Not missing out
Last night the girls and I went to a homeschooling meeting where our friend, Esther was going to be speaking about her experience in Africa this past summer. It is our delight to be supportive and attentive to those whom we love. Walking into this meeting all the parents were dressed in their Sunday best, I was a little out of place with my Birchenstock sandals, golf shorts and a Marlborough MA t-shirt but that was the least of the distinctions. I have not been to a formal homeschooling meeting in nearly 3 years and I don't thing I have been missing out on much.
When I walked into the meeting someone immediately greeted me, with Hello my name is A...B...., are you a member of CHESF (Christian Home Educators of Southwest Florida) ? I said no, we are friends of the McGuire's. Do you want to be members? No thanks. Then we were directed to the name tags. There was a professional photographer there to take pictures of the officers of CHESF, a table for the yearbook committee and so many activities available that you never have to stay home. This was not a new encounter. In Virginia we found the same kind of thing. As a family we affectionately call this "group" school.
Mind you, there is nothing wrong with activities, co-ops and the like but when you are either required or expected to participate in most things, then you are no longer functioning as a family but within the context of a group or a school, an institution. Doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of homeschooling?
John Taylor Gatto in his book A Different Kind of Teacher referred to this as being identified by association. No longer is it ok to be an individual family or simply an individual. No one can be trusted by his or her character, that is trusted by his/her association. This sentiment has infiltrated those of us who educate our children at home. It is good to gather for support and to be supportive of one another but to be educating one another's children on a regular basis, requiring members of a homeschool group to participate in XYZ in order to continue being a member sounds very close to a system that we have choosen not to be a part of.........looks like the days of support groups are coming to a close make way for associations that conduct themselves much like dare I say it.....a school. Anyone want to be principal?