Answering the Same Homeschool Objections . . . Again

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Susan R's picture
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I started home educating my oldest son when he was in first grade. Unhappy with the private school he was attending, and a bit concerned about the condition of the public schools in the area, my husband and I decided to try homeschooling.

I was working for a large mortgage bank in the legal department, but I had attended college in order to become a teacher. The idea of teaching my own child sounded like bliss. So we went for it.

In these last 20 years, I have heard the same objections to homeschooling again and again. They have been addressed over and over, in newspapers, magazines, by educational establishments and research projects, but that doesn’t stop people from asking as if they are the first person on earth to imagine them.

Moderndaychris is a blogger, and a junior at Gettysburg College, studying American Studies, Music, and Education, with many exciting opportunities in his future. To that I say, “Congrats, and go for it!”

He is again asking questions, often in the form of accusations, at this post “The Home School vs The Public School.” So I thought I’d answer a few of them.

First, I want to say that I do not view public education and home education as opposites or adversaries. They are both legitimate options for parents. Private education is also in the mix as a valid choice when deciding where their child will receive academic instruction.

I can understand that for many people, having only experienced public education or the traditional classroom, it is difficult to imagine that a parent could provide anything similar in their own home.

Of course, that assumes that I want to provide something similar to public education.

However, the idea that public schools are the only place where students can learn teamwork, converse about modern culture and entertainment, or debate ideas, is incredibly narrow-minded for someone who claims to have a broad view of the world.

Are we supposed to believe that a classroom is the only way to learn about the ‘real world’? How much ‘real world’ experience happens in a classroom? I’ve been in the world for 47 years, and the last time I was in a classroom as a student was in 1989. The rest of my life has been ‘real’, I am almost sure of it. I’ve married, had a couple of careers, four children, read books, traveled a little, and enjoy being involved in our community. I’ve been a volunteer in nursing homes, helped train service dogs for disabled children, and learned sign language in order to communicate with the deaf. My Spanish really stinks, though. But I am really, really sure that this is the real world.

We are also supposed to believe, according to Chris, that only in public schools are we going to meet folks of different ethnicities and cultures. That is certainly news to all of us who have not been in public schools for lo these many years, and yet manage to have many friends, acquaintances, and business associates who are from a variety of backgrounds. Since, as a homeschooler, my kids are not excluded from these regular interactions, as well as forming relationships on their own, I am sure that this news about how their black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Christian, and agnostic friends are quite possibly figments of their imaginations will be a great disappointment to them.

Oh, and while every private school in America is also only attended by people of one ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic background, somehow every public school is rich in ethnic, socio-economic, and religious diversity. Apparently even the ones in suburbia and inner cities. Neat-O. And in public schools, kids are introduced to new ideas, allowed to make their own decisions, and never forced to comply with or internalize what the teachers believe. Ever.

Chris asks some specific questions that he believes will get to the heart of the difference between public schools and homeschooling:

Does your child feel comfortable interacting with students the same age? Are they able to work with students they generally don’t feel comfortable around?

Yes. They are around all kinds of people for various reasons at regular intervals. I’m not going to expound on where we go and what we do and how we live our lives.

But wait—Chris says that social situations can be manufactured by the parent to ensure the child’s comfort, thereby robbing him of any social challenges.

[I]f the child is involved in tennis than [sic] the students that child is working with are also interested in tennis, where as [sic] the students in public school all share a diverse interest and you can maintain a friendship whether child A likes tennis or child B doesn’t like tennis.

To which I say, “Huhwha?”

Chris is attempting to point out the flaws in the ‘homeschool system’, because no system is perfect, and apparently he has had some unpleasant experiences with homeschoolers who have claimed to be perfect, or that homeschooling is always flawlessly performed by perfect homeschooling parents and perfect homeschooled children.

Okay—valid point. People aren’t perfect, therefore any system or methodology invented by or utilized by man is highly unlikely to ever reach perfection. Except for coffee makers and curing bacon, without which the world would dissolve into oblivion, as life would no longer be worth living.

Homeschooling, however, is not a system. It is an education method used by individual parents who wish to have the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling allows.

Some families are religious, some are not. Some are two-parent homes, some are not. People of various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds are homeschoolers. Many military families are able to provide a consistent education experience in spite of moving from base to base at regular intervals. Athletes often opt to home educate so that they can focus on their sport. Musicians and artists also are grateful for the freedom to spend time honing their skills.

Homeschooling isn’t just about parents wanting their kids to receive a top-notch education, although that is often a motivating factor at the outset. Once parents begin the homeschool journey, they realize the abundance of opportunities available for their kids to get a taste of the real world by living in it, volunteering in it, apprenticing in it, and getting a job in it. As opposed to spending day in/day out in the same few rooms on the same campus with 30 kids their own age.

By the way, Chris, have you ever seen a John Hughes movie? Just askin’.

Let’s get to the point: this means that public schools aren’t perfect either. There are awkward and shy and sociopathic kids in public schools. There are learning gaps, and some kids still fall through, no matter how much we try not to leave any child behind. There are teachers who are unbelievably dedicated and awesomely creative, but are hamstrung by NCLB, CCS, and teaching to improve standardized test scores. There are also teachers who are violent, sexual predators. There are kids who don’t want to learn who consistently disrupt the class, thus ensuring that the material is not covered properly. There are buildings in disrepair, and schools that do not have the staff or funds to provide teaching and training in the use of new technologies.

If I were to employ Chris’ debate methods, I’d make a case against public education by pointing out that jails and mental institutions all over America are jam-packed with people who graduated from a public school. But I am not going to pit one straw man against another in a divisive attempt to ‘prove’ that public education can make you criminal or make you crazy.

Chris is right though—no system is perfect. So I traded in the imperfect public school experience for the imperfect homeschool experience. My kids and I can live with that.

Chris ends his blog post with this statement:

In order to better understand the world you must interact with it, become apart of it, and understand it.

I agree, Chris. That’s why we homeschool.

[node:bio/susan-r body]

Aaron Blumer's picture
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[sic]

Chris' tennis observations... I just had to add a couple of [sic]s to Susan's post.

Please see Than vs. Then

And "whereas" vs. "where as"...   "whereas" usually functions as a conjunction, but "where as," in Chris' usage here, isn't capable of what he's trying to make it do.

That said, I'm sure you can find plenty of grammar gaffs in my writing... and missing words and mispells. Still, it's ironic that a post claiming the superiority of public education didn't manage to be a bit more educated.

Oh, and if you're curious about [sic]...  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic

DavidO's picture
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too delightful to resist . . .

I'm sure you can find plenty of . . . gaffs . . .

 

Yes, actually; here's several I just happened to have lying around.  Not so good for the gaffing of grammar, perhaps, but that big one should be able to handle just about anything one might want to haul over the gunwale.

