I recently staffed a GenJ booth at a homeschool conference in Maryland. I haven’t done many of them since I have only worked here since last June, but I am starting to get a good feel for these conferences and what they mean to the homeschool community. At these conferences I enjoy watching people when I am not selling GenJ to a group of middle school and high school students and/or their parents.
Homeschoolers are an eclectic bunch. I see the group of high school kids who are hanging out and just cruising around enjoying their friends. There is a younger family which features mom out front with an armful of books and a baby, six kids ages 4 to 11, and then dad following up the rear with a stroller that has been filled with curriculum. I talk to dad while mom buys more books and they move on. Then I see something else I didn’t anticipate. I see a young couple, the wife is a few months pregnant, and they are moving very slowly through the crowd. They are a little eclipsed among the veteran moms with eleventy-ten kids and the high school conference cruisers.
I watch them pass and I smile to myself. (In another ten years I’ll grab them and talk about GenJ) It is not a smile of derision but of respect and wonder. Here is the second generation of homeschoolers. Here are two people who are proof that homeschooling works and does not scar kids and leave them unprepared for the world. They were raised in a homeschool, (I know because I have talked to some of their type before), they are socially adept, work good jobs that they got after college, now they have faced another major decision in their life. They have made their choice, and it is a different choice than their parents made. Yes the result is the same, they are going to homeschool. Unlike their parents, however, they know what homeschooling entails. They are taking what was a lonely choice by their parents, and are making it a legacy that they will pass on to their kids.
So they pass, I smile, and step out to talk to another set of parents about how GenJ could help equip their high school student.