The role of homeschooling as a community
Read the essay in the attached file, and write a journal about it in one page Writing about why the author sees things the way she/he does what can you understand about his/her point of view? What might you agree with? Then fast write for two minutes playing the “doubting game.” writing to critically examine the author’s claims. what is s/he ignoring? what fault to do find with his/her reasoning? How does your own experience offer contrary evidence?
The role of homeschooling as a community
Community is a representation of a group of people with common goals, beliefs, or current needs. In the reality of the world, communities make up most of the relationships we now hold. One form of community is homeschooling. This type of community has increased in the last four decades to include approximately two million students. The overall community of homeschoolers is broken down by region, structure, and religious affiliation. Homeschoolers have served as an organizing principle to the directly stated needs of change among the community of parents looking for alternative methods to educate their children. This paper is looking at how the community of homeschooling began along with the changes seen in the ensuing years since.
Home schools are not a new concept in the United States. Since the founding of the New World and the introduction of children, home schooling was a must. It was not until the 20th Century that public schools became more important than parent educators. Many states enacted compulsory attendance, which outlawed home schools, and this led to a sharp decline in home-schooled students. The familial disagreements of how students were treated and educated in the schools by the teachers and administrators became a vocal conversation among many parent groups. One proponent to changing how students are taught was John Holt. John was a traveled, educated man who eventually became a teacher. It was his experiences, talks, and books that brought resurgence to the home school issue.
With Holt creating a growing demand for alternative education, home school options grew. It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that this change is most seen. Gloeckner and Jones (2013) report that “The many families that elected to home school their children during this period were either dissatis?ed with public education or in?uenced by the writings of John Holt (1969), an in?uential critic of public education” (pg 313). It is these two main factors that helped create the home school system.
John Holt “held that the primary reason children did not learn in schools was fear: fear of getting the wrong answers, fear of being ridiculed by the teacher and classmates, fear of not being good enough. He maintained that this was made worse by children being forced to study things that they were not necessarily interested in” (Wikipedia). With a desire to see children thrive, much like he witnessed in young, pre-school age children, John started talking to adult groups and writing about unschooling. Unschooling became a term to mean the natural investigative natures of children being allowed to flourish; to take away what was schooled. It is around this idea that home schools became popular. The unschool system did not flourish the same way, but was encompassed into the current system of home schooling.
Recording the actual numbers of children in the school system is left to the reporting agencies to the government. This does not take into consideration the amount of home-schooled students. Between 10,000 and 15,000 students were estimated to be parent educated in the 1970s. In 2013, it was reported that, “researchers estimate that the home school population is growing at a rate of 7% to 15% annually” (Gloeckner & Jones, pg 313). That is to say, that currently there are believed to be approximately two million home schooled students across the United States. The numbers change region to region as to the estimated numbers in locales. However, in larger places such as California it is believed that the home school population may be as large as the public school population.
With the numbers being so large, and all the homes spread across the United States not connected, how are student and their families creating a community? With the advent of the Internet, this possibility became easier. Barry Wellman noted in his article Community: From Neighborhood to Network (2005) that “Internet accounts and mobile phone numbers are person-based and not place-base. The nature of community is changing; from being a social network of households to a social network of individuals” (pg 55). This means that the access allows for parents to reach other like-minded parents, students to have study buddies or teamwork partners in similar situations, and homes to be a center of education if so deemed by the parent (s).
Finding a small, or larger, community to belong to is easy with the Internet. Looking up information gives a glut of possibilities. It is through research that a parent can become involved in a Cooperative for homeschoolers. The basis of these cooperatives is to provide support, social interaction, and specialized classes that are desired and unmet in the home. For example, Home School World is the online website for the Practical Homeschooling Magazine. This site allows for lists of cooperatives by state. Each listing has address, phone number, and email contact for the person in charge of that coop. An introductory statement of the coop is provided by many to help in the decision making of the parent in what is available and what, if any, religious context is used by that cooperative. This site lists many organizations within the scope of homeschooling; most are Christian based. There is only one or two among the list of home school coops that are listed as secular.
One site explored during research on this paper was that of Homeschool PDX. This is a connection for families in the Portland, Oregon area to share how they connect lessons, make dates for social activities or fieldtrips, and encourage one another. In one blog posting, Lindsey Laughlin shared how she wanted a worldview for her children. “I want my kids to be worldly – I want them to speak multiple languages, travel to foreign countries, and be comfortable with a vast multitude of people, places, lifestyles and perspectives. And so, like most homeschooling parents do, I put up a world map:” (Laughlin, 2014).
Figure 1: World Map used by Laughlin Family
Studying figure one (as shown above) brings clarity to the idea of teaching at home. Within this map are lessons on geography, ecology, and origins of foods. With this comes the conscious decision within the Laughlin family to only eat foods in season for their area. This leads to further discussions concerning the environment and the responsibility of choices. This family is but one of millions with the desire to teach in a creative and lasting way.
Homeschooling is not just an easy way to keep religious studies as part of the curriculum. Focusing the educational style that will benefit the child best is a main reason that many choose this path. Educational styles can be tailored to each child in the home; gifted, normal, and disabled. This cuts down on the factor of bullying and discrimination that can be found in the public system. Brian Ray explains this in his article Customization through Homeschooling (2002). The network of possible allies in the homeschooling field is ever growing.
The subject of homeschooling started with a cursory interest to learn more about this subject. Homeschoolers have served as an organizing principle to the directly stated needs of change among the community of parents looking for alternative methods to educate their children; this is seen through the research. During the course of research, I have learned that home school organizations are far greater than ever thought. The hundreds of sights, books, magazine and journals that are available are filled with invaluable tips and insights into the issues and solutions involved with homeschooling. Learning about this community has brought better understanding into some of the topics facing homeschoolers. These topics often include the separation of homeschooling and public systems, use of public activities, fostering homeschooling through online public curriculum, and maintaining a balance of teacher and parent within the home.
Davis, J., & Bauman, C. (2013, September 1). School Enrollment in the United States: 2011 Population Characteristics. . Retrieved June 3, 2014, from http://beta.census.gov.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/prod/2013pubs/p20-571.pdf
Jones, P., & Gloeckner, G. Reflections on a Decade of Changes in Homeschooling and the Homeschooled Into Higher Education. Peabody Journal of Education, 88, 309-323. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0161956X.2013.796837?queryID=%24%7BresultBean.queryID%7D#.U5QAc3JdXfI Laughlin, L. (2014, March 2). Homeschool PDX. Homeschool PDX. Retrieved June 6, 2014, from http://www.homeschoolpdx.com
Laughlin, L. (2014). Homeschool PDX [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Ray, B. D. (2002). Customization Through Homeschooling. Educational Leadership, 59(7), 50.
Wellman, B. (2005). Community: from neighborhood to network. Communications of the ACM, 48(10). 53-56.
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