Book review: 'Homeschooled' by Rachel Papo
"As homeschooling nears mainstream recognition and technology interweaves itself into our daily lives at breakneck pace, Papo provides us a timely glimpse into the lives of those who are carving an alternative path towards preparing for the future and finding a deeper way to be connected. Through their eyes we have the opportunity to consider how big or small we want our worlds to be," Ariel Shanberg, curator and writer, eagerly comments in Homeschooled.
I was so excited to page through Papo's beautiful book. As a former homeschooler for 20 years, the topic is near and dear to my heart. I was curious what her angle would be and whether she'd be able to truly capture the heartbeat of homeschooling. I found myself paging through her beautiful artwork, nostalgic for the days spent at the table with my own children. Papo eloquently captured the essense of what I loved most about teaching my children at home: freedom to explore every possibility. What she is able to display in Homeschooled is the liberty that homeschooling provides. You're able to see it in the faces of the children as they are captured in the midst of their day. They are free to explore and be captivated by the world around them. They are without the typical restraints of a school day's schedule. They have the ability to make their time their own.
Papo also displays in her book the myriad of possibilities in how homeschooling is approached. Some families are taught by mom, while others are taught by dad. Some pursue a nature-based approach, while others a more rigorous schedule. Co-ops and outside classes are pursued while others stick to learning strictly at home. Papo reveals what all homeschooling families know – each homeschool story is as different and diverse as the families that practice it. Homeschooling takes on the personality of the family and each individual child.
Ariel Shanberg continues on the subject that when it comes to homeschooling,"...every moment is a lesson to be gained, every environment a classroom to be explored. Each season is a new course to be mastered. They lead us through these magical, mysterious places imbued with creativity, imagination and curiosity. Distinctly comfortable in their own shoes, they mirror their surroundings. Wild and carefree in appearance, they are fearless, engaged and curious. They are not sedated by apps or preoccupied with social media trends or standards of conformity. They are too busy participating in the making of their own lives- in learning how to sustain themselves physically, emotionally and intellectually. The rich contraction here is that while they have been separated from the mainstream, they are not isolated. There are no borders or fences restricting their potential."
Homeschooled gives us a glimpse at the beauty of being set apart from the conventional and the innumerable possibilities homeschooling provides. I also enjoyed this interview with Rachel Papo and felt it expounded on her experience on this project.