Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In which a tour of the state capitol ends with us having to defend homeschooling.

1-31 capitol building

We were supposed to spend Monday this week at the science museum. It was our third attempt to get there: The first we opted out of on account of the crud, the second was snowed out, and Monday? Well, chalk Monday up to my carelessness in failing to check the museum hours. They are closed on Monday.

So my friend suggested we spend our science museum time at the state capitol since it is near the museum. The kids were not quite as enthusiastic about a day immersed in government after the letdown of being unable to dip their hands into whatever science fun is made available Tuesday-Sunday. But we had a good time anyway. Well, except for the defending our stance on homeschooling part. But when you're visiting a state capitol colored in blue, what is one to expect?

Actually, if you look beyond the political colors, the capitol building is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
1-31 capitol building side

1-31 capitol building columns

Sweet Shot Day

1-31 capitol building levels

1-31 capitol building ceiling

Our tour guide was a super-nice, expressive, enthusiastic, knowledgeable lady who was fantastic, except that she was a little bit transparent in her views on homeschooling. These views began to become obvious from the very start of our tour in the Public Hearing Room.

1-31 public hearing

Here in the Public Hearing Room, our guide invited my friend to come forward in a mock hearing in which a new law banning homeschooling is being considered. Our tour guide explained that if such a law was considered, folks from both sides would meet here in this hearing room, and any who wished to speak their mind, would sit in the hot seat where my friend had been invited to sit.

And then she began "questioning".

The most entertaining moment by far came when our guide asked my friend on the stand, "Are you an expert in all subjects? For example, are you a whiz in calculus and trig?"

My friend, an engineer, answered without hesitation, "Yes."

"Oh...well...but you aren't an expert in every subject, are you?"

My friend calmly and eloquently went on to explain that she is not, and that is why she considers herself a facilitator, one with the ability to actively seek experts in fields in which she may be lacking.

Surprisingly, our tour guide stated that her mind had been opened a bit, and she was learning from us. However, she was definitely still not convinced. She explained that she was a former public school teacher (it didn't seem to phase her when I told her I am as well) and that she felt parents have too much of an emotional connection with their children to also be their teachers.

Anyway, of course this bill outlawing homeschooilng was hypothetical, but the scenario continued as she explained that after the hearing, a bill might be proposed and sent on to the Senate. We moved on to the room where the Senators would meet to vote on the bill that would take away my parental rights.

1-31 kids in Senate room

The kids each got a turn sitting in the Lieutenant Governor's big chair.
1-31 Jacob in chair

Our hypothetical bill derailing homeschooling passed the Senate, and we moved on to the House of Representatives to put the bill to a pretend vote.
1-31 Representatives

We pretended the bill passed the House and moved on to the Governor. And, finally, someone with some sense in his head. Our tour guide explained the governor had the power to veto. Of course, she also explained that even if he vetoed it, it could still be overridden.

Our tour guide really was very nice, and I very much appreciate the time she gave to us today. However, there are just a couple of things she should keep in mind: First, as a small group of homeschool kids out today, we had the opportunity to experience Connecticut government firsthand rather than through a textbook propped up on a desk. And second, if such a hypothetical bill ever became reality, I would have to follow through on what I told her when she asked what I would do if such a bill was ever proposed: Fight it!

I know I wouldn't be alone.


Jessaca said...

The photos you took of the buildings interrior are beautiful!!!
Have a good one!!!

Kristy said...

Beautiful architecture!

love and life ♥ said...

Wow this architecture is amazing! Gorgeous shots of that! xx

Arby said...

My blood is boiling...

Rachelp said...

Having been a public school teacher..and being a current private school teacher..and having 3 college degrees..and being a current HOMESCHOOLING mom... I would say..NO ONE is an expert in all subjects. I would further more say that teachers do not give knowledge but teach children how to learn and put a love of learning in their hearts. I would also say...what is the #1 thing that educators fight for??? Smaller class sizes. Why? Because you get better results. I would state that you have a private school of less than 7. :)

Anne U said...

Great post.

tsinclair said...

Wow, overall I think it was a wonderful trip. You actually got to follow a bill through the steps rather than the dry textbook version as you mentioned, the kids were able to experience a little bit of what we are fighting for, and maybe, just maybe, she really did learn something from you. :-)

tsinclair said...

oh, and you are right - it is a beautiful building. :-)

Darcy said...

great photos! i can't believe that experience. one) that the kids got to go see all the gov't buildings and such and two) how funny that tour guide omg!

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

Well, I believe you had a much more exciting day than you had planned! I'm glad you were able to go, and able to defend homeschooling.

Gorgeous photos! BTW, I recently read one of the "Uncle Eric" books--the one about Ancient Rome--and your photos certainly demonstrate his assertion that government buildings are designed to look like temples.

julie said...

Wow...what a great "field trip" - on the spot learning. My kids are in public school, because my knowledge is at a grade 2 level, so that just wouldn't work for us!!! :) LOVE the gorgeous building shots you captured! :)

Bunch of Barrons said...

You definitely wouldn't be alone. I'm not homeschooling yet, but I plan too. And as to her comment about parents being to close emotionally to children to be their teachers, I feel like that gives me even MORE incentive to make sure they learn what they need to know. I love them, and I want to be sure they are well-equipped to survive when they leave my home. While I know many good teachers, not all teachers in a school setting are going to care if my kid is learning what they need to know.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos.

CrossView said...

You have a friend who's an expert in calculus and trig? Wow! :O)

I'm glad you guys made a small dent in a closed mind. But the best part? Your kids receieved an education that they will never forget! Out of your group I'd bet that at least one will go into politics. ;O)

Beautiful building and shots!

Jenn said...

Wow! You handled that with grace! I think I would have had to bite my tongue the whole time!

dclouser said...

Those photos are breath-taking, Katy! What an amazing field trip - but I just can't believe the guide would choose a bill against home schooling as an example to present to home schoolers. That is just downright unfriendly! After all, YOU are helping her to have a job by going there. And since when does everyone have to school their kids in the same way? Talk about narrow-mindedness. It's really appalling.

SouthernSass said...

Sounds like an interesting day. I would have probably been snide with the tour guide - it is my opinion she was out of line. Good learning experience for the kids though!

deb duty said...

Gorgeous photos of the building and sounds like it was an interesting field trip. I admire homeschoolers for all that they do for their kids.

Chic Homeschool Mama said...

The photos are absolutely stunning!

But the story- it really gets under my skin. I would have had to ask this woman- did you have to be an expert in all subjects to be a teacher yourself? Also- parents have too much of an emotional connection to our kids?? WHAT??? Yes- that's why it works BETTER- because we actually care about their education & they are not just another number to us. WOOOOWWWWWW! I can't believe that. Maybe she was just jealous that you were out having fun WHILE learning for the day- instead of being trapped in an institution all day long :)

Aunt DD said...

I am proud to say that your friend in this story also happens to be my sister. I thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful pictures & this story....well, it doesn't get much more satisfying than to stupefy someone in their own poignant line of questioning...HA! Kudos!