I am sure that by now everyone has seen the news stories on how homeschoolers have propelled Huckabee to national prominence. Just had to add my voice to the growing chorus of homeschoolers…HOMESCHOOLERS ARE NOT ALL OF ONE POLITICAL PARTY OR ONE RELIGION. We are a diverse population from all walks of life and, yes, some of us are even <gasp> liberal!
Needless to say that I got a kick out of the the Homeschoolers For blog. Although their Barack Obama listings seem a bit weak…I may have to help remedy that…
A friend of mine, Laura had a great letter to the editor published in the Washington Post:
It would be a refreshing turn, though, to learn more in your pages about the diversity of positions we home-schoolers take, as many of us work to remove partisan political agendas from our conversations about educating children. Because we are accustomed to stepping outside the norm, dissent feels familiar, and we express it in multiple arenas — certainly not only in the limited world of Mike Huckabee's conservative presidential campaign.
I have been trying to basically ignore most of the news stories that show up in my Google Alerts about Huckabee and homeschoolers as they usually do at least mention that it is evangelical homeschoolers who support Huckabee so strongly. And the truth is that some homeschoolers are definitely playing a big role in his campaign.
But the problem is when reporters start reporting on homeschooling in general and portraying homeschoolers in particular ways. Most reporters are not familiar with homeschooling and homeschoolers and usually don't do much research when reporting on us. Kind of like this article from the New York Times:
It is unclear how many evangelical Christians in Iowa teach their children at home — some estimates are over 10,000 — but the network of families is tightly connected and highly motivated. They come together in groups and online to share curriculum information, form sports teams, and stage other activities. And many, aware that homeschooling was illegal in almost every state until recently, fear that if they relax their vigilance politically teachers' unions will push to take away their rights.
First off, homeschooling has never been illegal. Second off, most homeschoolers I know do not live in fear that their homeschool rights are going to be taken away. Third off, the president honestly has very little to do with our homeschool rights as home instruction is handled at the state level.
Yes, we do have to be active to protect our homeschool rights and not take them for granted, but in my opinion, that is better done through supporting statewide homeschool organizations like VaHomeschoolers rather than presidential candidates. The truth is that homeschooling is not on shaky ground and does not depend on a president's support.
I am not a one issue voter and to be honest with you, a presidential candidate's opinion on homeschooling is far down the on the list of considerations. Homeschooling does color my views in many ways…I have found that I have more libertarian leanings since starting and tend to prefer that government leave me alone as much as possible. Yet, I also feel strongly that it is ok and even good for government to help those who need it and yes, I realize that these may seem somewhat contradictory. But that is ok…it works for me and I tend to not be a black and white person anyways. Nothing wrong with nuance. I guess that you could call me a Democrat with Libertarian leanings?
So don't believe everything that you read in the newspapers about homeschooling. We are a much more diverse group than you might think based on the news coverage. Yes, we are passionate about what we do. And yes, we are very networked. But we come in all shapes, colors, religious backgrounds, political leanings, shoe sizes…hey just like the rest of the country!