An article from May published by the TCRecord just arrived in my inbox. The title of the article is Homeschooling a Personal Choice not a Movement, and on the whole it’s a good piece. Quotations from it that I like are:
- The suggestion that these are part of an elaborate social movement (Stevens, 2001), does not square with my own observations, having participated in five different homeschool support groups and four different co-ops in two different communities and having been a member of numerous other homeschool virtual communities. Homeschoolers often have little in common with one another other than a commitment to providing an educational alternative to the public school for their children.
- Reportedly the Alliance [for the Separation of School and State] indicated that reform of the school system was not possible because compromise was not possible. Their website reportedly once stated, Compromise is not possible: Some want prayer in school, some want condoms. Printing prayers on condoms satisfies nobody. Communities are split (Foster, 2002)
- These homeschooling proponents with a larger social reform agenda are only a small minority of homeschoolers, though.
- The reality is that homeschoolers are a group of diverse people who are motivated to remove their children from the public school system (or never place their children inside the public school system) for a wide range factors, many of them personal, idiosyncratic, or specific to their local settings.
Peer pressure & Socialization
Geography and rural life
Academically weak public schools
- One of the most significant things that I think the non-homeschooling public needs to understand about the motivations for homeschooling is that in almost every case, the reasons are multiple.
Further, as the collection of people who homeschool grows, there is likely to be a multiplier, take-off type of effect. . . . Homeschooling success is going to beget other homeschooling success.
A number of studies comparing the academic performance of homeschooling to the public school system have argued that homeschooling produces superior academic results.
And it is here that I must segue to other articles concerning homeschoolers and acadmic studies of homeschoolers written by Home Education Magazine columnists Larry and Susan Kaseman. The TCRecord article cites statistics and studies, and includes the statement, “These are questions that we are not able to answer from available studies. No doubt additional studies are warranted.” Before jumping headlong into the statistics and studies arena, opinions from another homeschooling sector should be taken into consideration.
- Survey and Lobbyists Cause Problems for Homeschoolers
Among the problematic approaches are using inaccurate survey results that limit our options and alternatives as homeschoolers and allowing lobbyists to represent us or our state organizations in the U. S. Congress. Opposing such approaches and choosing more appropriate and effective approaches that strengthen and support us as individuals and as a homeschooling community will pay big dividends in the long run.
- HSLDA Study: Embarrassing and Dangerous
The findings of this study cannot be used to make accurate statements about homeschoolers in general. Citing this study will support those who want to require that homeschoolers take state-mandated tests and will force homeschools to become more like conventional schools. Therefore, we should not use this study ourselves and should be prepared to correct those who cite it.
The article at the TCRecord site redeems itself at the end with the sentiment, “The government and the public at large should thank us and leave us alone.”
It’s a long article, but worth reading, as are the Kaseman articles.