Archive: What do we do with homeschoolers?

The original post was linked here: but may have been moved. The entire article is reprinted below so it’s easier to find. All rights are reserved by the original authors and publishers… of course.


Tom Stein
October 1, 2010

Tom Stein

Time to offend everyone. How can you write about education, and do otherwise?

The subject of the week is home-schooling. More and more people in Richmond are doing this — or claiming to do this. One result? Our graduation rate is improving, for when a student leaves the district for home-schooling, the departure does not count against the rate. Does this explain the whole increase? Maybe not. But it sure helps.

Let’s be real. Something is happening here, and one doubts it is a citywide divine revelation about the glories of home-schooling.

Are our local administrators quietly encouraging parents of troubled and troublesome kids to sign the form that promises home-schooling?

Are parents claiming to home-school, so they can dodge the law that now requires kids to be in school until they are 18?

I don’t know and I don’t know. But we do have a way of finding and using loopholes in laws, and this one is a mile wide.

Yet behind all that, is this: What do we do with home schools?

Leave them alone? Regulate them? Ban them?

I run in circles where home-schooling is often present, and sometimes popular. Home schools are like anything else: Some are good, and some are bad. Some parents are passionate, diligent and competent. Other parents are lukewarm, negligent and unqualified.

I admire those who do it well. My kids surpassed my home-schooling skills somewhere around first grade.

So I ask: is it in the interests of the state, to keep an eye on this? I say yes.

Let’s say the schools do happily say goodbye to frustrating and failing kids through this home-school loophole, and never see them again. Or let’s say exasperated parents do sign the form, then allow their children to enjoy a curriculum of potato chips and ESPN. What is the result? Uneducated, unskilled, unmotivated people who will barely survive in the work force and might eventually drop out altogether. Then, since we are so generous with our social programs, we will have another group of people who take far more than they give.

Is this what we want? I hope not. Some oversight and regulation seems reasonable. This might include submission of a curriculum, occasional visits and participation in the standardized tests. Yes, this addition to our bureaucracy will cost money, but how does that compare to what we pay for a lifetime of dependency?

As with many issues these days, we tend to run to the extremes.

One side might say, “Do not touch my home-schooling!” The other side might say, “Just outlaw it!”

But can we do better than that? Home-schooling is an excellent path for some. But it is not for everyone — especially those who merely sign a form to evade a law.

If we believe we need to help people who need help, we need to help them when they are kids, so we do not need to help them when they are adults.

Let’s not stick our heads in the sand about what is happening or what could happen. We can value freedom and urge responsibility.

Hello, legislators. Anybody … home?

Tom Stein is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Richmond.


Public School Pushouts: Indiana Pads Grad Rates

I’ve often talked about the situation I call Ex-Schooling–the “excommunicating” of some publicly schooled kids. Ex-schooling is when a public school administrator tells the parents of a poorly performing child, they can’t drop out, BUT they can’t stay at the school either. The ultimatum given to the distraught parent is this: she must homeschool their kids in order to take them out of the school’s hair, and BONUS! the kid that leaves, doesn’t count as a dropout against the school.

Well, here’s a little proof:

Clark County Chatter -> graduation rates.

This is one mom that is willing to go public with her story. Rest assured, she’s not alone.

In a nutshell, some public school employees are exploiting the Indiana private education laws by suggesting that rather than dropping out of school, the parents of the problem child just say they’re homeschooling. The school doesn’t have a dropout on its record. Their graduation rates look better. Sometimes, if the student didn’t do well on his state tests, the school’s overall test scores will be affected positively.

Then, if something happens to the child or family that is “homeschooling” the school gets to point to the homeschooling community and remark at what a poor job they are doing. “Oh… they’re probably exploiting the law, just to get out of school!” See my posts on Richmond Community School Corp. and on the women who plead guilty to educational abuse for not homeschooling right. Two better examples of what I’m talking about can not be found, until now.

Read the words of one of possibly THOUSANDS of moms who are getting shafted by public schools that are looking out for their own bottom lines, rather than doing what is best for the children they are supposed to SERVE.

I’m sure there will be more to come. The question is: will the attacks on the homeschooling community come before the facts about the tactics of Government Schools are known?

England’s Homeschoolers: The Canary in the Mine

Read Linda Dobson’s post on the Canary in the mine. Her blog is called: Parent At The Helm.

