Tuesday, July 29, 2008

B.R. Merrick's take on Calvin & Hobbes

I greatly enjoy Calvin & Hobbes. My daughters picked up this pleasure by osmosis. I scattered Bill Watterson's books around the house. They read; they enjoyed.

B.R. Merrick in Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Public School...I Learned in Calvin & Hobbes Comic Books analyzes the comic strip. He pulls back from simply enjoy the adventures of a creative six-year-old and asks what messages does the comic have for us? Why do we enjoy it?

Merrick writes:

There is not a single Calvin & Hobbes comic strip that has anything positive to say about this institution. Just use the search engine in the link at the beginning of this article and type in “school.” You will be taken from one strip to another where Calvin is bored, anxious, unhappy, disgusted, hopeless, daydreaming, or scared. The only school-related strips where Calvin is in a better mood have to do with recess or grossing out Susie at lunch (an episode that got Calvin & Hobbes cancelled at one local paper). His teacher is named Miss Wormwood, after the apprentice devil in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Think about it. That’s not a joke the average reader would get. Just what is Watterson trying to say?

I had never thought about Calvin & Hobbes in this light. Merrick is right. School is not a good experience for Calvin. The sad thing is there are millions of Calvins in government schools today. More and more parents are recognizing that public schools today destroy the spirit of their children.

I would love to see a homeschooling version of Calvin & Hobbes. He would enjoy learning about dinosaurs.

(Hat tip: Barbara Frank)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Robert M. Lindsey said...

My oldest is a lot like Calvin, which is how we ended up homeschooling so I have thought of this. I have all the books. My wife didn't want me to have them out where the kids could read them, she's afraid they would get some bad ideas!

Sebastian said...

Our paper carries Frazz, which I've often thought of as Calvin all grown up. It is a more nuanced view of a school, but the teachers still seem worn out and the students seem to learn in spite of some of them.

Rebeccat said...

My younger son taught himself to read using Calvin and Hobbes. We got tired of reading them to him for hours on end and told him to start sounding out the words.

I sometimes think of Calvin and Hobbes as my secret anti-school weapon. My boys have almost all of the books memorized and virtually everything they know about public schools comes from Calvin and Hobbes. Suffice it to say they don't have any interest in going to school. Which is just fine by me.

I have had some problems with my boys thinking it would be cool to be as much trouble as Calvin is. But that's a matter of discipline and we've been able to keep them from getting out of hand with it. They still think it would be cool/funny to try some of the stuff Calvin does, but know better than to actually give it a go. :)

Henry Cate said...

sebastian - I read Frazz. It is a fun strip.

rebeccat - "I sometimes think of Calvin and Hobbes as my secret anti-school weapon."

That is fun! I never thought of Calvin and Hobbes in that light before.