I had missed this story from back in January. It comes from Stories From School, Practice meets Policy
Several years ago my principal and I spent a lunch hour on a home visit to see one of my students. He had been absent for a week, after telling us that he was going to be homeschooled.
This boy had come to me after a previous bout of homeschooling, essentially two years behind his peers, but was just beginning to make steady progress.
We were not happy to hear that he would be homeschooled, and feared for the worse. He lived with a single mom who lacked basic parenting skills and we were legitimately concerned that with her as his teacher he could essentially become a third grade drop-out. So we set out to change her mind.
So where does state law stand in regards to homeschooling? Well off to the side, actually. All a parent has to do is file an Intent to Homeschool and show that they’ve either taken 45 credits of college-level courses (in anything) or that they’ve taken an approved class on homeschooling. That’s it. Homeschooled kids have to take periodic tests, but they don’t necessarily have to pass them. With all the recent focus on school accountability, it seems odd that the state is so loose with homeschool oversight.
Now I’m sure there are plenty of parents out there who are effectively homeschooling their children for all the right reasons. But this mother was not one of them. And what would have happened ten years down the road, when he was eighteen years old with a third grade education?
I can’t imagine, but I’d sure like to see someone in Olympia take a long, critical look at our state’s homeschool law.
The author wrote that he and his boss “had the strong feeling that the mom was just plain lonely. She wasn’t working at the time, seemed depressed and wanted her son around to keep her company.” I will have to take his word that this was a sad situation – I wasn’t there and didn’t see.
Our family was involved in lobbying for the WA state law and these concerns were indeed aired – that was 1985. Schools continue to struggle, it is tough times for families. What’s new is “all the recent focus on school accountability”.
Do we put an entire group of families under suspicion because of one, or even a few bad situations? It is a poor idea for many reasons but hard cases make bad law.