Discrimination – noun
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit
It was the first time in 5 years I can remember it happening.
My kids were denied participation in something simply because they are homeschooled.
Our super-small town was hosting a cool community event and I was hoping to get my boys involved. Another homeschooling mom-friend of mine was also excited. We saw an opportunity for our kids to stretch their social muscles and exercise their individual personalities. She had told her oldest daughter all about the event and that darling child was just thrilled at the thought of it. Thrilled.
My friend and I set out to locate the information on how to get our kids involved because, like most of you, we believe it’s important as homeschool families that we seek out these kinds of opportunities. And that’s when it happened, we were told homeschoolers weren’t allowed to participate. The local school PTA technically happened to be the sponsor of the event and that allowed them to impose a “must be enrolled in school ‘X’ number of hours to participate” rule that can only serve to exclude homeschooled children. There is no other purpose a rule like that can serve. None.
I wanted to fight back. I planned to push the issue. I was put instantly on the defensive. I wont lie, I was hot.
I might be prone to a bit of a temper, just a bit. It could be a redhead thing, a Type-A thing or a Mama Bear thing, but that’s how it is……especially when it comes to any injustice (be it real or perceived) done to those three boys that are my sons. My first reaction was to be angry, to reel at the unfairness of it all, to stew in the images of a bunch of disappointed faces.
But then it hit me………
Life isn’t always fair.
Disappointment is a reality.
Anger doesn’t change policies.
Discrimination exists, in so many different ways.
Making the choice to homeschool our kids means there are some things we will have to let go, rethink, sacrifice or reinvent. This generation of homeschooling parents has access to a wealth of resources, support, activities, events and information. Something those that came before us didn’t always enjoy. Much of the opportunity, acceptance and freedom afforded to us as homeschoolers is because someone, some family, some group, somebody stood up for the right of families to direct the education of their own children. For that I am endlessly thankful.
I believe the challenge for us today is in deciding when the envelope needs to be pushed and when we need to look for alternatives or to employ out-of-the-box thinking for the opportunities we wish our children to have. I didn’t fight this particular battle, the event wasn’t something of super-importance to my kids and time didn’t allow. However, there are issues in our lives that warrant advocacy for ourselves and homeschoolers in general and it’s a bridge we’ll have to cross when the time comes.
So it goes, the balance we will have to find in each of our families. Some things will need to be accepted the way they are, others should be contended for change. Some rules and policies are set without even considering how it will affect the homeschool community, others deliberately target it. Some things will be easy to change, others impossible. We have been blessed with the freedom to make the decision to homeschool, but we can’t pretend that decision won’t carry its own bundle of challenges and battles along the way. Is the risk worth the rewards? Do the pros outweigh the cons? In our home, the answer is a resounding, YES! I would imagine most of you agree. Let us not forget the home education population grows every year, and there’s a strength to be found in those growing numbers!
Have you experienced a kind of discrimination in your homeschool lives? How did you react? Were you able to turn it into a positive learning experience for your children?