I wrote earlier this week about some of the ways some homeschool parents have been dismissing homeschool alums speaking out in favor of more legal safeguards and protections for homeschooled children. This week Al Jazeera initiated the hashtag #homeschoolkid asking for people’s experiences, and I came upon this:
Just in case you’re confused, the “CRHE” she is referring to is the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, whose board is made up of homeschool alums. She might as well have said the same thing of Homeschoolers Anonymous, or Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out, groups whose leadership have similar backgrounds and similar goals. But this isn’t a one person thing. Her sentiment is actually something I’ve seen quite a bit. We, we grown homeschool kids, you see we’re not allowed to speak on homeschooling unless we have homeschool kids of our own.
I see this on an even wider level, though. I’ve watched young adults speak from their own experiences against harsh discipline methods, such as those promoted by the Pearls, only to be told that they are not allowed to speak to parenting issues because they are not parents. As though having been a child is not enough to be able to speak out on issues related to children.
Yes, it’s important to understand homeschool parents’ concerns about pointless paperwork or overly intrusive superintendents, etc. We homeschool alums who are speaking in favor of more oversight of homeschooling are aware of that. I am personally of the perspective that it would be very silly not to ask for input from homeschool parents when looking for ways to create more effective safeguards to protect homeschooled children from abuse or educational neglect. We’re not asking that the homeschool parent perspective be ignored, we’re simply asking that the homeschooled child perspective have a place at the table too. When it comes to homeschooling policy, for several decades now the voices of homeschool parents have dominated the discussion. We homeschool alums feel that the homeschooled child’s voice also deserves to be heard.
We don’t have to have homeschool kids of our own to understand the experience of being a homeschool kid. We don’t have to because we were homeschool kids.
But apparently some people don’t get that.