While we are no longer actively homeschooling (the Zman is now in college and doing fine, thank you very much), I still love it and miss it. From the First Things blog comes this article/review of a new homeschooling book, Homeschooling: A Family's Journey.
The first part of the article hits close to where we were when we started our journey:
Gregory and Martine Millman did not set out to homeschool their children, at least not consciously. When they became parents in the mid-1980s, their plan to was to lead "a normal yuppie life," upwardly mobile, working their way into a neighborhood with good schools which of course their children would attend. "The only question we asked," they write, "was 'which school,' not 'whether school.'"
How, then, did they come to write a book called Homeschooling: A Family's Journey? Two factors intervened in their quest for a mainstream middle-class life, sending them down an unanticipated long-term detour. The first was their decision to live on one income, with Martine a stay-at-home mother to their six children, a choice that put both private schools and neighborhoods with good public schools well out of their financial reach. The second was an incident that occurred at their eldest daughter's inner-city Catholic school. Their daughter, a second-grader, had answered a test question correctly, but the answer had been marked wrong. After much wrangling for an explanation from the school, they were told that she had given a "fourth-grade answer" to a second-grade question; that she was "not supposed to know that yet"; and that it would be unjust to her "less-advantaged" classmates to reward her for knowledge that they did not possess. "By the time we got back into our car," they write, "we had decided to homeschool."
And then there is this:
"After our years of homeschooling," the Millmans write, "we know that there is little that we cannot learn on our own. A college degree functions as a formal attestation of that learning." The we here is telling. It speaks to the cooperative enterprise, the relationship at the heart of homeschooling. The Millmans are not merely homeschooling parents, but homeschoolers themselves; not standing over their children to shepherd their progress, but sitting with them, doing the math; not teaching, but learning alongside them. To bring up children to see no real dividing line between "learning" and "everything else" is to reap adults--a whole family, in fact--for whom learning remains a lifelong journey and a habit of being.
I'm going to the library to see if this book is in yet.