Our homeschool community is relatively small, even though our numbers are in the millions now. We need each other for support. It is hard enough that the mainstream is pretty clueless when it comes to how we operate. Not only do we have to rely on each other for moral support but we need each other for co-ops, field trips, classes, events and friends for our kids while all of the school kids are doing their thing. I feel like I am stating the obvious here but hear me out.
I had mentioned to some of you on Facebook that my Anti-school homeschoolers... Enough already!!! blog was going to be my only rant for the year. That one was WAY overdue and needed to be put out there. After seeing the same theme year after year for fourteen years, everything I said needed to be said. It apparently got through to a lot of people because I have had an overwhelming response not only through emails but through people coming up to me and telling me how much they appreciated it. Most of them are homeschoolers! So here's my second and last rant for a while. And hopefully it doesn't come across so much as a rant but as a wake up call. My judgment about anything is simply a reflective of what I have learned about what I have witnessed.
Here is what I have observed or have been told about that has happened in our homeschool community. We have lived in six different communities up and down the East coast and I have seen much of this first hand. Please bear with me. This list may seem very negative but I wanted to call attention to some behaviors that I feel continue to hurt our cohesiveness.
Believe me, this is almost as painful to type as it has been to witness:
~ Homeschoolers giving advice that crossed the line of ethical behavior. You really don't want to know...
~ Homeschool parents setting up groups that claim to be inclusive then making anyone they don't completely agree with feel uncomfortable so they leave.
~ Homeschool group leaders setting up field trips then literally turning their backs to any newcomers present at said field trips.
~ Homeschool interviews conducted by other homeschoolers which sounded objective then interviewers turning passive aggressive after the interview was over.
~ Very public blowouts posted on blogs - and shockingly still posted months, even years later - between homeschoolers that many in the community look up to.
~ Articles or blogs that are reformulated, ripped off of and reposted. Yes, sometimes it's blatantly obvious!
~ Homeschoolers fighting over the best answers to questions on support boards. Those that have named themselves authorities being the worst offenders at either online bullying or ignoring questions from anyone but people they agree with.
Do I really need to keep going? You all know exactly what I am talking about and what I could continue to list. But wait!!! Is this not the type of behavior that some of you complain about being wrong with traditional schools? Sure your kids may be getting a top of the line education but is this type of environment any better than "schoolyard" behavior? In many ways I think it's worse! We have full control of the learning environment we set up for our kids. We have control over the type of community we want as well. The worse part about it all is that it is divisive. Don't you realize that newcomers into the community get filled in very quickly about any of the goings on? I have been one of those newcomers more times than most and I have to tell you if you think that just because something happened a while ago everyone forgot about it and moved on, think again!
I understand things happen. We disagree. We live and hopefully learn from our mistakes. Some of you may be reading this feeling pissed off that I let the whole world know that homeschoolers are people too and that some do continue the same stupid behavior they learned in school. Others may feel justified because someone finally is pointing out the elephant in the room.
If something happened in the past, do you still owe someone an apology? Is there a blog or two you should really take down? And if you misjudged someone, can you move on and be kind to them? I understand that there are always going to be negative and divisive people. I also understand that sometimes people don't know how to resolve conflict and think that ignoring what happened is going to make it all okay. This isn't just in our homeschooling circles. It's elsewhere as well.
The one thing that having both of my parents die in their forties has taught me is that life is too short! If we can't all be great friends, let's at least diffuse some of the negativity the best we can. Let's be cohesive and supportive of each other. Let's give our kids the best community we can. Don't they deserve it?
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon or directly on my website. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.