The Sonlight Blog has moved to

Please click here if you are not redirected.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

There's No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

I disagree.

Stupid questions come in the form of:
  • Questions asked without seeking answers.
    I don't mean rhetorical questions. I mean the kind of thing I'd say to my wife if I was upset that dinner wasn't ready, "What have you been doing all day?" Those are not my finer moments.
  • Questions asked to prove how ignorant another is.
    I did this in high school a few times to prove to myself that my teachers were clueless. ...not a good practice and a very good indication of how much of a prideful punk I was. Notice that I wasn't seeking answers.
  • Questions designed to annoy/crush someone.
    Been guilty of this one too. A friend and I were debating of birth control. Granted, I felt like she was attacking me personally, but that is no excuse for my scathing question which brought tears to her eyes. This is also related to not seeking answers.

I'm sure there are many other forms, but you get the picture: Questions asked for some reason other than to get answers are not good questions.

But it's so easy, oh so easy, in the heat of a moment to pull out these powerful tools. Rubbing someone's ignorance in their face is so tempting. Smashing someone's position with a loaded question is so easy...

Unless you are met by those who have gracious answers.

Alasandra recently posted some answers to some questions. I thought the questions were interesting and the answers provided--before commenting was closed--are great. My favorite was #4:

Okay. Seriously. If parents are stupid — as in, not all that bright from an academic perspective — should they homeschool?

My answer: Absolutely!

If your education left you "not all that bright from an academic perspective" there is no better time to learn then with your kids. I know I'll be relearning things throughout my life and I hope to constantly learn new things... and I did great from an academic perspective!

The idea of giving up because you're "stupid" is sad to me. Homeschooling offers us a completely different approach: Life-long learning.

It's a beautiful thing.

May our questions--and answers--always be as beautiful.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father


Working Through said...

Luke, Bravo !! ( clapping )

I can only speak for myself. I was a drop out, who never even attended the 9th grade, I was of legal age of consent at 14 in Texas, and knew EVERYTHING !!

When I decided a few years later to homeschool my children, my biggest fear was that I couldn't do it. I worked along side of them, all the way through graduation. We were all the better for it.

Starting all over again with my two liitle ones, I can't wait to learn new things with them too. ;-)

I think this is why I am so protective of new homeschoolers. I have been there ! Scared not to, scared to, not sure I could, hoping I don't mess them up, etc.

( By the way I applaud the changes Sarita is trying to make on the forum too ! )

se7en said...

Now that's a great post. Oh you are so right about stupid questions and boy is it so easy to fall straight into the "asking stupid question in a prideful moment trap"... Good for you - I hope this post gets the lots of comments it deserves!!!

Amy said...

Great post!

Contemplating Cadie said...

If you are someone like sweet Jana, who for whatever reason did not get a stellar education from a public school, wouldn't it be kinda stupid to turn around and enroll your kids in one?

Is that a stupid question?

Cheri said...

Excellent post! Thanks :)

Luke Holzmann said...

Thanks, Jana! You have beautifully illustrated my point better than I could. Thank you.

Se7en, yep. Very easy to fall into that trap.

Thanks, Amy! <smile>

Cotton, I think that was a rhetorical question, but it was edging in on where questions start to cross the line. It's so easy to do <smile>. In fact, after writing my post, I realized I had come close in several things I'd written recently. It's a hard thing to overcome...

Thanks, Cheri! <smile>


Meg_L said...


I dealt with the issue of what you needed as a homeschooling parent nearly 4 years ago

All it takes is dedication.

athena said...

Hi Luke --

As the host of the blog in question, I can state that some of the questions were not intended to be taken seriously. If people felt they crossed the line, I apologize. I literally don't know anything about homeschooling as I am childless not by choice and that is the road I personally walk.

I never thought the post would get the attention it has and, believe me, I am paying for it in the homeschooling blogosphere. In some arenas -- not here -- it's devolved into name calling. Certainly someone's choice, if that's what they want to do, I guess, but it's disappointing.

I felt the majority of my questions were legitimate and that those that weren't would be clearly discernible. Perhaps not. I think my regular readers were probably better able to tell that since they know me and my humor better than someone just stopping by once.

I simply wanted to be educated on the topic but I didn't want a conversation the devolved into name calling and defensiveness. That's why I closed the comments. The ones awaiting me in moderation were personal attacks and/or just weren't edifying. I could feel the direction the whole thing was going to take and I didn't want to go there.

(I know this says my name is "Henry." It's not. It's Tracey. I don't have a Blogger account, so I just made a name up so I could comment.)

Luke Holzmann said...

Good stuff, Meg! Thanks for sharing the link.

Tracey, thanks for swinging by! I sure hope you didn't feel attacked or called names here. That was not my intention at all. I had just been thinking about this recently and your post fit perfectly within the theme. My answer was, and still is, absolutely serious and, I hope, informative as well.

It is unfortunate that people start calling each other names rather than dealing with the topics at hand... but when people feel attacked that tends to happen.

I hope to see you around here again in the future if you're ever looking for more information about homeschooling. <smile> Thanks again for stopping by to add your thoughts!



luke holzmann
Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
Luke's Bio
Read Luke's Postsrss

box day
Box Day
Box Day stories and pictures from Sonlighters across the globe. Share your Box Day story!
Read Box Day Storiesrss

judy wnuk
Judy Wnuk
Sonlight customer champion and homeschooling expert.
Read Judy's Postsrss

sarita holzmann
Sarita Holzmann
Co-founder and president of Sonlight Curriculum.
Read Sarita's Postsrss

Guest posts by:

Jonelle, Scholarship Winners, Autoblot™

Sonlight® Moments

Other Posts of Note

Homeschool Helps