First there haven’t been many posts this week because frankly I decided to enjoy spring break. The kids were busy and having fun and camping out. I spent limited time online, I slept late, and spent time with Hayden. Everyone is home and today I need to finish doing stuff like clear my school desk to be ready for Monday. But having some quiet moments gave me some time to reflect and so I share those reflections with you. Aren’t you lucky?
So lately there have been lots of things being discussed and worried over in homeschool circles. I can’t see into the future so I can’t say if these threats will prove to be real or not. BUT I can see the past. I started homeschooling in August 1992 almost twenty-one years ago. And I can say that the latest “threats” are not the first, they probably won’t be the last. So far I’m still homeschooling legally. Some of the threats were just that threats or worries that were completely unfounded. Some might have turned out to be something more troublesome but were deflected by homeschoolers ALL homeschoolers working together. AND this is the part in all the recent chatter that has left me feeling a bit heart-sick.
Maybe it’s because there is so much more social media out there, so there is much more instant chatter. You have to remember when I started all we had was Prodigy which provided a network of interest related message boards. Then the World Wide Web because more accessible to all. The main communication between homeschoolers was still message boards and/or yahoo groups. Perhaps this kept us more locked into groups that were reflective of our own views yet when there was a threat you would see things copied and shared between groups because people belong to lots of different groups both small and large. And when push came to shove while we might not “hang out” with “those” homeschoolers we would stand shoulder to shoulder in our reaction to homeschooling challenges.
People overlooked what made us different and focused on what we held in common our desire to be in charge of our child’s education no matter what motivated us to make that decision, no matter what method of homeschooling we used, no matter our church affiliation or lack there of, and no matter our political views. Back then the bottom line was we homeschool and what to continue to do so, PERIOD. We might disagree on a whole array of issues and people would recommend or condemn a curriculum for such things as the age of the earth or the origins of our own government but it was never allowed to so divide the greater homeschool community that we could not speak with a common voice when called upon.
This is what breaks my heart about some of the recent chatter on Facebook, comments to blog posts, and group posts. It doesn’t even seem to be just on hot-button topics either. It can be as someone asking a question about a child being overwhelmed with their math and someone suggesting the child do less problems. Of course, the big-ticket items are the most troubling because the of the sheer volume. Lists, boycotting, and pointing fingers can be hurtful and frankly counter productive. If there really is a credible threat in all of the recent concerns, don’t think the opposition won’t smell the blood of self-attack. If they who ever they are truly want to bring an end to homeschooling they could and would use our own attacks on each other against us.
When it comes to homeschooling there are as many ways and reasons as there are families engaged in the act of homeschooling. There is no right way or wrong way. There is no approved or un-approved curriculum. Because when you come right down to it bottom line isn’t that an underlying reason to homeschool in the first place. The right to choose what is best for our family in each season we find ourselves in. It is because as a family we decided that we wanted to choose what was best for our family. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool because you feel it is a biblical mandate or if you want to make sure you child is never exposed to anything animal products.
So when I see homeschoolers slamming other homeschoolers for why they homeschool, how the homeschool, or what product they use to homeschool it brings tears to my eyes, not just figuratively but real tears of sadness and frustration. You don’t have to hang out and fellowship with those who believe differently than you but maybe just maybe you respect them for your common choice of homeschooling. I feel like when some homechoolers try dictate to others what is the “right” way; haven’t we become the very thing we say we are fighting against. I probably won’t change the mind of someone who feels really strongly about a given issue but I hope this is at least food for thought. And for those who aren’t sure what conclusions to draw maybe this will be give them another view-point to consider. And most importantly, someone new to homeschool or considering it won’t be scared away. Frankly for that group; they might be facing enough people questioning their very consideration to homeschool at all and they sure don’t need to feel under attack by the very community they seek to become a part of.
So that’s it, just my personal feelings, based on years of experience. So I’ll climb back off my soap box. I’m not a confrontational person by nature. I am much more likely to do everything possible to blend in to the background. You don’t normally see big weighty stuff going on in this space but sometimes I get brave and share my heart for what it’s worth. So Spring Break is coming to an end, so we will return to normal programming.