Schooled at home

Posted by Annie on Sep 17, 2009 in Education |

Some unnamed — don’t you just love it when writers spout off publicly and can’t even own up to their own work? Some chicken in Alaska is spouting off about how the homeschooling laws in Alaska are too lax.

Just exactly who does he or she think they are kidding? The author began with…

Alaska has some of the most lax home-schooling laws in the nation, according to a report in Sunday’s Daily News. Home schooling can be a highly effective option for educated, motivated parents who have the time and expertise to handle such a profound responsibility. However, our home-schooling laws are so lax, parents don’t even have to notify the state that they have a school-age child whom they are educating at home, let alone show that their children are actually learning anything.

Why on Earth should homeschooling parents have to prove anything to the state? Whose children are these again? Is the state feeding these children? Are they being housed by the state? If the state is not paying to education these children, then what on God’s green Earth should the state have to say about it?

I’ll bet the author had no idea that Alaska is not alone in respecting the rights of its citizens. Homeschoolers in the states of Michigan and Texas (just to name two) both exercise their freedom to choose their method of educating their children and require no notification, no testing, no tracking or other interference of any kind.

The author goes on to say…

Reform has to start with the most basic change: Requiring parents to let the state know when they are home schooling a child. As part of the process, the state could supply the parents with information about home-school support programs offered by various Alaska school districts. Parents may not be aware of those programs, which offer money for home-school educational activities and materials, such as computers.

Give me a break. Homeschooling parents are some of the most resourceful well-informed people I’ve ever met. We are well networked and homeschoolers spend a great deal less than states spend on education — and get better results to boot.

State law does provide some academic oversight of home schooling, but only when home-school students get help through a school district correspondence program. Those students have to take the state’s standardized tests to measure their educational progress.

The same requirement should apply to students who are being taught at home without any help from a state-recognized correspondence program. In fact, that kind of academic oversight is even more important in those circumstances. In general, when parents don’t get outside support, their home-schooled students are at a greater risk of not getting a real education.

I checked out our local school’s academic record and let me tell you what, it was less than impressive. How many schools are failing — by their own admission? Is this the model they hold up for homeschool families to follow — their own failed attempts to attain educational excellence? The fact is the public school system has its hands full as it is; they aren’t doing such a hot job with the children in their care now. So, why would homeschoolers trust government educators with the education of their children?

I’ve known children in public schools who graduated – diploma in hand and could barely read a word that appeared on that same diploma. Do we blame the schools? Yes. Do we blame the parents? Yes. Does a portion of the blame fall on the student? Perhaps.

It’s time we stop looking at children as if they were one size fits all. Some children struggle with education their entire lives and it wouldn’t matter where or who was attempting to instruct them. All the testing in the world, won’t make a difference. Some children just naturally take to reading, writing and “ciphering,” as the old folks call it. Others, are “left behind” to coin a phrase.

To the author, I present to you that homeschoolers are a free people too, it’s a right guaranteed by our constitution. In the absence of evidence of wrong doing, homeschooling parents are innocent. If you have evidence otherwise, present it in a court of law.

As often said, “This is not your child.”

~Annette M. Hall

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