This is a guest post by Waetie Sanaa Kumahia who is a homeschooler, freelance writer and founder and director of the Randolph Community Homeschooling Co-op in Massachusetts.
When speaking with other working class people about launching the Randolph Community Homeschooling Co-op, one of first concerns I often confront is the misconception that one must have a lot of money to pursue this option.
I can fully see why so many people make this assumption. After all, you have to have confidence in your own thinking, belief that what you as a parent have to offer your child is sufficient or more than enough than what can be gained in a school setting, and, finally, you need to have the time and energy to engage in aspirational thinking about your and your children’s future as opposed to only focusing on keeping food on the table and a roof over one’s head.
So, yes, to some degree, the choice to homeschool can be indicative of possessing a certain level of privilege and comfort with one’s abilities and options that many people in poor, multilingual, and under-resourced communities fear they simply don’t have.
Because of all of these real or perceived barriers, my goal in offering a cooperative model is to highlight all the ways parents and community members can embrace their role as our children’s first teachers.
My belief and experience is that it is these very stories of resilience, resourcefulness, innovative thinking, and community mindedness that characterize many members within the communities of fewer financial resources are exactly the ones our children most need.
My awareness of these concerns, and knowing the real constraints that many working families—including myself– are under, I am making an explicit effort to launch a home schooling model that adapts and focuses on the needs of this specific community, one which has been designated as the most diverse suburban area in the entire state of Massachusetts.
This means that there is no competition to be had between our local school systems, whether public, private, or charter, and the home schooling model. Each model is inherently different and has different learning opportunities to offer.
I would argue that while any school can try their very best to meet your child’s needs, once the school doors close, homeschooling is that special sauce that is essential to ensure that your child’s specific strengths can be acknowledged and highlighted while more one on one focus can be given to any deficits.
This is where community homeschooling comes in.
By hosting the majority of our events on the weekends, or evenings, my hope is that families come to see that home schooling is not limited to the day time hours or to stay at home parents. What counts is the quality of the time spent, not the schedule.
By utilizing all the strengths and learning from the local community, whether that be entrepreneurs, community leaders, or single moms, we will have ample assurance that no one needs to home school alone.
It is our knowledge and experience as a community that we must lean on and that ultimately will teach our children where they have come from and reveal how much farther they can go!