I thought this article below was interesting, in that it came from business media in Dubai. But the piece covered a Maryland homeschooling family, and the usual (not necessarily accurate) rendition of modern homeschool history.
Homeschooling goes from fringe to mainstream in US
Emirates Business 24/7 – June 25, 2009
At the height of the hippy culture in the 1960s, homeschooling enjoyed a renaissance as left-wingers seeking to buck the establishment taught their children themselves.
Christian conservatives were the next to embrace homeschooling, and “by 1990, 85 to 90 percent of all homeschoolers came from the ranks of the religious right,” Paul Petersen, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, wrote in Education Next, which he edits.
The number of home-schooled children soared by 29 percent between 1999 and 2003, from 850,000 to roughly 1.1 million, data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show.
85-90%?! That ‘statistic’ certainly wouldn’t have been known in a few populous states like Texas, Illinois, etc; as there would likely not be records via registration or notification. Let alone that they are from the “religious right”.
I’d want to hear some thoughts from a trusted long-time homeschooler who took a stroll down Memory Lane.
If homeschoolers are ‘going mainstream’, as I’ve seen in so many recent articles, then maybe the media/interested parties have a different connotation to the word “mainstream“. Maybe mainstream means back to school, in one form or another.
Following the article’s trail, I saw that Mr. Petersen has a piece in Education Next called:
The Home-Schooling Special
Today’s choicest choice
If the baby was born in hippieville, the toddler was soon kidnapped by Christian social conservatives. By 1990, 85 to 90 percent of all home schoolers came from the ranks of the Religious Right. Even Holt could not resist a Libertarian cry:
Some may feel that the schools teach a dog-eat-dog competitiveness; others that they teach a mealy-mouth Socialism…. What is important is not that all readers…should agree on these questions, but that we should…work for…the right of all people to take their children out of schools.
John Holt seemed on the right learning track wanting to work for the “right of all people to take their children out of schools“, if parents believe that would be the best for their child(ren).
As appealing as it might sound, I don’t agree with Mr. Petersen’s hope for legislators: “State legislatures are likely to become increasingly accommodating toward a movement that saves them money. The day may come when we hear the phrase, “We are all home schoolers now. John Locke would be pleased “.
It’s not just about the money, but seems to increasingly be about the control, as well. Being from Illinois, while observing other states’ and national budget busts, I don’t see many legislators particularly concerned with saving money. If the government was minimally, or not involved in the educational process, then I imagine Locke would be pleased. That doesn’t seem to be the trend. That control and/or hunger for more body counts in the schools certainly seems to come up in various state legislative sessions, along with the encroachment of federal “home-school” legislation via special interests. That query will have to be responded to again and again.
Petersen points out intriguing thoughts from Locke (proponent of “natural rights“, whose philosophy had a strong influence forming the US Constitution) concerning socialization and schooling:
“what qualities are ordinarily to be got from…a troop of playfellows [at school]…usually assembled together from parents of all kinds.” Even if the teacher’s industry and skill “be ever so great, it can[not]…be expected that he should instruct them successfully in anything but their books.”
In Locke’s home grounds, British homeschoolers now have to fend off potential legislation resulting from interested bureaucrats. As if homeschooling families didn’t have anything better to do. Ironic, isn’t it?
From Roland Meighan’s Response to Graham Badman’s Review Report
(Meighan is Director of Educational Heretics Press )
(In contrast, the bad news about schools is located and reported almost daily, and a motive for some families is that home-based education provides a much safer environment than schools. The evidence supports them – exposure to knives, drugs, petty crime, alcohol, smoking, bullying etc., are school-based problems.) The forthcoming report by Professor Clive Harber on Toxic Schooling assembles some of the key evidence on this.
Families escape schools to avoid bullying, and the government agencies attempt to follow them into their homes to continue the emotional bullying.
Education Otherwise has other updates on their site about Badman’s Review:
Yesterday Delyth Morgan, the Children’s Minister, said she accepted in full the “proportionate and reasonable” recommendations set out in Graham Badman’s Report.
However today Education Otherwise says that they reject the disproportionate and unreasonable recommendations as set out in the Review Report for compulsory registration and invasive monitoring.
Best wishes that this will ultimately benefit educational freedoms. I bet John Locke would like that; educational heretic, mainstream, what have you.