BACK IN THE DAYS

homeschool.jpg I know I have been remiss in my news duties here on the journal. Articles that have caught my/our attention focusing on sustainability, food, climate change were a regular feature here on the journal.

One story caught our eye this morning and dredged up childhood memories. Having been homeschooled even when, for a time, it was considered illegal, we kids still deal with the “ghosts’ to this day. When folks ask us where we’ve gone to school, I still hesitate slightly before answering, thanks to the days when one wrong word or slip would have gotten our parents in trouble, having some severe legal consequences while the debate raged on in Florida. I remember we couldn’t go into public places during school hours. If we did we certainly got stared at. It certainly helped that one of our parents was a licensed teacher with a major Math, minor in Computer Science (BS) and the other a major in English (BA). Our parents taught us kids using a mail order course complete with curriculum and testing. However, when we first moved to California, homeschooling was illegal–no matter what. And funds were now scarce for the mail order program. I remember going to the school book depository to get free books during the summer. Unfortunately, they always asked why we needed the books. We were forced to say that we needed extra tutoring during the summer. And, of course, there was always the library–no questions asked. Since we now lived in a neighborhood (not on 10 acres like in Florida), we had to stay indoors all day. When 3 o’clock rolled around, we went outside. However, we weren’t fooling anyone. The neighbors did “whisper” about us, but, fortunately, no one “spilled the beans.”

Un-Homeschooling was one of the best things our parents did for us – making us who, why and where we are today. Independent and able to tackle problems and learn on our own without relying on courses. We instead experience learning in “life school.” Our minds have been given the gift of independent thought and we are able to make our own path in life.

All our life we have grown up accustomed to living against the grain with eating healthy foods, going vegetarian, holistic health practices, homeschooling, hanging up our laundry, growing food, composting and even tearing up the front yard to plant edibles — all such practices were at the time considered strange or weird. Now, more and more often than naught, we see the tide turning on such sustainable practices and today such radical acts are considered “eco hip” and “eco fashionable” and it is somewhat amusing to see all the fuss made over such simple, back to basic practices.

With homeschooling popular (especially in California, lots of folks we know homeschool) than ever, those days seemed long gone…. but are they?

Ruling seen as a threat to many home-schooling families {LATimes}

State appellate court says those who teach children in private must have a credential.

Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California’s home schooling families.

Read article

I remember a conversation we had awhile back with a “newbie” homeschooling mother. She was thrilled when she found out that we, too, were homeschooled. She went on to expound on all the great support groups and programs that are out there these days for homeschoolers. I told her that our pioneering generation wasn’t so fortunate. There were no such support groups or even arranged field trips with other families. She was even more shocked when I told her what you do openly now, was for us considered illegal for a period of time. Then laws were once again changed, public opinion swayed and …. well, with today’s battles are still going on to this day for this newer generation.
One day, just as the recent ruling shows it may be possible that such actions we take today for granted like growing food, saving seeds, raising animals will be considered illegal activity. I look at the folks today who are having “an easy go/time of it” and know that at any time the winds could change – characters and convictions will be tried and put to the test. Thankfully, we’ve had prior “battle” experience which has made us a strong and determined lot (though we haven’t had much practice of late!)

It’s unfortunate that “a bad apple” has spoiled the “bunch” and,of course, the ruling will be appealed. But like Farmer D said this morning after Justin informed him of the recent ruling “bad people use guns to murder but there’s no outlawing guns is there?” That’s a whole ‘nother can of worm there…

I could go on, but it’s time to feed the goats, ducks and chickens so will keeping the rantings down to a minimum.

Are there any LONG time homeschoolers out there with the same growing up experience? Feel free to share stories.

No Comments

  1. Val says:

    Great post Anais.

  2. Devin Quince says:

    We are considering homeschooling our boys. My Wife has 2 degrees and subs for the local school district, so he has the skills. Homeschooling should be more embraced, especially considering1 the current establishment’s viewpoint on education.

  3. Deidre' says:

    My parents homeschooled my younger brother back in the 80’s when no one around where we lived did. They faced so much opposition, mostly from friends and relatives. There were very cruel things said to my brother by grown ups around him. Although my dad was only a few college credits and a dissertation from having a doctorate in Education, and taught in the public education system, people questioned their ability to teach my brother at home! (how crazy is that!) They endured many naysayers in those lonely years of homeschooling. But it made them stronger and even more determined.
    I have homeschooled my children for the past 10 years and although there are many, many more families choosing this lifestyle, we still face opposition and prejudices at times.
    I enjoyed your post and it is nice to see the great results of a families decision to education their own children.

