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The Value of Homeschooling Stories, Reed Colfax

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Reed Colfax is a member of the homeschooling-Colfax family. His parents David and Micki are the authors of Hard Times in Paradise and Homeschooling for Excellence. When Reed wrote this at the turn of the century, he had graduated from Harvard, graduated from Yale Law School, and after several interesting jobs, was serving as a staff attorney for the Fair Housing Project of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. He was gracious enough to accept the request to write the foreword for my then new book, HomeschoolersSucess Stories: 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives. (Prima Publishing, 2000) This is Part One of two parts.

Virtually all parents seek the best possible education for their children.

The tales of the homeschooled will answer the questions and allay the fears that all parents have.

The tales of the homeschooled will answer the questions and allay the fears that all parents have.

For many parents, however, the education they perceive as the best is simply not available. Many factors, including financial resources and geographic location, limit the forms of education parents can offer their children. Some types of education are not even considered because their availability or potential benefits are unknown. Homeschooling is a prime example of such a form of education. For years, most parents have been unaware of homeschooling as an educational option. Recently, however, with the numbers of homeschoolers increasing, homeschooling has begun to enter the national consciousness as a realistic means to educate children. Today there is a good probability that a colleague, friend, or relative is homeschooling or has been homeschooled. Of course, despite the presence of homeschoolers in all segments of society, many parents remain skeptical of the efficacy of homeschooling. Such skepticism, however, becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as more and more stories of successful homeschooling experiences continue to unfold.

When my parents began homeschooling in the early 1970s, they knew no stories of homeschoolers, successful or otherwise. At the time, homeschooling was not a viable schooling choice being considered by parents throughout the country. Homeschooling was more of an emergency stop-gap for those parents who had no other options. Our family was not aware of anyone else homeschooling when we chose not to attend the local elementary school. Homeschooling presented itself as the only possible means for my brothers and me to begin our education. The only traditional schooling available was the local public school, which was a 20-minute drive away when the unmaintained dirt roads were passable. Our family had just purchased an isolated piece of undeveloped property with no roads, no structures, or any other amenities. The kids were critical to carving out a place to live. If we had been in school for 6 or 7 hours a day, we would not have been available to burn brush or level land. Homeschooling was a necessity, but it was only temporary. Once our land was nominally developed and the roads were better maintained, we were given the standing offer to attend the public school whenever we should choose. But homeschooling was working, and it did not appear that we were missing any great educational opportunities at the local school. As the years passed, the temporary solution evolved into a permanent program.

Today homeschooling is frequently chosen, at the outset of a child’s schooling, as a long-term way to educate the child. This choice is made now even where other educational options are present. As parents make such a choice, they can take comfort in homeschooling books, homeschooling support groups, homeschooling conferences, and homeschooling curricula. But the largest number of parents will be persuaded that homeschooling is a legitimate educational option by the stories of those who have been homeschooled. The tales of the homeschooled will answer the questions and allay the fears that all parents have as they consider starting to homeschool. They will also allow many unfamiliar with homeschooling to see its potential value.

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3 Responses to “The Value of Homeschooling Stories, Reed Colfax”

  1. Beverley says:

    Thanks for sharing Reed's article again. I read his parents' book Homeschooling for Excellence (was that the title) very early on in my homeschooling life and was incredibly inspired. I absolutely loved the honesty of that book! More than anything I think it inspired me to write frankly and honestly about my own experiences.

  2. Karen says:

    Reed's parents' book was the first I read on homeschooling ten years age. We have graduated our first student who is a freshman in college and have never regretted our decision. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. […] Dobson posted The Value of Homeschooling Stories, Reed Colfax at PARENT AT THE HELM.  Reed Colfax was homeschooling when it wasn’t particularly  cool to […]

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