Home Education Week: Many county parents opt for homeschooling, 15 May 2007, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi Although new to teaching out of her home, Stephanie is no stranger to the world of education. Having worked as a substitute teacher for several years, and currently earning her M.A., and later doctorate, in education, she prides herself in being able to provide the best learning environment for her son. …
“It takes a lot of organization, and I’m not nearly as organized as I need to be,” Stephanie said. “But, I’m a stickler as far as schoolwork goes. I believe that, if your child is going to get an education, he is going to have to do the work.”
What bothers her is the lax interest the state takes in the jobs home educators are doing. Stephanie is fairly outspoken on the topic of state requirements, and how they aren’t up to par.
“I don’t have to turn in anything to the state that shows what I’m teaching my son,” Stephanie explained dishearteningly. “With the governor promoting this as Home Education Week, it really is a shame that there are no rules or guidelines, [dictating that] you go in and they test to see if your child is learning what he/she should be learning.”
She explained that this could be, and probably is, an issue with some parents who have pulled their children out of public schools. Although there are achievement tests that allow the parents to know how the students are performing something that both she and the Baneses require their children to take these are not mandated by the state. Children can be pulled out of school with little explanation, and no follow up by the state itself, which many responsible homeschoolers find a little frightening.
“Homeschooling is not for everyone,” Stephanie explained. “If you have a child who does not want to learn, and parents who don’t what level their child is on curriculum-wise, it makes things very difficult If you have parents who are not dedicated to their child’s education, and they don’t teach the child, then that child can’t grow up and function in today’s society. It’s really scary, and there should be rules and guidelines.”
What’s scary is a homeschooling parent publicly lobbying for restrictive laws. Homeschooling has a long history of successful education of children with minimal oversight by the state. Perhaps, as a new homeschooler, Mrs. Eads could read some back issues of Home Education Magazine columns for insight into that history.
A central question facing homeschoolers today is: Are we willing to judge and be judged by the values, beliefs, and practices of conventional schools in an attempt to ensure that “unqualified” people don’t taint homeschooling? Do we want to lose the distinctive elements of homeschooling? Do we want to destroy homeschooling in an attempt to save it? The way we answer these questions will have a strong impact on the future of homeschooling.
May-June 2003, Practical Ways to Claim Responsibility for Our Homeschools
The key ways we can maintain our homeschooling freedoms is by making it clear both to ourselves and to public officials that the responsibility for our homeschools is ours and not theirs. If we are going to maintain our independence, we need to think and act like independent homeschoolers.
September-October 2005, Eight Principles for New and Experienced Homeschoolers
Do not push for new homeschooling legislation except in very unusual situations. Small minorities generally have difficulty getting legislation passed, especially if they don’t have large sums of money to hire lobbyists. In addition, once a bill has been introduced, it is very difficult to control. It can be changed so much through amendments that it actually ends up the opposite of what it started out to be. Some of the best homeschooling laws in the country have resulted from legislation introduced by opponents of homeschooling being changed through amendment. It is easier for a small minority like homeschoolers to gain support from non-homeschoolers when we are a beleaguered minority being put upon by a large interest group like a teachers union than to find support for legislation we initiated ourselves.
posted by Valerie