  4. mary says:

    We are not exactly a LONG time homeschooling family…only seven years of actual ‘school age’ type studies…[even longer when I consider that we have been homeschooling the kids from birth :-)]. We definitely consider homeschooling a hard earned freedom and don’t take that freedom for granted. Our little house is situated rignt across the street from a public elementary school – so we too are VERY sensitive about the time of day that our young ones are out doors to play. My kids love their homeschool days. They are starting to realize that it is not so bad to be different – we are different by choice and for a purpose! There are so many common ‘kid’ things that we simply do not do – TV, junk food, video games, mall shopping, organized sports… But the things we have exchanged these for are priceless: healthy family time, TONS of good books, projects that are suited to the identity of each child, organic gardening, keeping many pets, productive work and exercise…I could go on. All this is to say how grateful we are to have the opportunity to homeschool our four children here in Oklahoma. I think in these relatively easy times of homeschooling liberty we should be building the strength of spirit to fight for this freedom as the laws ebb and flow – the same is true for gardening and seed saving and keeping chickens in the city etc. If we truly believe these activities, and the principles they represent, are valid then we should be ready to stand up for the freedom to continue.
    Thank you for this thought provoking post!

  5. Danielle says:

    I am a homeschool graduate and mother of a homeschool graduate who is soon to be a college graduate. My second child is a homeschooled, graduating senior this year.
    My, my, my how times have changed from the days my mother first pulled me and my four siblings out of public school!
    The resources I have been showered with on all sides while homeschooling my children is staggering compared to what was available back then. Homeschooling is its own industry now!
    How well I remember the stares and the questions about why we weren’t in school. My mom made up her own curriculum at first and then found an accredited sattelite school program which she enrolled us all in and from which three of us went on to graduate. My youngest brother graduated from a different homeschool program.
    We moved a lot and experienced homeschooling in Arizona, California and Colorado. I remember there were some scary times in Arizona where my parents talked to us about the possibility of being taken away from them and how we should handle it. My siblings and I were raised to be very independent thinkers and we loved being homeschooled and felt sorry for those who had to go to school, so we would spend time making up scenarios about how bad we’d be if got taken away from our parents and put in public school LOL. We were sure that we could get ourselves kicked out in no time.
    Thank goodness nothing like that ever happened.
    Freedom today is an illusion. A bubble that could burst at any time. It is sad to me when there is much more freedom in third world dictatorships to live one’s own life the way one wishes, than we actually have in The Land of The Free.
    There is still no place I would rather be, but what a shame that simple, peace loving, self-reliant people can be called outlaws in a country that was founded on those very principles. Who would have dreamed a hundred years ago that to teach one’s children and eat healthfully would be considered a renegade life?
    I sometimes feel like I fall way short of raising my children as healthfully as I plan to, but then the other day my 10 year old informed me that he had never had a Twinkie. Wow…to me that means I’m doing something right, but I saw a tabloid headline making Tom Cruise and his wife out to be depriving their daughter of a proper upbringing because she was not allowed to eat Happy Meals and was given vitamins and herbs instead of medicine.
    These are definitely strange times we live in.

  6. John says:

    I was homeschooled in New Zealand up until I was 14 and my 4 brothers and sisters were homeschooled for varying lengths of time. We never followed any set program and had very few set subjects so we spent most of our time mucking round in the garden and reading. When I did go to school as a teenager I quickly realized that school is not primarily about education but about preparing young people for passive participation in our capitalist economy. After working that out activism then gardening naturally followed 🙂

    We were lucky to know quite a few other families that homeschooled and took part in regular field trips swimming lessons etc.
    I and my friends regularly went out from the age of about 10 to the library, swimming pools etc and most people seemed satisfied when we explained that we were homeschooled so we didn’t go to school.
    When the Education inspectors turned up every few years they seemed blown away by active minds and well above average vocabularies

    I am sure spending my formative years in the garden has shaped my decision to study horticulture and turn my parents quarter acre section into a permaculture demonstration site.

  7. Anais says:

    Wow, great to see homeschoolers, unschoolers out there and all with same, similar experiences — many which I left out of the post simply because there were too many too list. But you guys certainly touched on them for me.

    My parents too felt threatened by the state and in fact one time it came down to them warning them that we could be taken away if they didn’t comply. Or people stareing like we had “the cooties” or something.

    It’s wonderful to see so many kindred spirits (pioneers) who have themselves blazed/blazing trails towards a schooling/education self sufficiency.

    Again, thanks so much for sharing your experiences we all enjoyed reading them ( I printed them up and passed them around the family!)

