Have you noticed that there are “skins” for everything these days? From cell phones to iPods to Gameboys, even my Windows Media Player allows me to choose from a wide variety of downloadable skins. I recently read in Reader’s Digest about the mom who made a small fortune when she invented Jibbitz, the little buttons to personalize your Crocs. The purpose, of course, is to make your gadget a unique reflection of your own personal style, rather than a cookie-cutter copy of the dozens of other mass-produced gadgets on the market. We like to find ways to express our individuality.

So, why do we so often compare our homeschool to that of the people around us? Why do we so often feel uncomfortable or insecure in our own homeschooling skins?

There are so many styles of homeschooling out there — Charlotte Mason, classical, school-at-home, unschooling — and so many methods — unit studies, workbooks, literature-based. And, often, there is a surprising amount of judgment within the homeschooling community. Those with a more traditional approach think that those with more relaxed approach aren’t giving their kids a quality education. Radical unschoolers have been known to say that, if the parent instigates any type of learning, then you can’t call yourself a real unschooler.

The truth is that we all have a lot to learn from each other. And, there is nothing wrong with blending the elements that appeal to your family to create the perfect fit for your unique family.

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