Radical Homeschoolers

Cross-posted at Home Education Magazine News & Commentary.

The National Review posted an October article about the homeschool presence titled The Last Radicals. Homeschool families aren't necessarily trying to do anything but live their lives every day without outside bureaucratic interference.  Which does cause us to find ourselves against the societal mainstream.  From the NR article by Kevin Williamson:

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.

We do seem to be an irresistible target for many in the edu-industry.  Many homeschool advocates roll with it and wear the "radical" expression with pride.  The home education community even has a sub-category of Radical Unschoolers.

These terms could even be worn with a badge of honor when we were called educational anarchists by the California Teachers Association. In that 2008 state issue, the California Teachers Association thought they were insulting us by referring to homeschooling as educational anarchy.  Instead, many ran with it with some using it as a badge of honor.

Williamson points out some critics' opinions that were confusing, at best.  Robin West (Georgetown Law School) offered concerns about people living in trailer parks, 1,000 square foot houses or with relatives, while suggesting homeschool families also bring down economic health and the tax base.  West would never let facts get in the way.

The article also laid out New American Foundation Schwartz Fellow Dana Goldstein's opinion from a  Slate article: Liberals, Don’t Homeschool Your Kids. Why teaching children at home violates progressive values.  Goldstein asks:  “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive—by which I mean, does homeschooling serve the interests not just of those who are doing it, but of society as a whole."  Unschooled filmmaker and writer Astra Taylor responded to Goldstein's article here. A radio discussion followed between Goldstein and Taylor on To the Best of Our Knowledge.

Kevin Williamson ends the article with this:

Homeschoolers may have many different and incompatible political beliefs, but they all implicitly share an opinion about the bureaucrats: They don’t need them — not always, not as much as the bureaucrats think. That’s what makes them radical and, to those with a certain view of the world, terrifying.

You might also appreciate this article written by Margaret Heidenry:  My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists


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