Huffington Post blogger Kate Fridkis writes about the New York Style Magazine article on upscale New York homeschool cooperatives:
The New York Times Style Magazine piece about the trendy Brooklyn homeschoolers, “School’s In,” both did and didn’t remind me of my own pre-college education. My family called it unschooling, because we didn’t have any classes. We were living in one of the parts of New Jersey that has a surprising number of farms, and our neo-Nazi neighbors harassed our black neighbors. We had “group,” which met every week or so–not for French lessons, but for random fun. The kids from group, local homeschoolers of different ages, went ice skating in the winter. We were the only ones on the rink, except for a foul-tempered skate guard with a bristling mustache. We went to parks in the summer. We built a raft out of recycling buckets and plywood and floated on the pond. We were not cool. Some of us ate processed cheese. No one had very much money.
Continue reading Kate’s outstanding article at “School’s In,”. But for those who won’t click the link, here is an important reminder about homeschooling (but we suggest skipping this and just reading Kate’s entire excellent article):
Both of my parents are very, very smart. They are both good at networking. They are both creative. But most importantly, in terms of my education, they both somehow were able to agree that I would turn out fine, even if I never sat in a classroom. They somehow trusted that children will always learn, as long as they are encouraged.
The Brooklyn homeschoolers’ world, as described, sounds so delicate to me. Which is funny, because people have always imagined my world to be constructed out of fragile materials and a rare brand of naïve idealism. This is a narrative about homeschooling that people repeat. It’s not “real.” It’s sort of a fantasy. It’s not gritty and down to earth and diverse. Maybe this is always at least partly true, but maybe it also just depends a lot on who is doing the homeschooling, or the unschooling. Because the truth is, school and home are never really perfectly balanced alternatives to one another. They aren’t opposites. School is controllable and uniform to an extent that unschool can’t possibly be.