Isn't Homeschooling WORTH defending?

Last week I wrote a post about defending homeschooling.  I’ve written on this topic before, in fact, this is a theme which has been at the forefront of my thinking for quite some time now.

In a comment responding to my recent post, Arby raised some interesting questions:

"Defending home schooling is a theme in many of your blogs….I am curious as to why you have such a need to defend home schooling. My curiosity comes from the fact that I almost never have to defend our decision to teach our children at home. It is obvious from what you have shared on your blog that you are a very successful home schooler. I guess I assume that with success comes…peace of mind? I would love to read more of your thoughts on this subject."

So I’m back to share a few more of my thoughts on this subject.

Truth be told, I DO feel a strong need to defend homeschooling.  As I have thought about this I have realized that there are several key reasons why I am increasingly drawn to stand up in defense of homeschooling.  I have been somewhat troubled as I have read some recent comments in regards to this very topic.  It seems that there are home educators out there who do not feel that they should HAVE to defend homeschooling.  They have taken the stand that they shouldn’t have to answer to anyone and so they don’t feel led to give any explanation…ever.  This concerns me. 

As a 17-year homeschool veteran with a desire to help both new and veteran homeschoolers to find success in their homeschooling journeys, I am motivated to make the homeschooling path as smooth as possible for those who walk it.  I have come to believe that an honest, "no holds barred", defense may be a component that has been missing from the "grass roots" homeschooling conversation in this country.  Mind you, I’m talking about the "you and me" conversations…not the "public discourse" which seems to be getting us no closer to mainstream acceptance.

"I guess I assume that with success comes…peace of mind?"

I guess I need to clarify that my need to defend does not come from a lack of peace concerning my own success as a homeschooler.  I am thrilled with the results of our academic efforts.  Our two college-age daughters are doing extremely well.  I suppose at this point I could just rest on my laurels and thumb my nose at anyone who either does not support my decision to homeschool or who questions the academic effectiveness of homeschooling.  I do not feel a need to defend my personal homeschooling efforts.  In that regard, success IS my best defense.

But, the homeschooling world is much bigger than my own little "classroom".  Let’s face it, homeschooling is not a new phenomenon.  I have friends who began teaching their children at home way back in 1973!  The incredible success of the homeschooling movement has been measured and proven.  Questions about its effectiveness and validity should have long ago been put to rest.  But ironically, I am asked the same questions today that I was asked as a brand new homeschooler seventeen years ago.  Questions concerning socialization and academic adequacy continue to plague homeschoolers. 

These already answered questions are still being asked by "the intrigued", "the curious", and "the critical".  I am of the increasing belief that our answers need be bold in their presentation of the truth regarding the failings of the public school system as compared with the documented success of the homeschooling movement.  I am beginning to wonder if the lack of acceptance by the mainstream culture is not due, at least in part, to the fact that we have allowed our voice to be drowned out by the voice of the educational establishment.  And despite the fact that they are NOT speaking the truth regarding home education, their voice is heard and their voice is believed. 

I think we need to start talking louder. 

(Not surprisingly, I find I have MUCH to say on this subject, so come back soon for Isn’t Homeschooling Worth Defending, Part II!)

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14 responses

  1. It is funny–we live in a district with many homeschoolers, most of which ae very vocal about the benefits of homeschooling and make sure they are out often, during the day, and that their children are fairly well behaved. Our community is, in general, to the point where business people are very comfortable with homeschooling and often ask questions or comment about not being able to do that but admiring those of us who do–and are often met with gentle reminders that if they are the best parent for their child then they are the best teacher. We meet very little hostility here–praise the Lord. Although occasionally we meet with a quizzer–who most often tackles my oldest who has several neurological issues, including some pretty intense learning disabilities praising the Lord for the spec. ed. training.) verbal math throws her ALL the TIME and that is ALWAYS what they throw at her. Poor kid. She has learned to casually change the subject to something she knows and is comfortable with or ask them a question THEY have to answer. 🙂 Always be ready to answer anyone applies to more than just our salvation. 🙂 Well, not officially but it often comes to mind that we need to be prepared.

  2. I suppose sometimes I don't 'defend' my family's personal choice to homeschool per se- it really depends on the situation- who is asking and why. After 12+ years, you can get tired of folks asking the same questions, knowing that they have no clue what they are talking about. Those verses in Proverbs about 'answering a fool according to his folly' come to mind. 🙂

    However, I do defend homeschooling overall-not just as a viable option, but as the BEST educational method available.

