Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Women’s Suffrage Is A Lie?

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Corde sometimes talks about the most random things.  Usually it’s stuff that has to do with her new friend.  I can honestly say that with some of it, I really want to tell Corde she shouldn’t play with this girl anymore, but there are life lessons to be had here.  Corde’s got to learn how to deal with bossy people at some point.  She’s got to learn to deal with people who don’t respect her or her family.  That’s just part of life.  Then there are some things that just make me tilt my head to the side and say, “Um…what?!?”

The most recent one happened this morning.  Corde was just going on in her usual fashion about random things and told me that her friend didn’t know about Women’s Suffrage.  She’d mentioned the suffrage movement because it’s something Corde is really interested in.  She’s my little feminist.  Like mother, like daughter, I guess.  She loves telling her friends all about things she think are really cool.  She could go on and on about hippies, environmentalism, and the feminist movement, of course.  She’s all about feminism and the history of feminism.  She thinks it’s horrible that women and men were held to different standards.  We’ve done a lot of talking about why I refuse to be the standard “housewife”.  I don’t mind being a part of a partnership, but one of the reasons Corde’s dad and I split was all the time I was working full time and he was at home, yet he was so depressed he wouldn’t do any of the cooking or cleaning unless I hounded him.  It wasn’t fair and it felt as though he didn’t want to do anything that was a “woman’s job”.  I’m very open and honest with Corde about the reasons for our separation and divorce because I believe she’s owed the truth, or at least as much as is appropriate for a girl her age to know.  This has gotten her on her own feminist kick.

That’s when it came out that her friend thinks Women’s Suffrage never happened.  Apparently she said, “Books lie, you know, except for dictionaries.”  In other words, Corde might have read a book about it, but because she’d never heard about it, it couldn’t be true.  It actually shocks me that this isn’t a subject that’s really taught in a lot of schools.  Given women are still fighting for true equality in this country, I’m surprised it doesn’t come up as a more important point in history.  One would think it would be important.

To Corde this was like blasphemy.  How could anyone deny something existed because they simply didn’t know about it.  Corde said, “She really needs to read more books.”  This is especially funny as Corde hates reading.  However, Women’s Suffrage is almost more important to Corde than the American Revolution.

This isn’t the first time Corde’s had to deal with her friends making things up or saying things weren’t true because they want to sound as intelligent as Corde.  For example, Corde was told recently that tree frogs are poisonous, which isn’t true.  Her friend has also told her things like cats can’t swim and traveling to another planet is impossible.  While I will agree that cats don’t like to swim and we’re currently unable to travel to other planets, that doesn’t make either of those statements true.  She’s been told Women’s Suffrage didn’t happen, and that the American Revolution didn’t include the French and had nothing to do with slavery.  There’s also this whole idea that slavery was made up (which would probably tick off a lot of descendants of cultures that suffered through years of enslavement).  It’s amazing what’s been filtered through the school system around here.

Corde has been pretty frustrated by the whole thing.  She declared the other day, “Don’t these kids know anything?  They keep telling me things that aren’t true and I think it’s because they’re jealous of how much I know and they really don’t know all that much at all apparently.”  She’s got a point there.  I wouldn’t say they know less than she does, but she does know a lot of things her friends will never learn in school, just because she wants to know.  She’s a curious kid and I’d like to keep it that way.

At the same time, it really bothers me that these kids feel they need to lie and make things up just to make Corde feel dumb.  It doesn’t work, thankfully.  She either gets frustrated by how little they know and claim to know everything or she is curious if it’s really true.  She doesn’t at all feel as though she’s not smart enough.  If nothing else, I think it just makes her think I’m even more intelligent because I generally know all the answers.

This really says something to me about the competitiveness of public schooling.  Children are pushed so much to compete with the rest of the class that they’re insulted when someone seems smarter than they are.  I’ve had to struggle with this for quite some time.  Other people take a lot of offense when I share my wealth of knowledge about anything.  I don’t feel it should be that way at all.  There’s no reason why I can’t know a lot about the things I know so much about, but other people know more about things that I don’t.  That’s the balance of life.  It should be balanced so that everyone is comfortable in what they know and feels free to explore other areas of interest.  Before long everyone will know a whole lot of stuff simply because they wanted to know, not because they feel like they can’t ask because someone may know more than them.

