I blogged earlier this week about my interview with a Huffington Post reporter who is researching material about an upcoming series of articles on urban homeschooling. I told the reporter that, for my family, homeschooling is more about accepting this special type of lifestyle and individualized learning approach, rather than militantly rejecting public or private schools.
One understandable criticism that I received from a reader is that this is the "politically correct" response. I suppose it is. Like other homeschoolers, I am passionate about our decision to homeschool. I think that homeschooling is extraordinary and its rewards, for both parents and children, are immeasurable. I am a true believer in the power of homeschooling to transform learning and strengthen families. I think many, many more families should seriously consider the homeschooling option.
But the reality is that there are many parents whose children attend public or private schools who are equally zealous about the benefits of traditional schooling. Who am I to criticize those families' decisions? I try to show how homeschooling works for our family, and hopefully lead others to see that it could work exceptionally well for theirs. I try to accomplish this, not by criticizing and condemning, but by illustrating and encouraging.
When I write, I keep Buckminster Fuller's words top-of-mind: "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." The reality is that most children (97%) in this country attend traditional schools. I don't want to fight that reality. But I do want to show that there is a model of living and learning together as a family that is worth seriously exploring and considering. I don't think the homeschooling model will make traditional schooling obsolete for most families, but I do think as more families see the benefits and joys of learning together, as they see that it is not unreachable or overwhelming, then more families will choose homeschooling.
Like any zealot, I am happy about that. I am happy that more families will decide for themselves to reclaim control of their children's learning and reposition home as the center of a family's life and well-being. I am happy to help (re)build that not-so-new model.