“Well-versed in Controversy” — A Homeschooling Article in the Washington Post Magazine

Over the weekend, an article was published in the Washington Post Magazine about homeschooling — and more specifically about the well-known author, Susan Wise Bauer. As many of you fellow homeschoolers probably already know, Susan Wise Bauer is the other of a number of books used by homeschoolers and schools alike including The Well Trained Mind,  the Story of the World history series, First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease and many more. The article gives a really interesting account of how/why Susan herself was homeschooled in the 1970s. Then she in turn decided to homeschool her four children (ages 21,19,15 and 11).

The second half of the article goes on to discuss some of the reasons she has moved out of the homeschool conference and lecture circuit this next year. She felt discouraged by the conference scene, which she felt  is becoming increasingly polarized. She was discouraged that many homeschool conferences are not focused so much on education but on lifestyle, “whether that’s back-to-the-earth, drop-out-of-the-system, or build-God’s-kingdom-through-home-schooling.” And as she wrote on her blog in April 2012, she’s been told she is not welcome at certain conferences  ”because I talk too much about the psychology of learning, and not about the Bible. Or because I have a theological degree and am obviously pushing a Christian agenda. Because my “professional associations,” however loose, are too liberal, or too secular, or too Christian.” You can read more details in the online WP Magazine article, “Home-schooling pioneer Susan Wise Bauer is well-versed in controversy.” The title of the print version was “Well-versed in Controversy: A pioneer faces divisions in home-schooling” by Julia Duin.

Just one more thing I want to add.  The article points out that there are more than 2 million homeschoolers… about 4% of the nation’s school-age children. That’s a lot of people with many diverse reasons for homeschooling and many, many different approaches to educating  our children. I touched on a few different styles in last spring’s interview series with other  homeschoolers. Anyway, I just want to point that out since the article talks quite a bit about controversy and polarization with a highlighted bold statement in the print version of the article, “Divisions in the home-schooling movement may drive out one of its pioneers.” There’s bound to be differences of opinion and outlook when you’re talking about a pool of 2 million.

I found the article interesting, though not ever having attended a homeschool conference and also having such an amazing circle of supportive homeschooling and non-homeschooling friends, I can’t really speak to the issues brought up in the WP Magazine article. I can say that we love Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World series and listen to them when we go on long trips in the car and read selections as it’s relevant to our studies. I wish her the best this next year!

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