Corde hasn’t quite decided what she’s going to do about the whole thing with her friend.  She might just tell her that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  She’s really tempted to tell her what the real facts are and leave it at that.  Then again, she might just ignore it and let her friend feel smart so she doesn’t feel bad that she doesn’t know the same stuff Corde does.  Whatever she does, she’s decided she’s not going to take what her friends say as truth.  She’d rather back it all up with facts, and kids don’t know everything.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

14 thoughts on “Women’s Suffrage Is A Lie?

  1. I agree that you should allow Corde to deal this this girl on her own. As long as physical or psychological harm isn’t involved, then this will be a life lesson on how to get along and play well with others. You have a great opportunity to teach Corde how to deal with unreasonable and difficult people.

    As for the other little girl, that may not be just the school system. Sounds like her parents have some pretty strong opinions on some subjects. The liberal public school system isn’t going to teach Women’s Suffrage didn’t happen and slavery was made up. Those are views that tend to be held by Survivalist groups, and if you’re in Texas, there are several interesting types of those groups (we lived there).

    • Actually, her mom doesn’t have much of an opinion on it one way or another. She seems to be one of those “leave it to the school system” types. However, you’d be shocked what they’re trying to change in the Texas public school system. They don’t teach that slavery, Women’s Suffrage, all that didn’t happen. They just don’t teach that it DID happen. There was a huge push to write John and Sam Adams as well as Thomas Paine and even George Washington and Ben Franklin out of their study of the American Revolution! They don’t teach about child labor laws and all of that. They don’t talk about the equality movement. It seems like every year they’re writing more and more out of history programs in Texas. Some schools do still teach these things, but from what I hear from the parents it’s all based on the “positive” periods of history, you know, where America looks like good guys and heroes, things that aren’t at all controversial, and a lot of Texas history. Thankfully, from what I hear they’ve been getting a lot of resistance to many of the changes they’ve hoped to make, so there still are some serious points left to history classes and it’s not just all fluff.

      Still, I think it’s more of a situation of “I never heard of that, so it can’t possibly be true! If it were true, I’d have learned about it in school.” Of course, this hits me really hard because I am a feminist and feel that the women who have fought so hard for equality deserve to be remembered and get some credit!

      • When we left Texas some of those changes were starting to trickle in–that was in 2004. As someone put it, whatever Texas does the rest of the US soon follows, so this is actually is a testing ground.

        I believe everyone who has fought for suffrage rights are worthy to be noted. Here in Memphis we are often reminded of the sacrifice of Martin Luther King, Jr.

        “Iron Jaw Angels” is a movie about the Women’s Suffrage Movement. It’s about what the women themselves went through. I haven’t seen it, but my dad sings it’s praises. It’s graphic so you may want to view it before allowing Corde to see it. I’ve been waiting for Buttercup to be old enough so we could discuss it.

      • Thanks. I’ll definitely have to check it out. It’s one of the few subjects she and I have a shared interest in, so I like to take any chance I can get to share my love of feminism and women’s suffrage with her.

        I totally agree, anyone who has fought for liberty and equality definitely is worthy of being noted. It’s one of the reasons Corde likes the American Revolution so much, and she’s starting to have an interest in the Civil War because of the freeing of the slaves. She’s starting to view Vietnam the same way. We won’t be covering the war in any great detail, but she’s really interested in the hippie revolution and the idea of people being forced to fight a war they don’t believe in. She’s all about peace, love, freedom, and happiness!

        As for the changes in Texas filtering over to the rest of the US…I was scared for the school system before…now I’m terrified!

      • Check out Usborne Books True Stories Library collection. They may be something she’s interested in, or you can use parts and pieces. The set would be expensive to purchase, but you could probably find them in your local library, or check paperbackswap oneline to see about borrowing them.

