Desperately seeking homeschool diversity?
Posted on 27 April 2016
Not long ago, this email came through one of the local homeschooling lists. I hope it was a joke by a troll, but this is Portland, so…probably not.
The email was titled “Seeking families of color to join or [sic] co-op.”
Dear Home Learning Families,
We are seeking families of color to join our wonderful homeschool co-op for kids age 4ish-9ish. We welcome kind, compassionate, and diverse families looking to build connections through trust and create consistent opportunities for growth and learning. We are currently 3 families meeting 1 day a week for 4 hours and are interested in moving to 2 days a week at some point. Parents rotate responsibility for facilitating the group which strives to provide a regular, rhythmic experience of learning, playing, and interacting in community for the kids. Currently, one of the three families in are group are people of color, and we remain particularly committed to maintaining our diversity on this front.
We are centered in seasonal and daily rhythms, respect for the earth and all peoples, and learning as a natural and enjoyable way of engaging with our world. We have been incorporating Spanish language into the day. Currently, only one family speaks Spanish, and while we’d love to have more this is not a requirement to join the group. We also intend for our efforts to be consciously connected to social justice.
Things that have inspired or interested us in learning with children include Spanish language immersion, John Holt, learning through children’s interests, popular education, outdoor education, hands-on math, constructivist learning, free schools, democratic learning, place-based education, learning through movement, stories, and songs…
If you are interested and think your family might be a good fit with your group or if you know a family you think would be a good match, please contact [Redacted] at [Redacted@gmail.com].
I give the author a point for using the Oxford comma.
Assuming it’s legit and this co-op is looking for true diversity and can’t find it without a public appeal, I’d make several recommendations. 1) Look at statistics and learn there are very few people of color who homeschool (although that is slowly changing, that is another post), 2) look at statistics again and learn there are not many people of color in Portland compared to most cities, and 3) carefully remove their children from soft, sheltered, bubble-wrapped eco-domes and take them to an ethically diverse community center in a not-so-crime-free neighborhood for activities like swim or gym or art or gymnastics or archery or aikido. I’m not thrilled my kid has had to ask me, “Was that a gunshot?” a few times when we were in the parking lot, and it’s still not as diverse as almost anywhere in California, but it’s better than hiding in nearly all-white enclave and issuing condescending public appeals.
I had to fight the impulse to write and ask if anyone actually responded–or to submit my own bona fides (my daughter told me I’m not white, I’m pink, but I had to explain pink is a subset of white on government forms).
Unless someone invokes the one drop rule, I don’t think I’m up to this group’s standards.