Biggrin

 

Susan R's picture
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Perfection

I think that sometimes a family's passion for whatever they love may translate into arrogance or hard selling, especially when expressed in toneless, faceless black&white words on a screen. 

I doubt any homeschooling parent believes that home education means they are perfect parents, or that their kids are perfect, or that homeschooling is a magic bullet of some kind. But when describing why you chose to homeschool, and all the things you love about homeschooling, it can sound like it.

Funny- people never have a conniption if you go all ooey-gooey and starry-eyed about football or knitting.

What would be helpful is if folks who have questions or doubts about home education would spend just a little bit of time finding out more about what it entails. Homeschooling is different for every family- all 2 million+ of 'em.

It's just ludicrous how often people speak as if homeschoolers never leave the house or interact with other human beings. Maybe we could talk about the problems that homeschoolers do face if we didn't spend so much time answering questions and objections that are just plain silly.

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Susan R wrote:Funny- people

Susan R wrote:
Funny- people never have a conniption if you go all ooey-gooey and starry-eyed about football or knitting.
Also funny that despite the relatively small percentage of students whose parents actually do homeschool in the U. S., you can't find more of the representative majority of parents ooey-gooey and starry-eyed over their choice of education for their children (like many homeschool parents are.) 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Homeschool 'truancy''

Here's another example of someone wasting time and money raising objections and trying to solve problems that don't exist.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/02/rep_woodrow_stanley_d-...

FLINT, MI -- State Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, introduced legislation that aims to crack down on truancy among home school students.

And again I say, "Huhwha?" 

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Susan R wrote: Here's another

Susan R wrote:

Here's another example of someone wasting time and money raising objections and trying to solve problems that don't exist.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/02/rep_woodrow_stanley_d-...

FLINT, MI -- State Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, introduced legislation that aims to crack down on truancy among home school students.

And again I say, "Huhwha?" 

Oh yes, that is a problem that most definitely exists.

We homeschool ourselves and are in various homeschool co-ops and I can emphatically say that a too-large percentage of homeschooling parents do not take it seriously enough or care enough. Much of the heat being put on homeschoolers is self-induced and if homeschooling becomes illegal at some point, homeschoolers will have to shoulder a big portion of the blame.

Susan R's picture
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By whose measure?

GregH wrote:
Oh yes, that is a problem that most definitely exists.

We homeschool ourselves and are in various homeschool co-ops and I can emphatically say that a too-large percentage of homeschooling parents do not take it seriously enough or care enough. Much of the heat being put on homeschoolers is self-induced and if homeschooling becomes illegal at some point, homeschoolers will have to shoulder a big portion of the blame.

Sure, Greg, but by whose measure? Who decides 'how much' homeschooling is enough, or how organized it should be, or what form education should take? 

Homeschoolers are still doing better, statistically speaking, than their public schooled counterparts. The state certainly isn't doing better, so for officials to think that a child being present in school is some kind of guarantee of an education is just as wonky as the idea that homeschooling is a guarantee.

There is also the fact that at home, we can accomplish so much more in less time. The average child, in my experience, can complete their studies every day in about 4 hours. Would they be 'truant' according to the state if they aren't sitting in a desk with their nose in a book until 3pm? 

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I am merely saying that a

I am merely saying that a problem DOES exist in response to your claim that it doesn't exist.

But no, I don't have a problem with the government stepping in to try to save some children from their lazy parents. It is a tough world out there. US children are going to need all the help they can get to compete with the rest of the world for jobs. Not preparing your children for the world they are going in to is not doing your job and could be considered neglect.

So, for those children who are being "homeschooled" but really aren't, I am all for the government stepping in. And yes, they have to create the standards. It will not be perfect, and you could argue that they don't know much more than anyone else, but it is a job that unfortunately is necessary just like protecting children from other types of neglect or abuse is necessary.

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Education

The problem, Greg, is the underlying premise here. 

How much should the gov't step in when

  • kids spend too much time in front of the tv instead of doing homework
  • kids eat too much junk food and are obese
  • they don't get enough sleep and can't stay awake in class
  • they aren't being taught personal hygiene

So then- who decides 'how much' education is enough? What are the standards for being 'prepared'?

Is the gov't going to penalize anyone for the children who graduate from public schools without the skills necessary to compete in the world's economy? Why aren't schools being sued for educational neglect? After all, a significant number of students are promoted every year who have not achieved proficiency in core subjects. Check out your state's NAEP.

It seems odd to accuse parents of not providing an education for their children when the state can't guarantee results either. 

Parents and schools can provide the opportunity for a child to learn, but no one can force another person to learn anything. They can sit in class and even complete the homework without learning anything. You can beat them, bribe them, duct tape them to a chair- they will internalize what they want, and discard what they don't.

There is simply no plausible way for the gov't to determine when a homeschooled child is 'truant'. It's another money/power grab.

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No, I am not seeing the

No, I am not seeing the problem you are. The government is responsible to protect its citizens. That means it comes up standards (100% of the time imperfect standards) and does its best to enforce them. It has to protect children from their parents and I am sure you would agree that there is a time and place for that. 

So, the argument is about where to draw the line. The fact that I draw the line in a slightly different place than you does not mean my premise is a problem. 

Here is a practical example. You can think all you want that your children do not need to wear seatbelts. You can even think wearing seatbelts is unhealthy. But the government is going to trump your opinion and force you to make your children wear seatbelts. They may be wrong, but their opinions still trump yours. Their standards are what count, not yours.

So, to recap, you keep asking who is going to come up with standards. Here is my answer. The government has the right to come up with standards, even though they may be imperfect and even though they graduate some kids that shouldn't. The fact that they are not capable of coming up with perfect standards or achieving 100% success with their public schools is not relevant really.

And frankly, from what I have seen, the government, while not perfect, is still much better equipped to come up with legitimate standards than many homeschool parents.

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I might add that truancy has

I might add that truancy has been on the rule books for decades I suspect and no one is complaining. Why should homeschooled children get exempted from truancy laws?

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Truancy

The problem is proving 'truancy' in a homeschool. How many hours should a child be 'doing school'? 

In Ohio, we send in a notification form that says we will provide a minimum of 900 hours. I can choose any hours of any day. We take the entire month of December off. If we were required to keep them, our attendance records would look hilarious. And some gov't official who knows as much about homeschooling as I do about deep sea fishing would decide whether or not to charge us with truancy. 

Homeschools are exempt from truancy laws because they do not attend gov't schools. If I wanted to keep the same schedule as a gov't school and give my kids a gov't school quality education, I'd send them to a gov't school. 

I think you are confusing truancy laws with compulsory education laws, in which parents are required to provide their children with an education. Truancy laws only apply to unexcused absences from a traditional school. 

