Skip to comments.We Stand For Home Schooling
Posted on 6/8/2003, 7:14:39 PM by steplock
We Stand For Homeschooling
The very nature, language and essence of homeschooling are being challenged and even co-opted by a vast array of emerging educational programs which may be based in the home, but are funded by government tax dollars, bringing inevitable government controls. These new "home-based" publicly-funded entities are variously called: charter schools, cyber-charters, e-schools, Independent Study Programs (ISP), dual enrollment, Blended Schools Programs (BSP), Programs for Non-Public Students (PNPS), Public School Alternative Programs (PSAP), virtual schools, academies, community schools, home bound, and other newly devised terms and concepts. There is a profound possibility that homeschooling is not only on the brink of losing its distinctiveness, but also is in grave danger of losing its independence. A recent article in Education Week illustrates the problem.
Now, the situation has been upended in an unanticipated manner as proponents of home schooling in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states use charter school regulations to launch cyber schools. In many cases, youngsters who were already being schooled wholly at home are simply turning to cyber charter schools as a conduit to public funding, but others who had been in classrooms are staying home, too, to take whole schedules of courses online.(1)
This view is distorted and incorrect. The vast majority of homeschoolers has never sought public funding. The "proponents" are those who would make a profit from publicly-financed home-based education. These proponents are not homeschoolers. The newly-emerging consumers of these programs are being misled into thinking these programs are homeschooling. Anyone who is enrolled in a publicly-funded school program, even if that public school is based in the home, is a public school student and not a homeschooler.
Further evidence of an unprecedented crisis is seen in a report from the Ozaukee Press (WI). Reporting on the development of Wisconsin Virtual Academy, a for-profit K12, Inc. cyber-charter school directed by William Bennett:
[Northern Ozaukee] School Board member Kate Redmond said she liked the idea of using a virtual school to reach out to families that want homeschooling for their children. "It is bringing home schooling under the state's umbrella," Redmond said.(2)
One of the most blatant examples of "blending" homeschooling with existing public school models is represented in the Okaloosa County (FL) Blended School Project (BSP):
This proposal is designed to create a seamless educational plan for two groups of students: students that are schooled at home and students that are schooled at "government schools" (public schools). The proposal on the following pages would add a third choice beyond just home school or government schools…Blended Schools.(3)
In an additional report from the Akron Beacon Journal regarding Ohio's TRECA, a cyber-school consortium of multiple school districts:
Educating children at home is the fastest growing element of charter schools in the state. Enrollment could soar from about 3,000 cyberschool students last year to more than 12,000 in the next few years. The superintendent estimates that while the schools receive more than $5,000 in state and local money per child, the cost is only $2,500 per elementary pupil and $3,500 per high schooler. He said public school districts would use profits to fund other school programs, while for-profit companies would pocket the difference.(4)
What happens to homeschooling when publicly-funded school programs come under fire as has already begun? What will be the inevitable results of this guilt by association? As cited in Education Week:
Ohio's first online charter school-the Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow, or eCOT-received $1.7 million in state payments for students who may not have met enrollment requirements in September and October of 2000, a recent state audit concludes.(5)
We understand that it is pure folly to define what homeschooling is because of its diversity; nor can any one group pretend to speak for all homeschoolers. However, some educational programs can be clearly identified as NOT homeschooling. It is time to take a strong stand. Any time home education comes under "the state's umbrella" through public funding, it is no longer homeschooling. It is now public schooling.
