"The parent-directed educator has the wonderful opportunity to work with his and her children to become everything God wants them to be. That is the privilege we, as parents, have to mold our children's character and direction for life." - David and Laurie Callihan
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." - Psalm 133:1
Homeschoolers are often quick to attack other homeschoolers, deriding alternative methods of home education as "not real home schooling."
Throughout the past 12 years of homeschooling I have heard comments like these:
"She orders a boxed curriculum, so she isn't really homeschooling."
"They take classes at a local university, so those kids aren't really home-educated."
"Those parents subscribe to an online curriculum, so they aren't really home educating their children."
"That family is not the same denomination as mine, so they are aren't really educating their children in the truth."
Such squabbling derails the momentum of the powerful movement of home education, a movement that has been bold enough to bring back representation and authority of parenting to pedagogy. These will ruin any movement, especially one as diverse as home education.
The homeschooling movement is now into its second generation, and it's more vibrant than ever. Many homeschooled children now have kids of their own, and they are choosing to educate their children at home. The future of home education is an exciting one, but the unity of the movement must remain strong.
After all, it's not as if home educators are all alike. Look at the variety of teaching styles: classical, unit study, Charlotte Mason, text-based, curriculum-based, and Internet-based homeschools are in many cases sharply different from one another. Our theologies, too, differ almost as much as our lifestyles. Yet, amid all our diversity, there is one unifying element.
What is this element? It is the element that says parents are the directors of their children's education. Homeschool authors David and Laurie Callihan state it well in an article they published on Focus on the Family's website:
"The parent-directed educator has the wonderful opportunity to work with his and her children to become everything God wants them to be. That is the privilege we, as parents, have to mold our children's character and direction for life."
This is a luxury home educators often forget. You, as parents, have chosen to educate your children at home. You bear the responsibility and the burden of that education. There are plenty of ways to do this, but this distinction bonds you with every other homeschool parent.
To read more about what Focus on the Family has to offer homeschoolers, check out our Hot Topics collection at http://www.family.org/homeschooling.
Chris Jeub is senior online editor at Focus on the Family. This article first appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for homeschoolers. Visit the website at www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.