Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why does IndianaHomeschoolers work?

There is a discussion about inclusive homeschool support groups at the Unity-N-Diversity blog. One of the commenters had a few things to say about IndianaHomeschoolers that I take think need clarification. You can check out the whole comment on the posting above. I am just going to excerpt and paraphrase.

First, IHEN and the IndianaHomeschoolers list are two different things. They are affiliated, but are not the same thing. When she mentions "the list" I'm assuming she means IndianaHomeschoolers.

The commenter says that she believes IHEN is successful as an inclusive group because we are "very lenient with the Christians on the list."

I would say this is partially true. We are very lenient with everyone on the list. The list is moderated, but mostly to avoid spam. All new subscribers are moderated for a short time. Some other subscribers end up back on moderation because they seem to have difficulty following rules like "no ads" or "no mass forwards" or they keep accidentally sending personal mail to the list.

The commenter says, " Christians can spout off "How can anyone teach their children a theory like evolution?" while really coming down on people that stand up for a secular humanist standpoint. It keeps the peace, its one of the few inclusive groups I've seen work. But there is a bit of selling out. As a non-Christian, I'm uncomfortable with how some of the discussions go. I feel like I can't respond because I'll get in trouble."

Actually, it doesn't keep the peace. There is definitely dissension from time to time. It would be easy to keep the peace by having homogenous opinions, but that's not what we're about. When people join the list they receive a message that says:
The IndianaHomeschoolers e-list is inclusive; meaning all homeschooling
methods and styles, all religious beliefs/convictions and all personal life
philosophies will be respected and welcomed as a natural part of public
discourse. If you find you are truly offended by the written expressions of
diverse religious beliefs, philosophies or homeschooling styles other than
your own, then this list might not be for you.

Any list member is free to respond to any of these threads as they wish. No one gets in trouble. No one has ever been kicked off the list except for spammers.

This statement from the commenter made me laugh: "It's no surprise to me that the HSLDA doesn't like them...they're not *all* Christian. "

I am a Christian, but when I started the list one of the first accusations against me was that I was not, or I wouldn't be starting an inclusive list. They don't like folks who aren't happy to toe the line. (I don't know that HSLDA knows who we are, but their state affiliate group does.)

One last thing. The commenter says, "IHEN is just an email conventions, no legislative organization really."

Not exactly. IndianaHomeschoolers is an email list. IHEN is a grassroots network. We have contacts in many counties in the state who help new homeschoolers. We have a website with many resources. As individuals affiliated with IHEN, many of us are busy behind the scenes monitoring legislative issues and getting to know the powers that be in education in Indiana. Many of us as individuals affiliated with IHEN speak at homeschool conferences and other events. We would like to be able to do more, but for a no-budget grassroots organization, I'm pleased with what we've accomplished.

And we're always looking for more hands. If someone wants to see more out of IHEN, we'd love the help!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why many homeschoolers worry about virtual charters

Supporters of virtual charter schools often question the validity of concerns expressed by homeschoolers about the possibility that the existence of virtual charters could have negative effects on the homeschool community.

The current goings-on in Wisconsin help to illustrate some of those concerns.