I was recently inspired to write about the need to welcome diversity in the homeschooling community: people of all races and backgrounds can benefit from the freedom and empowerment of homeschooling, unschooling, and worldschooling. And the homeschooling community and the world can benefit from the presence of that diversity.
Then I read about the incident of racial profiling against Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the pre-eminent African American scholar from Harvard University who was arrested by police after being accused of breaking into his own home and getting upset at the policeman, just down the street from me in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a clear sign that racism is still a problem when a middle-aged scholar is arrested for “entering ones home while black”.
It’s always been my dream that homeschooling could help with the issues around race and fear and hate for supposed outsiders. I performed a rap poem in 2002, when I was 18, called “Whole Education Without Getting Schooled”, in which I said:
“Whole” as in complete with unity
With everyone part of a community
When you know everyone is interconnected
Propaganda that says “hate,” is ineffective
(You can read the whole rap poem here.)
I still think that homeschooling, or worldschooling as I like to call it, has great potential for broadening people’s horizons and breaking down the barriers that separate us.
A common concern about homeschooling is the students could become sheltered when in fact, as worldschoolers, they have the opportunity to have the whole world as their school rather than one building, in one neighborhood, in one city.
One thing is clear: according to a study done in 2007 “Home schooling improves academic performance and reduces impact of socio-economic factors.”:
Hepburn (of the Fraser Institute which did this study of homeschoolers in the U.S. and Canada) said evidence clearly demonstrates that home education may help reduce the negative effects of some background factors that many educators believe affects a child’s ability to learn, such as low family income, low parental educational attainment, parents not having formal training as teachers, race or ethnicity of the student, gender of the student, not having a computer in the home, and infrequent usage of public libraries….
The study also reports that students educated at home outperform their peers on most academic tests and are involved in a broad mix of social activities outside the home.
(You can read the whole article here.)
Homeschooling allows people to grow freely. This improves many aspects of ourselves, one of which is achievement on standardized tests. It also allows our spirit as a whole, our soul, to soar.
Homeschooling is not an elitist option only for wealthy, “well educated”, white families with two parents in the house. On the contrary it seems to be a powerful way for disadvantaged people to get ahead.
And I’m told that more and more people from diverse backgrounds are reaping the benefits of homeschooling. At the same time I’m disappointed at the lack of diversity at the unschooling gatherings I’ve been to. In my next post I’ll address this issue as best I can.