England  has always been a little more hostile towards home education than the U. S. They just can’t believe that there are any non-credentialed person can possibly teach anything to anyone over there.

The attitude aside, what is happening over there is very likely to begin happening over here. I’m specifically speaking to the fact that representatives in government at all levels, are taking less and less advice from the people they represent. It doesn’t matter what We The People think about how we should be governed, it’s coming down to We The Elite know what’s best for You the (little) People.

We have one recent case where two moms were charged and found guilty of educational neglect for not filling out an attendance sheet (Yeah, I know there’s more to the story, but no one is tellin’ it.) and the new cries for legislation and regulation are going to roll on from there.

I can feel it. 2010 will be the year of the “Hunted Homeschooler.”

Homeschool Truants in the Crosshairs

ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MICHIGAN — The year 2010 is going to be the year of “The Hunted Homeschooler.” Some cities are considering new curfew laws, supposedly to counter truancy, but in practice, they will be used to harass homeschoolers. Some cities are just outright picking targets that they know aren’t really homeschooling, and nailing them. (I wonder how they know that education isn’t going on? Read more for my theory.)

My friend, Sue Ryan at Corn and Oil has been writing about what has been going on in Illinois this month, and combined with what we have been discussing here in Indiana and in Michigan, it almost appears like an all out frontal attack on homeschooling.

We need more regulations!

Homeschoolers are unaccountable!

Parents who didn’t fill out an attendance record are educationally neglecting their children!

Parents are skipping school and ‘saying’ they’re homeschooling!

I’m sure there are more.

Conspiracy? Nah. But while I won’t give it that much credit, I do believe that what is going on of late is a result of the practice I’ve called, “Public School Excommunications, or Ex-schooling.” Public schools, in the desperate need to reduce the dropout rates among students (including those who are not old enough to legally drop out) have found that by encouraging parents to simply “say” they are homeschooling, both the school and the parents can conveniently get rid of a mutual problem.

We can all blame NCLB all we want, but the fact is, no matter what was required of public schools to meet the federal demands, teachers and school officials all across the country did everything they could, to either dumb down the requirements so more kids could ‘appear’ to pass, or they sabotaged their classes to prove the point that the Republican’s plan for school reform wouldn’t work.

Part of the sabotage plan (I would argue) was to indict parents for not holding up to their end of the bargain to educate their children after (school) hours. Stupid kids aren’t the schools fault… it’s the fault of parents who don’t appreciate education the way they should. The battle of who’s schooling whom stays on cruise control until those stupid public schoolers get too hard to handle and control; then it’s time to get rid of the problem.

It’s like a getting out of school free card!

The solution is obvious! The school gets rid of a child that doesn’t want to be there and is likely acting out in disruptive or violent manners (not to mention purposely tanking his or her state mandated tests) by forcing the parent to leave the school in the only legal way possible — they are forced to transfer out of public school to a private school. And since they can’t afford a private school, they are told their only choice is to homeschool.

It’s likely the parent is already frustrated with her child’s behaviors, and double-frustrated with how the school handles and miseducates her child. What concerned (or even neglectful) parent wouldn’t be glad to get out of the cycle of  abuse and punishment inflicted by government schooling on her child?

There are questions that need to be asked of every parent from here on out that is accused of “pretending” they are homeschooling:

  • Did you recently decide to homeschool, or have you been doing it for a long time?
  • Why and when did you decide to leave public school to homeschool?
  • Were you told that you were required to homeschool?
  • Were  you told that if you didn’t, CPS would be called on you?
  • Were you informed of the legal requirements to homeschool, or do you feel you were just tossed out?
  • Did you look for local and statewide resources for help, once you decided to homeschool?
  • Would you have rather gone to another school, if you had a choice?

These are the first questions reporters should be asking when they come across cases like this. But instead, we are going to get more and more articles indicting non-homeschoolers for no other reason than NOT going to a government school.

Therefore, this will be the year of The Hunted Homeschooler.


Indiana needs standards for home schooling | The Journal Gazette Op-ed

Good Grief! The Journal Gazette reported last month that two mothers and their children were indentured into slavery to their public government school (for failing to keep attendance while they homeschooled) and now the second salvo has been shot across the bow.

Indiana needs standards for home schooling | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Look for Indiana legislators in the pockets of the NEA and the ISTA to start pounding gavels on this issue next session.