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GregH

You have failed to demonstrate how a governmental mandate to "protect it's citizens" extends to monitoring the truancy of homeschoolers. This is a very large leap.

You also seem to assume homeschooling should be conducted only under the auspices of the government. Why do you feel the government should be involved in monitoring homeschooled children?

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Tyler, the government has had

Tyler, the government has had laws about truancy for decades. I think they are good laws and I don't see why homeschoolers should be exempted from them. What Susan describes in Ohio sounds fair enough: a certain number of hours as a minimum but no requirements on what hours those actually are.

And to your second point, it is a shame the government has to be involved in homeschooling, but the fact is, based on the way many homeschool, they need to be. The government is involved in private schools as well as public schools. They require a minimum number of days, etc. Again, I am not sure why homeschoolers should be exempt from government control.

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Christian Liberty

Government is increasingly secular. Condoning government monitoring of homeschooling opens the door for mandating the specifics of various topics. This will increasingly infringe on Christian liberty in the areas of science, anthropology, etc. The Christian perspective, the only true perspective, will be mandated away eventually due to the concern of ridiculous bureaucrats that we "shelter" our children too much. This may even extend to a series of "approved" homeschool curriculum, with a stamp of approval from the state government. This is why government should not be involved in monitoring homeschooling.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Susan R wrote: The problem is

Susan R wrote:

The problem is proving 'truancy' in a homeschool. How many hours should a child be 'doing school'? 

In Ohio, we send in a notification form that says we will provide a minimum of 900 hours. I can choose any hours of any day. We take the entire month of December off. If we were required to keep them, our attendance records would look hilarious. And some gov't official who knows as much about homeschooling as I do about deep sea fishing would decide whether or not to charge us with truancy. 

Homeschools are exempt from truancy laws because they do not attend gov't schools. If I wanted to keep the same schedule as a gov't school and give my kids a gov't school quality education, I'd send them to a gov't school. 

I think you are confusing truancy laws with compulsory education laws, in which parents are required to provide their children with an education. Truancy laws only apply to unexcused absences from a traditional school. 

No, I am not confused about what truancy is. No need to split hairs over terms. The question is whether the government has the right to have some control over the education of children and hold schools and parents accountable. I say yes, the government has the right and obligation to protect some children from their parents in this way. I wish it were not necessary but it is.

You keep asking over and over again WHO is going to come up with these standards and you keep giving examples of why the government is not qualified. And I keep saying the same thing. The government has to come up with the standards since they are enforcing them. And while they are not going to be perfect, they are still going to be better than the wacky ideas on many homeschooling parents I have run across. There is a line at which some parents go from untraditional to just wacky and I think the government has the responsibility to protect those children from their parents.

 

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TylerR wrote: Government is

TylerR wrote:

Government is increasingly secular. Condoning government monitoring of homeschooling opens the door for mandating the specifics of various topics. This will increasingly infringe on Christian liberty in the areas of science, anthropology, etc. The Christian perspective, the only true perspective, will be mandated away eventually due to the concern of ridiculous bureaucrats that we "shelter" our children too much. This may even extend to a series of "approved" homeschool curriculum, with a stamp of approval from the state government. This is why government should not be involved in monitoring homeschooling.

I don't discount that danger Tyler. Clearly, that is a real danger. But there is a big leap between truancy laws to making it illegal to teach creationism to your children. And somewhere between those two examples is a fine line because one of them is clearly (in my opinion) right and the other is clearly wrong.

 

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Control

I'm not splitting hairs over terms. Compulsory education laws and truancy laws are completely different. It is already on the books that parents are to provide their children with an education. Attempting to apply truancy laws to homeschoolers is bogus. 

As for control- it really depends on what you mean by 'control'.

There are very loose standards for many aspects of our lives. Parents can allow kids to stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching tv and playing video games- even ones rated MA or R. They can let them eat junk food until they are 30, 40, 50 pounds overweight. Parents can smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol until they are impaired in the presence of their children, subjecting them to second hand smoke and increasing their risk of lung disease and alcoholism. They often play unsupervised out and about in the neighborhood.

I think these issues are just as serious as preparing kids for a competitive job market. But whose gonna' make those laws in the name of 'protecting' kids? And which "wacky ideas" should be illegal?

 

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GregH

We must have a very different perspective of homeschooling! This isn't meant as an insult; but I suspect your experience with, or watching, homeschooling has been very different than mine.

It is not a large leap from truancy laws to mandating curriculum - just a generation or two. Who remembers the Scopes trial, where a teacher was prosecuted for daring to teach evolution in public schools? I daresay now the precise opposite is true!

There is indeed a fine line. Some people are obviously unsuitable parents. I will err on the side of individual, Christian liberty every time.

 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Il. He blogs here

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Fear vs. Opportunity

A reflection from growing up among many homeschool families and a brief stint being homeschooled myself. I tend to put homeschool families on a spectrum based on motivation: fear/compulsion <-----> opportunity. It is my experience that kids from "opportunity" homeschool families tend to turn out better than from "fear" families. Of course these are ideal types. 

By opportunity, I mean that these parents are attracted to homeschooling primarily for the positive advantages it offers. They have specific educational objectives for their children and recognize that other educational options won't help them get there. These parents tend to be self-learners themselves and want to pass on that characteristic to their children. 

By fear/compulsion, I mean people who feel pushed or compelled toward homeschool primarily because of the negative characteristics they perceive in other educational forms. They might embrace homeschooling somewhat reluctantly, convinced by a pastor or peer group that it would be morally irresponsible to do otherwise. Or, they would rather send their children to a private academy, but can't afford it, so homeschooling becomes a backup plan. Another type along this line is a family that wants absolute control over the children's influences. The parents don't want them to be exposed to alternative points of view. (For example, I had one homeschooling father tell me that he didn't want his children developing relationships with other men at church, because a son's heart and mind belonged only to his father. Apparently other men were a threat.) 

As an aside, I am a bit more worried about homeschool-oriented higher ed than about high-school level homeschooling. That is, I don't think people ought to go to colleges to get ideologically homogenous training. I have one friend, though, who made a smart jump through CollegePlus to get an accelerated degree so he could get into an academically rigorous seminary. 

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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Susan R wrote:I'm not

Susan R wrote:

I'm not splitting hairs over terms. Compulsory education laws and truancy laws are completely different. It is already on the books that parents are to provide their children with an education. Attempting to apply truancy laws to homeschoolers is bogus. 

As for control- it really depends on what you mean by 'control'.

There are very loose standards for many aspects of our lives. Parents can allow kids to stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching tv and playing video games- even ones rated MA or R. They can let them eat junk food until they are 30, 40, 50 pounds overweight. Parents can smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol until they are impaired in the presence of their children, subjecting them to second hand smoke and increasing their risk of lung disease and alcoholism. They often play unsupervised out and about in the neighborhood.

