Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who speaks for homeschoolers?

John Holzmann has provided more information, including correspondences, surrounding Sonlight's ban from the Colorado state homeschool convention. It's long but worth reading.

I've been thinking a bit more about this and I realized that Sonlight actually operates in a way similar to CHEC. That is, as owners of Sonlight they review an enormous amount of material and select only some for inclusion in their curriculum. Over the years, they have dropped certain books and added others in an effort to provide the best material for those they serve and when they didn't find it, they wrote it themselves. Sonlight wants the best curriculum possible and is willing to let certain books go in order to achieve it. Isn't the same thing true for CHEC?

CHEC promotes itself as a Christian homeschool organization and provides a convention to a certain segment of homeschoolers in Colorado. CHEC wants the best convention possible and is willing to let certain vendors go in order to achieve it. They are free to select (and exclude) vendors that best suit the needs of the families that they seek to serve. We may not agree with their selection but it is their choice, and just like Sonlight, I wouldn't want to deprive them of it.

However, choices have consequences.

Just as there were negative consequences for Sonlight because they chose certain books, there are possible negative consequence for CHEC. As a business, Sonlight is free to inform those they serve about their exclusion from the state convention and the possible reasons why. Obviously, CHEC would prefer their decision to remain a private matter. However as a business, , Sonlight is under no obligation to keep silent nor are those that read about it. Discussion allows homeschoolers to examine CHEC's decision, learn more about their purpose, and to decide whether they share a similar vision for homeschooling. This will lead some to question whether CHEC is the best organization in Colorado to meet their needs or represent their interests as homeschoolers. This may or may not be good for CHEC but it is ultimately good for homeschool education, both in Colorado and across the nation.

Which brings me to John Holzmann's question in this post,
"Who is truly speaking up for the home education movement as a whole in Colorado. . . much less for Christian home educators?"
Perhaps the best answer is NO ONE and EVERYONE. There are many excellent organizations which exist to aid homeschoolers and to help keep us all informed, and some who are all too eager to speak on behalf of all of us. But I pray that homeschoolers never allow one person or organization to speak up on behalf of Christian home educators or the home education as a whole. Staying informed and speaking up are the responsibility of each and every homeschooler. Let's all strive to keep it that way.

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