First: the CONTROVERSY (why not?)
To homeschool or not to homeschool? This has been an ongoing debate for as long as I can remember. As a homeschooler, I grew up hearing all the arguments for and against homeschooling. When I was a middle school public school teacher, I heard them all again . . . over, and over. As a mom, it’s an almost on-going discussion in parenting circles. For three decades the debate topics have mostly been on repeat: standardized testing, parent qualifications/preparation/ability/desire to homeschool, standard/core-curriculum, special needs/advancement, freedom/flexibility/simplicity, and let’s not forget miss-congeniality, everybody’s favorite School versus Homeschool debate topic: SOCIALIZATION.
“To homeschool or not to homeschool” —at least in my mind—has always been a perfectly valid question, and one with many different variables to consider for every individual family. But I’ve found that this question is not often directed to oneself for introspection and personal problem-solving, but rather that it is used rhetorically—as the opener to an argument in which everyone has already chosen a side. A biased jury. There’s not too many middle of the road, to each his own, hakuna matata, que sera sera educational-advocates out there . . . at least not very vocal ones. That has been my experience over the years with this controversial topic anyhow.
Then 2020 hit—woah did it ever— and the political and societal controversy and combativeness in general has become . . . viral. Among this current of controversy, the antiquated you’ve-heard-one-you’ve-heard-them-all School versus Homeschool debates have been going at it hot and heavy . . . unmasked . . . and there’s a host of new topics to flesh out with a whole new slough of pros and cons to consider. When the state of California is projecting a 700% increase in homeschool families (click here for: Forbes Article) and a Harvard Professor calls for a ban on homeschooling (click here for: NY Post Article) in the same week, that’s a hot topic coast to coast, and I want in!
So how to weigh through all of the controversy and bias and figure this thing out? Wait a minute! Flag on the play! Time to point out the elephant in the . . . blog. The name of this blog is ~Our Holistic Homeschool~ . . . obviously that puts me in a biased position for outlining the pros and cons of homeschooling! However, the focus of my blog is Holistic Education, which is directly opposed to the concept of one-size-fits all. Other than vintage illustrations which I love dearly, and obvious morality-based rights and wrongs, I don’t see too many things as black and white. Fifty shades of gray (no I have not read it) may be overdoing it but for most issues my mind hovers on a gray-toned paint sample card.
So, although I write posts and provide resources for homeschool families (including my own), I do not believe that homeschool is right for every child, parent, family, or in every situation or stage of a child’s development. Of course, I don’t believe that “regular” school is right for every child, parent, family, situation, or season either. Holistic education is about finding the ordained educational fit for each child; the method, the style, the structure, and the venue that best suits each student in the enrichment of his or her mind, body, and spirit . . . in each changing season of his or her childhood. Oh, and it also has to be conducive and amenable for the parent(s)! That’s a pretty tall order!
I’m often asked how long I plan to homeschool: “do you think you will homeschool your kids all the way through High School?” or “do you think you will burn out one of these days and send your kids to school?” I have no idea how to answer these kinds of questions . . . simply because I do not know. And I don’t even want to know! Parenting is a mysterious and unpredictable journey (as is life for that matter) . . . the path always twisting and turning when we least expect, the terrain sometimes smooth but mostly rocky, the weather often extreme and moody. As parents, we can really only make decisions for and with our children based on who they are and what they need in their current stage of development. If we allow ourselves to get swept up in whatever education model, method, style, or venue is currently the most popular or socially acceptable, we are missing the bus.
All that being said, this two part post is not intended to sway parents in a particular direction—toward or away from homeschooling. My purpose for these two posts is to assist parents by compiling and laying out all of the new pros, cons, considerations and complications involved in educating our children in the fallout of COVID19. My hope is that in carefully viewing the information, through the specific lens of our own family’s specific needs and circumstances, each of us can reach an informed and empowered solution for how to best educate our own child, or at least how to best educate them for now . . . in the season of 2020.
Click below for part 2!!!
Thank you for reading.
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~