Thursday, March 05, 2009

Calvin on Ritalin

I just read this post at Dan Edelen's blog and I can't believe it hasn't generated more discussion. Click through to see a most likely unoriginal Calvin and Hobbes comic strip of Calvin on some psychotropic drug. The strip is sad yet spot-on. I left Dan this comment:


I have always felt like Calvin was the poster boy for homeschooling. We love C & H at our house (we homeschool three) and I know several other homeschooling families that love the strip.

Calvin has nothing but utter contempt for school as multiple strips show him daydreaming and doodling while he is in school. I would hazard to say that all the strips where Calvin is at school he is bored, unhappy, anxious, disgusted, hopeless, or aggravated. The only times he is happy is at lunch when he is grossing Susie Derkins out or at recess (that is when Moe the bully isn’t after him). His teacher is named Miss Wormwood after the apprentice devil in Lewis’ classic Screwtape Letters. That isn’t a joke the average reader of the strip likely will get. I just wonder what Watterson was trying to say about the institution?

I’m not trying to make an ugly connection between psychotropic drugs and public school, but I don’t know of any homeschooled kids that are on them. If you’re looking for a broader societal application, I missed it. :)

Why would anyone want to rob their child of imagination just for a book report?


Bernard Shuford said...

I know 6 or 7 incredibly cool homeschooled kids. Actually, quite a few more than that.

Some are really wild sometimes.

But they sure don't need Ritalin.


Bernard Shuford said...

Oh, and this was a funny post because of this one that I read earlier today...

But Where's the Tiger?

Tony said...

Heh. Good post. I know several extremely cool hs kids, too. High-spirited don't mean they need drugs; just extra atttention.

Bernard Shuford said...

"Extra attention" as in "extra baths". :)

Agreed. Ask Karma about the uglies produced by the Rit.

Tony said...

Yeah! We have had to hose our kids off at the door before they come in. My sister was on Ritalin and it completely changed her. COMPLETELY.

Karma Shuford said...

In 8 years of teaching in the public school, and 7 years at the community college, I can honestly say that I have had 2, maybe 3, students that truly needed to be medicated in order to function in a normal day.

In those 8 years of public school teaching, I had well over 1000 students.

I believe that most kids that get prescribed ritalin do NOT need it, and are probably much like Calvin -- above normal intelligence and creativity, and when you have 35 other students, it is simply impossible to deal with them.

IF I ever had to put my son in PS, and they recommended medication (which is very likely if he acted for them like he does me sometimes), I would laugh in their face. :)

Karma Shuford said...

@tony -- the hosing probably happened after being at our house! :)

Tony said...

Within the first couple of months at the church in VA, a lady told us she thought our Maddy was the poster girl for Ritalin. I was HIGHLY offended at the time, but it revealed that same truth you shared, Karma.

Maddy is highly creative and very intelligent (though she likes to tell you she is very dumb; its just an attention-getting mechanism, like she needs one) and the worst thing that could ever happen to her would be PS.

Karma Shuford said...

You could've just answered that you thought she was the poster woman for busy-bodiness. :P Not sure that would have helped the ministry there, though. :)

I honestly think Kristi (and Lily, for that matter) would be okay in PS. (Not that I am advocating that at all!!!!) Likewise, I think it would destroy a very key element of Travis's very existence. He would *make* it, but he will be much better in a smaller, more controlled, less social environment.

So for now, and the foreseeable future, my kids are staying at home.

Tony said...

Maddy is a busy-body, no doubt. :)

Lily would do very well in a PS setting. Lily thrives in a lock-step environment where every step of her day is regimented, where Maddy (and Molly) are more like butterflies...alight here, alight there, oh look, lets light over there!

Nevertheless, we like Lily where she is, and i am fairly convinced she does, too. :)

Bernard Shuford said...

I thought K meant that the LADY was a busybody??? :)

Tony said...

That isn't the first time I have confused the antecedent for a personal pronoun. :)

AAMOF, she WAS very much so a busybody. The lady, that is. And Maddy, too. Something we're working on. :)

Karma Shuford said...

Yea, the lady, NOT Maddy.

Kristi would like the PS system just because she would be surrounded by other kids. She would get nothing (or little)done, and she would talk incessantly, but she would have an absolute blast.

I would wager that in a couple of years, Lily will be one of those self-directed, self-started learners (if she isn't already), that when C. tells her to do something, she will have already completed it and is waiting on the next task.

And just so I can seem to know what I'm talking about, kids like Lily do wonderfully in elementary school, but when they hit the middle school, they get frustrated because everything is geared to herd control, and designed for the lowest denominator.

Tony said...

Wow, you have my kids pegged. You must be edumacated in kids or sumthin'. :)

Lily is most definitely a self-starter. By way of comparison, Lily is DONE with her first math book--over sixty lessons. Maddy is on, like 34.

I think all my kids would enjoy PS simply for the social aspect, which is definitely one of the things as homeschoolers you HAVE to be intentional in this area and cultivate good friendships for this outlet.

Maddy needs so much individual attention, and though WE know she is very bright, she would get frustrated in PS and would be lumped into that LCD. Sad.

Steve Sensenig said...

Nice to see you open for business again, my brother!

Ironically, I hadn't opened up my Google Reader in about a month, so I'm glad I did and didn't miss this by too long a time. :)

As for the cartoon, the meds, etc. that are being discussed, we're right there with you.

My word verification is "silya" -- is that a southern way of calling someone silly?

Tony said...


Its great to see you, too, brother!

A southern way of calling someone silly? What, you makin' fun of the way I tawlk?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I was thinking along theological terms when I saw your title! I spent the few seconds it took to click over trying to deduce what effect ritalin would have on John Calvin/Calvinism/a Calvinist !?!

Maybe that's what the Pyromaniacs need! :)

btw . . . love Calvin and Hobbes as well.

Tony said...


I have a feeling that if anybody needed Ritalin, it would have been Luther, not Calvin!

buy viagra said...

Instead of ritalin people can look for some natural remedies, like herbal medicine, Ill bet that there is a remedy similar to ritalin but natural.