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.