Why I Avoid the Homeschool Movement

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We homeschoolers are an odd bunch, aren't we? We've bucked the trend, set out on our own, and ended up in a beautiful meadow overlooking a shimmering valley ringed by snow dusted mountains. We love it here. In fact, when we meet others wandering the trails of education, we'll gladly share our experiences and talk about these mountaintop experiences. We want others to join us.

Grassy-Field
The View (not as picturesque a picture as the above ...sorry)

We're thrilled when we discover someone who has also homeschools. Sonlighters share a special bond, reliving stories and discussions and places we've all encountered through our shared homeschool curriculum.

[Just this morning, an eager young man told me excitedly about the books he had recently read in Core B, such as Nate the Great. I agreed; those are wonderful stories!]

I love the homeschool community. Like the awesome dog meme reminds us: You're awesome. I'm thrilled to be part of this crowd.

But I find I dislike the homeschool movement. I mentioned this years ago. Back then I linked to the now defunct blog of Dana Hanley, but thanks to the internet archive you can still read her inspiring post here. Recent events have pushed me even further.

I'd rather avoid the homeschool "movement" altogether.

When I talk about this movement, I'm referring to the ideologies and teachings of certain people who claim to speak for homeschoolers. One of the major complaints I heard from Christians about the Bill Nye and Ken Ham Debate: Ham doesn't represent all of us. Men like Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard both outwardly promoted moral models (and homeschooling) which ultimately put them in positions where they could abuse such power. Then there's the continued controversy over To Train Up a Child. More and more these things swirl around. And the movement suffers.

So does the community.

And it's the community I care about. The movement -- such that it is -- is an extremely fallible system run by imperfect people like you and me. And when people like us get power, things crumble fast.

One of the many things I appreciate about Sonlight is the push to educate, not indoctrinate. We're not here to try to get you to join this or that side. We want to help you and your children learn. We want to help you thrive as you homeschool. We want to be part of your community. And if others have jumped on the literature-based approach to education, it's because it works not because we tried to start a movement.

Put another way: People move in the right direction when you let them walk. Trying to carry them somewhere will not get either of you to the right place.

Looking back on the men of recent history who have promoted and shamed the homeschool community, I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:10 and following. Let's not talk about who we follow; let us walk humbly before the Lord where He has called us. That's not to say that God won't use even imperfect people to help encourage and train and lead you where He wants you to go. But please don't join any particular movement except for the moving of the Holy Spirit <smile>.

My parents are really neat people. But they're also imperfect. Like me. Like you. I'm glad they've never tried to create a system for living.

I was very much encouraged by Amber's post on redemption and grace. May we be part of the community that quickly repents. May the grace of God spill out of our lives and into those around us. May we, as a broken community bound together by Christ's blood, walk in unity... not in step with this or that movement, but spurring one another on to do good stuff.

Sorry, I'm afraid I'm rambling a bit too much. What do you think? Are you glad to be part of a community? Is there a movement you want to be a part of? What's the view like from your homeschool?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

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  1. Pingback: Homeschooling Will Fail You If... | Sonlight Homeschooling Blog