Thursday, May 10, 2007

Individuality vs. Conformity

There has been an interesting discussion on my local homeschooling loop concerning the issue of individuality vs. conformity. I think some of it arose from one new homeschooler asking for ideas for her son to meet other homeschooling teens. Your basic issue of socialization with the added problem that our group is a bit spread out, so it isn't always easy for teens to get together. On this front, I've been very lucky, because Marina has a number of friends in her age range who she meets with at least once or twice a week.

Anyway, a lively conversation went on for a number of days. Some of the more interesting points in the discussion involved this decision we made to home educate, opposition from family and community, and our own questions of whether we are doing the right thing. After all, we have chosen to go against the norm by homeschooling, so are our children destined, as one mother questioned, "to constantly live in the role of the outsider?" Our newsletter coordinator sent this message, which I wanted to share with my readers, because it is a part of my own philosophy:

I think you've identified a topic that almost all homeschooling families confront: how much to 'be ourselves' and 'go our own way' and how much to conform to what the society/culture/others expect of us. Looking at the bigger picture, though, I believe this a very fundamental human struggle
. Everyone has to find a balance for themselves between individuality and conformity in the choices they make in their lives.
Certainly this issue comes up harder and faster for those of us who have decided to step outside the mainstream for our educational choices. We deal with this on a very immediate, daily basis as we confront the way our choices are different from many of the families around us. It is one of the greatest challenges of homeschooling. Over the years, I have learned to try and understand and respect the ideas and choices that others have made, even if they are different from the choices my family has made. I've found this is the only possible way that I can ever expect that my choices are to be respected in turn.

Mary Ann, Tri-County Home Schoolers (TCHS) newsletter coordinator

Thank you, Mary Ann, for allowing me to share this.

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