      • I’ll definitely look into it. I love the Usborne books. I didn’t even know they had a True Stories Library collection! I’ll see what they have at the library. The local library supposedly has an awesome selection. I haven’t been yet because we’ve been busy, but I think we’re going to be heading out that way soon. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  2. Unfortunately, I have to admit that in all the years the American Revolution and Civil War were heaped on me in the most boring fashion, women’s suffrage was always the most glossed over part. Almost a footnote, or not present at all. If not for Black History Month in February, the Native Americans and feminists would have had more company. Strangely, I’ve always felt black history shouldn’t need its own month. White man needs to shove over and share the history lessons all year round. Will likely never happen on a public school level. It would require more research than they have available, and the rewriting of many textbooks.

    You might be surprised what untruths are spread in the public school textbooks too! Somehow I doubt you will be surprised, but you might be. The more I look at the public school system currently, the more I think what they really need is not inside competition among the students, but outer competition with other schools.

    Back to the topic at hand though…if women’s suffrage is as weakly mentioned in your local public schools as it was in mine, I can see how these girls wouldn’t know of it. I actually learned more about it from the girls-only program in the church I grew up in where they had to dig deeply for strong female role models in KJV/NIV Bibles for us to learn about. I find that a touch ironic since the Bible illustrates in so many places that women were secondary/property.

    I find myself thinking of these kids from time to time and your daughter. I doubt you need worry about Corde with these girls, but perhaps friending your daughter is one of the greatest things that could have happened in their childhood. Perhaps a bit of Corde will rub off on them and they’ll be better, more learned people in the long run. It’s not you or Corde’s job to see to that, just a potential silver lining if you’re both gonna weather the little clouds anyway 😉

    • It is absolutely horrifying what some kids don’t learn in schools, and how incredibly pro-America the history courses have become. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stop teaching Vietnam once the Vietnam vets are no longer alive to be remembered. We lost that war. I don’t even want to know how they’ll some day teach Iraq and Afghanistan.

      I totally agree that women and Native Americans are pretty much glossed over in any instance possible. I think the only reason there’s so much emphasis put on black history is the huge black population in our country today. However, February may be Black History Month, but March is the highly ignored Women’s History Month. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always been so proud of being born in March. Now if only more people were aware of that.

      Ah, these girls. I can only hope Corde’s doing some rubbing off on them, because they’re certainly rubbing off on her, and not in a way I think is positive. I can’t stop it, just hold on for the ride. It’s just nice to think that maybe some good will come out of it.

  3. Mine have to deal with the same idea that if they have never been to school they must be stupid. But as kids are when the others try them on their knowledge the PS kids are amazed. They have also gotten the PS kids to question their teachings from school!
    Keep Corde strong with truths! Bad seems to rub off easier than good so some stepping in may be appropriate to keep her focused.
    Some books you may find illuminating , Lies My Teacher told ME by Loewen
    A People’s History by Zinn and anything by Gore Vidal
    More on Sufferage go to marxists.org an archive of original texts including the activist Helen Keller! The zinnproject.org has free lessons (sign up as teacher)and links to help teach history that is free from misinformation.
    Just hang on, thats all we ever really do!

    • Thanks so much for the information. I bet Corde would love Helen Keller. Her most recent interest was Amelia Earheart. I’ve been trying to keep her going with inspirational women. Helen Keller and Anne…ugh…I forget her name. Helen Keller’s teacher. I was very interested in both of them as a child.

      I’ll have to check out those sites too. I’d heard some mention of Gore Vidal before, but never checked anything out. This is why I love my blog so much. I find I get back just as much as I give, sometimes more!

  4. You should also check out Lottie Moon. She’s a Christian missionary, but her story. I can’t remember what your religious preference is, so if you don’t want to introduce that part you wouldn’t have to. Her life is all about sacrifice. http://trailblazerbooks.com/books/Moon/Moon-bio.html

    • I’m raising my family in a non-religious way. I was raised Catholic, but I’m not Catholic anymore. At the same time, I think religion is very important to a number of moments in history, as well as with a lot of historic people. Corde’s been really curious about the Bible, since it is such a big influence here. I think it’s definitely good for her to learn about religion as it will help her decide for herself what spirituality she feels called to.

      I’ve never heard of Lottie Moon. I’ll have to check her out. I know Corde will be incredibly excited to hear that I found out about someone new we can research that I didn’t even know about before!

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