Homeschoolers in solidarity regardless of differences

Occasionally I write about an issue to which I expect some controversial response. I am decidedly sensitive to confrontation, so an issue must matter a good deal to me before I put out a challenge (i.e., legitimacy of unschooling, community and sociality, criticisms of homeschooling).

On other occasions, I receive negative comments that catch me quite off guard. These comments typically relay assumptions about a particular style of homeschooling or a religious belief system, or they focus on superfluous details to the exclusion of the larger message--thus illustrating the issue of intolerance that divides the homeschooling community.

Unconventional Choices

Early during my parenting career, I wrote regularly on a blog about my experiences with unconventional parenting choices. I often encountered strong defensiveness and division among parents. Sometimes I fell prey to defensiveness myself, and I did not care for the feel of it. Finally, I tackled my feelings about the issue of intolerance in a post entitled, I'm Okay, You're Okay.
I have strong feelings (some call them opinions.) They're my reality. They're based on instinct and intuition. They feel right to me. I share them. I never intend the sharing of my feelings and thoughts as harassments of the choices of others. However, sometimes people respond defensively to what I say. I suspect that if those people truly felt secure in their choices, they wouldn't feel so affected by what I say.
I don't doubt that others who choose different ways love their children as much as I love mine. I don't live up to my ideals, but I'll keep those ideals anyway. Circumstances, even financial ones, don't change what is. That excuse will never convince me of anything.
I don't believe that my way is the one right way. I just know what feels right for me and for my babies. That's all.
So, why do I share? Because I learned from the shared thoughts and feelings of others, especially from the ones who challenged me.
I have changed a lot through the years since, but on the importance of solidarity, celebration of diversity, and tolerance, at the least, I remain resolved. I guess I am presently trying to tackle my feelings again with the added perspective of years of further experience as an unconventional mom.

In a more recent blog post on a newer blog, I wrote the following about controversial parenting choices.
So many of the activities and practices that interest me are made controversial, so I end up putting a lot of energy into accepting or allowing other peoples feelings to be there without pushing me to react one way or the other. I truly don't want to argue. I do love to share, though, when people want to listen.
Stand Together for Homeschooling Freedom

I love homeschooling. I want to share about it, celebrate it, and stand for it. I do not want to argue about it or stand against any particular approach to a child's education. If a child loves school, I feel truly happy for them. If a child loves a summer reading incentive program, I am fully in support, regardless of my family's unpleasant experiences with incentive programs. If a family enjoys learning from the Bible, Darwin, Einstein, John Holt, or Charlotte Mason, I am truly happy for them.

Homeschooling at large has its issues--legality, regulations, government-mandated requirements. Parents who choose homeschooling for their families can stand together in support of the freedom of choice. The homeschooling community is growing, but we are still a minor group as far as educational choice.

Homeschoolers standing together for freedom of choice can better protect that freedom than homeschoolers reluctant to associate because of differences. We share the act and desire to integrate our children's education into our responsibility to raise them in every other way. We can stand together in celebration and support for one another in this choice, regardless of the diversity of approaches.

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