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Parent at the Helm to Support Homeschoolers & All Parents as They Help Children Learn

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S/he who holds the helm steers the course

S/he who holds the helm steers the course

Hi. By way of introduction, I’m Linda Dobson. In a nutshell? I’m a homeschool mom turned grandma turned full-time advocate for intellectually freeing children from the confines of government (public) schooling, welcoming aboard for support and encouragement homeschoolers, after-schoolers, parents whose kids are special needs, gifted, unmotivated, bored, and/or stressed, parents whose kids rock their world, and/or parents who intuit they’re the only ones with the necessary knowledge and love to chart their own course to life as family, living in freedom to enjoy the voyage of family life. (Whew. That’s quite the sentence…I promise they won’t all be that long!)

There won’t be anything too fancy about either this blog or the website that will soon come online, as we’d much rather put our time into getting you, the parent, what you need to begin or continue holding on to more responsibility for your child’s education. I began homeschooling three children in 1985, and have been watching the education scene ever since. I thought the problems with public school were bad then, but have to admit I never imagined they could get so much worse in twenty-five years. Along with other parents I saw the trend toward “cradle-to-grave” control of personal lives, as well as the trend of an increasing number of parents willing to go along with the program(ming) to accomplish this. (Check out the recent  Education Week’s article, Schools Need a Culture Shift, by a former state education commissioner, just for starters.)

I guess you might say that President Obama’s recent talk (threat?) about longer days and longer years of schooling became my own personal “straw that breaks the camel’s back” when it comes to what I’ve learned over the years are some of the most harmful practices inflicted on innocent blooming minds and personalities. For several years I’ve taken a hiatus from the previously deep connection I’ve had with the homeschooling world, and for reasons I felt were out of my control, re-entered the 9-to-5 rat race. Trouble is, my heart remained with the parents whose hearts were/are breaking because of a plethora of troubles rooted in school attendance.

But you know what? Thanks to that “last straw,” I realized that I needed to take back control of my time and energy to return to the advocacy so near and dear to my heart. I just have to trust that my love and passion for the work will see me through. I share all of this, not to bore you (and I hope I haven’t!), but because it’s so similar to so many life decisions – including the ones you make about your child’s education! Will the majority of your time and energy go elsewhere in the hope that a giant institution is giving your child the best, one-shot at education s/he can get? Or can you trust that your love for your child will allow YOU to successfully take the helm? I’m writing to tell you that I know – without a shadow of a doubt – your love can. I also know that by so doing, your family life and relationships can be healthier, happier, and a lot more fun.

Speaking of fun, future posts won’t be anywhere as serious! I just felt it was important to let you know where we’re coming from, and that we stand ready to put our resources to work for you and your family, toward the happiness and success of your child. We hope you’ll hop aboard and grab the provisions you need to do a great job “at the helm!”

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8 Responses to “Parent at the Helm to Support Homeschoolers & All Parents as They Help Children Learn”

  1. It's absolutely wonderful to see you doing this, Linda! I smiled as I read what you wrote, thinking to myself 'this is perfect, and Linda's the perfect person to do this!' We need strong advocates and knowledgeable voices for families right now, perhaps more than ever, and you've always been one of the groundbreakers in speaking out for parents and children and how important it is to build and support strong families. Reading your initial essay reminded me of another strong and much-loved voice for families, Earl Gary Stevens, and something he wrote many years ago which still inspires and uplifts me to this day:

    A homeschooling parent in Canada recently sent me a letter which ended with a quote by Roque Dalton: “May we keep hauling up the morning.” I like the metaphor of a sailing ship upon the sea for parenthood and for homeschooling. There are no completely reliable charts, and so we must often navigate without them. We must learn for ourselves how to find the currents, avoid the reefs and storms, and enter the harbors. As we haul up the sails to go on sailing, so we haul up the morning for the adventures of each successive day. There is room for everybody on this ocean, and there is no pilot’s license required or worth having. We must trust ourselves and our children. May each of us keep hauling up the morning.

    -Earl Gary Stevens, Home Education Magazine, 1990

  2. ldobson says:

    How beautiful…thank you so very much for sharing that, Helen. I've been thinking and thinking and thinking some more, and it always came back this metaphor! How wonderful that Earl saw it, too, and described it so poetically…absolutely perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Hi Linda,

    I've been much encouraged by your HEM articles over the years. I look forward to much more encouragement here. Thanks for your efforts and God's blessings to you.

    Carol

  4. ldobson says:

    Carol, thank you for such a nice note, and for being here! I just took a look at your blog – great job…let me know if you're interested in trading links (I hope to get a list going tomorrow – I have to spend most of today at dentist, yuck!). Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  5. Barbara Kelly says:

    Brilliant, Linda! I'm so glad you've decided to do this.

    Its weird how life just turns around sometimes and here you are with a brand new ship to sail. I only recently came across the Obama initiative for longer days and shorter breaks. I blogged on it at the cafe…it was probably old news by then but I can understand why it was the straw that broke your camel's back.

    I'm looking forward to sharing and learning in the future. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • ldobson says:

      Hi, Barbara,
      Oh, look, you got purple…wanna trade? <g>
      I saw your post at the cafe and want to take a moment to thank you for your attention to it. It will remain, as there were quite a few subscribers, but I truly hope they come here.
      I just feel enough is enough…do you know the song, Impossible Dream, from Man of La Mancha? I've fought dreaming the impossible dream, but at this point in my life I figure, what the hell? If you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing. I truly hope that in at least some small way my efforts help you. A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  6. Linda, I think if parents across the country took back the helm and listened their hearts instead of assuming that the school must be doing a good job, after all this is America, then children would not fall through the cracks. Soon the system would crumble and be replaced by something that works. I envision small neighborhood one-room schoolhouses. Every child can walk to school, or have a friend push his or her wheelchair. Ages are not segregated. Younger children learn from older children. Each child's studies are individually paced. Costly sports programs give way to outdoor play and (gasp!) work. Parents pitch in to clean and maintain the tiny classroom. If this sounds like neighborhood homeschooling, well, I guess you figured me out. It worked in the past and it would work again. But we'd have to give up testing the children to death. They just won't have time for it.

  7. Yvonna, Your last sentence made me laugh out loud – how true! I once wrote a piece that's still available online at http://www.creatinglearningcommunities.org/book/c…. Looks like we're on the same page! Thanks for writing; please stay in touch!

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