I think these issues are just as serious as preparing kids for a competitive job market. But whose gonna' make those laws in the name of 'protecting' kids? And which "wacky ideas" should be illegal?

 

I am missing your point on compulsory education and truancy. And I don't know why it is relevant. Not at all. My point remains the same regardless of whether you call it compulsory education or truancy.

But anyway, it just seems to me that some homeschoolers want to play by their own set of rules. They don't want any government control. I get it. Some don't need it, but sadly some do.

The examples you bring up are serious too. At least in some places, laws address some of those issues and I suspect there will be more in the future. But government does have a special invested interest in kids getting a good education. It is extremely important for many reasons and homeschooling parents who are lazy or whacky should be shut down. And before you ask who determines what "lazy and wacky" means, yes the government does.

And no, you are not going to get me to bite and provide you with my list of what I consider "wacky ideas." Nice try though ;)

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Sheltering our Children

[quote=TylerR]

...the Christian perspective, the only true perspective, will be mandated away eventually due to the concern of ridiculous bureaucrats that we "shelter" our children too much...

 

So I am accused of sheltering my children too much because I homeschool?  What will they accused of next, feeding and clothing them, too??

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Jurisdiction

Greg, I think the premise to the argument must be based in jurisdiction.  The government has no more right to tell parents how to disciple their children than they did to tell Peter and the other apostles to stop preaching in Acts 4.

According to Romans 13, the government should step in when the law of God is broken and they have the jurisdictional responsibility to exact punishment(e.g.-murder.)  But they shouldn't step in when children break the Law of God by taking their brother's Matchbox car without asking. 

I could be wrong, but I don't see anywhere in the Scriptures that says that the civil magistrate is supposed to "protect me" in the area of wrong or poor discipleship methods.   They only have a sword to wield if I break the law and become an evildoer.  By God's standard I don't think they hold the "sword" of preventing a bad thing.  If there even is such a sword...

Does that make sense?

 

 

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Meaningful standards

Legal terms are important. If someone steals a car at gunpoint, they don't get charged with shoplifting.

Compulsory education laws are already on the books- parents are required by law to provide their children an education. That covers it. 

A brief history-

The compulsory attendance act of 1852 enacted by the state of Massachusetts was the first general law attempting to control the conditions of children. The law included mandatory attendance for children between the ages of eight and fourteen for at least three months out of each year, of these twelve weeks at least six had to be consecutive.

The exception to this attendance at a public school included: the child's attendance at another school for the same amount of time, proof that the child had already learned the subjects, poverty, or the physical or mental ability of the child to attend...

In 1873 the compulsory attendance law was revised. The age limit was reduced to twelve but the annual attendance was increased to twenty weeks per year. Additionally, a semblance of enforcement was established by forming jurisdictions for prosecution and the hiring of truant officers to check absences.

Adding truancy laws to the mix is silly. Truancy is about attendance at an educational institution. In California, truant is defined as "a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority"

So please provide some evidence that these legal distinctions are not important.

If you are talking about setting more standards, what would they be? Minimum hours? Ok then, let's go with the Ohio minimum of 900 hours. But let's say that a child has completed all their courses with flying colors in 850 hours. Were they truant for 50 hours?

Ok then, let's go with testing. For starters, the homeschool parent bears the cost of any testing or evaluations. Second- standardized testing is not an accurate measure of proficiency.

Higher Test Scores Do Not Mean More Learning

List of problems with standardized testing from Washington Post

Standardized test scores don't tell the whole story

What's wrong with standardized tests? 

"...do not measure the ability to think deeply or creatively in any field"

I could go on. 

The reason this is important is that we cannot simply hand a blank check to gov't and ask them to write it on behalf of our kids. If we are going to have 'standards', they need to be meaningful and fair, for public, private, and homeschooled children.

One of the reasons that there are so many misunderstandings about home education is that the education experience for the last 100 years or so has been homogenous. They experienced learning as being segregated by age into a traditional classroom with the teacher doing most of the talking, reading from textbooks, memorizing facts in order to prove what they'd learned on a regularly scheduled test. Is that learning? Does that prepare someone for a competitive job market? 

See this RSA Animate video of a Ken Robinson talk about education. 

 

I didn't put out any bait for you to bite on- you made the statement that "There is a line at which some parents go from untraditional to just wacky and I think the government has the responsibility to protect those children from their parents", and now you don't want to explain what you mean by "wacky". 

 

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Bro. Charlie

Charlie wrote:

A reflection from growing up among many homeschool families and a brief stint being homeschooled myself. I tend to put homeschool families on a spectrum based on motivation: fear/compulsion <-----> opportunity. It is my experience that kids from "opportunity" homeschool families tend to turn out better than from "fear" families. Of course these are ideal types.

I agree that these are two main motivations for parents to homeschool. There are probably a few that are simply reactionary, and will do whatever is against the flow simply because it is against the flow. Now that homeschooling is becoming more mainstream (even Will Smith is homeschooling, haha) they will have to moonschool or something. Blum 3

It is important, IMO, for homeschooling parents to connect with each other via some kind of support system. Public and private schools have a built-in support system, while homeschoolers have to seek it out. I think the benefit is that those who are enjoying the opportunity to homeschool can assimilate those who began out of fear, so that they can move forward in a better direction.

The cost of higher ed is moving MANY people toward an online education, which is, by default, 'homeschooling college'. It's going to have the same result as any other form of education- those who want to learn and seek out opportunities to expand their thinking will do so, and those who don't, won't. Guess which group is most likely to own a business or end up in the corner office driving a Lexus? 

What people want to do is control outcomes, and this is simply not possible. We can provide opportunities, but we cannot force people to take advantage of them. 

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Susan R wrote: Legal terms

Susan R wrote:

Legal terms are important. If someone steals a car at gunpoint, they don't get charged with shoplifting.

Compulsory education laws are already on the books- parents are required by law to provide their children an education. That covers it. 

A brief history-

The compulsory attendance act of 1852 enacted by the state of Massachusetts was the first general law attempting to control the conditions of children. The law included mandatory attendance for children between the ages of eight and fourteen for at least three months out of each year, of these twelve weeks at least six had to be consecutive.

The exception to this attendance at a public school included: the child's attendance at another school for the same amount of time, proof that the child had already learned the subjects, poverty, or the physical or mental ability of the child to attend...

In 1873 the compulsory attendance law was revised. The age limit was reduced to twelve but the annual attendance was increased to twenty weeks per year. Additionally, a semblance of enforcement was established by forming jurisdictions for prosecution and the hiring of truant officers to check absences.

