So there I was, reasonably happily clicking on links to my online subscription to New Scientist magazine. I skip many of the scary science articles (bad for the blood pressure) and concentrate on the curious behavior of ants, and how to stretch time (must make a note of that). I didn’t have to parse homeschool politics so my mind was more at rest.
That’s when it came out of left field. And there went the blood pressure again.
New Scientist, London, England, 11 November 2006, Home-schooling special: Preach your children well
It’s like taking a busman’s holiday.
The article is comprehensive and mentions everything from the hippie dippy roots of 1960s homeschooling, on up through Patrick Henry College, and the recent Exodus Mandate.
Most of the article is, not surprisingly, about science since it is on a science site. I have an abiding interest in science (hence the subscription to the website and to the hard copy of the magazine), but I’m not a scientist, so I’ll leave the duking out of scientific principles to those who can authoritatively articulate them.
What specifically caught my eye was the discussion of the early ‘legality’ (or lack thereof) of homeschooling.
Home-school parents are able to teach their children this way thanks mainly to a group called the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a non-profit organisation based in Purcellville – like Patrick Henry College (PHC), which the HSLDA founded. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the practice was largely illegal across the US. “The mechanism that was causing home-schooling to be illegal was teacher certification,” says Ian Slatter, director of media relations for the HSLDA. In 1983 two evangelical attorneys, Michael Farris and Mike Smith, founded the organisation to defend the rights of home-school parents. They fought to remove requirements that parents be certified to teach their own children. Through an impressive run of legal battles and political lobbying, they managed to make home-schooling legal in all 50 states within 10 years. “We rolled back the state laws,” says Slatter.
Coincidentally, a long discussion of this very subject and whether homeschooling was ever ‘illegal,’ just occurred this past week on the HEM-Networking email list (subscription required).
6 November 2006, Legal and Non-Legal Definitions of Homeschooling
9 November 2006, more history info-
9 November 2006, history of homeschooling
9 November 2006, homeschooling and HSLDA reading list
10 November 2006, Hiistory of Homeschooling/ Legal and Non-Legal Definitions of
The links are to the first messages in each discussion thread. Scroll to the bottom of the screen for links to subsequent messages, and be prepared to read for quite some time as one thread has 106 messages.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back and check out that time stretching to see if I can do something about constantly bumping up against that annoying 24-hours-in-a-day limitation.