    In spite of the fact that the homeschool movement is at least 2.5-3 million people strong, it is under attack by the NEA and folks ignorant of what home education entails, and of the research that has been done on everything from why folks homeschool to the educational levels, economic status, and ethnicity of homeschooling families. If it is under attack, it needs to be defended.

    I think HSers are too apologetic. When they give their reasons for homeschooling, or speak of its successes, they often don't sound very convincing because they are trying so hard to be 'nice' and not offend. You don't have to be rude, but folks are not going to like your reasons, period. Public education is a sacred cow, and I think it's time for us homeschoolers to grill up some hamburgers. ;D

  3. That, Sunnymom, is exactly what I have been trying to communicate through several posts on this subject! I'm realizing that trying to be nice is not getting us anywhere! I've been nice for 17 years and I am still dealing with the same misconceptions from the same people…people who I deal with on a regular basis…AND SHOULD know better.

    I guess everyone doesn't have to deal with naysayers…but I do often.

    When are you firing up the grill…I'll be right over!

  4. What you said, prodoceo, and I'd like to point out the double standard. It is apparently acceptable to confront and question homeschoolers, but question or confront issues in public education, and you are 'bashing'.

    How convenient.

    *Now* there are finally a bunch of folks out there from all stations in life questioning the educational system, and looking for alternatives. Uhm, helloooo! Yoo-hoo! Over here! Yeah- us homeschoolers would like to propose a working solution-and we have a very large dumpster here you can use….. 😀

  5. I have, over the last few weeks, been acquainting myself with the homeschooling blogosphere. I went back and read many of your blogs about this, as it is something I am passionate about as well.

    Keep it up- it is something that needs to be said.

    Firing up the grill…… 😀

  6. Oddly, the only times I have had to "defend" homeschooling has been on forums- Christian ones.LOL! It's been awhile since I've been to any forums, though.

    Otherwise, I've only dealt with curious questions in South Carolina where I lived previously and in the state we presently live in.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind the challenge though I don't want to deal with the animosity…

    But I have found that "we" (homeschoolers) are accepted by the mainstream public so maybe there is progress out there…

    And on a side note, I love that coffee avatar over there ——–>

  7. As I have been reading, blogging and thinking about this subject I've noticed that there must be varying degrees of acceptance out there…maybe it's a regional thing.

    The people that I know, friends and family, as well as a lot of strangers "accept" homeschooling, but are still very guarded in their acceptance. It the "well that's great for you, but it's not for everybody" mentality that I run across ALOT. Frankly, I run into ALOT of people who do not think that homeschooling is a good option for most children/familes. They support me, but often mention the fact that I'm a teacher…so that's why its okay.

    I definitely do not think that we have come to the point in this country where the mainstream public feel that homeschooling is as valid an alternative to public education as a private school is.

    Again, I think that it must be a regional issue to some degree…I definitely dealt with criticism/skepticism FAR less when I lived in NH than I do now that I live in IL.

    Anyway…as long as I can drown my sorrows in a good cup of coffee, I'll be fine!!Edited by Prodoceo on Dec. 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM

  8. I know where you live. I know the people who live around you. I think I understand why you run into more questions about home schooling than I do. I respect your ideas on this subject, and I may find myself in the situation where I will need to defend home schooling in the future. It just hasn’t happened yet. The biggest critics of home schooling that I have run into are members of the Boss’ family, a large group of public school educators, but I rarely see them and they will not bring up the subject with me. They know better. There is a reason why the Boss tells me to “be nice.” I don’t suffer fools easily. On a good day they might hear me respond with, “I don’t remember asking for your opinion.” On an average day my responses are unprintable on this family forum. I will say that you make me think. I like these posts.

  9. "…but I rarely see them and they will not bring up the subject with me. They know better. There is a reason why the Boss tells me to “be nice.” I don’t suffer fools easily."

    Is there anything I should avoid asking you about??? 😉

  10. Good points and well taken. After stepping away from the affray for several years, in order to concentrate on my own children and their education, I am recently drawn back to the ruckus due to the damage the public schools are causing to some of my younger grand-nieces and grand-nephews. So much damage to cause me to create a blog and begin advocating once again for the benefits of home education.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Would love to hear your thoughts!

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