Adding truancy laws to the mix is silly. Truancy is about attendance at an educational institution. In California, truant is defined as "a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority"

 

I didn't put out any bait for you to bite on- you made the statement that "There is a line at which some parents go from untraditional to just wacky and I think the government has the responsibility to protect those children from their parents", and now you don't want to explain what you mean by "wacky". 

 

I have noticed that when someone is losing an argument, they want to start nitpicking about terms. That is what I suspect you are doing here. What I am saying is all your discussion about the differences between compulsory attendance and truancy are meaningless in the context of the bigger question which is this: does the government have the right to tell you how to educate your children?

There are two things that are clear to me: the government has for decades if not centuries made laws about education and claimed the right to exercise control over parents in regards to the education of their children. That is a healthy thing. And second, there is not an ounce of reason why homeschooling families should be exempt.

What it appears to me is that some homeschooling parents think they should be exempted from that control. It is not enough that the government is willing to work with them such as the flexible 900-hour mandate in your state. Those parents want the government to have no control at all because after all, they "know" better. 

Time and time again, you want to respond with how the government really doesn't know how to create standards. Standardized testing does not work, etc. And to that I say again and again that the government standards are not perfect but they are a lot better than those of many homeschooling families. The government really is not as dumb as a lot of people seem to believe and they are certainly smarter than a lot of parents who buy into wackiness and experiment on their children.

So, I do not mind the government stepping in to save some children from their parents. I will state emphatically that there are many children being "homeschooled" who are not getting a good education. I know some of them and I know you do too. The homeschooling movement bears some of the responsibility for why the government is wary of the movement.

I am not going to give examples of wackiness because it would derail the bigger question here.

And again, I say these things from the perspective that I homeschool my children and plan to continue. 

 

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Bill Roach wrote: Greg, I

Bill Roach wrote:

Greg, I think the premise to the argument must be based in jurisdiction.  The government has no more right to tell parents how to disciple their children than they did to tell Peter and the other apostles to stop preaching in Acts 4.

According to Romans 13, the government should step in when the law of God is broken and they have the jurisdictional responsibility to exact punishment(e.g.-murder.)  But they shouldn't step in when children break the Law of God by taking their brother's Matchbox car without asking. 

I could be wrong, but I don't see anywhere in the Scriptures that says that the civil magistrate is supposed to "protect me" in the area of wrong or poor discipleship methods.   They only have a sword to wield if I break the law and become an evildoer.  By God's standard I don't think they hold the "sword" of preventing a bad thing.  If there even is such a sword...

Does that make sense?

 

 

I hear you Bill. But to be consistent, if you are going to say the government should not be involved in homeschooling, it needs to remove any laws about truancy or compulsory education from the books for those in private or public schools too. Right?

 

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Your whole argument is backwards

GregH wrote:
Time and time again, you want to respond with how the government really doesn't know how to create standards. Standardized testing does not work, etc. And to that I say again and again that the government standards are not perfect but they are a lot better than those of many homeschooling families. The government really is not as dumb as a lot of people seem to believe and they are certainly smarter than a lot of parents who buy into wackiness and experiment on their children.
Greg,

As a public school teacher who homeschools his own children, I have to say you have this exactly backwards. A lot of homeschool families are better than the government standards - you have the majority emphasis backwards. The government really is as dumb as a lot of people think, and is actually quit a bit dumber than most people realize. The whole exercise of public education for the last 100 years has been an ongoing lab experiment on our children - with increasingly detrimental impacts. There are a few wacky homeschool parents, but the majority are good to fantastic. There are a few good examples of public educators, but the vast majority of public education theory and practice is wacky. Furthermore, you have repeatedly asserted the right/responsibilty of government to make "laws about education and [claim] the right to exercise control over parents in regards to the education of their children." Unfortunately, your assertions have failed to deal with scripture, despite arguments from scripture against your assertions. Government has done a lot of things contrary to scripture for decades, even centuries; that's not a valid argument.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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GregH wrote: Bill Roach

GregH wrote:

Bill Roach wrote:

Greg, I think the premise to the argument must be based in jurisdiction.  The government has no more right to tell parents how to disciple their children than they did to tell Peter and the other apostles to stop preaching in Acts 4.

According to Romans 13, the government should step in when the law of God is broken and they have the jurisdictional responsibility to exact punishment(e.g.-murder.)  But they shouldn't step in when children break the Law of God by taking their brother's Matchbox car without asking. 

I could be wrong, but I don't see anywhere in the Scriptures that says that the civil magistrate is supposed to "protect me" in the area of wrong or poor discipleship methods.   They only have a sword to wield if I break the law and become an evildoer.  By God's standard I don't think they hold the "sword" of preventing a bad thing.  If there even is such a sword...

Does that make sense?

 

 

I hear you Bill. But to be consistent, if you are going to say the government should not be involved in homeschooling, it needs to remove any laws about truancy or compulsory education from the books for those in private or public schools too. Right?

 

Exactly! Now you are headed in the right direction.  At least we are in the right neighborhood for a biblically-based discussion at this point.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Chip, a few things... 1) I

Chip, a few things...

1) I don't have any stats as to what % of homeschool parents are wackier or worse than the public schools. That stat is of course impossible to determine because "wacky" is obviously a bit subjective. However, I never said the majority of homeschooling parents were wacky or doing a poor job. But I think an uncomfortably large percentage of them are. We obviously would disagree on the percentage.

2) I don't know what scripture you think I am not dealing with, but I am not going to deal with this from the perspective of omission. Just because the Bible does not say "the government should protect children from the wacky ideas of their parents about education" does not mean that the Bible forbids the government from being involved. I do not believe that the Bible sanctions any particular kind of government. 

The only scripture that has come up in this thread is Rom 13 which is typically used by conservatives to limit the legitimate function of government to protection. I reject that perspective outright. In other words, just because that is the only function mentioned in that passage does not mean that it is the only function of government that God could sanction. A look at the Israel theocracy tells you that God thinks otherwise.

 

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Avoidance

GregH wrote:
I have noticed that when someone is losing an argument, they want to start nitpicking about terms. That is what I suspect you are doing here. What I am saying is all your discussion about the differences between compulsory attendance and truancy are meaningless in the context of the bigger question which is this: does the government have the right to tell you how to educate your children?

Defining terms properly is not nitpicking, and in this case, is essential to the article that I posted, which shows how ridiculous it is to hear politicians trying to apply truancy laws to homeschoolers. In this case, you are avoiding answering the question by trying to say there is no difference between truancy and compulsory education. I have shown that legally there is a HUGE difference, and you refuse to acknowledge it. 

Your question is "does the government have the right to tell you how to educate your children" and my answer is "No". They can require me to provide them an education, but they do not have the right to tell me how to go about it. 

