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Lifeboats: What Homeschooling Advocacy Means to Me

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Lifeboats: What Homeschooling Advocacy Means to Me

By Linda Dobson

I never set out to become a homeschooling advocate, though that is what I’m often called. As I watched three young hearts and minds blossom in an educational experience antithetical to my own, it was impossible to keep the discovery – the joy, the love, the obvious “naturalness” of the process of learning – to myself. [Twenty-seven] years ago it was pretty hard to find more than a handful of people to speak with directly about such a revelation, so I began writing about it. I helped start support groups, and wrote some more. That writing led to invitations to speak, and thus an advocate was born.

While my advocacy began as a desire to share the “good news,” it continues today for a different reason. Homeschooling has given me reason and opportunity to ponder, discuss, dissect, and question both what I’ve been taught and what I’ve assumed. When educational teachings and assumptions didn’t hold up to this scrutiny, there were reason and opportunity to look at other teachings and assumptions related to children and family, the building blocks of a healthy society.

To put it plainly, what I uncovered is appalling. I look around and see my family and I are afloat in a sea of suffering where families and children are concerned. For every one of the increasing number of children reported to his life, or wind up in prison, or become addicted to drugs, or suffer violence at the hand of another, there is a family whose members’ lives are forever changed in a wave of human connection, and the ripples are far-reaching. For each of these children who allow anger and resentment to turn his or her life into a series of conflicts (and isn’t that what youth violence really is?) a mother fears, a brother hopes, an uncle mourns, a friendship dies.

In the midst of this sea of despair, I feel compelled to offer homeschooling as a lifeboat. Yet I can only offer the boat. Each family must work together to fill it with their own breath of life and love, hope and commitment. Only they can rescue themselves.

I know there will be many whose politics, personal or governmental, won’t allow them even to consider an approach to education that contradicts the one method chosen for the masses and practiced in the monopoly public school system. Others may desperately want a lifeboat, but they spend so much time and energy simply staying afloat in the sea of suffering it seems impossible to find more time and energy to inflate the boat.

If you don’t have much practice thinking alternatively or cooperatively, common-sense solutions may sometimes slip by you. But consider this: If just a few of those safely on their lifeboats gladly keep others afloat as they blow up their boats, soon all would be rescued. The community of the drowning would save itself.

Every contributor to this book has offered that help so selflessly, so joyfully, their kindness will live in my heart forever. They offered up their time, their devotion, their combined 500- plus years of experience in an unprecedented effort to keep members of our society afloat long enough to gather their life and love, hope and commitment. One family at a time. Doing it for themselves.

If there is another lifeboat in addition to homeschooling that can so profoundly enrich parents’ and children’s lives together, I have yet to find it. And I have looked hard. These wonderful contributors to The Homeschooling Book of Answers offer you your very own, personal lifeboat.



Michelle Barone

Chris Cardiff

Cafi Cohen

David Colfax

Micki Colfax

Adam Dobson

Kirby Dodd

Marty Dodd

Sandra Dodd

Susan Evans

Ann Lahrson Fisher

John Taylor Gatto

Nancy and Billy Greer

Mary Griffith

Adam Grimm

Mark and Helen Hegener

Shari Henry

Loretta Heuer

Doris Hohensee

Michael Hohensee

Katharine Houk

Theresa Hyland

Lindsey Johnson

Lillian Jones

TJ Jones

Larry and Susan Kaseman

Megan Kaseman

Rebecca Kochenderfer

Janie Levine Hellyer

Patricia Lines

Izzy Lyman

Mary H. McCarthy

Dr. Pat Montgomery

Dr. Raymond Moore

Dorothy Moore

Donna Nichols-White

Nancy Plent

Wendy Priesnitz

Annaquista Pykosz

Marsha Ransom

Jean Reed

Donn Reed

Becky and Randy Rupp

Will and Margaret Shaw

Susannah Sheffer

Deb Shell

Mae Shell

Scarlet Sara Shell

Luz Shosie

Ned Vare

Cindy Wade

Judith Waite Allee

Ann Zeise

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2 Responses to “Lifeboats: What Homeschooling Advocacy Means to Me”

  1. We’re quite the crew, aren’t we. Thanks for pulling that book together, Linda. And we keep bailing. 😉

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