… This is one of several interesting questions being asked by Bitch writer Maya Schenwar in: Learning Curve … Radical “unschooling” moms are changing the stay-at-home landscape.
From the article:
Not long ago, homeschooling was thought of as the domain of hippie earth mothers letting their kids “do their own thing” or creationist Christians shielding their kids from monkey science and premarital sex. …
These days … parents are homeschooling for secular reasons as well as faith-based ones: quality of education, freedom to travel, their kids’ special needs, or simply a frustration with the educational system. Most significantly, many progressive parents are taking their kids’ education into their own hands to instill open-mindedness and social consciousness along with reading, science, and math.
For these parents, “unschooling” is an attractive option. In this approach to homeschooling, kids choose what they’ll study and investigate their questions outside the confines of a classroom. In traditional homeschooling, parents play the role of teachers, determining the curriculum, handing out assignments, and administering tests. Unschooling parents, on the other hand, act as facilitators, guiding their kids’ explorations. Even though the diy approach may appeal to progressives who identify with the anti-establishment ethos of the punk movement, homeschooling still raises tricky questions for progressive mothers.
Namely, this one: Can women trade their careers for their families without sacrificing a few of their feminist values–the very values that inspired many of them to homeschool in the first place? It’s no wonder that punk feminist moms like Kim Campbell, who has homeschooled her kids for seven years, occasionally feel like walking oxymorons.
As the feminist homeschooling movement gains momentum, mothers will increasingly be faced with tough, identity-defining questions: Does being a feminist mean you have to have a paid job? What does it mean to raise a feminist kid? Is there a feminist definition of success, and should there be? It’s important to keep in mind that a homeschooling mom is many things besides a homeschooling mom–even if she can’t stop talking about her kid’s latest papier-mâché dinosaur. Forging these more complex identities entails recognizing all the hats they wear besides “homeschooler.”…
This puts a very fine point on the questionable balance between progressive ideals for women (the men are somehow not involved in this process) and the privilege issue in homeschooling: You can homeschool because either mom and dad are high SES or because your family lives in a trailer and staying home is OK with mom.
Hat Tip: Mme piggy