We are currently studying early American history, and are reading, word for word, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. I assure you that, according to the laws on which this country was founded, the gov't does not have the right to tell parents how to educate their kids. 

The gov't is not a separate all-seeing, all-knowing entity. It was framed to operate in symbiosis with the will of the people, and for the primary purposes of regulating such necessary things as foreign policy, military defense, and interstate commerce. It was not formed in order to grant rights to its citizens, but to limit gov't so that it did not infringe on the inherent (as in "endowed by their Creator") rights of human beings to their life, liberty, and property. 

One of the accusations against King George in the DoI was that he did not follow his own country's laws, and was using his power to intimidate and punish people who did not bow to his will. Sound familiar to anyone?

The Biblical argument would be that parents have a mandate to nurture their children in the admonition of the Lord, and the gov't has no say in this matter, and shouldn't. If we start allowing the gov't to tell us how to teach our kids, you can kiss creationism and standards of morality good-bye.

You also brought into this discussion that children should be protected from 'wacky' parents, and then refused to describe what you mean by 'wacky'. Another avoidance. Don't bring it up if you don't want to have to explain what you mean. 

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Susan...Ah, now we are

Susan...

Ah, now we are getting somewhere. You admit the government has the right to force you to provide your children with an education. Now what does that mean? Who gets to decide what it means?

If it is you that gets to decide what it means to provide an education to your children, the law is meaningless. You could decide an education just means daily nature walks. That by the way is an example of what I would call "wacky."

The rational conclusion is that if the government is going to have that law, they are the entity that has to define what it means to "provide an education." That means they have to provide standards.

In the case of Ohio, they have created a standard of 900 hours (it seems). If a parent ignored that standard, they could be accused of either truancy or breaking the law against compulsory education (once again, who really cares which one they call it).

The same goes for standardized tests. Perfect? No. But they do provide a way to determine if parents are "providing their children with an education."

 

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What it means

is that it is against the law for me to not feed my children, but the gov't doesn't have the right to tell me what to feed them. That doesn't make the law to provide food meaningless, it just means that we recognize that children shouldn't be allowed to starve. Period. 

So whether they eat potato chips and fruit roll-ups all day long, or tofu and sprouts and hummus, neither extreme is against the law, wacky or not by anyone's definition. 

I really care "what they call it" since compulsory education laws are what govern homeschoolers at this point, not truancy laws. If you tell your kids they can have salad before dinner and instead they have cake, and they say "But dad, what's the difference? They are both food", you will suddenly find that you do believe accuracy in terminology is important. 

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Susan, honestly... If the

Susan, honestly, you are making no sense. If the government has the right to tell you you have to feed your children, they have the right and actually obligation to define what "feed" means. And trust me, they do define it.

They might do it based on calories or some standardized measurement. However, I would suspect they actually do it by checking body weight/BMI or other factors that a doctor would report if he/she suspected neglect. Regardless, there has to be a way to measure it or the law is meaningless.

Your refusal to acknowledge that is just amazing.

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Truly amazing some of the

Truly amazing some of the things said on here in the comments.  I have to wonder about the exposure to homeschooling some people have had.

It was said that our students need a good education to be able to compete globally.

Let us consider how well the guvment schools have been doing on that.

http://www.ibtimes.com/us-17th-global-education-ranking-finland-south-korea-claim-top-spots-901538

My youngest brother recently finished a college course.  5 other kids passed the course.  The other 30+ failed it.  The other 5 kids were also homeschooled.

I homeschool for several reasons: to provide a better education, to avoid the idiotic political correctness indoctrination, to keep my children from learning about sex and abortion in kindergarden, and to avoid them getting shot or bullied.

God gave my children to me to raise, not the day care or guvment reeducation camps.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Really?

GregH wrote:

Susan, honestly, you are making no sense. If the government has the right to tell you you have to feed your children, they have the right and actually obligation to define what "feed" means. And trust me, they do define it.

They might do it based on calories or some standardized measurement. However, I would suspect they actually do it by checking body weight/BMI or other factors that a doctor would report if he/she suspected neglect. Regardless, there has to be a way to measure it or the law is meaningless.

Your refusal to acknowledge that is just amazing.

For starters, are kids mandated to receive regular checkups at a doctor's office? If I understand your position correctly, you believe that parents should be required to take their children to a doctor for regular checkups, whether they are sick or not, to determine if the child is being properly cared for. 

I could be misunderstanding you, please forgive me if I have. 

The standard for abuse and neglect is when the caregiver's acts place the child at substantial risk of physical or mental injury. There is no caloric count or BMI measurement used to determine neglect either. Abuse and neglect are determined on a case-by-case basis, not on some kind of arbitrary standard. Kids can be underweight based on hereditary factors, and they can be covered with bruises due to athletic activity. Caregivers and doctors look at a huge variety of factors and weigh them against their own insights and experience before suggesting that a child is being abused or neglected. 

The point here is that while gov't does mandate against abuse and neglect, the standards are rather broad. CPS guidelines require that parents provide their children with food, but does not detail what kinds of or how much food.

Compulsory education laws simply mandate that children are provided with an education. They do not address outcomes, or public schools themselves would be in violation of their own standards. 

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Susan, you continue to go

Susan, you continue to go down rabbit trails to avoid the obvious: regardless of what the standards are, regardless of how broad they are, and regardless of whether they are case-by-case or one-size-fits-all, there are government standards for what it means to adequately feed children. You are actually proving my point more than anything.

Likewise, it is entirely appropriate for a government to decide what it means to educate a child based on standardized scores, hours, days, etc. A law without standards means nothing.

I am not trying to debate the position you are trying to place me in regarding mandatory visits to doctors. I was giving an example. It appears to me that you are just trying to misdirect the discussion.

 

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Pointless

Sorry Greg, but discussing this with you is pointless. Requiring parents to care for and educate their kids is one thing, but mandating the form and time and manner in which it should happen is quite another. 

You give examples you think are pertinent, but when I give examples, you dismiss them and make disparaging remarks  about my character. 

Bon voyage.

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GregH wrote: Chip, a few

GregH wrote:

Chip, a few things...

1) I don't have any stats as to what % of homeschool parents are wackier or worse than the public schools. That stat is of course impossible to determine because "wacky" is obviously a bit subjective. However, I never said the majority of homeschooling parents were wacky or doing a poor job. But I think an uncomfortably large percentage of them are. We obviously would disagree on the percentage.

2) I don't know what scripture you think I am not dealing with, but I am not going to deal with this from the perspective of omission. Just because the Bible does not say "the government should protect children from the wacky ideas of their parents about education" does not mean that the Bible forbids the government from being involved. I do not believe that the Bible sanctions any particular kind of government. 

