Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Homeschooling: A Better Ride

If an article on homeschooling hits the Fox Business website, and from our perspective, presents it in a fair and balanced manner, then you know homeschooling is hitting the mainstream. We love to see homeschooling spreading, not because we hope to be in a majority, but because we know firsthand all the benefits this lifestyle offers to families. Dr. Brian Ray says, at the end of the article, "“I think for the parent’s perspective, research shows us it’s a better ride, but it’s not an easy ride...it's work but it's a different kind of work."

I wonder if the homeschooling movement looses its vitality in the mainstream. Bryan and I are reading the Moore's Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, published in 1994. We are both working through a section full of letters from families that found homeschooling a better way for their children, documenting their experiences in the 1980's, and our conversation is full of the details of their letters. These are families that fought tremendous battles against school districts, family, and courts for the privilege to teach their children at home, battles most of us today will not fight. They valued their children enough to fight for them, and to find a new way to "do school." Then they reaped the benefits of having raised thoughtful, mature, kind, self-motivated, well-educated children. When we plug our kids into the computer for six hours of online courses offered by the state or another "expert" educator, then drive over to the school for band or sports practice, are we really doing the same work that homeschoolers were 30 years ago? Of course we're not. Then the follow up question needs to be, have we improved upon their methods or are we only looking for easier ways to do this harder work?

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