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