The only scripture that has come up in this thread is Rom 13 which is typically used by conservatives to limit the legitimate function of government to protection. I reject that perspective outright. In other words, just because that is the only function mentioned in that passage does not mean that it is the only function of government that God could sanction. A look at the Israel theocracy tells you that God thinks otherwise.

 

You don't have any stats, just a personal feeling about this. But you are willing to throw around aspersions and make pronouncements for others.

 

You say you won't deal with omissions in scripture, but you argue without any support from scripture. Sounds exactly like arguing from omission. Guess God simply forgot to include your assertions in scripture. What He did include is Romans 13, which you simply "reject" out of hand. GregH has spoken, so I guess that settles it. GregH gets to overrule scripture where God has spoken contrary to GregH's reality, and GregH create his own reality where God has not spoken. Poor Adam and Eve (and generations of their descendants) who had to try to raise children within the institution of the family without any guidance or supervision from the God-ordained institution of government. If only God had gotten the creation order right  and created government first. 

 

Bottom line, the Bible does not say government should take responsibility for raising, and particularly educating, the children within its citizenry, and the Bible does, repeatedly and emphatically, say parents are solely responsible to raise their children.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Back to the OP

Some objections commonly heard about home education are based on the idea that "public schools are the only place where students can learn teamwork, converse about modern culture and entertainment, or debate ideas". 

The blogger whose post I responded to is of this mindset. He simply does not believe that homeschoolers experience 'the real world', and when homeschool parents do send their kids into social situations, they 'stack the deck' in their favor, possibly by only allowing their children to interact with their clones. 

So- what is 'the real world', and do we about helping children gain experience in it?

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote: GregH

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

GregH wrote:

Chip, a few things...

1) I don't have any stats as to what % of homeschool parents are wackier or worse than the public schools. That stat is of course impossible to determine because "wacky" is obviously a bit subjective. However, I never said the majority of homeschooling parents were wacky or doing a poor job. But I think an uncomfortably large percentage of them are. We obviously would disagree on the percentage.

2) I don't know what scripture you think I am not dealing with, but I am not going to deal with this from the perspective of omission. Just because the Bible does not say "the government should protect children from the wacky ideas of their parents about education" does not mean that the Bible forbids the government from being involved. I do not believe that the Bible sanctions any particular kind of government. 

The only scripture that has come up in this thread is Rom 13 which is typically used by conservatives to limit the legitimate function of government to protection. I reject that perspective outright. In other words, just because that is the only function mentioned in that passage does not mean that it is the only function of government that God could sanction. A look at the Israel theocracy tells you that God thinks otherwise.

 

You don't have any stats, just a personal feeling about this. But you are willing to throw around aspersions and make pronouncements for others.

 

You say you won't deal with omissions in scripture, but you argue without any support from scripture. Sounds exactly like arguing from omission. Guess God simply forgot to include your assertions in scripture. What He did include is Romans 13, which you simply "reject" out of hand. GregH has spoken, so I guess that settles it. GregH gets to overrule scripture where God has spoken contrary to GregH's reality, and GregH create his own reality where God has not spoken. Poor Adam and Eve (and generations of their descendants) who had to try to raise children within the institution of the family without any guidance or supervision from the God-ordained institution of government. If only God had gotten the creation order right  and created government first. 

 

Bottom line, the Bible does not say government should take responsibility for raising, and particularly educating, the children within its citizenry, and the Bible does, repeatedly and emphatically, say parents are solely responsible to raise their children.

For Susan, I hate to admit it but I have to agree with you on something! Our argument is pointless.

And Chip, no offense, but you can be as nasty as you want but you still are not making any case. You talk about me making aspirations and then in the next paragraph, assert that I elevate my opinions over God's. Nice ;)

Your "omission" argument is flawed. The Bible is not a Constitution nor a specific plan for governments. It is highly dubious to assume that because a government role is not spelled out in the Bible, it is inappropriate for government. And that is why I think my position on this is stronger--I am not going to try to say what the Bible does not say while you are apparently quite ready to do so.

JamesK wonders about my perspective. It might be unusual but I doubt it. My children are involved in a few homeschool groups and I see and hear things that make me queasy. I interact with a lot of homeschool students and often will quiz them a bit to see what their days are like. Too often, their days are very little work and a lot of video games. I hired a guy once who was homeschooled and what he told me over the time he was with me made me want to report the family myself. (I didn't.) I suspect that there will come a time in the future where homeschooling becomes illegal and partly because of this kind of stuff.

I would not send my children to public school in my county but the county next to me has academic standards that are better than the private Christian schools in the area. They are really on the ball and they are not the only ones around the country. We had some interaction with them because of one of my children and I was highly impressed. I still probably would not send my children there however.

So anyway, I obviously see the problems of government being involved in homeschooling or private schools for that matter. But I certainly see the problems with them not and I see no Biblical reason why they shouldn't be as long as they are not trumping the beliefs of the parents. 

And I certainly see no reason to get nasty about this Chip. I certainly did not get nasty with you. Not sure where you are coming from but I think you need to chill a bit.

 

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More heat than light...

Brothers and Sister,

Might be time to take a breather and prepare our hearts for worship tomorrow!

Thanks for the article Susan.  It takes guts to write something that can be criticized and picked apart.  You write very well.

I felt the iron...

Bill

 

PS- Greg, I do believe the government has no say in private schools either. And I think Compulsory Education Laws and Truancy find no support in the Bible.  Again, i's a jurisdiction issue.     

 

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My view of schooling choice

So I appreciate the passion over here.......

It's funny - one can guess which threads are going to have some energy. Certainly schooling choice is one of those topics - and for good reason. I think one thing we would all agree on is that our children are precious to us and so the education of those children is also important.

The view I take is that all three forms of education - government, church-based and home school are all legitimate forms of education. When one considers the charter of each God-ordained institution, it seems consistent with each to have a commitment to the education of children.

All three have potential weaknesses: public schools are loaded with open anti-God humanism; Christian schools in some cases bread a kind of artificial "Christianity" through "rule-keeping;" Home schools in some cases do not do the job academically and/or socially. (I'm sure there are more potential weaknesses with each choice)

All three have potential strengths: public schools allow Christian kids a place to stand up for Christ and prepares them for what they will most certainly face in the university and/or the work force; Christian schools (like the one my children go to) take very seriously the aim of a Bible-based approach to every subject and an eye towards equipping kids to face a hostile world with a serious Christian and Bible-based world view. Home schools give parents the most direct opportunity to place their own values in the midst of that which their children learn in each subject. (I'm sure there are more potential strengths with each choice)

Just as the choices are different so each child is different. Each parent must choose what he believes is best for each child. At the church I pastor we will not allow this topic to be a point of division.

