[Please see earlier article: Birth of the Home Education "Movement" in this blog, Jan 11 http://www.parentsteachingparents.net/2014/01/home-education-as-a-movement/. That piece was also published online here https://gaither.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/john-holts-conversion-to-home-education/ After a month I submitted amplifation to my views with the following, particularly my polint about the significance of the One Percenters. In this day and age, January 2014, that remark takes on greater importance as anxieties spread concerning 21st Century Learning projects now being incorporated into education systems internationally without the forsight of proven evidence or approval of the communities served.]
Why Home Education Matters
I wrote the article “The Birth of the Home Education Movement” in 2010 after we knew that home educators in California were safe from legal sanctions or having their children seized for truancy. There was that political threat before the courts in 2008 – claiming that parents needed teaching credentials before teaching their children at home.
In explaining the issues on an education blog I had mentioned how important this case was and that it was a godsend in this day and age that we had the quick services of the Internet to communicate and raise the alarm and support the cause. I had sent many comments to as many outlets as I could – ranging from Focus on the Family to John Stossel program and as many homeschooling sites that I could find.
However, one naysayer said: “So what? They’re probably only 1 percent of the school population.”
That is when I knew I had to write about the freedoms that home educators exemplify in a world growing increasingly unfree and compromised by political and power agendas. I had to point out how prescient John Holt was when he made his famous quote on freedom – a proclamation against the dangers ahead – that should be tacked-up on all our bulletin boards:
“Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.” – John Holt
When I had met with John in Mexico, during the lectures of Ivan Illich of “Deschooling” fame, he was still an ardent school reformer. He was aware of home educators and that they were few and far between and rather timid about legalities. But, John was struck by my comments about intending to educate my children at home – by the firm resolve I showed. I was bolstered by the fact that my research had shown that school acts in the UK and North America provided the “elsewhere” or “otherwise” language to do so. That is when he exclaimed “Smart City!” – a comment which actually threw me as I had never heard such a term before.
I think my adamant firmness of belief was what caused what I have called a “Eureka moment” and others have characterized as a “conversion” to home education. It wasn’t that John Holt was unaware of these home educating possibilities. It seemed to me then, as a young mother with two little children and agreeing with him about the themes of his early books (How Children Fail, How Children Learn, The Underachieving School), that he had this “Ah-ha! Moment” and started considering a switch from his school reform efforts to supporting a home education movement more akin to his beliefs about education.
In my article I called his efforts the beginning of a “movement” even though I was well aware of the Quakers, the Moores and others in their work with Christian families. John Holt had the mailing lists, the networks and the foresight to start his newsletter “Growing Without Schooling” and the rest is history, I said.
The One Percenters in Home Education today, with the growing literature and materials available, provide a solid testament and inspiration to many who embrace alternative, independent forms of education. Additionally, these One Percenters are a visible and steadfast witness to legislators and opponents about the validity and legality of educating children in family units.