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No place like home school

No place like home school


As September draws closer, our family is working out how our children will be learning this fall.  Ethan, my eldest, was homeschooled through Grade 1, and Marlon, my middle child, was homeschooled through Junior Kindergarten.  They both chose to attend public school last year, but they are divided on what they want to do this year.  Ethan would like to home school again, and Marlon would like to continue with public school.

This isn’t really a problem for the kids, but it does pose some difficulties for me as a parent, because it means that I have to be involved in two very different learning communities that don’t always like or understand each other and that don’t always know what to do with someone who is partly in both worlds.

Most homeschoolers are deeply invested in and committed to the idea of home school.  They almost have to be in order to walk away from the socially accepted and state sponsored school system to have their children learn in a way that is frequently censured and marginalized.

Those who have their children attend public school are just as deeply invested in a certain idea of learning, even if they haven’t always thought about it consciously, and they often perceive homeschoolers as threatening because the choice to home school seems to imply that public schooling isn’t good enough.

My experience in both worlds has led me to believe that there is room for both.  I am passionate about the opportunities that homeschooling allows for kids to see more of the world and to engage in it in ways that are tailored to their individual needs, but I am also passionate about the opportunities that public school allows for kids to be engaged with their communities, especially in a school that is as community oriented as the one my kids attend.

The fact is, there is no single school option – home, public, private, tutored, or whatever – that is going to meet the needs of every child and every family at every time.  The point is not to defend one at the cost of the others, but to determine which approach best suits your children, even if that means they don’t all end up in the same place.

– Luke Hill