The following article is mostly ‘about’ homeschooling, but with an emphasis on co-ops. Starting a co-op can be a fun thing to do, but unfortunately (to a degree), with our current model of oversight of public activities, the proliferation of such groups might lead to the requirement that they be controlled. Think of the licensing of hairdressers, manicurists, and restaurants, activities that are unregulated when done in-family, but require certification and inspections when involving members of the public.
Cortez Journal, Cortez, Colorado, 5 January 2006, Youths learn ABCs at homeschool: Cooperative gives alternative education for families
The Pogue family belongs to a homeschool cooperative, which held its end-of-unit program Saturday, Dec. 16. About 10 families and 22 children participated in the speeches, overhead projector and tape recorder presentations, piano pieces and poetry recitings.
One mother who homeschools her kids decided it would be good for them to work with other students in the neighborhood to build teamworking skills. She contacted other families who homeschool, and they set up one day a week when everyone could get together and work on a mutually determined unit subject. Judging by the Saturday presentation, her theory was proving successful.
I’ll admit that years of reading homeschooling articles in which the reporter includes a variation on the warning that “there is no oversight of X” has given me somewhat of a wet-blanket outlook when it comes to the expansion of homeschooling. Consider this report from last August about a “PE program” for homeschooled kids: “Even though most states require home schooled kids to follow academic standards, many don’t have PE requirements.” I’ve turned into a bit of an Eeyore when it comes to squinting at news reports to divine what the words really mean.
Concerning co-ops, it isn’t so much that the new permutations of parents actively raising children with an eye to education and becoming inventive in how they structure this pursuit of knowledge are ‘wrong,’ as it is that we live in a society whose general outlook is that most things need regulating. The further we get from a family activity, the more reason there seems to be for some kind of oversight. Regulation — either official or unofficial — follows popular use and organization, not the other way around.
It is natural for people with common interests to get together to learn things. One has only to think of the lovely painting from the 1700s A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery. Given the current climate for oversight of ‘education,’ I hope that the trend towards co-ops and other group activities doesn’t return the general perception of home education to ‘organized+oversight+regulation,’ such as is happening in Georgia.
The Link Homeschool Newspaper, Westlake Village, California, Guarding Our Birthright – the Question of Accreditation
Are we homeschoolers guilty of doing the same? Are we trading our birthright, the right to control and direct the education of our children, for a bowl of soup? How about for a computer, or some free curriculum, or some gambling money to send our kids to college? As I travel the country, in state after state I see the same thing happening, in slightly different guises. The older homeschoolers, those who fought for the freedoms we now enjoy, are starting to fade from the scene. The newer homeschoolers, in many cases, don’t fully understand the fight that was waged to secure their current freedoms. In some states, like California, they are being enticed by government programs, private school status, or charter schools. However, I’ll let someone from California discuss that some day. For now, I’d like to share with you the story of how the homeschoolers of Georgia (where I live) are giving away their freedom, one chunk at a time.
But back to the article from Colorado. Put aside my Eeyore-ness and give the article a look. It’s a happy one, and I’m glad the families are having a good time.
posted by Valerie