Now, here’s a new one. A claim that homeschooling is just one more thing that perfect moms are supposed to do without being monetarily compensated. (Please, if you comment at this website, be brief and moderate. Don’t give them more reason to be anti-homeschooling.)
I wonder, does that mean that parents who don’t homeschool don’t work their asses off to make sure their kids are educated? And that moms who work don’t have the pressure to be the perfect “school mom”? Uhm. No.
If there is an anti-feminist sentiment in homeschooling at all, it’s also in schools. It’s a cultural thing.
But I don’t think there is. In fact, I think homeschooling is empowering to moms. Empowering to kids. And provides moms ample opportunity to be fully engaged people in the world – paid or not paid.
In my opinion, feminism is not just about how much we earn as women. But how much we are allowed to effect the world around us. How much we are allowed to speak up, make a difference and to incite critial thinking. The fact that there women are welcome to work the 9-5 grind just as much as a guy is, or that she is asked to contribute to the financial functioning of the family is not even close to feminist.
What’s really feminist are women who do what they want to do – whatever that is – without being told they can’t. And for most homeschoolers, that’s what they are doing. Saying, “I won’t stand up to the pressure to be a good school-mom and I’m doing this to make change in my family.” While at the same time, so many homeschooling moms find their true selves while being away from the social pressure to be the perfect parent, and are able to get out and make a difference in their communities, political parties or in whatever capacity interests them – in a way that is true to themselves, instead of trying to live up to what a woman is “supposed” to be interested in.
There can be pressure withing the homeschooling community to be perfectly motherly or the perfect at-home school teacher. But we have the choice whether to be involved with that. We can choose conform to everybody’s idea of what a woman is supposed to be or we can choose to do things our own way.
If we think feminism is all about how much money women make, or whether we are able to work while being a mom – we’re missing out on the real point of feminism. It’s not about the money (Well, OK, money is a gauge on how we can see if we are valued as much as men, so it’s sorta about money). It’s about women being free to live fully, and to be treated with the same respect and acknowledgement as men. Instead of being pushed down and unable to speak up or be a part of the world.
Homeschooling moms can be exactly the kind of mom, woman, person we want to be. We can speak up. We can stand out. We can follow paths that working moms and dads can’t. We can be the woman we’ve always wanted to be.
That’s what it really means to me to have “equal rights with men”. The idea that women can work too, and earn money for the family, just like men, doesn’t mean we have “equal rights”. It means we can do double duty. The whole “women can work” doesn’t actually give us anything new except to add more on to our plates. Equal rights means we can be in positions of power – and that’s right girls, power over our family and of the community in which we live in. It also means we can have power over our children’s education and the system in general. We’re not the teachers, but the change makers.
The feminist movement is far from over. Trying to do what men do, and keep up with them is a distraction. Equal rights doesn’t mean “doing the same thing” as men (thank God/Buddha/Allah/the universe). But having the same freedom in life to pursue our dreams. To be taken seriously. And to stand up and say, “You can’t control me.” That’s equal rights.
I say, as a fully equal woman, “I can teach my own children how to be in the world just fine, thank you. I don’t need other people to do my job for me. I’m not afraid of taking responsibility. I have the right to stand up for what I believe in. And I am not going to bow down and go to work “like I’m supposed to” to prove something. I don’t need to prove anything. I’m a woman, proud of it. And don’t have any intention of sending my children to school like a good little mommy just because our culture says it’s what we’re “supposed” to do. (And, the educational system (run mostly by men) and our politics (run mostly by men) and our pop culture (run mostly by men) tells us to do).”
If that isn’t feminist, I don’t know what is.
But I’m willing to hear other points of view. Is homeschooling anti-feminist? What’s your opinion?