What Did She Say

My mind is always open

Nine months ago I wrote this rant. I’m reposting on this new blog because the government is still sitting on an over-a-decade-old curriculum and I want my children to be properly educated and armed with knowledge. Yes, they will get this at home, but the school needs to reiterate it. The older they get the more they will look to outside influences to back up what we teach them. And not all parents are going to teach their kids the things that are in the proposed (or, rather, was proposed) curriculum. Some out of fear of unfounded beliefs that these facts will somehow turn their child gay or have them running out to try all these fun new things they’ve learned in school. Some out of ignorance that our kids aren’t picking this stuff up in the playground already – younger and younger. We had a health nurse chat with our mom group not too long ago and the biggest thing that stuck with me is that when she was in the school system 9 years ago the questions were about oral sex. Now? It’s all about the anal. Yup. Teens now see it as a viable, safer option to having intercourse. They need the facts! You would think all you’d have to say was ‘anal leakage’ and it would put a stop to anal sex, but, I digress…

Here is the tweet from Brandie Weikle that started this today:

And you can click here to see that article mentioned in the above tweet.

Without further adieu, here is my original post from April of last year:

Today I need to say something.

Last week the Ontario government announced – and quickly backed down from – a new sex ed curriculum. These changes had been “quietly unveiled in January. To see the changes, one would have to read through the entire curriculum”, according to this article. Last week, however, they were officially announced. This drew an immediate, loud and reactionary uproar. The government quickly shelved the proposed changes. McGuinty said, “that after listening to what parents had to say, it appeared that many of them were not comfortable with the content — and that the changes had not been communicated very well.” Ya think?!

The last part of his statement is where their biggest miscalculation came. This was not communicated well at all. (Most) people did not read the actual curriculum and just reacted to some key points. The fact that the public outcry was so loud and fast shows most people did not sit down and look at the changes (except whatever brief explanation there was in whatever article or newscast or friend’s comment they were taking their ‘facts’ from.)

I agree that when I first saw ‘anal sex’ and ‘vaginal secretions’ being taught in Grade 6 and 7, I was taken aback. (Actually, to see ‘anal sex’ and ‘vaginal secretions’ in print took me aback.) I was also unsure of gender identity being taught in Grade 3. This is the one I’m most curious about HOW it will be taught. To just say to a group of 8-year-olds “sometimes girls feel like boys on the inside” would be very confusing. I believe we do need to teach inclusion right from the start. Some people are attracted to the same sex. Some people are attracted to the opposite sex. Some kids have two mommies. Some kids have two daddies. Some have one mommy and one daddy. Some have one mommy. Some have one daddy. Some kids have foster parents. And on and on….

We need to teach kids these things BEFORE they get to a point where they are confused and scared and have no idea what is happening to them. As far as the teaching of oral and anal sex to kids in Grade 6 and 7, the government is not proposing a how-to guide. These forms of sex are being looked at as attractive alternatives to intercourse and kids do not know the risks of these activities. THAT is what we need to teach. Information does not lead to doing. It’s going to lead to more informed kids. More informed kids are going to be more confident. More confident kids are going to – for the most part – make better decisions.

This new curriculum also focuses on abstinence. Something I think we can pretty much all agree on is that we want our kids to WAIT.  There are some interesting stats in this article by Ann Douglas about ‘abstinence-only’ versus ‘abstinence-focused’ (meaning contraception is also taught) programs. Ann Douglas has some great links in that article as well, and has written a series on this whole kerfuffle.

My kids are 3 and 5 1/2. My son knows he has a penis and under that penis there’s a scrotum that houses his testicles. He knows he the same as his daddy. He also knows his sister and mom have vaginas and that we all have bums. My daughter knows she has a vagina and a vulva and is aware of the parts her brother, mommy and daddy have. They understand we don’t all have the same parts. MOST of our parts are the same, but there are distinguishing features each gender has.

Vagina. Vulva. Penis. Testicles. Scrotum.

Did those just make you uncomfortable? If so, why? My kids are fine with them. Just as they are with ear, eyes, knee and ankle.

If we teach our kids along the way all these things that we feel are taboo or scary get light shed on them. Then we realize it’s the unknown that’s scary. Kids will find this stuff out on their own. They will. They will learn from other kids. They will learn from YouTube (maybe not at your house, but somewhere). They will learn by doing it themselves. I had no idea penises got erect. Or at least, no idea that they pointed up when they did become erect, until I encountered one.

Arm them with knowledge. Instill them with values and be there when they need you. Be their parent, not their friend and let them use you as an excuse to not do stuff. (That’s a topic for a whole other post!)

There are groups on Facebook that have formed for and against this new curriculum. There is a petition to bring back the new curriculum.

I’m not telling you which way to go or what to think about this. I want you to inform yourself fully.

Please take the time to look over the three page summary of the proposed changes. Really think about what is being suggested. Think rationally on how this will be taught. Then decide where you stand. Please educate and inform yourself before you form an opinion. Just as we hope our kids will.

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Categories: Home - Slideshow, Rant

5 Responses so far.

  1. Sarah says:

    I was going to comment about teacher training, too. Whomever is going to teach about gender identity needs comprehensive knowledge of systems of oppression, how they operate, the implications of them, and how they are perpetuated. This means extensive anti-oppression training and social inclusion theory. Ideally, someone with lived experience would teach it and not the teacher.

    That said, I think it is important to normalize all kinds of families (as you mentioned). I am teaching my son about same-sex couples, ‘2 daddy’ and ‘2 mommy’ families. That is how he will learn that it’s no less normal or acceptable than anything else.

    We teach proper body part names here, too… sometimes, when people hear my 2 year old say penis or testicles, they are taken aback. But, that is what they are and you’re right – making them taboo only brings about shame.

    • jackiyo says:

      I would really like to see someone with experience trained to teach/facilitate discussion effectively. It would be ideal to have a floating/traveling “specialist” (for lack of a better word right now) bring the same message to the schools. Gender identity would be one of the hardest, if not the hardest subject to teach/wrap heads around.

      Thanks again. Always love reading your comments.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brandie Weikle, Carol Levesque, Wendy [mapsgirl], Jacki Yovanoff, Alyssa K and others. Alyssa K said: RT @JackiYo: @amotherhoodblog @bweikle Here is it – with a bit of an addition at the beginning. http://bit.ly/hxJAZx […]

  3. Wow! What a well written post! Thanks for writing this. We are the exact same in our house. Be as open about it as possible and there won’t be that awkwardness surrounding the topic. I’ve always said to my kids that they can ask me and tell me anything no matter what it is and trust me, they do–and I’m thankful for that.

    I definitely feel like Sex Education needs to be there in the schools for sure. However, I also feel like with this new proposed curriculum also needs to come a whole lot of support for the teachers! Not just “how to teach it”, but also people, professionals! I, personally, don’t believe one should expect (not that this was what is proposed–I have to reread those documents!) 1 teacher to stand in front of a group of 40 grade 7/8 students and be expected to deliver some of that information and expect the the same results as if smaller groups were to be formed in a more comfortable atmosphere, perhaps with mentor teachers of the same sex. Just my opinion.

    • jackiyo says:

      First of all, thanks for the compliment.

      And yes, I agree, there needs to be teacher training for sure! It would be great if each group of schools had a traveling expert to teach the subject. And to make sure teachers were equipped to handle questions and situations that may arise.

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