 years.  My daughter, Maggie, goes to Gaia girls each August.  In settings like this, children raised in the revolution find encouragement and support.

V has graciously given her permission for the posting of this video.  I will allow comments but want to remind everyone that V is a real person to me, a member of a women’s community I value.   I’d ask you to keep that in mind in commenting.  V’s son, Parker, is giving a report about his friend, Alix Olson, also a member of the Michfest community.  Watch it all the way through the different “takes” — I think you’ll enjoy it!

None of us involved really knows what the results of this quiet revolution we have undertaken will be.  But, that is the way with all revolutions– they take on lives of their own which are outside of any individual’s immediate control.   I do find reason to feel hopeful about the potential for change in the world which resides in this particular revolution, for so many reasons.  I am about to blog its dark side, as I have before, but before I do, I wanted to post this. 

I wrote an article for off our backs which included some of my thoughts about this, which you can obtain here:

Join Us!  The Motherhood Revolution

One thing I have to say, for those reading who will get it:  the “Homeschooling Organizer” which shows up at the beginning of the video was created by none other than Gregg Harris and his wife Sono.  Ah, the irony.  Harris is a conservative/evangelical Christian pastor who ran a  homeschooling organization for many years.  He was a defendant in my lawsuit against the Religious Right.  He settled out before trial, which was a wise move on his part, given his rather central role in my excommunication.

Heart
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Discussion

16 thoughts on “Raised in the Revolution: Radical Women Homeschooling Boys

  1. What a great video!! I too have home educated for over 24 years now… and though partly in a conservative time frame, the blooming of my kids since we left that belief system and began a more radical life has been awesome!!!
    My boys are comfortable and like strong minded, opinionated and radical women in their life… just like their mom and sisters who dont put up with no guff.. :)
    I am vocal about everything i believe from womens rights, to radical living, to accountability, to honoring those around us.. our table conversations can consist of witchcraft, goddess worship, understanding our place in life, lesbianism and every topic of sex we can think of and its comfortable for them to converse in,.,.,though if we have guests who are not use to that, it can be a shocker.
    I love seeing children raised so boldly and openly….
    wintermoon

    Posted by donna | December 5, 2007, 9:15 pm
  2. I knew you’d love this, donna! :)

    Posted by womensspace | December 5, 2007, 11:35 pm
  3. What an awesome video! Thanks for posting that!!
    I only unschooled for 3 yrs; I wish I, too, had unschooled my whole life!
    I have to go to bed, and thus can’t write more right now… hope to have more time soon.

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | December 6, 2007, 4:55 am
  4. I am constatnly impressed by the production quality of these cute little You Tubes. Thanks for putting it out there.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 6, 2007, 7:40 am
  5. Oh, I could cry – thanks for such a great, inspiring post! Our son is only 17 months old but we are planning to homeschool him – and I just can’t wait! I think we are going to have such fun together…x

    Posted by Debs | December 6, 2007, 2:50 pm
  6. Cute video. Wouldn’t it be nice if Parker grew up and homeschooled his own son instead of just leaving it to mom?

    Posted by Branjor | December 6, 2007, 6:55 pm
  7. Parker has two moms, so he can only be homeschooled by a mom. And if he’s a father someday, there’s no reason to believe he will partner with a woman, or partner at all.

    At some point, I think we’ve got to think differently about things, and openly talk about the ways we are thinking differently, i.e., not just assume Parker will father kids, or father them with a woman he is partnered with.

    Who knows what will happen? One thing I do know is, he spends a lot of time around alternative families which include lesbian families, gay families. Each year he attends a celebration of these relationships when he goes to Brother Sun and spends time with boys being raised similar to the way he is being raised. We don’t know what will happen. But it makes no sense to me to assume that he will be heterosexually partnered and will expect his woman partner to homeschool kids they have together.

    Just sayin. Also saying, we all know where we all stand so far as radical feminists giving their time and energy to boys and men. I don’t really want to go there in this thread.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 6, 2007, 7:07 pm
  8. I never assumed he *would* be heterosexually partnered or have a son. The comment was meant to be taken conditionally, *if* those things were to happen, wouldn’t it be nice if……see?

    Two moms. Well, of course he has a father, but dad is out of the picture I take it? (which may or may not be a happy thing in this case) Or deceased? There is no judgement here, just wondering.

    Though if Parker becomes a father some day, even if he is not partnered with a woman or partnered at all, is it too much to ask that he take some (or all) responsibility for his son’s education, providing he still has a relationship with said son, maybe full or shared custody, and is not just out of the picture? After all, women who are not partnered with men or partnered at all are doing so every day.

    No reason to get uptight, Heart, my questioning is not hostile. I am under the impression that almost everyone currently doing homeschooling is a woman, usually the mother, and it seems wrong to homeschool boys in the revolution if they are not going to be as likely as girls to stay home and homeschool their own sons in the future. That’s part of what would make it a revolution, see?

    Posted by Branjor | December 6, 2007, 8:26 pm
  9. No, it’s not too much to ask, in other threads which are not about specific, real life people in a community I’m part of.

