I love homeschooling. I’m a huge advocate of the lifestyle. But when you scope the landscape, there are some glaring problems.
For one, it’s lily white in here.
I’ve rarely met a black homeschooling family. I know they’re out there. There’s the National Black Home Educators, and Black Homeschoolers Magazine, and there are rumors that the number of black homeschoolers is growing rapidly. But there are no hard numbers, and even less anecdotal evidence in my personal experience.
I threw out a query to a homeschool group on Facebook 21,100 strong. I was looking for black homeschooling families of whom I could ask a few questions. I got one response, from a Hispanic mom echoing my concerns and letting me know how lonely a road it can be as a minority homeschooler.
This being the week we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. has me pondering. Maybe things aren’t as equal and unified as we’d like to think.
I subscribe to a homeschool magazine, close to 200 pages in each issue. It’s the industry standard. I thumbed through this latest copy. I found one black boy – a cartoon character; one black mother; and a brown gingerbread man. Of the 17 staffers, not one minority is represented.
I can see, from the outside looking in, why blacks and other minority groups would second-guess joining our ranks.
I’m encouraged when I hear that more and more black families are jumping on the bandwagon. But if they’re joining, and I’m not seeing them represented in my magazines, support groups and meetings, then we’re going down the segregation route again. Why do we always go down this road?
It is my hope that within this burgeoning movement, we won’t grow apart but rather grow toward one another, creating something unified and diverse.
While living in central Tennessee, I had an experience I still regret. Eating out in the middle of a school day there was a black family in the restaurant. As is often the case, when a homeschool mom is out while school is in session and sees another mom with kids, you eye each other, wondering. Sometimes you have the nerve to ask, “Do you homeschool?” Sometimes you just walk away. I didn’t ask. I should have made a connection, but I didn’t.
In honor of Dr. King – whom I truly revere – I vow not to allow another opportunity like that pass. Even if they aren’t homeschoolers, maybe I’ll get a chance to forge a new bridge.
You can always dream.