Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fake Homeschoolers?

Here is a (too long) comment I left over at Daryl's blog in response to agitation over cyber-charters vs. "real homeschooling" (the latter being my term):



As a new homeschooler and one who is encouraging more people to homeschool, these kinds of discussions about categorizing different types of homeschooling is concerning.

I see the point of "veteran" homeschoolers feeling that you have fought hard for the gains of homeschooling over the years.

I understand that cyber charters funded by the state are not the same as homeschool families buying curriculum and planning their family's education.

However, I feel after reviewing all these posts that the overall sense that an outsider or new homeschooler (such as myself) gets from this discussion is that one set of homeschoolers are the "real" homeschoolers, meaning those that are completely free of government interference and the rest are somehow beneath that level of wholesomeness.

The fact is that many (especially urban, less-educated individuals) may feel very intimidated by homeschooling entirely on their own, especially in the beginning.

For instance, many of the parents I have met here in Ohio who are homeschooling through state-run cyber-charters are urban, low-income African-Americans who before the existence of state cyber-charters felt that they did not have the option of any type of homeschooling for their children because that was very intimidating for them.

These parents may not be as sophisticated as some "veteran" homeschoolers but we all want our children to reach their potential in a safe, nurturing environment.

While I agree that one should be clear which types of homeschooling are state-supported and controlled (and I find it impossible to believe that anyone could sign up for a cyber-charter and not realize that), the tone of "real" vs."fake" homeschoolers will only hurt the overall movement to encourage parents to take more control over their children's lives.

I do not know about you guys, but I would like to welcome "cyber-charter" and other homeschoolers into the fold.

Hopefully, by doing so, we can educate and empower them and help them to understand the larger political battle at stake in this country.

By alienating them, we make ourselves look bad and we could make them retreat from homeschooling altogether.

And that would be a shame.

My heart goes out to Jana and I hope she continues to consider the option to keep her children at home to educate them, state-supported or not.
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