Celeste Land, VaHomeschoolers’ Director of Government Affairs and a member of our Board of Directors, was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC on October 13, 2010. The program segment, entitled “Homeschooling Goes Mainstream,” also included Mike Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Kojo and his guests discussed the history of the homeschooling movement, beginning with “anti-establishment freethinkers” in the 1960s, as well as the growth of conservative Christian homeschooling in the 1970s, and the appeal of homeschooling to a diverse cross-section of the American population today.
The program touched on the many and varied reasons why families choose homeschooling, from concerns with the school environment to a desire for a tailored educational approach or a wish to keep the family at the center of a child’s upbringing. The show also addressed a common stereotype of homeschoolers by pointing out that while many families that choose home education consider their faith to be a very important part of their lives, homeschooling families come from diverse religious backgrounds, and religious homeschoolers do not necessarily choose homeschooling for religious reasons.
As a homeschooling parent with one child in college and one homeschooling high school, Celeste was able to describe firsthand how the internet’s growth over the past decade and a half has supported the expansion of homeschooling, due to easier access to curricular materials and to networking opportunities for homeschooling families. She responded to one caller who expressed concern about homeschooled kids’ ability to succeed in “the real world” beyond homeschooling by describing what homeschooling families already know: homeschooled kids often spend more time on a day-to-day basis in “the real world,” with people of different ages and in different settings, than kids in a classroom setting are typically able to do. She got a laugh from Kojo when she revealed “homeschooling’s dirty little secret: we’re hardly ever home!”
Celeste also addressed the concerns common to parents who are considering homeschooling, but aren’t sure how it could possibly work for them. She described the wide variety of homeschool support groups, both online and in local communities, explained that single parents and working-parent households can and do find ways to make homeschooling work, and dispelled the myth that homeschooling parents have mysterious reserves of patience that other parents don’t have. The program touched briefly on a variety of other topics, from virtual schools to homeschoolers in the military to public school access issues and even unschooling. Some of the most important points Celeste conveyed were at the end of the show, however, when she emphasized that “there is no one way to homeschool,” and explained what all homeschoolers have in common: their committment to making homeschooling a part of their families’ lives.
The 45-minute segment is definitely worth listening to, and is available via podcast at http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2010-10-13/homeschooling-goes-mainstream