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Attachment Parenting WILL Follow Homeschooling: WINNING!

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Attachment Parenting WILL Follow Homeschooling:


By Linda Dobson

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”
¬† — ¬†Mahatma Gandhi


TIME magazine cover

When my family began homeschooling in the mid-80s, mainstream coverage of the movement was non-existent. You could read an occasional article in Mothering, Mother Earth News, or Backwoods Home Magazine. But send a proposal to Parents, Redbook, Woman’s World, Good Housekeeping – you know, all of those and other magazines created to support young mothers? The silence was deafening.

While I finally did manage to get Good Housekeeping to provide a first-person look at homeschooling in the early 90s (not sure of the date), we didn’t make too many in-roads until the news magazines started paying attention. Each time, the homeschooling community waited with baited breath for Newsweek, Time, or even Mother Jones to – finally!¬† – let lots of families learn about and understand what we loved about homeschooling.

Homeschooling Ridiculed

This is where the ridicule happened. Painted as either crunchy hippies living off the grid or religious zealots, these “news” magazines painted their own pictures streaked with black marks of personal opinion, lousy or non-existent research, and an unquestioned faith in a public school system that had already begun its slide down the slippery slope of federal control and insane expense. They didn’t understand, and therefore couldn’t possibly convey, that children could learn in love instead of authority. They didn’t understand, and therefore couldn’t possibly convey, that children are complete beings who learn best when someone pays as much attention to their physical, emotional and spiritual aspects as she does their intellect. Dear friends, the war on children is not new.

Disappointing? Of course. And yet…and yet…we licked our wounds and realized, if only at the gut level, it was progress.

Homeschooling Fought

So what did this attention buy us? Fights, some small, some big. You know the drill. We can’t have parents thinking they can do the job that teachers spend years being trained to do expertly. We can’t let parents just take their children out of school (or never send them in the first place), and not know what those poor little, sure-to-be misfits might be learning.

See also Yes, You Can Turn to Homeschooling Temporarily

Homeschooling parents were threatened with jail, with losing custody, or with filling their lives with an incredible amount of busy work in the name of accountability. Some families moved from the less homeschooling friendly states. It was rare but, yes, some parents wound up in jail for homeschooling, for exercising their right to encompass education within their parenting realm. Homeschooling families took a lot of field trips to state capitols to keep up their side of the fight.

Homeschooling Wins

Fortunately for today’s parents, yesterday’s homeschooling parents didn’t give up or give in. Slowly, slowly our homeschooling support groups grew, our numbers grew, our acceptance grew. In communities across the country homeschooling parents and children patiently (ok, maybe not patiently all of the time) educated others about the benefits, free of the mainstream media spin that had gone before. Community members met the homeschooling children, and saw not only that they weren’t misfits, but that they were bright and cheerful and polite and responsible and…interested in learning. Not schooling, learning. We still have a way to go but, at last, we can declare many victories for homeschooling. WINNING!

Attachment Parenting WILL Follow Homeschooling

When I first saw the headline and photo Time magazine chose to place on its attachment parenting issue, I thought, “Good.” Finally, parenting with instinct isn’t being ignored. It’s up to the ridicule stage. (Why else would they have chosen that photo, besides obviously figuring it will help the magazine’s sagging sales?)

Disappointing? Of course. And yet…and yet…you can lick your wounds and realize, if only at the gut level, it’s progress. Take heart, attachment parents, because the fight, which of course at many levels has already begun, will start in earnest.

And then, you will find yourself celebrating victories because, one day, you’ll be able to nurse in public with no grief. One day, you’ll be able to tell someone you have a family bed and s/he’ll respond, “Oh, I have a friend who does that. They say it’s really beneficial for their kids.” One day, your baby will grow up and become a bright and cheerful and polite and responsible adult.

Just as with homeschooling, attachment parenting advocates will declare: WINNING!


Should have been magazine cover

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