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!)