Times Are Changing

By Jonathan Lewis on September 30, 2017

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a gathering of homeschool business leaders in Colorado Springs. Some of the conversations that took place were quite interesting, but one thing stood out to me: the homeschooling community is in a state of change unlike anything we’ve seen in the history of the movement.

Gone are the days of the early pioneers. The number of options available to families has exploded, definitions of what constitutes homeschooling have expanded, and the practical and philosophical motivations for choosing home education are many and varied.

For the “old guard” of the homeschooling community, these changes can be disheartening. The struggles and realities of the early days of modern home education are a fading memory, soon to be remembered only by a relative handful of aging pioneers and their now-grown children. It was a time of legal opposition, political activism, and rugged determination to prove to the world that parents could successfully teach their children academically and nurture them spiritually. The conviction that this was God’s work ran deep in those days.

Fast forward to today, and the convictions typically aren’t quite as settled. The decision to homeschool is often more pragmatic, with families jumping in and out of homeschooling as circumstances change. Some families decide year by year, even child by child, if homeschooling is the right choice.

Where does all of this change leave the modern home education community, and what does it mean for us? I’d like to offer a few thoughts for your consideration.

First, the rapid growth of homeschooling is wonderful. Even if we don’t all share the same motivations, I’m glad that more families are opting to teach their children at home.

Second, we would do well to remember the hard work of the pioneers and the lessons they can teach us. Homeschooling freedom didn’t come easily, and we’re able to travel a relatively comfortable road today only because they forged the path many years ago. We should be grateful.

Third, conviction still matters. Whatever your reason for homeschooling, I encourage you to give it serious thought. And if you’re a one-year-at-a-time homeschooler, I would challenge you to consider the possibility that the blessings and benefits of home education outweigh the often pragmatic considerations that cause parents to put their children back in school. As a homeschool graduate myself, I’m thankful my parents stuck it out to the end.

Fourth, everyone needs encouragement. Homeschooling can still be a lonely road with a steep learning curve. Online support can be great, but real-life interaction is usually better.

Fifth, we need the older homeschool generation to stay involved. All of that accumulated wisdom and experience shouldn’t go to waste!

In closing, I fully expect the homeschooling community to continue growing and evolving with each passing year. Where we’ll end up as a movement is anyone’s guess. But whatever else may change, one thing should remain the same: as parents, we’re here to do the best job for our kids that we possibly can. With God’s help, let’s push onward, trusting Him to do great things through us in the next generation.