There is a new blog among homeschoolers posing an interesting question and an interesting challenge: Unity-N-Diversity. Unity in diversity is an interesting concept, one which I have sought long to uphold, but also one whose implementability I have come to question in recent months. Contrary to multiculturalism, which tends to fragment society by its overemphasis on external factors of race and ethnicity, the unity in diversity concept holds that we can have a sense of oneness despite other barriers. It is central to Christian teaching, as we unite as one body despite the obvious differences among us.
I touched on this concept before in my entry “America is an idea” as I reflected over the list of people who gave their lives at the Alamo. People of different faiths, different nations of origins, different races and different languages fought and died together other the banner of a single idea: liberty.
And yet the homeschooling community, as much as we value liberty and independence, does not seem to be able to find anything to unite on. There is such a sharp fracture between secular and Christian homeschoolers that I hesitate to really refer to us as a “community,” for what do we have in common?
To find unity, we must be able to define elements of commonality. A “higher good” that draws us together despite other differences. An ability to respect those differences, no matter how passionately we may disagree with them. Is that possible among homeschoolers?
Unity-N-Diversity tries to look at some of the causes of the schism. Unity starts with a sort of mission statement in the header of the blog:
The Home Education community has suffered division and polarization over the past 20 years. It is time to examine why this has happened and what to do about this unfortunate state of affairs. Hopefully this site will educate, inspire, and facilitate healing.
It is a noble goal. The main focus thus far has been on HSLDA and how this organization has served to marginalize the secular homeschooling movement, but there are other “issues” between secular and religious (particularly Christian) homeschoolers. And it begins with the most prominent graphic on the blog. I do understand the movement behind this button. It is part of why I eventually left Homeschoolblogger, although I was never and never will be a part of any formal boycott. I refuse to dismiss an entire blog network of people who have become dear to me based on the fact that their host accepts advertising from an organization I find objectionable.
I was on the Blogs Againt Hitting Kids list until I discussed why I thought the first boycott of the Carnival of Homeschooling was a gross overreaction to an entry that was completely benign. And the continual boycotting and refusing to participate in “community” events has grown tiresome. Even where I agree with the basic philosophy behind it.
The rhetoric is sharp and heated. And it isn’t just about corporal punishment. It is a deep philosophical difference.
I am not saying in this post that Christian homeschoolers do not have their own issues, nor that the lack of unity rests on the shoulders of secular homeschoolers. Unity-N-Diversity does a nice job presenting that side of the problem. But if we cannot even get together to have a Carnival of Homeschooling without controversy and comments about “fundie nonsense,” I have little hope in being able to find unity in our diversity.
I am not wholly convinced that we all even want it.
Update: This is the entry I referred to as “completely benign.” Doc takes issue with that assessment below which illustrates the rift perfectly. There are those who felt that they could not morally have their link on the same page as a link pointing to this entry without passively condoning it (via the carnival). These are the issues that I am talking about that go deeper than anything HSLDA does.
Please feel free to share your opinions, regardless of what they are. This post turned out more pessimistic than I originally intended. I really am enjoying this new blog and there are a number of subjects I want to research further. Ultimately, it is about what is best for homeschooling which is one of my favorite topics to discuss.
[tags]homeschooling, homeschool, homeschoolers[/tags]