All are welcome

When we started unschooling, our focus was limited to our kids.  We had to figure out how this was going to manifest for us, and we didn’t think very  much about other people.  (At least, I didn’t.)

Then, as our kids got older and we realized what an incredible gift we’d discovered, I started to share it with others.   I am, in the words of Seth Godin, a “sneezer”.   If I like something, I want to tell everyone about it and convince them that they will love it as much as I do.   Unschooling is no exception.

Imagine my surprise, then, to recently discover that many members of our local homeschooling community do not share my enthusiasm for spreading the word of this gift.  I’ve been an official member of this organization for 10+ years, so apparently I am a little slow on the uptake.  (And if you are among my community and are also a “sneezer”, just know that this is not directed at you.)

It is, to say the least, discouraging to realize that people I’ve known for years are not really interested in publicizing this path we are on.  They’d rather keep it to themselves and effectively create a “secret society” of like-minded people.   Only those with a personal introduction from a current member are truly welcomed.  Others, who found us by accident despite our best efforts to the contrary, have to work hard to break in to the group socially, if not technically.

I’ve been told that member outreach isn’t necessary; that it’s ok that our website is so old it looks like that of a defunct organization.

And I just think, “This is where people get the idea that homeschoolers are elitist.  Exactly this.”

So many families out there have children who are miserable in school, even if they are “good students”.  So many families don’t know they have options, or think that unless they are wealthy they can’t possibly succeed at it.   Nothing could be further from the truth, although I am getting a clearer picture in recent days of why this might be the perception.

So I’m here to say that despite appearances, the door is open and all are welcome.   If you live in NYC or if you don’t, there are people who will support you, encourage you and help you find your own way on this crazy unschooling journey.  Reach out any way you can.  The “sneezers” among us will happily respond, and welcome you to our very non-exclusive (in other word, inclusive) club.

8 comments on “All are welcome

  1. Janine says:

    Amy, I just wanted to say how very glad I am that you are a sneezer. Your page is one of the very few that I try to make time to read, because in these very early days (children aged 7 and 5, who have never been to school) although it feels right, it is not the easiest path and ‘doubt’, which has been marched out of the house by ‘trust’, is still tapping at the door and peering in though our windows! Your sneeze, even from the opposite hemisphere to us, makes a difference (we are pulling silly faces at ‘doubt’ as we speak).

  2. Al Hemberger says:

    Yup! What Janine said!

  3. says:

    Amy you know that you are not genuine! So many feel that you have come into the Homeschooling organization to tout your agenda which can be seen here again! You know what you have done to many is the anthesis of being a welcoming inclusionary Homeschooling mom. You are a volunteer and I might add for all the wrong reasons! They are comprised of you being selfish and having a major agenda to turn it into a business. You have not been a member of NYCHEA for 10 years and you are using a volunteer position to push people around! Who appointed you anything! Its enough already and come clean with the truth, how many you have bullied! No one is interested in you dismantling an organization that was based on community and inclusion where all are welcome not to drum up business for your unschooling organization, not for your elitist own agenda!

    • Amy says:

      Hi there!
      What I find interesting in your comment is that I never named the local homeschooling organization about which I was speaking, yet you assume it is NYCHEA. Why is that?

      I could go on, but you’ve kind of proven my point.


  4. nan says:

    HI Not! This shows your true colors! Not welcoming but slithering! Its blatant as seen thru all the ridiculous comments you think you were so cagey to write! No, you have proven exactly what everyone is thinking and what is written, you joined the organization for your own personal gain period! What other organization are you a part of that you created! As can be seen here and on your other blogs they are totally self serving and without credibility! Your one goal is to use the organization and profess that you are some guru to Homeschooling utilizing the organization you have nothing to do with creating for your own personal business. If you want to have a following do it on your own not by joining council and making like you are contributing anything, other than your own agenda. Again no one is interested in having your negative feedback reflected thru an organization, that stands for community, where all are really welcome! Your arrogant, elitist attitude, certainly has no place in any Homeschooling organizations!

  5. Diane says:

    Hi. I have been homeschooling for over 25 years in the Hudson Valley and am starting to see a real unmannerly way of handling disputes. It is problematic and does not reflect maturity, intelligence, or manners.
    I do appreciate Amy’s encouraging way of communicating a very difficult and often confusing subject of unschooling.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Diane,

      Thanks for your comment. Had I to do it over again, I might not have written a post about my disappointment in the lack of local member outreach in our community. I try to stay diplomatic and save my criticisms for those who actively speak out against homeschooling, but every now and then my diplomacy stumbles. In the case of this post I stand by what I said, but might have said it differently had I given myself more time to sort it out. (Also, in case anyone is wondering, I don’t have an unschooling organization. I have a blog. This is it.)

      I was fortunate over the weekend to have the chance to speak to some long term homeschoolers and homeschool advocates (some have been working in the field for over 30 years) and we talked a bit about the internal bickering that seems to have grown more common, even over the term “unschooler”. On the one hand, someone said, it may be seen as a positive sign that homeschooling has grown to the point where our numbers are large enough to have factions. (!) But on the other hand, arguing amongst ourselves gets us nowhere in the end. Basically we did not come up with a solution…

      Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts. And thanks for reading!

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