    Blessings to all,
    Anais

  8. Truffula Tuft says:

    I want to thank Anais and the comment-ers as well. We are short time homeschoolers compared to most of you, only 4 years of “school-age” time. We’re also unschoolers, using the curriculum of life as our guide.

    I’m grateful for the growing homeschooling movement and confident that it can weather this storm. You can lend a bit of help to the cause by donating to the California Homeschool Network, which is a statewide advocacy group dedicated to protecting the fundamental right of parents to educate their children. http://californiahomeschool.net

    Jennifer

  9. Susan says:

    The best thing I ever did was “drop out” of high school. Unfortunately it took until halfway through 11th grade to convince my mother I just didn’t belong in that system, but the single semester I spent controlling my own education (I did my three remaining semesters’ of work during that one) sold me on the concept for life. for a while I was unsure how to handle things like applications that ask about education, but now I have high education, so no one really asks much. My small rebellion, however, is that rather than list the actual high schools I attended but left, I simply write in “homeschool” and the date I was awarded my GED.

    I can only continue to pray that when I have children I am blessed with the resources to homeschool each of them. I just don’t think any system can beat a curriculim custom-tailored to skill level and learning preferences of every child. That said, if my kids DO want to attend “regular” school, I will explore the options with them and find a good compromise.

    Mostly, I just wanted to share my little rebellion up there. 🙂

    Thanks once more all of you–I’m sure you hearit from many people, but you’re a daily source of inspiration to me, too!

  10. Lizz says:

    Hi guys!

    We have 5 homeschooled children and are teaching them sustainability and real life learning. They are thriving!

    Their Papa and myself often say that we wished we had been homeschooled.

    Bless~

  11. Renee says:

    Thanks for writing this post! We are concerned about this decision in California. I believe those in California should have the freedom to educate their children as they see best. As we all know, this won’t stay in California. It will move to other states if something is not done!

    We’ve homeschooled 7 years and I can’t imagine doing anything else!

    Your journal is beautiful!

  12. Gerrie says:

    The two younger of our four children have always
    unschooled.
    When the older two were 10 and 12, we chose to
    have two more children to run with the other
    cousins.
    What a blessing!
    As the two older ones experienced middle school and
    high school, we knew for certain that the younger ones
    would not be attending.
    It’s never been about religous beliefs or the inadequa-
    acy of the school system here. It’s been about our
    choosing to have children and raising them to be
    exemplary citizens of this planet.
    Those two young’uns are 18 and 15 now. They have
    lived a child’s life, surrounded by more love and an
    array of people that I scoff when someone asks about
    socialization. Are you serious? Is that what it’s called
    at school?
    We were underground, not testing or registering, until
    the older one wanted a driver’s permit. The state requires a release from compulsory education in order
    to obtain a license. That, of course, began our journey
    into the state owning us.
    Needless to say, the testing was only an anxiety source
    for me and proved that (according to the state) that my
    child excelled in academics.
    This same child also decided to participate in high school
    sports, which means maintaining the yearly testing.
    So, to bring my point to a close; last evening at the
    high school sports banquet, my child was given an award,
    not as an outstanding athlete, but as an outstanding
    human being. The coaches gave accolades to his kindness to everyone, his respect, his work ethic, his
    positive attitude, and his worth as a person.
    In my book, he may have not been a state champion,
    but he definitely is a Planetary Champion that I am
    proud of.
    I realize that there are plenty of “schooled” children
    that are outstanding citizens as well. But, for me, I
    wouldn’t change the past 18 years of having my
    children home with me.

  13. LaVonne says:

    I home UNschooled my now-20yo son for most of his teenage years. Can’t say I did a good job of it because of illness and financial stress, but he’s glad we made that choice. I’m not so sure, but only because I wasn’t well enough or well-off enough to give him the educational experiences he deserved. I still believe in unschooling, theoretically at least.

    My guess about why this is happening now is that it has to do with money. School districts probably feel seriously threatened with the loss of federal money now that the homeschooling movement has grown exponentially.

    And of course, it also comes down to control. When the folks at the top feel they’re losing control of the population, look out.

  14. Anais says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your homeschool-unschooling experience. You have provided our readers with an insight into home education world – even before it legal and mainstream.

    Great to see the pioneers of the home education movement are still carrying the torch!

    All the best!
    Anais

  15. Expat Mom says:

    When my parents homeschooled me and my sisters back in the 80´s, it was still illegal in Canada to homeschool. We also had to hide it . . . we even made up the name of a school so we could tell people when they asked where we went to study!

    Now I´m grown with two little ones of my own that I´ll be homeschooling . . . . and I live in Guatemala, where it´s not considered proper to homeschool! Ah, the cycle begins again.

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