WHEREAS a significant aspect of homeschooling is the independence from government control that it holds for every family regardless of the approach to education they choose;
WHEREAS charter school enrollees are public school students;
WHEREAS publicly-funded programs have co-opted the very language which homeschoolers have developed and utilized for years, including words and concepts such as: home education, family-based, parent-directed, independent family education, and the very word homeschooling itself. Publicly-funded cyber-schools are often misidentified as homeschools and the public will view them as homeschools if they are allowed to co-opt the language of homeschooling;
WHEREAS it is clear that the strongest motivation of the proponents of publicly-funded programs is access to taxpayer monies;
WHEREAS savvy marketing and slick corporate styled PR campaigns are purposely blurring the distinct difference between a publicly-funded cyber-school conducted at a place of residence and a homeschool, and in the process they are insulting parents by stating that homeschooling is extremely "arduous", "you need not feel frantic," and you need an "expert;"
WHEREAS homeschool parents are capable, intelligent people who accept responsibility for their children's education and have been effective without the enticements of a computer, "experts," reimbursements or packaged curriculum, and have succeeded without standards-driven accountability models, testing and other government interference;
WHEREAS the biggest difference between homeschools and publicly-funded school programs is that homeschoolers take direct responsibility by choosing a curriculum, an approach to learning, and the principles and values on which these are based while publicly-funded school program parents accept and follow detailed instructions about what to learn and how to learn it, using a curriculum designed to comply with state requirements and values;
WHEREAS cyber-public schools masquerading as homeschools are justifiably under fire for abuses, inevitably tarring homeschooling with the same brush; and
WHEREAS corporations are finding willing accomplices in school district administrations who are enticed by the financial gains corporations are promising their districts. Public school districts, because of the loss of funding, have pre-empted the for-profit corporations by starting their own publicly-funded in-home programs, even districts which object in principle to charter schools,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the words and concepts of homeschooling should not be used by publicly-funded school programs, and/or by the corporations that control them, to seek legitimacy or profit;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the words and concepts of homeschooling should not be used to seek legitimacy by those who have chosen to enroll in a publicly-funded school program. These families should honestly call such enrollment what it is - enrollment in public school. Their choices should not compromise others' rights to remain independent.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the signers of this statement will work to ensure that the basic right to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs is maintained for homeschoolers by informing homeschoolers and the general public that public school programs (including charter schools) that are easily confused with homeschools threaten the freedom to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the signers of this statement will encourage homeschoolers to make known explicitly and publicly how public school programs that are easily confused with homeschools, threaten our basic homeschooling freedoms and the nature, language, and definition of homeschooling.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the signers to this document reclaim homeschooling.
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(1) Education Week "The Virtual Schoolhouse," by Gene I. Maeroff, February 26, 2003.
(2) Ozaukee Press, "Virtual school gets go-ahead in Fredonia," by Mark Jaeger, February 6, 2003.
(3) Okaloosa County (FL) Blended School Project Proposal at: http://www.okaloosa.k12.fl.us/stuserv/ci/blended_school_information.htm
(4) Akron Beacon Journal, "Funding falls short for cyberschools," by Dennis J. Willard and Doug Oplinger, July 17, 2002.
(5) Education Week, "Ohio Audit Reveals Difficulties Of Tracking Online Students," by Andrew Trotter, December 5, 2001.
June 5, 2003 – Please join many homeschoolers and their allies who are publicly taking a stand for homeschooling. Why is this necessary? Because homeschooling freedoms are being threatened by the increase in both corporately-owned cyber charter schools and the creation of school district-sponsored programs directed at homeschoolers. Both are designed to bring homeschoolers under the control of public schools.
There are over 1000 signatures in just two days from a purely grassroots effort with no organization! Obviously this has hit a hot button. Here’s an alert that was sent to an Ohio homeschool statewide group.
Please pass this around to those who could possibly be interested.
I favor education choice. I
want to be able to choose to school at home. I don't want to take away
choices from families that want to school at home with government
support. I find it ironic that so many homeschooling organizations are
fighting to tell other families that they must homeschool "the right
way" or not at all.
I favor education choice. I want to be able to choose to school at home. I don't want to take away choices from families that want to school at home with government support. I find it ironic that so many homeschooling organizations are fighting to tell other families that they must homeschool "the right way" or not at all.....PMCarey
I'm in agreement with all three of you.
Our version of homeschooling is that we hired the best Christian teacher in the county to teach our two kids when they ran out of private school options in our small town. Within three weeks, we had seven other students joining our school in the third floor of our 1889 house.
That's what works for us.
It is not "traditional" homeschooling but, with a medical practice, I do not have the time to teach and my wife, who only two years ago was saying that public school was good enough for her, is, quite frankly, not cut out to teach homeschool.
Now, the kids are getting the best 6th and 7th Grade education in the county and my wife admits that public school would have been a disaster compared to what we have now.
The bottom line about our school is that like-minded parents and a like-minded teacher have control over our kid’s education.
We can afford to forgo any Government assistance but many families do not have such a luxury.
