Monday, August 4, 2008

Faith in Action

I posted before about my epiphany that I am homeschooling for religious reasons. Being a homeschooler automatically puts my family in the minority - out of the mainstream. So what I can't understand is why in what is already a minority group, some homeschoolers create more divisions. I had the opportunity to meet a homeschooling family this weekend, and they live within biking distance for the kids - they have several girls that my girls would love to get to know, I'm sure.

Unfortunately, the conversation was stilted and puncuated by a clear desire to see if were the "right" kind of homeschoolers. What church do we go to? Nope, never heard of that one. Do you belong to LEAH? Nope. RAHA. Invited me to check out LEAH. Unfortunately, they don't welcome non-Christian homeschoolers.

It's very frustrating - as a spiritual person, I adhere to most fundamental morals that are present in the major religions (with a few personal exceptions, as a good UU). But despite the fact that I am a good person, some people will be suspicious of me, solely because I am not a Christian. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, that.

Caveat: I know that this is not universal behavior for all Christians, homeschoolers or not, but it happens often enough. I have to wonder how that suspiciousness and protectiveness embodies Christianity? I am sure that these people are wonderful! But I will most likely not have the opportunity to find out just how wonderful, because of their fear of anything outside of their faith.

It's a loss for me, for them, and for all of our children. A little more unity would be a wonderful thing. I am going to keep reaching out to this family, regardless. I hope that we can build bridges across the differences in our faith. That will be my own faith in action.


Hi, It's Kari. said...

I'm a homeschooler too! Tho, my kids are so old now it's more of a worldschool.

I've felt that "check list" as well. Christian? Church goers? It's so frustrating. One UU Church in the Seattle are actually holds a Homeschool co-op as part of their family minstry--and guess what, you don't have to be UU to participate!!

Keep on keepin' on!

ogre said...

My sympathies!

As the at-home dad, doing the vast majority of the parent side of our homseschooling for the past 16 years... I hear you. It's worse in some areas than others, and it's sometimes better than other times.

But it's crazy-making.

The irony being that our sons' closest friend (physically, at least), is a sometimes (on and off) homeschooled evangelical kid. I can't help but think that they're acceptable company because they're neighbors, but that if we'd met them through some homeschooling event, probably not (from what we've seen of his other friends).

Best of wishes with that journey. We're not at the end of it yet--for another four years--but our eldest goddaughter (also a UU homeschooler) is. Hang in there.

uumomma said...

Just had a conversation with a fairly new member of our congregation yesterday. his wife has been homeschooling their son (and daughter), but will enroll them in school this year for the very reasons you cite: they don't get enough variety in their social life because other homeschoolers are not so, lets say, welcoming. It was a very hard decision for them to make. I wish you the best.

Kelly KH said...

Hi Kari! Our UU has a lot of homeschoolers and I wish we had a co-op. We did join one for awhile but there were a lot of Christian homeschoolers and it just didn't feel like a good fit to us. We have a good group of core friends and support, but we just moved 45 min. away to a more rural area and it's been hard to find homeschoolers who aren't extremely conservative and religious. We'll just keep doing that drive for now!

Kelly KH said...

Thanks ogre! We are happy with our decision to homeschool - I just wish we could find some local friends for our kids.

Kelly KH said...

As much as I think socialization is a bogus argument for sending kids to school, if you live in an area where there is no support for homeschooling, it can be nearly impossible, without laying out a lot of money. We originally were sending our oldest to a Quaker Friend's School in central PA before we moved but there's nothing like that here, not that we could afford it now.

I'm glad that Rochester has a huge and alternative homeschool community and that we're still close enough to benefit from it.