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  • Lebanon as a Homeschool Parable

    Filed at 11:44 am under by Scott Somerville

    I’m praying for the peace of Jerusalem… and of Beirut. These are not normal times. But the dreadful situation in Lebanon has got me thinking about matters closer to home. The more I consider the whole tangled mess over there, the more familiar it seems. Isn’t Lebanon a lot like our own homeschool community?

    Lebanon is such a beautiful, fragile, hopeful, fearful place. There is both religious and political diversity in Lebanon: 34% identify themselves as Shi’ite Muslims, 20% are Sunni Muslims, 19% are Maronite Christians, with healthy fractions of Druze, Orthodox, Armenian Christians, Greek Catholics.

    Lebanon is enmeshed in other people’s agendas. Israel is on one border, backed by the United States; Syria is on the other, backed by Shi’ite Iran. The Sunnis are the sworn enemies of Israel, but have not moved to keep Jews and Shi’ites from shedding each others’ blood. Perhaps they are troubled by the thought of nuclear-powered Persians.

    When I take my eyes off the Middle East and look around me, I seem to see the same tangle: our fragile and diverse homeschool movement is full of passionate people who are cheering one or the other of the ideological “superpowers.” Can we build a community here, or is our only option to wait for the Israelis (or the Syrians or the Saudis or the US or the UN) to wipe out some homeschoolers so others can “win”?

    8 Responses to “Lebanon as a Homeschool Parable”


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    July 19th, 2006
    at 12:20 pm

    When I take my eyes off the Middle East and look around me, I seem to see the same tangle: our fragile and diverse homeschool movement is full of passionate people who are cheering one or the other of the ideological “superpowers.” Can we build a community here, or is our only option to wait for the Israelis (or the Syrians or the Saudis or the US or the UN) to wipe out some homeschoolers so others can “win”?

    Huh? Where do you see a war? What superpowers? Secular vs. religious? School at homers vs. unschoolers? Latin vs. Greek? You need to give us a little biit more to go on.


    Comment by
    Scott Somerville
    July 19th, 2006
    at 12:28 pm

    Hint: the Middle East has some out-in-the-open theocrats who tell their followers that they must seize control of the government to subject the multitudes to the will of God.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    July 19th, 2006
    at 1:17 pm

    Yeah, I figured that one. But who’s the other superpower? HEM? Seriously, Scott– it’s not a war that my side wants. A certain theocrat continuously works to co-opt/graft home education into some kind of right-wing/fundamentalist hegemon. I think that’d be very bad for homeschooling, and for the whole world. Knowing what I do about you, I suspect you agree.

    I’d be more than happy to sign a peace accord. I just don’t believe the other side sees a need for one.


    Comment by
    Scott Somerville
    July 19th, 2006
    at 1:24 pm

    Daryl, you’re missing the analogy a little. Nobody within the homeschool movement is a “superpower.” We’re Lebanon, remember? But our instincts tend to make us line up with the “superpowers,” whether they are “big media” (like the New York Times or the all-powerful World Magazine) or political parties or ideological factions.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    July 19th, 2006
    at 2:55 pm

    Spunky,

    I (mostly) agree. But Farris (to name names) badly wants something and I believe with all my heart and soul and mind, that should he achieve his goals, the world (not just homeschooling) would be much worse off. Think Iran with 10,000 H2 bombs.

    Do I wish that the inclusive groups and the exclusive groups could get along? Sure. But those are small beans. Farris is one of the leading proponents of an American theocracy. Homeeschoolers are meant to be his His army. That’s a battle that I don’t believe we can afford to just agree to disagree.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    July 19th, 2006
    at 4:21 pm

    Are you trying to build a theocracy in America or is Daryl just a ranting blogger who is out of touch with reality?

    I choose “C” All of the above. 🙂

    BTW, Andrea is a blog software goddess. Check out the super-cool real-time preview window below the white comment box.


    Comment by
    Mary Nix
    July 19th, 2006
    at 5:38 pm

    Like Mary, I also remember when homeschoolers worked together as one group and the present divisions were not in place. I do not see this as a Christian, non-Christian issue, but a division between those who support the P.A.C. and those who do not.

    Many of us lived through those times and remember them well, but many new families have no idea what happened, nor why many of us feel as strongly as we do.

    Perhaps it is time to revisit Dr. Raymond Moore’s white paper that addressed this division and attempted to bridge the gap. To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Moore’s requests were ignored.

    If readers have not read Dr. Moore’s white paper, “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion”, they can access it at A-Z Homeschooling.

    Further reports from that time in homeschooling history can be found here.

    And for those who might want a recent reminder that causes the division, last November’s succesful work of “slipping” homeschool legislation into the Defense Budget still stands out in my mind and will for a very long time.

    [Edited by Daryl to fix the formatting problems caused by the long URLs]


    Comment by
    Scott Somerville
    July 20th, 2006
    at 10:41 am

    Spunky’s comment about the new dynamic of blogs is important. HSLDA’s influence within homeschooling circles is obvious, but blogs are going to change how people communicate. There may be some areas where HSLDA’s message will get out better because of blogs, but there are bound to be other issues where the new media empowers people who don’t agree with HSLDA 100% of the time.

    Spunky is the best example of this so far–she’s a Christian homeschooler who doesn’t buy the whole “evil dominionist” line, but she has some beefs with HSLDA. As homeschool blogs come into their own, she’s going to make it possible to have some conversations that have been impossible for years–ever since the big “Who Stole Homeschooling” split.