The conversation on this blog is what keeps me going as a homeschooling parent. It’s my nature to do tons of research for anything I’m doing in my life, but it’s also my nature to want to talk things through. And it’s hard to find people to talk to about homeschooling.

I’m sure you’ve discovered that if you talk about your problems with homeschooling to people who don’t homeschool, their first response is, “Then why don’t you send your kids to school?”

I have learned as much from the comments on this blog as I have from the gazillions of hours I’ve spent reading academic research. I want to make sure none of you missed the most animated conversations we’ve had in 2015. So, here they are:

The best way to lift kids out of poverty (it’s NOT education)

What common practice will horrify our kids someday

Traditional schools are for parents who are scared

Essential advice to kids: You cannot be anything you want

Education does not mean “learn stuff you don’t like”

This blog features some amazing guest writers, which also makes me excited because we are a diverse community that approaches homeschooling from a wide range of perspectives. I like that we annoy each other sometimes, because staying in a conversation even when you’re annoyed is a testament to how important the community is in your life.

The real reason we homeschool our black son

Homeschooling does not make you poor

Homeschooling is not just for rich people

I also want you to know that our community has a huge impact. I didn’t realize it until recently, because unlike my writing about careers which goes viral (if it is going to) quickly, education topics accelerate much more slowly. Here are three examples of topics that are still gaining a wider influence all across the Internet years later:

Kids who play video games do better as adults (1.3K likes)

Lies we tell ourselves about screen time (1.5K likes)

Top universities want you to homeschool (44K likes)

I did not set out to change the world when I started homeschooling. I just wanted my kids to have a nice childhood. But in the process of being brutally honest about all my own misconceptions, I have become part of a community that is, indeed, changing the world. Thank you so much for doing this with me.

6 replies
  1. MBL
    MBL says:

    I think about your posts and think about posting far more than I actually post. Frequently I ruminate for days in which I counter and concur with what you have said–sometimes regarding the same paragraph.

    But it is quite rare that I am ambivalent. And on those occasions, the commenters usually rustle up something, even if it is tangential, for me to wrestle with.

    Thank You!

    I wish the notification box for new comments on the education page still existed. I have missed some good stuff because I didn’t diligently follow up.

  2. aquinas heard
    aquinas heard says:

    I often disagree with Penelope’s evaluation of the many child related issues she brings up in her post BUT I am always grateful for the work she puts into making this blog: enjoyable, thought-provoking, informative, and a must read.

    There are only two child-related blogs that I check, almost daily, to see if new content has been uploaded. Penelope’s “education” blog is one of them.

    Thank you, Penelope, for this last year for providing “meaty” and interesting content. I look forward to reading what you put out this coming year.

  3. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Another year full of good conversations and commenters. I have been following this blog for years and continue to enjoy it. Some of the most animated commenting that comes to my mind are from the series of posts by your guest poster who wrote about video games. The posts where you talk about not vaccinating as well as poverty also come to mind as exciting commenting by all of us.

    Then there are those commenters we have in our community who move all over the place and inspire me to get out and see some nature. Commenters who help provide some balance and thought provoking discussions. Commenters with kids in school. Commenters with no kids but who love to contribute to the discussion. Commenters whose children are finished homeschooling. Newbies with questions that always help me get that fresh perspective back when I have fallen into an experienced know-it-all mindset.

    Where else can one find such a diverse group of authentic commenters? I really wish we had a forum where we could all keep in touch.

    Here’s to 2016! Thanks everyone.

  4. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    About a year ago I accused your blog of being sanctimonious and you made a resolution to be more informative. So my assessment of this past year is that there has definitely been a change in tone of the posts. For me it feels like the rage against the schools is dissipating, and the result is posts that are more insightful, informative and vulnerable.

    Most insightful post that springs to mind is the one on poverty.
    And yes, it’s been a year for guest bloggers. My favourite guest post was from Anya Kamenetz, lots of insights into the powerful forces behind standardized testing. Also,I’m glad you mentioned how it is good to annoy each other, so I’ll say that while I do enjoy Erin’s writing, her declutter post I found really annoying.

    This year has been the first year I prefer this blog to your careers one. Overall I choose not to see this blog as a homeschooling blog, but more a deconstruction and sharing of education and parenting. When we want to inform ourselves as much as possible so we can make the best decisions for our children, while trying to stay true to ourselves, we do so with limited resources & face endless challenges. It’s really tough. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. So it’s great to have others to share that journey odyssey with.

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