Have you heard the question: what one book would you take with you to a desert island? Pick your favorite storybook or novel. Now, write from that book’s perspective about what it would be like to be stuck on an island with just you.
I address the topic of what I call “The Invisible Education” in my book, The Brave Learner. I felt that it was important to squarely face the lived experiences of homeschooled children (many now adults) who grew up in toxic family environments that were hidden within the homeschool context.
Early adopters in particular had a stake in proving the superiority of home education and sometimes parents and their communities covered up their failures to protect the movement rather than children. It’s important to face that unique dynamic honestly and to put ourselves into healthy accountability (which is why I talk about abuse so frequently).
I have received messages from moms letting me know that they came to awareness of the abusive atmosphere in their families reading posts I’ve shared. That’s good. We need to do that—to tell the truth, to support women in particular as they stand up to control or mistreatment. It’s on us to name it for what it is.
Even with that awareness, I am still unhappy with the framing of the issue that somehow homeschooling creates a more dangerous context than traditionally schooled kids. Not true!
What we all want to face is the danger of:
adults exploiting children when children are meant to trust them.
This kind of “power over” happens in loads of adult-child contexts.
Teachers, coaches, daycare workers, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, employers, directors, referees, and instructors—all carry responsibility to be fair and kind to children. It starts with all of us calling out abuse—learning what it is, then bravely naming it, then standing up to it for the sake of children. Period.
Let’s tend our garden of home education. Let’s not tolerate cruelty, toxic control, or violence against children in our space. That’s my plea. We work on this stuff with parents in our online classes, and in the Homeschool Alliance. Because it matters—and creates the best conditions for a thriving education—for learning.
xo Julie (recovering from abuse in my own life)
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!
Let’s address this global, unique moment where homeschooling is suddenly center-stage and millions of families are experiencing a lifestyle change that is in some ways similar and in some ways different than the choice many of us made to do this homeschooling project.
The move from having kids in school to having their education thrust upon you is creating a serious amount of:
disruption to ordinary life.
If that weren’t enough, parents who used to send their kids to school and then drive to an office are now also at home, trying to conduct a 40-hour workweek while they educate their children using a school system that they didn’t create.
What I want to do today is look at homeschooling as a philosophy, and looking at the dynamic of what happens when you combine working from home with education from home.
It is no easy thing to:
be confined in your house,
not have access to much of the entertainment and distractions we’re accustomed to, and
be so uncertain about what the future holds.
For all of us in this conundrum, I want to talk about ways we can foster learning and play and cooperation while parents are trying to get their jobs done. I’m going to break this up into tips for those of us who are suddenly-at-home schoolers and then some tips for working from home while schooling.
Listen to the Podcast
Tips for Suddenly-at-Home Schoolers
You’re at home, not at school. Home is where you get to be yourself, relaxed, not pressured. School is where you perform for standards and follow the requirements of the institution. When you bring the school into the home, it’s a mismatch, which is why kids rebel against that feeling of imposed learning. What should we do instead when we are teaching, and learning, from home?
When did you first read Tolkien and what were your first thoughts?
What’s your fancy: books or movies? (Or: Both are awesome!)
What will you do to celebrate Tolkien Reading Day?
Use the questions above for writing prompts! And feel free to share your family’s answers on our Facebook page.
*The Boomerang is a digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.
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