Home Schooling to Be Legalized in Year 2010, 16 August 2007, The Korea Times
In 2010, a test system for home schooling will be introduced prior to its official launch in 2015. The system will allow parents to teach their children at home without sending them to school. Scholastic credits will be given to children if they pass the appropriate exams.
I am not sure whether I should attach any comments to the snip from this article. I do not know much about Korea, other than a few place-names from 1974 when my husband spent a year as a geographic bachelor in Taejon and Seoul. I also have vague memories of news reports about student unrest, I know the name Park Chung Hee, and I know about about Uncle Sun. When I was a child, I read a Korean fairy tale, “The Sparrow King’s Rewards” (the good guy won, the bad guy lost). About Korean schooling, though, I do not know much.
I looked for school information, and found that part of the Korean schooling situation looks both competitive and messy, but it is risky to guess at life in another place and another culture. Still, I see clues in the article about the homeschooling plans. The news report paragraph reads as if someone plans a change in the school structure, not that someone plans to encourage grass-roots homeschooling in Korea. People involved in grass-roots changes rarely put out press releases years ahead of time.
Other items in the paragraph that give me pause are:
- “test system”
For something to be ‘tested’ there must be those benchmarks and milestones against which to judge the results of the tests. “System” is another giveaway, as homeschooling-as-a-movement is not systematic.
- “official launch”
The closest thing homeschooling has to an “official launch” is the birth of a child. Without the child, there can be no homeschooling. Other than that launch, homeschooling is a function of family, and I presume Korea already has those because “The Sparrow King’s Rewards” mentions brothers Nahl Bo and Hyung Bo who are each married, and “Hyung Bo had several children.” Married brothers with children equal one family from their childhood, and two from each of the marriages. The launch of Korean parents teaching children happened a while ago.
- “scholastic credits” and “appropriate exams”
The combination of credits and exams makes this officially launchable system sound like state-run instruction similar to the well-established programs in the United States. Providers and legislators call these programs public-school-at-home, virtual schooling, cyber-schooling, or e-schooling. Providers also call public-school-at-home programs ‘homeschooling,’ although that is not what they are.
Chances are that the people and organizations who will benefit from the confusion of homeschooling with public forms of at-home education will continue to link the words because it is convenient shorthand. Whoever writes the definition controls the concept. Without words to describe a concept people cannot talk about ideas. If the definition of a word changes, people cannot talk about the ideas in the way they did before.
Still, I am glad that Korean families who want an alternative to brick and mortar schooling will have the chance to keep their children at home if they wish.
posted by Valerie