Nance and Lynn, Meg and Beta are homeschooler moms who also sort of parent schooled kids. And sooner or later many of us get far enough along in homeschooling to see kids off to college and university (yep, sorry, schools!) and to see that not as giving up identity but the opposite, and such a GOOD thing.
So Sam will have a lot to talk about with all sorts of Thinking Parents, going forward after the holidays. Meanwhile in his signature introspective style, here is how he sees it:
A huge part of my desire to continue homeschooling, I have to admit, is that I’ve allowed homeschooler to define my identity to such an extent. . .It’s like that whole homeschooler thing. I don’t really think that I’m losing the identity or becoming not a homeschooler, I’m becoming more, maybe?
I admire Sam, more and more. Like a homeschool-to-school parent I wrote about here in town, he’s thinking about some school for himself along with his children.
The first time I encountered Sam, he struck me as a young dad who still had a lot to learn about parenting and homeschooling as identity, vastly richer and messier than clear, tidy fundamentalist labels can define and delimit:
Last night an unschooling dad . . .finally sniffed at me and Nance, said even his eight-year-old son understands how calling something by a different name doesn’t make it so.
This dad, let’s call him Sam — because he says that is his name, although it might be an online alias, and I once knew a schnauzer named Sam, but hey, it’s not my business to research and relabel this fellow homeschooler, or worry about whether the name he chooses to use in this context is confusing, disingenuous, or possibly outside the LAW as documented on his official government birth certificate — DadSam says Nance and I are clearly wrong, and he figures we know we’re wrong but won’t admit it and he’s done listening or thinking. . .
. . .who has more to fear here, the definers or the defined?
Now DadSam has learned so much about labels that he can leave them behind and as he says it himself with the wisdom of well-earned education — not mere schooling! — he isn’t losing his individual identity. He’s becoming more, maybe.
Here’s how I had described for Sam, what our son was learning at home, whatever anyone wanted to label it:
He already grasps at some level that learning about the world and negotiating it through relationships with all its inhabitants, no matter how you do it or what you call it, doesn’t mean being TOLD WHAT IS RIGHT.
It means thinking and feeling for yourself, and the words you eventually choose to express it all must be yours and yours alone. Don’t let anyone tell you different, son, no matter what they call themselves or you or your education, your work, play, politics, parents or future children.
Vaya con Pasta. Go with the FSM, Sam and sons. It really is about home, not school, and we’re all traveling companions on the roads home that count.