Homeschooling Doesn’t Need More Regulation

One of my favorite privileges is being able to stay at home with my children and teach them. You might say I am now a fanatic when it comes to homeschooling, yet growing up I was completely against it. Why was I so against it? I think it was because of my ignorance and immaturity. I was young, in traditional school and thought, how could kids who stay at home learn anything? Well, God worked within me and with the birth of my first daughter, nudged me to stay at home and teach her. I still laugh at how my life has turned out. I went from not desiring any kids to trusting God’s plan (so far we have 4), not wanting to stay at home to staying at home, and not wanting to teach to homeschooling. God has a way of changing our hearts and minds to follow His will and He did this to me very gently.

Why do I say all of this? Well, on Monday I heard that our local paper had printed a very negative article on homeschooling in the Sunday paper. So, I searched through my copy and found it in the opinion section. That’s clearly what it was, this lady’s opinion. It was so sad to read that her opinion was based on 1 girl she knows whom she “feels” is behind where she “feels” she ought to be. The writer knows another homeschooling family who does a great job. Yet, because of this 1 child she is calling for more regulation, possibly more testing like the public school kids, and for it to be done every 6 months at least. I was shocked at her conclusion and her opinion throughout. So, me being the homeschool fanatic I am sat down and wrote a long rebuttal. After I was finished I sent it to a few family members to make sure it sounded okay before it was submitted.

What I was told was harsh, my rebuttal was filled with anger and opinion which was no different from the ignorance and opinion of the writer. I thought I was right, but after much thought and advice I sat down to rewrite my letter. As a Christian, I am to show love, even to those who disagree with me. I can state the facts, but my anger had to subside. When I sent my rebuttal for a second review, I was told to submit it.

If you would like to read the negative article, click here.

Please understand, my heart is for homeschooling and that’s the choice I feel God has led me to. You might feel differently, but here is my response to the writer:

Dear Ms. St. Denis,

As I read your article this morning, it concerned me that your opinion was based upon one little girl who seemed behind where you thought she should be. As a result of her deficiency you call for more regulation upon the entire homeschool community.

Did you know that homeschoolers are under current regulation according to the Florida Law? According to Florida Statute 1002.41 an annual educational evaluation must be submitted. It can consist of a certified teacher evaluation, a nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher, or a state student assessment test administered by a certified teacher. It is up to the district school superintendent to review and accept the results of this evaluation. Records are to be kept for the student and made available anytime for inspection by the superintendent.

Socialization is a large topic concerning non-homeschool families. Socialization is defined as a continuous process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, social skills appropriate to his or her social position. I think we are all socialized unless we are kept away from any human contact for long periods of time. We might not like the way others act or how they interact, but we should all be able to agree that they are socialized according to the definition.

Academics are your next concern. Did you know that homeschoolers rank higher nationally than their public school counterparts? In 2001, homeschoolers scored on average 81 points above the national average on the SAT and slightly higher on the ACT. Homeschoolers continue to score on average 15-30% higher than their public school counterparts on standardized tests.

Homeschooling allows for children to be devoid of peer pressure and learn in a loving environment with people who love them better than any outside teacher would or could. As the authority in my child’s life, am I not the one who would be best in training them in academics and life skills? Can the school board love my child and care for my child better than me? Can they understand my child’s learning style and teach them better than me?

In conclusion, there are children, whether homeschooled or in a public or private school, who will not be good learners, who will struggle with learning, who might not be where we think they should be socially. It isn’t a call for more regulation. I don’t feel public schools should take the FCAT let alone making homeschoolers take it. In my opinion it is a waste of time and inhibits true learning and teaching in the classroom. If I was a parent of a public school child I would be enraged over the majority of the classroom time spent teaching for a test. The time should be spent teaching the children to learn and grow academically.

A Local Homeschooling Mom

Linking up at: Raising Homemakers, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

3 thoughts on “Homeschooling Doesn’t Need More Regulation

  1. Good for you! Don’t worry, she is proclaiming her ignorance and insecurities by bringing this up. Her claim of “concern” clearly smacks of disdain for home schooling for what ever reason. The government, local school board, and housewives that complain about home schoolers not conforming to the pathetic standards of our public school system, should mind their own business. If she is so concerned, perhaps she should lovingly come alongside the child and try to mentor and tutor her! I’m sure the child would benefit more from that than a government mandated test.

  2. I think it is wonderful that you homeschool, and you obviously are a caring mother who is dedicated to her children. I too had a negative opinion of homeshoolers throughout schooling years, but now I would love to homeschool my children someday.

    I do think that regulations are a tricky matter. I def don’t think the woman went about her comment/article in the right way, however I do think that regulations are important – to a reasonable extent. I’m sure many would disagree with me about what I think is reasonable (I would advocate for annual or semi-annual testing/educational report done beginning with upper elementary school aged children) but it is important to remember that although many parents might have the heart to homeschool there are some who simply might not being effectively teaching their children. Currently regular testing is required in an extreme minority of states, which actually makes statistics regarding public standardized tests difficult to interpret because there are many homeschooling and unschooling families who choose not to test. (like I said, I have not been homeschooled nor am I a homeschooling parent yet, but I did just write an academic paper regarding homeschooling and unschooling regulations – so please feel free to correct me if any of this is different in regards to your personal experience).

    I also think it is great that you responded! I would continually be living in a dark cloud in regards to my own assumptions about many areas (including homeschooling) if I wasn’t confronted with the truth by those personally involved!

    • I always welcome other opinions, so thank you for responding.

      Currently, I’m not an advocate for forced annual testing. My daughter has done fine with being evaluated and I’m constantly evaluating her performance throughout the year. If she’s not doing so well in an area, we’ll slow down and take some more time with that. If she’s breezing through a subject, I’ll challenge her a little more. There will always be situations where children aren’t being taught effectively, whether it’s at home or in a traditional school setting. Testing won’t change that. My concern is, who decides when a child isn’t being effectively schooled at home? What happens to those kids who aren’t being effectively schooled in the school system? We can regulate everything and yet have nothing change and create more problems.

      In Florida, our children can either be tested or evaluated. I appreciate that it’s a choice and that me as a parent can make the ultimate decision. I do believe that I am the ultimate authority for my child’s schooling and that the best place for them to learn is at home.

      I’m glad that you would like to homeschool someday. My negativity towards homeschooling went away with the birth of my first child. She is 8 now and I still get nervous as to whether or not I can do this, but I know with God’s help I can. He blessed me with my children and will help me in teaching them. He has guided me throughout this entire journey!

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