Monday, February 13, 2012

Can only the privileged few homeschool?

Erin Gallagher has a short post about homeschooling. It is a pleasant column where she explores why people seem to take an automatic dislike to homeschooling. So far there are 137 comments on her post and about homeschooling.

The column starts with:

Homeschooling, like most things, is a personal decision each parent will make. Most families don't have the luxury of the option. Those who do should seriously consider it.

I struggle with the second sentence. I don’t see homeschooling as an option that only the privileged few get to do. Most of the people I know who homeschool are average people, with a few poor and a few rich thrown in. I don’t think it is a case that only a few people can homeschool.

Is homeschooling a luxury that only a few can afford?  Our experience has been that homeschooling is not expensive.  If a parent can be home with the children there is no reason why they can't homeschool.

I think there are a lot of people who recognize the value of homeschooling and are either scared by the unknown or are unwilling to make the sacrifice for their children.

It is scary to try something that is counter culture, that you may feel unqualified for and most of your support group won't support you in the endeavor.  The answer for this group is to learn more about homeschooling, try to find small babysteps to take and find a support group for homeschooling.

I don't have a good answer for the second group.  If parents believe that homeschooling is better for their children, but are not willing to make the effort, then I feel sorry for the children. 

If a parent can be home with the children, in general is there any reason why they can't homeschool?


Tina Hollenbeck said...

What people like this mean is that they believe it's the necessary norm for both parents to work - which is totally stupid. If families were willing to put their children before accumulating "stuff" and having the fancy house and the annual vacations, most could live on one income just fine and homeschool, too. But their priorities are out of whack, and that's the starting point.

abba12 said...

Yep, I'd say what they're refering to is being a single income family, which is extremely frustrating to me on it's own.

Jean said...

Most homeschoolers I know are barely making ends meet. They sacrifice because they want the homeschooling lifestyle. Not everyone can afford to do even that, but IME homeschooling is not only for the wealthy.

Sue said...

Tina is right. People have to take their blinders off to actually SEE all their options. It IS about priorities. We made major adjustments so we could afford for me to stay home with the kids.

Interestingly, just yesterday my husband and I were driving around looking at houses that face the lake. Not huge houses, but bigger than ours. I commented that I guess we could have had this if we had stayed a 2 income family. His response? "Yeah, but think about everything we would have missed out on!"

When people let go of the ideas they have about success and shift their priorities, homeschooling really is available to anyone that wants it.

And, if you're worried about the actual expense of homeschooling itself...I knew a woman when we first started homeschooling named, Janie Levine. She used to say, "All you really need is a bus pass and library card." Janie was right.

Pam Barnhill said...

I agree. It's amazing how the media depiction of homeschoolers as wealthy or privileged is far from the truth. By far the homeschoolers I know are all one income families making the sacrifices needed (sometimes BIG ones) to live this lifestyle. There is a major disconnect between what is portrayed and reality.

Henry Cate said...

Tina - yeah, it is sad how our society has come to see "stuff" as much more important than family.

Jean - my guess is there is a tendency for the wealthy to send their children to private schools, so as a group homeschoolers probably come more from the poor and middle classes.

Sue - your husband sounds like a wise man.

Karen said...

I have many friends who homeschool very frugally and on a shoe string.
I agree with other commenters that the number one necessity for homeschooling is the strong desire to do it for one's own children.
When one has that, nothing can stop them!

(my apologies to single, hardworking mothers everywhere!)