    I guess I do think there is reason to be uptight, given some history both you and I are very aware of, Branjor, and in which members of this thread were involved. I do not want to revisit any of that here, don’t want to get close to it. Which is not to argue with you, it’s to tell you where I am coming from. V sent this video to me and graciously gave me permission to post it. She didn’t agree that we could speculate about Parker or what he might/might not/should/should not do, even rhetorically, or ask where his dad is, etc.

    Actually, a lot of fathers are homeschooling both their sons and daughters, mostly patriarchy movement/quiverfull types, with results as exemplified in that post I wrote about the daughter who said she belonged to her father. But that’s not always true. One of my sons is homeschooling my grandkids, a boy and a girl, and he’s doing a great job.

    This is as much as I want to say about this, though. Again, I don’t mean to be uptight. I just don’t want to be a source of any sort of stress to V or her son. V has enough to deal with right now, given her ongoing treatment for cancer.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 6, 2007, 8:41 pm
  10. OK, Heart, you tell me *which* thread it is OK to ask in. On the other one which you referred to I was *also* told that it was just supposed to have been for support of the OP, not for criticism, which is what I and others did there, or for questioning, which I was trying to do here. Actually, I don’t recall a thread of yours which was started about this subject and was OK to question/criticize on.

    I live in a world run by men and I want to get The Man’s foot off my neck. And that is what my stake in this is.

    Posted by Branjor | December 6, 2007, 9:00 pm
  11. Branjor, most of this blog is about getting the man’s foot off of our necks. There is no doubt that that is what this blog is primarily about. We talk about that all the time here, all of us, every day.

    I do not want individual women I know or whose well-being I care about specifically, individually criticized or condemned, i.e., targeted for criticism or held up as Exhibit A of feminist wrongness because they are (1) mothers to boys; (2) employed as caregivers for boys in some capacity. Feminists disagree about this issue, and it’s fine to talk about that, and we have, but it’s not fine, in my opinion, to zero in on a specific woman who has taken the risk of sharing her life publicly in order to make her wrong.

    I apologize for the frustration this causes for radical feminists who believe that it is always wrong-headed to invest time and energy in males, of whatever age. But I feel strongly about this and do not want mothers or caregivers to boys specifically targeted on blogs/websites/boards I host. I might change my mind one day. This is how I feel right now.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 6, 2007, 9:58 pm
  12. I am not zeroing in on V, criticizing or condemning her. You know, whether or not I think it is wrong-headed ever to invest time and energy in boys, I do live in a world where men have had their feet on my neck to the detriment of my life.

    Actually, I loved V’s video. It was very cute, as I said, and artistic. I loved the “Capitalism” made to look like Coca Cola and lots of other things in it. Parker was cute too.

    I am just thinking that even if men mostly don’t homeschool their sons today (excluding quiverfull men, the “education” they give is awful, same for quiverfull women I suppose), I am wondering if the homeschooling of boys in the revolution today will result in more men stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for their sons’ educations in the future, which will make it *not* just a huge expenditure of female energy into a bottomless pit for nothing. I know you can’t know the answer to that yet, but that that is the idea of it.

    Best wishes to V in her cancer treatment.

    Posted by Branjor | December 6, 2007, 10:39 pm
  13. Seems fair enough to me Heart. I just think it is good manners to respect the artistic creations of women.

    We can and do separate political commentary from individual women, and I’m glad we have a moderator who knows the difference.

    Obviously, the political issues of women and childraising are completely different from this individual situation. Or at least that’s how I’m reading the spirit of this. Plus the little You Tube clip sure beats Sesame Street! :-)

    Posted by Satsuma | December 7, 2007, 7:26 am
  14. i love the video. i think my favorite part is “capitalism is the opposite of what they used to have in russia.” :) brilliant!

    Posted by ladoctorita | December 7, 2007, 8:28 pm
  15. Lovely video!

    i’m unschooling one boy and two daughters: my youngest three. it seems like they are growing bored at this juncture though. i have no ideas at this moment to make things more interesting. i work full time.

    Posted by sun rat | December 9, 2007, 4:03 pm
  16. Oh thank you for posting that, Heart!

    FTR homeschooling/unschooling has been happening here for over 20 years also. The female parent (that would be me) and the male parent both are involved. We both work outside the home – we have to rely on each other. Our styles are different; what we do with the kids tends to be different – but that I ascribe more to our temperaments than anything. There was an era when I chose to stay home with the kids and keep the mini-farm running (couldn’t afford to do that after a while) and the kids’ father was involved in their education then too. And I do not mean in some quiverfull mysoginistic way. Honestly, I’ve never felt as if I was pouring too much of my energies into a sink with the offspring who happen to be male. (Maybe I’m just lazy? :)) Really, I think good things have happened here for all of us. And I, like Heart, have had a couple of kids spend some time in a local high school. That was interesting. ‘Nuf said.

    Posted by archaeomom8 | December 18, 2007, 7:19 am

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