This blog is devoted to exploring the ways we can create homes that are less dependent on the larger systems that surround us. I write about topics that encourage us to live independently, with an emphasis on self-reliance. I urge you all to cultivate stronger connections to nature, history, family, and community.
I can think of few topics that fit so well within this frame as homeschooling. Homeschooling withdraws the family from its many individual preoccupations and concentrates its mission. When the kids are home, so are the hearts and minds of the parents. Rather than being driven in a thousand directions by the industrial education system, the home emerges as the single focus of a family’s life.
Homeschooling also enables families to live with greater independence from the overwhelming social and economic systems that dominate our society. The education system, with all its tendencies toward ever-expanding bureaucracy and totalitarianism, can be virtually eliminated as a factor in family life. Anyone who complains about the public education system must do so under the realization that continued contact with it is entirely optional. Homeschooling allows families to simply eliminate it as a factor in their plans and conduct.
For those who value self-reliance and see its importance, homeschooling has an obvious appeal. Educating children at home is one of the longest, and ultimately most fruitful, experiments in self-reliance a family can undertake. Assuming the responsibility to serve as the primary educators of your children is a project that outweighs in scope and importance every other endeavor in increased self-reliance. The garden is important, but the crop it yields will never compare to the value of educating your own kids.
Not only does homeschooling allow for a withdrawal from complex systems, it occasions multiple kinds of connection. Homeschoolers are never stuck looking longingly out the window while a teacher drones on. Instead, a homeschooled student can just get up and go outside. For the homeschooler, the world is not something that must be ignored to get an education. Instead, because homeschooling allows for much more direct experience of life, the world is the chief source of education.
Historical ignorance is a by-product of the industrial education model. Students in public schools know little about what happened before they arrived on the scene. For them, it is always now. Their perspective is limited and the system does little to correct this, aside from offering whatever history lessons are mandated.
Homeschooling, however, offers a real antidote for this problem. By learning at home, kids can get a deeper sense of who they are and where they come from. History can easily become genealogy as tales from the family’s extended memory are introduced. Homeschooling allows the past to become personal. Homeschoolers can come to see themselves as part of the long chain of the family that has endured across the centuries and ultimately produced them.
Homeschooling opens the door for greater connection with the surrounding community as well. Some people criticize homeschooling for being an example of the extreme individualism that pulls apart communities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Freeing students from the unnecessarily long hours of the school day makes their involvement in the community more likely. Homeschoolers spend time building their communities in myriad ways. They volunteer. They cultivate a wide range of friendships. They are available to help others in ways students trapped in public schools simply are not.
These aspects of homeschooling make it an appropriate topic for this blog. If you are interested in increasing your families freedom, capacity for self-reliance, connection to each other and your larger community, you might be ready to begin a move toward schooling at home. If you are, check back here for resources to help you along the way.
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