Monday, October 28, 2013

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Why the Homeschooling Community Needs to Get Over Itself

I am no fan of HSLDA, prior blog posts have made that clear.  If you wonder why, first I'll say:  I am a SECULAR homeschooler and HSLDA is a Christian group promoting Christian homeschooling to the degree that it seeks to have only Christian homeschooling recognized as 'legitimate' homeschooling.  Then I'll say, go through the archives and read what I've written before regarding HSLDA.

I'm not a fan of Christian homeschooling groups.  Again, read through the archives.  (Personal Note:  I have several Christian friends who have no problem with me not being a fan of the religion and I have no problem with them because they are the folks that are living their faith - which includes recognizing that my spiritual belief system is my business.)

Here's what I *am* a fan of - homeschooling.  I'm a HUGE fan.  I'm such a huge fan that I could be classified as being in the closet because I don't go on and on about how much I'm a fan.  I'm such a fan of homeschooling that I personally believe everyone CAN and SHOULD homeschool. 

I'm enough of a realist to recognize that not everyone's life is set up in such a way as to support homeschooling.   Women have to work or want to work.  Men have to work or want to work.  That's the reality and the 'stripped down to the core' reason why everyone doesn't homeschool.  Both parents have to work or choose to work.  Other reasons that some give like "I can't teach my children" or "I couldn't spend every moment with my children" are superficial reasons that are based in insecurity or fear.  But I'm digressing big time. 

So, here's the thing - because I am such a HUGE fan of homeschooling, I totally and fully support anyone who homeschools no matter how they homeschool or why they homeschool.  Whatever reason you have for keeping your kids at home, under your care and tutelage, is a legitimate reason.  Whatever method you choose to educate your children while they are at home with you is a legitimate method.

Guess what?  THAT is how we should ALL feel toward one another.  Support homeschooling no matter what and for the love of all that is holy, support every parent who chooses to homeschool no matter HOW they do it.  Otherwise it's a slippery slope folks.
Now what the hell is this all about?  I'll tell you.  A fellow homeschooler posted yesterday that their children are not 'allowed' to attend an open homeschooling event - a Halloween party - if they are virtually schooled, i.e. Connections Academy or K12.  Why is that, you wonder?  Why it is because the HSLDA and OCHEC have adopted a policy that virtual schooling isn't legitimate homeschooling and the group who was hosting the Halloween party is following their leadership and guidelines.  Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Now this lack of solidarity annoys the ever loving shit out of me.  People wonder why I'm so 'anti-Christian homeschooling groups''s because they are usually the ones who show a lack of solidarity in the homeschooling movement.  They discriminate.  To a certain extent, while I don't like it, it's understandable.  They do not want your science loving, evolution learning child to poison their Jesus loving, Creationism believing kid.  Fine.  That is one thing.  It is another thing entirely though to discriminate against an entire group of people based on how they homeschool.  It's asinine.  The HSLDA is very adept at using fear-mongering to control their members views on homeschooling.  Making statements against virtual schooling, including their supposed 'reasons' is just more fear-mongering.  You can read their statement here:

Now, is there ANY truth to what they say?  A bit.  Virtual schooling is not the exact same as traditional homeschooling.  In virtual schooling the curriculum is provided by the state and is funded with public dollars so there is to be a separation of Church and State.  Traditional homeschooling gives the power to the parents - or at least as much as the individual state allows - in deciding when, what, where, and how your children learn.  There is more freedom with traditional homeschooling than virtual schooling.  There just is.  However, having said that, let me say this -- your children are still at home with you as their daily mentor, guide, and parent.  They DO NOT face all the same situations that children who attend Brick and Mortar schools face.  If one wishes their child to be at home with them but does not want to buy curriculum or put together their own, or wants their child to earn a state issued diploma, virtual schooling is the ideal solution.  If one wants to avoid the social issues that come with attending a B&M school, yet wants their children to receive a public school curriculum education, virtual schooling is the ticket!

Discriminating against children and their families because they don't chose the SAME method of delivery for their education as you do hurts the whole movement a hell of a lot more than the supposed hurt we could suffer by confusing our government representatives about what homeschooling is.  Here's something that homeschooling WAS but is no longer:  a strictly religious movement.  Sorry if that upsets some, but it's the truth.  More and more parents are choosing to have their children educated at home, via some method that works best for their family, for reasons that have nothing to do with religion or spiritual beliefs.

Here's how we should recognize homeschoolers as it pertains to allowing them to attending homeschooling events, functions, or field trips:  Are you home during the day as opposed to being locked in a B&M school?  Do you have the freedom and flexibility to attend events, functions, or field trips outside the home during 'normal school hours'?  If the answer is yes to those two questions - Congratulations YOU ARE HOMESCHOOLING!

