Homeschooling: A Dark Horse

A week back, I read this fascinating article from the New York Times: My Parents were Home School Anarchists.  This semester, for my Introduction to Education Research class, I actually did a mini research project on the motivations behind home-based education.  As I wrote up the survey I used to collect data, I learned a lot of fascinating things and ran into fascinating people.

Random Things I Learned:

  • Unschooling — not parent-led but allows students to choose the direction of their own education
  • CLEP test- I met a girl whose brother was homeschooled, study for this test, skipped college, and went onto law school.  He passed the bar at age 21 or 22.  (My friend decided to make travel her college education, began traveling at around 16 or 17.. and is currently a licensed doula at the age of 22)
  • Internet schooling
  • Homeschooling is more widespread than charter schools
  • VARIED reasons for “homeschooling”
  • “Homeschool” is not a good word to describe the variety of alternative education.

Random People Stories

  • Okay, so I already talked about my friend Elizabeth and her brother..
  • One HGSE classmate was homeschooled thru her first year of college! And then transferred to NYU.
  • Another HGSE classmate chose homeschooling from 7th-12th grade (I thought homeschooling mainly took place when you were younger).  Granted, by high school, he was going to the coop classes.
  • Another family I know homeschooled their kids up until college.

Honestly, I’m just amazed and surprised that people successfully homeschooled their children THROUGH the secondary level.  I would think that would be so difficult!  (It is – hence many kids take classes at community colleges, neighboring high schools, or online).  Just the thought of considering allowing their child to continue with alternative education is amazing to me.

Obviously, this interests me, since the area of schooling that I’m interested in is alternative education.  It’s been interesting because with my time here, I’m realizing that the dreams I tentatively had actually have the possibility of being realized.

Anyway, switching gears, I really want to recommend the NY Times article I mentioned earlier.  In it, Margaret Heidenry reflects on her and her siblings’ childhood experiences of being homeschooled by their parents.  By no means were they a stereotypical homeschooling family – traveling from place to place, having a class schedule that included Yoga, learning to be poor.  Fascinating read; I highly recommend it.

My Takeaways

  • Homeschooling was even more stigmatized in the 70s (I thought homeschooling was a dying tred, not a growing one!
  • Children are resilient, sensitive learners
  • Homeschooling really doesn’t produce weirdo misfits 🙂

It’s been an interesting ride this semester. I met a surprising number of homeschooled kids and homeschooling parents. I reflected on my own brieft stint with independent study. I came across random research and articles concerning alternative schools.  This was all while I was in the context of learning about schools, education, and reform!  It’s a rich environment, my friends. Personally, I see homeschooling as a response to the lack in society OR the push that society may impose on families. I’m excited to see where my Mind Garden plans go.  It’s been a journey and I’m amazed at the number of positivity surrounding my ideas. It’s good to be challenged though – it helps me refine, tweak, defend, and ultimately strengthen my ideas.


2 responses to “Homeschooling: A Dark Horse

  1. Interesting, Junia!
    Did the guy who skipped college and went straight to law school ever regret not going to college?

    • I don’t think so. I think for a lot of people, the “college experience” is also a social experience, but if you’re coming from a practical approach, this saved him a lot of time and money.

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