Homeschooling your children is a little like baking cookies. We all have different recipes our families enjoy. Some insist on all organic ingredients right from their own farm. Some use a box mix. Some experiment with a mixture of home grown and store bought ingredients. Some get their recipe from the internet, a friend, or a cook book. Some recipes were passed down over the generations. Sometimes we even try out a new recipe now and then. Some are nuts... errrr... I mean throw in nuts.
When you are a guest in someone's home and served cookies, would you ever criticize the recipe? Would you say "You didn't do this correctly. You should have used all organic ingredients!". Never! That would be rude. However, if the hostess asked for your advice on cookie baking or asked about your favorite recipe, you would gladly share and it would be gladly received. You would be excited to give your friend your favorite sources for ingredients or a favorite recipe. They may try your recipe or get your ingredients and find their family dislikes it. Would you be offended? Of course not. Every family is different. Would you insist if they didn't make the cookies "the old fashioned way", by hand mixing the ingredients like you, that they were, in fact, not baking cookies at all? Ridiculous. Would you argue that your family recipe would always be better than any new recipe off the internet? You might if you were not open to trying new recipes.
Recently, I came across a line of discussion on a homeschool group where women were debating the issue of supplementing home educating with outside classes. Several old time home educators were criticizing one mother who had decided that what was best for their family was to supplement a class or two outside the home. They so much as told her that she was not, in fact, homeschooling at all because she was supplementing with outside classes. It made me so sad that these women have now instead of graciously presenting their favorite recipe for homeschooling, are criticizing others with words that cut and divide.
It made me pause to think of why these old time home educators might be reacting this way. I thought about these women and the fact that they were home educating when it was illegal or very soon after it became legal. They knew that this right was precious and hard fought. Did they perhaps think that these modern homeschool families were spitting in the face of this hard fought freedom? Maybe they are thinking "We fought for you to educate your children at home and now you are ending up right back in a classroom setting. How ungrateful of you." Now we are getting somewhere.
When our forefathers were fighting for their independence against the British, there were hard feelings against the British. We shot the British. A generation later, those feelings lessened. That energy was put to the task of growing the nation. They no longer pointed the business end of a gun at a visiting Brit. They remembered their past, but moved on.
Same with homeschooling. Yes, those freedoms were hard fought and we honor their struggle. We also keep an eye out to protect those freedoms. But homeschooling is legal now. We don't have to hide in the shadows and homeschool our children. We proudly exclaim that our children are home educated. We gather in huge groups and encourage each other. We even form small groups and educate each other's children. We bring in experts to educate our children in areas we ourselves are not well-versed in in. So let's celebrate our freedoms and our differences. Old timers, celebrate the fact that our newbies are spreading their wings and searching out new and different ways to educate their children. You might even learn something from them. They might even learn something from you.
But, unless asked, keep your recipe to yourself and go add some nuts to your own organic fruitcake cookies. Great, now I'm hungry for cookies.