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The Link Editorial

Homeschooling Is an Emotional Issue

We just held our 10th “kid comfortable” homeschool conference in Los Angeles. As usual, it was a very comforting and enlightening experience for all of us and particularly for me. I was one of the members of a Mom’s Panel session, along with two other experienced homeschooling moms.

One mother in the audience stated with tears in her voice, that she was very emotional about homeschooling. She has two young children, under the age of 10. She had talked the youngest one (not yet school age) into homeschooling, but had not quite convinced the older child, who is already in school. The mother expressed that she felt badly about her older child ever having gone to school because she feels that she has almost “lost” her through it. She also expressed that her family and her husband do not understand why she feels so emotional about the issue of homeschooling vs. public schooling. Of course, I know what she is talking about, and if you have been through any sort of adversity with your family or friends over this, you know it, too.

She asked the panel what we would do. Each of the other moms told her their thoughts, which differ from mine. I told her in definite terms that I would not send a child to school, no matter how old – at least not under 16 -- and maybe not even at that age. I also told her I would not give a child a choice about it. David Colfax once answered a similar question at our first conference in 1997, by saying that allowing a child such a choice is virtually like giving the child the choice of jumping off of a cliff or not – there is no debate about it! I agree with this point of view. Once you see the truth about homeschooling and public school, the damage that can be done to a child by the influence of pop culture, and the negativity it fosters, you can never go back to your former blindness. The truth is glaring and you see it reinforced every day. The pure innocence of the parent-child relationship and of childhood itself, is lost day by day, bit by bit, when children leave the home, parents and siblings, to make teachers and other children their “peers” over and above their family members.

Many times homeschoolers are referred to as “elite” and if one understands the accurate definition of the word, it is true – we are elite. Not wealthy, not born better than others. But through will, we sacrifice and strive to create a better life for ourselves and our children – not materially, but spiritually, whatever one’s spiritual beliefs may be. We are seeking a life that develops and nurtures all of the best of humanity – whether we actually think so loftily or not. To some homeschoolers, their primary focus is academic, but in the process of achieving high academic levels, something more creeps in. Mary Hood has a workshop called “Homeschooling – It’s More About Home Than School” and I think that hits the mark. Teaching academics at home becomes part of home-life in general. And even if you are an unschooler, our children don’t learn to stop thinking or taking in information just because it’s 3:00 p.m. They don’t learn to have disrespect for their parent-teachers because someone else (in a class) does and then they feel pressure to follow suit and rebel. Our children aren’t taught to automatically dislike younger children because our children aren’t taught age or grade-segregation. This does make us elite in an important sense and I am pleased and proud to be counted among such a high-striving group of people! Thank you for reading The Link and allowing us to be a part of your lives!
--- Mary Leppert ■