Monday

Homeschooling Thoughts from a Modern "Pioneer"

1985-86, our first year homeschooling
So who am I and why do I call myself a homeschool "pioneer"?

Well, let me give you my background:
I pulled my children out of public school in 1985 when they were in 6th and 7th grade and homeschooled them through high school graduation. 

You may be saying “Big deal, I've homeschooled my children from day one." 
  • But in the 1980s the homeschool movement was in its infant stage (well, maybe toddler stage) and most homeschoolers put their children back into school at the time I was taking mine out. 
  • I wasn't aware of another family  homeschooling in Lawton, Oklahoma when we first started. 
  • It was a time when very few cities had home school groups. 
  • When groups were available, they were typically loosely organized and made up mostly of parents with young children.
  • We were dependent on 2-3 publishers of Christian curriculum who were just beginning to understand the homeschool market. 
  • Only 2-3 authors were writing about homeschooling. It was a year after Mary Pride’s The Way Home came out. 
  • Email and the internet weren't available to the common man. 
  • Because my husband was in the military, we homeschooled "on the move" in 5 diferent states. Some states didn't have official state laws for homeschooling, and many of the government and military authorities we encountered had never heard of homeschooling. Some were pretty sure it was illegal. 
    My husband, daughter and son, 1991
  • Most Christian colleges still required a state certified GED for entry if you didn't have a Christian or public school diploma, so my children had to get their GEDs. 
  •  When they graduated, my kids were the only homeschoolers among their Christian peers. 
  • If you think you get strange, rude questions about socialization, insulation and smother-mothering now, you can imagine what I got. 
But I believed in homeschooling enough to do it despite the lack of support. 
I know that we homeschool moms can be suspect of advice on parenting, so I thought it might be helpful to give you some of my background. 

I have some concerns about bad trends in parenting that many of us - with the best intentions - unknowingly have adopted. I hope what I've written will be beneficial to you. 
Thanks!
Gail

You ca check out my here: Children & Parenting Archive

16 comments:

  1. I love hearing about other people's experiences and finding wisdom and ideas from them. I've heard a few "pioneer" homeschoolers talk about how different it was in their day of homeschooling compared to today. It is interesting! And it helps me appreciate homeschooling and our options.

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. I hope my thoughts will be helpful.

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  2. I homeschooled for 16 years until our last one graduated. Some of my most memorable remarks are the positive remarks that were made AFTER they first made a negative one.

    We met several people along the way who asked why my kids weren't in school. I would reply they were homeschooled and they would make some negative remark about homeschooling IN FRONT of my children. We usually met these people at stores, garage sales, doctor's offices, etc.

    After their negative remarks I would comment about everything we did to socialize our kids (you always hear that one, lol!) and I might say "In fact, they are talking to YOU right now while their peers are on the playground playing with kids their own age. How's THAT for socialization? ;)"

    Anyway, after chatting with me and chatting with my kids, they would start saying nice things about my kids and saying how "normal" they were, etc. I like to think that we changed some minds and put some fears to rest, lol!

    My own father was very against my homeschooling in the beginning but he came around rather quickly and become one of our biggest supporters, bragging to all his friends that HIS grandchildren were homeschooled, lol!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

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    1. Love hearing others' experiences! I hope you'll chime in over the next few weeks as I share some of my observations, Nan.

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  3. We were right there with you in 1985. That was a scary time with parents in our area having 'buddy' families who would take over the care of each other's children if the parents were put in jail! Today's homeschool families really don't know about those days when it was debated whether it was even safe to allow our children to play outside during public school hours. Much time was spent in prayer for wisdom and safety. We homeschooled our five all the way through and our baby just graduated from college last week. I am so thankful that we persevered even through the dark days and kept our children home with us. Our adult children are well liked and happy and all have finished college and are doing well in their adult lives.

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    1. Yes, we only had one "almost problem" when one military official told us we needed to have our school inspected before we could home school on post. We were more than willing to let them do that, but when we contacted HSLDA, they warned us not to do it because it gave them precedence to approve or disapprove of what we did. So we respectfully refused their inspection at our lawyer's recommendation, and we never had any other problems.

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  4. We started with a preschooler around 1990, are about to graduate our fifth, and are still home schooling some of our remaining school age children. Looking back on the home schooling movement and its impact, I would have to say it's a mixed bag. There are some very sad tales coming out on the Internet, and I've personally seen many home school shipwrecks. Unfortunately, it's not all rosy in Home School Land, and part of this is due to misguided teaching spreading through the movement about what constitutes a "Godly family." ~~ Virginia Knowles (www.comewearymoms.blogspot.com)

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    1. Yes, Virginia, I think homeschooling has produced a "mixed bag" as you say. And that's one reason I want to encourage and give some constructive feedback to those who are doing it now. And some of what I say will apply to non-homeschoolers as well. I hope you'll come back and add your reflections as I continue with this series.

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  5. It's painful to read on this site, but also very eye-opening:
    http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/


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    1. Just took a quick look at this, Virginia, and I obviously don't have much info on HSLDA's current attitudes/actions. We were members of HSLDA until 1992, and I was not aware of any cases that HSLDA was involved in that were about abuse/control. My only experiences with them were in regard to the legality of homeschooling. There are certain elements in the Home schooling movement that cause me concerns. However, my observations will be for loving homeschool families, not those involved in control/abuse teachings.
      THanks for this heads up, though. I will clarify where I'm coming from as I discuss my observations.

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  6. I started in the mid-nineties. My youngest is now 11. I have seen lots of changes, too. Even the mothers are different now.

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    1. I'd love to hear your observations either in an email or comments, Laura.
      It will help me create my posts.
      Thanks.

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  7. I am limited to how much/long I can type ;-) but homeschooling is near and dear to my heart. I was a pioneer :-) and homeschooled since the 80s (I love your hair in the pic so 80s). Anyhow, we took 10 couples to a convention in the early years of homeschooling where the speaker (this one just had one speaker) said that most of the families there would quit because we are a generation of quitters Looking back, 8 of those families quit and about 4 divorced. I know a handful who stayed the course but often the children do not take on the godly faith of their parents. Sometimes because academics were put first not the Lord, but mostly because each individual child chooses whom he will serve.

    This turned out longer than I thought I would be able to type this out.

    Thanks for linking up at WholeHearted Home. I look forward to this series as this is close to my heart.

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  8. Thank you for taking that step - leap - of faith all those years ago!
    We are finishing up our 21st year of homeschooling (with 11 more years to go) and I am ever so thankful for you and others who had the courage and conviction to stay the course, blazing the trail so families like mine could come along behind.
    I enjoyed reading your post today - it encouraged me.

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  9. I'm looking forward to reading more from you. My parents began homeschooling us in the 80's and now I am homeschooling my own children.

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  10. Gail, I'll be praying for you as you share your thoughts.

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