If you can trust parents to decide how to educate their children
themselves, you can trust them to decide how much Government assistance
and how many Government strings they are willing to accept.
When I got older - about seventh grade - I started disliking it. I didn't have a social life, no real friends to speak of, and I was lonely. We lived in a rural area, so we didn't have the cool homeschooling groups that are available in the city.
By the time I hit ninth grade, I was thoroughly sick of it. I hated it. My parents - after three years - took note, and they enrolled me in a private school for the rest of the time.
I think homeschooling is an excellent concept. It is a great way to educate. I'm certian now that I was much better off at home than in the public school system.
However, the loneliness was great at times, and I didn't know how to relate to people my own age when I did start going to private school. I still struggle with feeling out of place and with confidence when it comes to people my own age. I always feel just a bit uncomfortable. I'm sure I'll grow out of it as I get older.
However, that's not to say that homeschooling is bad! Not
at all! I just think that parents need to make certian that the child
is getting the interaction they need with someone else besides just the parents. That's very important.
I understand the fear is that our freedoms would erode, but why can't we have it both ways. The more people out of the government schools the better.
If the greedy jackels want their money, they will have to pay attention to the free market.
There will have to be changes made, because people are taking their
kids OUT for a reason. IF they clean up the public schools and everyone
gets choice, then isn't that ideal compared to the monolopy we have now?
BTW I unschool :}
As a homeschool dad to a just-turned-eight-year-old, I worry about this, too. I'm not after "socialization" because that is a two-edged sword. Frankly, I don't want my son to internalize the behavior and thought-process of the typical eight-year-old.
The other side to this is that I don't want to raise a hermit, a misfit, a loner. We try to do that by encouraging (and, yes, sometimes insisting on) "extracurricular" activities...Scouting, Junior Golf and Tennis, Tae Kwan Do, outings with kids from families we like and trust.
Our goal is not to pick our son's friends, but to put him in situations where the pool of possible friends is of as high a standard as possible. So far, it's worked fairly well. We've hooked up with a homeschool group headed by a family we admire, and whose son is just old enough to be an excellent youth role model for our son.
The upshot of this is that we're involved in so many activities. We do our part as adults in volunteering with these organizations. Our homeschooled son has more opportunities for healthy interaction with other kids than the typical public-schooled student (if one takes time in class out of the equation). My nephew is a public school kid, and I love him very much. For him, his life is school and home. Nothing else. I think it's a pity, but that's my sister/BIL's issue, and I wouldn't begin to advise them.
That got a little long-winded, but thanks again for your thoughts.
I'm with you, Princess. For all their excellent qualities and passioned defense of homeschooling families, I get a little put out with HSLDA sometimes. Especially their advice to avoid any kind of interaction with public schools.
Some states permit homeschooling families to take advantage of public school facilities and organizations, but not to "buy into" the whole public school course of study.
I'm told this is especially popular in Florida, where homeschooling teens often take Driver's Ed, Music, Lab Sciences, and Foreign Languages in the public school, but homeschool for other courses. I don't know if we'd do that, but I like it that there is an option for those that want to do so.
One of our reasons for choosing homeschooling was that we didn't want to subordinate our educational goals to someone else's agenda. Why would homeschooling families want to shove their agendas on other people?
In essence, we homeschooling families have told the
government and all its beaurocracies to "mind your own business." I
think it's time for a few of us to heed our own words.
Sounds like you guys are the ideal homeschoolers. I didn't have any of that. I did play softball for a few years on the city league, but that was only for a few months out of the year and I didn't really make any long-lasting friends.
I have a lot of friends now, but few close ones. I'm not a hermit, but I'm comfortable - sometimes more comfortable - being alone.
Keep up the good work! Your son sounds really lucky - or blessed. Congrats!
However that's a semantic argument. The major question is whether or not it is a threat to private home education (or homeschooing if you will.) I think when we increase educational choices, it strengthens the ability for parents to choose private home education.
The public school system has two main arguments against
homeschooling: 1) the kids need to be in an institution for
socialization, and 2) the kids need the benefits of the curriculum and
the expertise of a state-certified teacher. By supporting public home
education, they have conceded point #1, reducing them only to argue the
second point. I think they have weakened their position, not
Sorry... I don't think we can have it both ways.
