Thursday, February 12, 2009

Long Post about Homeschool

I am feeling vaguely unsettled. I feel a tremendous lack of stress and pressure. Ever since we made the decision to homeschool, I have felt this tremendous weight off my shoulders. My children are less stressed, I'm less stressed and I don't think that they are falling behind academically. In fact, I think Chaos is ready to take the EOY exam for at least 3 of her classes. In other words, self pacing is really working.

But, as a former teacher, I am shocked about a few things about homeschooling.

First, the law reads that the parent instructing must have a HS diploma or equivalent. However, reporting is not compulsory therefore the State of Georgia has no idea who has a diploma and who does not. For the most part, this is OK except there are some who are taking advantage of this loophole and the entirety of the homeschooling community/culture is suffering. Unless those of us who are diligent and following the law try to amend this ourselves, eventually the Government will indeed step in and "do" something about it. There is precedent for this.

As an educator, I have seen these children try to enter into public schools and it's painful to watch. The loser here is the child. What is called for is a self check done by the community -- to check on one another.

Also, we are required to test every three years by the state, but again it is not monitored. I have seen kids try to enter the system who have never ever been tested -- and the parent is not held responsible. I know of kids who are pulled out to "homeschool" during testing season and then popped back into school the next school year. One mother actually admitted to me that they were pulled so that the child was not tested (especially for placement and promotion to next grade) because her child would not have passed to the next grade. She did this several times; she eventually moved out of state.

As long as abuses like this exist, the possibility of the government stepping in and compelling is strong. It's a sticky problem with no easy answer. It is obvious to me that the people on this loop are the type to not do this -- I believe most of this abuse exists outside of any real community. But as with gun control, we risk losing our rights if those who are abusing the system are not castigated and reprimanded by the society at large. If we as a society do not do something, the government will.

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