Christian homeschooling groups can turn people away for not subscribing to their proclaimed religious beliefs, but to turn kids away because of the method they use to school in their home is the most asinine form of discrimination I've ever heard!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, secular homeschoolers need a national alliance to work for the betterment of ALL homeschoolers and I'm rededicating myself to making that alliance a reality.

In the meantime, the homeschooling community, as a whole, needs to get over itself and embrace itself - the totality of itself.  The more labels and limitations we place on each other inside the homeschooling community the more tacit permission we give to outsiders to label homeschooling and limit it.  No one should want that. 

~Mari B.



  2. I agree wholeheardedly with your statements....HSLDA is all about the "conservative/religious homeschooler" esp with their narrow political agenda. We used the public Virtual School (K12 WAVA) for a year and now we are PT Homeschoolers (secular!!!!) and PT Homelinkers (WA State parent partnership program = public school co-op with curriculum allowance per FTE, classes (both enrichment and credit), and certified teachers that monitor ONLY the courses taken via Homelink). This would disqualify us on multiple fronts.
    With regard to Halloween parties and Homeschool groups in general, they are indeed a tight knit community and although SOME are willing to let both secular homeschoolers AND K12'ers in, IF you rock the boat with your "outside the box" opinions" (my experience), they will boot you and not care how it affects your kids.

  3. I am a Christian homeschooler that uses a home link program. It is my understanding that if you use state funds at all you can not be a member of HSLDA. That is because when you enroll your child in a public school program you are placing yourself under the jurisdiction of the state. HsLDA is a legal entity that protects homeschoolers, not public schoolers. Just as we are permitted to school as we wish, they should be permitted to run their organization as they wish. I agree that it would be great to have a group that supports and protects those that choose ALE. I am excited to see what you accomplish! You are also right about the slippery slope. We have to be very careful about what right we want to take from others, because we will likely suffer the loss of those rights ourselves.

    1. But I have retained my homeschool status by being only PT therefore you would THINK that I could still utilize HSLDA (as IF I would want to) but NO....I am NOT ENOUGH of a Homeschooler along with not conforming to their "definition" of what homeschooling is all about (religious movement). So I am stuck in the middle which is where I have trouble with many homeschool groups, both on and offline....because I don't 'conform' to their belief system, because I am not 100% against schools (just 75%... although I appreciate most teachers and the work they try to do within the confines of PS), because I don't like HSLDA and their propaganda they spread and because I don't keep quiet about my a Christian might say, "God gave me a big mouth and I'm gonna use it" (not Christian).....

  4. Well said. God & I have an interesting relationship. There are always signs when something becomes not right for my family. Secular homeschooling support groups are hard to find because we march to many drummers, while religious-based groups need the singular mindset. I discussed the idea of why some Christians are so extreme & frequently judgemental with a friend. It's simple- we all draw that line based on an internal map. For me, I sense when something feels over my line. I contribute this to my relationship with God & his plan for me & my family, plus life experience. If someone wants to control my decisions, & not trust in me, or glazes over with the holy spirit to become impenetrable, there's my line. Eyes should be open. Donuts should be glazed.

  5. You have voiced my sentiments exactly. I have blogged and written about secular schooling for years. I am a part of a small group of moms in rural pennsyl-tucky, and sometimes...just sometimes we have to put up with the Christian Majority, and my poor kids have to be so tight lipped about our spiritual, and scientific (*gasp!) beliefs. We are not Christians, and would love to find any group who will just accept us as we are...because we won't make fun of them for the creationism science. Ok...we won't to their faces,lol. HSLDA is a necessary evil in Pennsyltucky, it's not a very homeschool friendly state. Ugh, we just have to put up with so much as secular schoolers. :( Anyway...check out some of my thoughts at, although I'm about to take it down and move everything over to :)

  6. Hey, we're with you too. I started a secular homeschool group last year that welcomes anyone who schools at home because I too live in "Pennsyltucky" and couldn't find anyone who wanted to hang out with me. We're up to a booming four families now! Two of those families cyberschool. Because we don't care what religion anyone is and we don't care if people use a cyberschool we are not a popular group around here. Good luck getting that national organization going. We'll have a local chapter here, even if it's a small one.

  7. Education at home should not be discriminated against in anyway shape or form. Shall I discriminate against you because you drive a Ford? Shall I discriminate against you because you eat at McDonalds? Shall I discriminate against you because you (fill in the blank)? I use a virtual Christian program that works for my family and have been snubbed by homeschoolers who “create” their curriculum. WHATEVER!
    I share as many different programs as I can with people who are interested in homeschooling. My goal is that they find what they need for their family.



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