SepSchool has a great link that address some of these issues... some of their points are below or to read in its entirety click on :www.sepschool.org/misc/vouchers.html
What about tax-funded vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools?
While tax-funded vouchers, education or scholarship tax credits, and charter schools introduce sorely-needed competition into schooling, they have at least four serious flaws which outweigh their good side.
(This article will refer to vouchers. When all the camouflage is removed, these flaws are also inherent in universal tax credits, refundable tax credits, scholarship tax credits, and charter schools.)
1. Vouchers spread the dependency attitude to independent families currently paying for their children's education.
2. Vouchers obscure the difference between parents who are willing to sacrifice to send their children to a private school from those who are unwilling to sacrifice. This means private schools will lower their standards of who gets in.
3. By creating a flow of money from the state to private schools, vouchers pave a wide road for additional regulations and controls. "When you reach for the money is when they slip on the handcuffs."
A common control is to require voucher-redeeming schools to administer standardized tests. These tests, in effect, dictate the curriculum, as the private schools do not wish to have lower test scores than the "public" schools.
4. Other than expensive prep schools, private and religious schools that refuse to accept the voucher will lose a significant number of their students to voucher-redeeming schools. Many will face the choice of accepting the voucher and its controls or going out of business.
The net result
of these flaws is that private and religious schools will become more
and more like the "public" schools. In effect, vouchers and other
schemes of using tax funds for education will kill the goose that is
laying the golden eggs of private education.
One of the key problems with choosing to home-school via the use of state or federal dollars is that you are then required to take the state ASSESSMENTS. That's the big "catch" to the choice.....You can't test what you don't teach.
"We stand for Home Schooling" does not demand lock step uniformity, but rather warns us not to get caught in the "Government school web". "No Child Left Behind" is a title carefully chosen and means what it says. They have designed an ALL inclusive system with single "points of entry" built in all along the way from 'cradle-to-grave'. This proclamation serves to point out some of those "points of entry" that may jeopardize your independence.
Bennetts K-12 program is available to
independent Home Schoolers and does not have the State/Federal
accountability ASSESSMENT albatross attached unless they accept state
(tax) dollars to pay for it.
I'm fine with that warning for the very reasons that
you stated. Unfortunately I have seen homeschooling organizations go the
route of lobbying the government, opposing these types of programs.
That's where I have problems because in that case it a homeschooling
organization seeking to limit the educational choices of other families.
Socialism by any other name is socialism.
You're not homeschooling your charter schooling at home. There's a difference.
For this you must be severely punished. < /sarcasm>
BUMP to that. People forget about the "Lord of the Flies" element in public school. It's very real.
I have the same feelings but was institutionalized in a government
school. When I left school I remember thinking, "Thank God I don't have
to hang around with those kids any more." Or, in a more kind way, I'm
glad that I'm free to choose my friends.
netmilsmom--No, vouchers put the money you are paying for your child's education out of the pockets of the government and back into yours
Posted by Lady Eileen to Republic If You Can Keep It On News/Activism 04/28/2003 10:45 AM EDT #36 of 58
Republic If You Can Keep It : Vouchers are our only hope.
Lady Eileen: I hope not, because that is the same as saying government, which got us into the present mess, is our only hope. That's because in every voucher system, government politicians decide who gets what, when, how much, etc.
This is not the same as parents keeping their own money and deciding how to spend it on their children's education. The state is still controlling the money and handing it out on its own terms. Sure, vouchers are better than providing only one local school alternative. But they are not freedom. And they are not the state acknowledging its usurpation of parental authority. So they are a small bandaid on a wound that won't heal without surgery.
If we are
wise, we won't be distracted from what should be our goal of complete
eduational freedom from the state by the siren song of vouchers.
Codder too: I did not mean to imply that HSLDA endorsed this particular proposal, although a review of my post certainly could have led you to believe that.
I meant to use the HSLDA example to point out how sometimes perfectly reputable homeschool organizations take positions that, if carried out, limit the educational choices for parents.
PMCarey said this better in his post, an excerpt of which I've posted above.
For the record: I like HSLDA and support them, but I don't personally
endorse every single position they take. Sort of like my relationship
with the National Republican Party.
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. -- Thomas Jefferson
said and this, I believe, is the crux of homeschooling. We, as parents,
are the ones to rightfully decide how, where and when our children are
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