My wife and I started homeschooling in 1992. Our youngest graduated in 2006. Some of our children are now homeschooling their children. One of my daughters teaches in a private school, another has a degree in history and elementary education and is state certified to teach, but has chosen to homeschool her 4 daughters. And I have other grandchildren that are being homeschooled as well. My youngest son just completed a term on the board of a local Christian school. In addition to homeschooling, my wife and I were both Sunday school teachers for over 20 years, founded and led a 4H group for children in our community and took the group on field trips. We made trips to Richmond where we lobbied our state senators and delegates in support of homeschooling "friendly" laws. My wife has also tutored disadvantaged kids (and adults) in our community and I've coached youth in a YMCA basketball league. We've also assisted and advised other families who wanted to homeschool their children and I've had articles published in homeschooling focused periodicals. So our family is most definitely an "education family" and both my wife and I consider ourselves educators and teachers. The title of "educator" or "teacher" does not belong solely to academics or those who are paid to teach.
Of course, as I've noted before, there are those who are still in the dark ages in regards to homeschooling and are wed (for political and power/control reasons) to a very backward, statist, and narrow-minded--"one size fits all"--view of education. Homeschooling is both a return to tradition and education fundamentals, as well as the wave of the future in educational trends.
And speaking of educational trends, a recent letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News offered some suggestions with which I agree:
"We have to rid ourselves of this elitist notion that college graduates are somehow superior to skilled tradesmen and recognize that we have different God-given talents." (Emphasis mine.) More here.
Case in point: My youngest son was heavily recruited by several prestigious colleges and universities in Virginia. He's very bright. He chose, however, to start his own business in lieu of attending college. When that business didn't go as well as he had planned, he decided, due to his love of the outdoors and of horses, to become a farrier. He attended one of the best farrier schools (some say THE best) in the United States and then apprenticed under a master farrier for a while. He's been in the trade now for about 4 years and his reputation as an expert farrier is growing rapidly in the Shenandoah Valley. He now makes more money than most 4 year degree college graduates and will likely hit 6 figures in the not too distant future. And though farrier work is extremely hard, potentially dangerous, and physically demanding work, it affords my son the benefit of doing something he loves and, within reason, allows him to schedule his work when he wants to.
In regards to skilled trades, Booker T. Washington's model at Tuskegee presents us with some practical lessons in regards to higher education. He not only offered and emphasized the traditional academic courses, but industry and trade skills were also required. Students learned bricklaying, forestry, and timber skills, sewing, cooking, and practical agriculture, and every student was obligated to master at least two trades so he or she would always be able to contribute to the industry and betterment of society and be self-supporting after graduation. Louis Harlan explains that “
But there was more to Booker T. Washington than learning and industry. His spiritual side was well known and he expressed a sincere faith in Christ. Devotional exercises were held every morning at
Whenever we attempt to advance, we should always be careful to take a good long look back first - and learn from our history - not repeat its mistakes or think we're always smarter and wiser than all those who have gone before us.