Homeschooling Isn’t What it Used to Be, Or is It? – Homeschooling

Home education in North America is changing, and I’m not sure that it’s for the better. Much of what I observe through working with homeschooling families is very different from what I experienced with my own children several years ago. Today, I would like to open a discussion and perhaps get some feedback from some of you.When I began homeschooling almost twenty years ago, we were a rare breed. There were so few people teaching their children at home that the average person had never heard of it, nor could people understand why we would make such an unusual educational choice. I remember being shy when discussing schooling at home, and when people asked me what I was doing, I mumbled nervously.In time, I developed confidence and my attitude changed from apologetic to proud. I became an ambassador of home education. The more responsible, outgoing homeschooled kids that I met, the more I wanted to shout to a critical world, “Socialization be hanged! Look at these kids!”In the early days of this movement, parents wanted to know why and how to homeschool before they would commit. I can’t remember anyone who casually agreed to do it. No way! In order to pull your children out of school twenty years ago, you had to be radically different, solidly focused or just plain crazy. Never did I hear anyone say, “Oh, heck! Let’s just homeschool this year and see how it goes.”Today, homeschooling is almost commonplace. It seems that everyone knows someone who homeschools, and unfortunately, it also seems as if all of us know someone who has homeschooled poorly. Stories abound of that one, odd homeschooling family that someone knew from someplace. Although not everyone understands it or accepts it, the concept itself no longer seems weird. It no longer shocks anyone. And it no longer requires naked courage to take it on.Because it’s acceptable, it’s so much easier to try it out. A person doesn’t need a burning passion, a firm commitment or a solid philosophy. In fact, many new homeschoolers don’t even know why homeschooling is a good option or how to homeschool well because they have never taken the time to find out. They don’t need to, because they aren’t risking as much today. Rather than studying to find out how to succeed, many just jump in and hope for the best.I remember reading piles of books, attending support group meetings and visiting homeschooling families before I agreed to take it on. I spent an entire summer investigating. It wasn’t an easy sell, but once I was sold on the idea, I charged forward–scared but determined, inexperienced but equipped.Not so today. At least, not everyone. And so we have many people homeschooling for the wrong reasons. And I would have to add that there are many homeschoolers who should not be doing it. Might I say that homeschooling is not for everyone? I hate to say it, but in some of the cases that I have seen in the past five to ten years, the kids would have been better off in public school.Now that I have made such a bold statement, I’m going to leave the discussion and let you mull it over. I hope that some of you will post comments.In my next article, I will continue my thoughts and tell you why I, a committed homeschooler, would dare to speak such heresy.