There’s room enough in homeschooling for all of us. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but your decision to homeschool should come from a place of desire and joy, not a place of fear.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone . . .
I want to start off by saying that I know many people have good intentions when they say “Homeschooling is for everyone.” But, I don’t actually personally ascribe to this philosophy. I won’t partake here in public school bashing or fear mongering about public school. I know and love many people who are teachers and who send their kids to public school. They are good people. They are good parents. They love their kids and want what’s best for them. And in many of those cases, those kids thrive in their schools.
So homeschooling isn’t for everyone – and that’s okay! I believe that people should make the decision to homeschool out of the desire to homeschool. They should do it because they think it’s what best for their kids. The decision should excite them and they should be joyful about having their kids at home. Decisions made out of fear are often not sustainable long term. You need to have purpose and reasons to stick it out on the hard days – because there will be hard days.
I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention the vast amount of privilege that goes into being able to homeschool. I don’t take my ability to homeschool for granted. Not every family’s circumstances allow for them to homeschool. Those parents are not worse parents because of it.
At the end of the day, the vast, vast majority of parents want what’s best for their kids – whether they homeschool them or not. So if you want someone to feed you fear? I’m not your gal. I want to share with you the joy I experience in homeschooling – and help you to have that joy too.
But homeschooling is for anyone.
As homeschooling grows, it continues to diversify. More and more people from different walks of life with different beliefs and experiences are homeschooling. Sometimes I see things in the homeschool world that feel to me like a meme – “Tell me you’re not welcome in the homeschool community without telling me.”
The homeschooling community belongs to all of us. It isn’t owned by one political persuasion. Many issues in the US are fraught because they have become partisan when they should have been something we could work together on. We can’t afford to let homeschooling be that way; we are stronger when we work together to create homeschool communities and laws that work for all of us. There is a place within homeschooling for any family who wants it.
The cultural moment we live in wants us to tell our stories in easy to digest sound bites, neat little packages. It wants us to fit in neat little packages – and often we do. We want to gather people around us who are like us – because it’s safer and it’s comfortable. And sometimes you do need those spaces where you feel like you’re accepted and belong – there is absolutely value to those spaces. But when you’re looking at the big picture – at the future of homeschooling – we have to recognize that there is a space for anyone who wants to homeschool.
I have strong beliefs – and sometimes you might see those strong beliefs. I do, after all, have a degree in political science. I pursued that degree because I cared about what happens in our world. I thoughtfully consider my opinions – and I hope you do too. I hope you’ll reach the conclusion that there is room in homeschooling for anyone who wants to homeschool. I hope you’ll resist the urge to make homeschooling partisan or to think that only one kind of person homeschools.
Homeschooling is for anyone. Homeschooling is for me and my family. And it might be for you and yours. We don’t have to homeschool the same in order for there to be room for all of us.