Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Policemen or Encouragers?
Today's Carnival of Homeschooling references a riveting article at The Thinking Mother about a state proposal to ask homeschoolers to "monitor" or to "police" each other for educational neglect. Talk about poisoning the well!
I help to run a high school level homeschool co-op, and I have seen some pretty strange things at that level. Many parents simply feel overwhelmed and either consider putting students in public schools or sort of throw up their hands and abandon students to their own devices.
I am finding that it is indeed in our interest as homeschoolers to work hard at building a community of caring and accountability. Not just because the state will be encroaching for the slightest reason, but also because we need to encourage each other not to grow weary in doing well. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart under any circumstances. But turning the homeschool community into a police state is not the answer.
Surely that concept of encouragement needs to be foremost, rather than an idea of monitoring. "Monitoring" and certainly "policing" do assume that those under scrutiny have done something wrong or are under suspicion of wrong-doing. However, "encouragement" carries none of those connotations, but cannot be done unless there is an appropriate amount of transparency between encourager and encouragee.
Building a community of encouragement not only effectively "polices" possible educational neglect, but also solves it within the community without state involvement.