Last week my Facebook feed was full of discussion about the “Big Debate” between Ken Hamm and Bill Nye. They were discussing creationism vs. evolution.
I’m not going to go down that bunny trail today. I’ll just share this and say, “Yes. What he said!”
What you may not know is that Bill Nye is the center of a different controversy after this online conversation happened between him and a fan:
Fan: “The homeschool community is severely lacking in real science curricula. Will you give thought to creating a science curriculum for the ever-growing number of secular homeschoolers?”
Bill Nye: “Use your judgment. The rest of us out here want your kids to appreciate society and the importance of working together in school and in life. A person working alone will probably not build the future 797 airplane, for example. It takes people who can work with and around people. Carry on.”
(Source: HomeschoolDiaries.com – Click here for the full post)
So, what I’m reading here is that Bill Nye said, “It doesn’t really matter what textbooks you use. By choosing to homeschool you’ve already turned your child into a weird unsocialized freak who will never be able to work in a group or accomplish great scientific feats.”
As a homeschooler, all of my responses immediately started popping up inside my brain. Doesn’t he know that ivy league colleges are now seeking out homeschoolers? Doesn’t he realize how many successful people, from Beatrix Potter to Olympic gold-medalist Jamie Anderson, were homeschooled? Has he ever read ANY study done on the test scores of homeschooled children; which are invariably higher than those of their public-schooled peers?
As I began my mental freak-out, one of the voices in my head put the brakes on and said, “No! He doesn’t know. Because homeschool is poorly branded.”
Ask any homeschooler, “What’s the first concern people express?” It is almost always, “How will your child ever learn to socialize?”
We all groan at that question because, living this lifestyle, you know that humans are social. Our children learn to socialize in the same way children learned to socialize for the many millennia before public school was invented… by spending time being social with persons of all ages, in a variety of settings.
But it’s that term: HOME-SCHOOL.
It creates an image of a mom, hair in a bun, wearing a long dress, standing in front of her children who are seated at tiny desks and instructing them on nothing at all outside of Bible stories and milking cows. The children are forbidden, of course, to watch TV, use computers or speak to anyone who doesn’t live a lifestyle exactly like theirs.
The reality is more fluid.
Some of us wear long dresses. Some of us teach Bible. Some of us forbid TV and some of us have dairy cows. On the other hand, some of us teach class in our PJs. Some of us have kids who learn on-line. Some of us live in urban areas. Some of us are atheists.
Homeschoolers are as varied a group as public-schoolers.
However, there is one thing that EVERY homeschool family I have ever encountered personally or on-line has in common: None of us do it alone.
Kids who are “homeschooled” are being taught in co-ops and via virtual classrooms. They have tutors and take part in non-core classes at public school. They’re in music lessons. They go to Sunday school. They join community sports leagues. They attend youth engineering and Junior Achievement conferences.
Our children are taught that, not only is it a good thing to learn to work within a group, it is vital. They see that their parents freely admit, “I can’t do this entirely on my own. We are better and more successful when we wisely seek out the assistance of others,” and they learn from that.
Are there a handful of families out there who drop completely off the grid and out of society? I’m sure there are but, just like 99.9% of Christians would never agree with the actions of Westboro Baptist Church, so 99.9% of homeschoolers would never think that raising your kids in a cave is a great idea.
So I propose we start a movement to ditch the name. It’s too confusing. Maybe we could be… “Un-public schoolers?” Or… “Non-traditional educators?”
What do you think? Is it time to re-brand “homeschooling?” What would be a better, more accurate term?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!