homeschooling is the real legacy of holt and kohl et al and why compulsory attendance laws are limiting our ability to change schools

I found web links for Kirsten Olsen's books Wounded by School and Schools as Colonizers today.   I haven't read Olsen's work which sounds interesting.  Homeschoolers often share wounded learner stories among themselves and I've read/heard a good number of them.

The enduring legacy of the educational activists of the 60s and 70s is homeschooling.  Homeschooling has actively worked to structure exceptions to the compulsory attendance laws so that families can learn together.  This has been done in all 50 states and there is a strong base of families of all types and kinds who have successfully homeschooled. Now communities can begin taking steps toward making voluntary, rich community-based learning resources available for and from everyone.

Families of every kind have first hand experience of learning outside the current public school structure.  This means we have a knowledge base, outside the system.  In light of the system stress being felt now, it may be a good opportunity to start gathering up what we homeschooling citizens know about educating children.  If untutored, uncertified parents can again and again educate their children, communities of all kinds can also run schools even if the quants declare that with enough money, they can measure and pour education onto every child's head efficiently. We need communities that value the learning process itself. 

Compulsory attendance laws effectively restrict families and parents to the sidelines and this means that entire communities are also restricted from being actively involved.  Homeschooling has pioneered changes in compulsory attendance laws. It hasn't been easy and homeschooling families continue to fight off harassment. This means that communities can also start trying to work in new ways to make what we call schools into the community learning centers we need. 

Compulsory attendance is clearly undemocratic but it is also poor system design. It means there is a captured audience, a built-in market, a steady stream of students that need the latest corporate curricular programs and tests. There is no way that families can serve as a check on the system since they have absolutely no power over their childrens' educational choices. They cannot withhold payment and, until homeschooling, they could not teach their own children even in ideal situations.  It is not that the family is always the best place for a child to learn but that families and children themselves must have significant power if a mass institution like the public schools is to serve citizens and not the other way around. (see decentralization in the topics cloud for another view of this process).

When was the last time your family got a survey from your local public school asking what learning services your family needs this year?
Post a Comment