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Baptist Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Susan R's picture
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Well and good

That's great, Bro. Joel, but generally speaking, no one is lobbying to make public and private schools illegal. Homeschooling parents constantly face opposition, often of the kind expressed in the blog post I answered in the OP, with calls for strict regulation at the expense of taxpayers and the homeschool parents. 

So if this was apples to apples to apples, I'd say "That's great". But homeschool parents have to be vigilant in a way that traditionally schooling parents don't in order to protect their educational choice. When's the last time one of your public/private schooling parents was harassed in public by a stranger for their schooling choices? We have to answer asinine objections regularly, explain how our kids do live in the 'real world', and garner support to vote down such silliness as 'truancy laws' for homeschoolers.

Most of the rhetoric I hear directed at homeschooling parents when discussing these issues in Christian circles is "Sit down, shut up, and let's all get along." Well, we'll see what happens when gov't steps into the private Christian schools in this nation to tell churches and admin what and when and how to teach because private schools are too insular and isolated and lack diversity, students are taught creationism, and their civil rights are being violated by the dress code. "Hey, this is a private religious school and the gov't is overstepping their bounds!" Tell me about it. There's nothing like the shoe on someone else's foot for developing empathy.

If you don't want gov't in your business, you need to stop them at the moat, and not wait until they are climbing over the walls to decide to defend yourself. 

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Two types of home schooling families

Susan,

It's a good point you make. I don't share your passion for home schooling - but if I did, that sort of thing would "light my fuse!" My guess is you've thought of this - from "our" side of the isle looking at the home schooling option (which we did for two of our sons for one year - wowzers never again!)......it looks as if there are two types of home-schooling families:

1. Normal people - who really want to teach their children - and who want their children to know how to get along with other people in society.

2. Bomb-shelter-amish type people who really want to brain-wash their children - and who want their children to not know how to get along with other people in society.

So I'm all about wanting freedom's for the first group without encouraging the second group. The trouble is if you try to limit the second group you undermine the first group - so I think we have to continue to allow freedom and encourage responsibility.

(Susan - I know I could say the same thing about Christian schools and Public schools - there are some individual schools that work hard to be responsible and there are some schools that don't work hard......at all!)

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Baptist Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

dcbii's picture
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Homeschool "truancy"

The discussion on "truancy" laws for homeschoolers has been interesting. I do fail to see how such laws have anything to do with an acceptable education, especially given different laws about homeschooling.

The biggest problem I see is, even if the homeschool laws in a particular state/county would be so particular as to designate specific attendance on specific days, how would the law be enforced? If it's just through records, anyone could make the records say anything they wanted. So will a state representative make the rounds to each homeschool every day of the school year to see what is happening? What about days for field trips, or other similar reasons to be away from school? I have had my children work on their schooling even when we are away from home. How would the enforcer check up on that? If enforcement is not consistent, how would the truancy laws actually help the children?

Our state is even looser in its requirements than Susan's. Under the requirements section of the law, I am required to operate the school 9 months out of the calendar year. That is, in fact, the only part of the requirements dealing with time, though we are required to keep attendance records. So it seems under our law I could operate the school for 9 days, an hour or less each day. How would truancy laws work together with this requirement? Under the "recommendations" section (where it is specifically stated that it is not law, but "encouraged"), it is "recommended" that the school operate for 180 days of about 5 hours each -- very similar to the Ohio 900 hours. I guess my students would be truant if I only operated 8 months but still accomplished at least 900 hours, although if I could say the school was "operating" one day that month, that might be enough to fulfill the requirement. I don't think I've ever had a school month with 0 days of instruction, but I know we've come close in December, when our family sometimes visits my wife's family in Germany, though I've never failed to use parts of such trips for educational purposes. If you want to teach history of the transmission of our Bible, for instance, how better than to visit Erasmus' house and discuss why he was important? I didn't count such days as school days, but I'll bet just as much learning took place. I could have marked one of those days a school day to avoid "truancy," but I wouldn't see the point.

The reality of homeschooling is that one of its main strengths is flexibility. I have allowed my kids to "double up" on their work occasionally, having a very long school day in order to get a day off. I haven't found that to be an impediment to learning at all. In fact, sometimes they got better grades doing that then when spreading it out more. Should they be counted as truant for the missing day?

I fail to see how truancy (except in very extreme cases, some of which, at least in my state, would be legal -- I'm actually kind of surprised the requirements are as lax as they are) is at all related to compulsory education. No particular day or days are needed to get not only a minimal education, but a good one.

I'm sure there are a few "crazies" out there, or those who are too apathetic to give their kids a good homeschool education. I'd have to see hard numbers though, to convince me those numbers are anywhere near as large as the number attending the government schools who get an equally poor education. And I fail to see how implementing truancy laws for homeschools will somehow magically improve those poor homeschool examples. Calling a day a school day will not make a poor teacher or school into a good one.

Dave Barnhart

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Two kind of people

1)those who think there are only two kinds of people

2) those who don't

Bro. Joel- the issues you raise are parenting issues, not education issues. As you said, there are crazy parents whose kids are in public or private school, so to point out that there are bomb-shelter parents who homeschool doesn't say any more about homeschooling than pointing out the number of public school graduates in jails and insane asylums does about public education.

What I often wonder when these kinds of conversations happen is whether or not people believe, down deep, that reproduction should be controlled by gov't, and that only responsible people be allowed to become parents. 

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Bro. Dave

I appreciate your post. What many people don't understand about the nature of homeschooling is how it becomes inextricably intertwined with family life. Most days I couldn't tell you when school started or stopped, because we read so much together, we talk about things during breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed, while we are in the car... I don't even know what grade my kids are in, because they are doing different grade level work in different subjects. When they can progress, they keep going. If they need more practice, they work until they reach proficiency. My kids get straight A's because we simply do not go forward until they understand, internalize, and demonstrate mastery in each concept or subject. 

If age-segregated graded classrooms are all a person knows, they often have NO concept of homeschool life. They think they can imagine it. Well, I've seen Apollo 13, but I would never sit down and tell an astronaut what it's like to go to the moon.

I was thinking about Bro. Joel's comment- I don't have a passion for homeschooling so much as I have an intolerance for people who want to demand gov't control and legislation over an activity about which they know nothing. At least have the courtesy to say "I don't know how that works, could you explain it to me?" Oh no- it's "I haven't got a clue but let me berate you about your choices anyway."

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Sister.......

please ....... shalom!.........I wasn't berating you about anything.

All I was stating is that in my view the three approaches (home, Christian, public) all have validity, strengths, weaknesses, etc....and as such we as a church would not allow members to "go-off" on other brothers/sisters on the school choice issue.

My only other point is simply if you are going to home school, be a responsible homeschooling family - not the bomb shelter kind. That's all I was saying. I'm not gunning for you Susan.

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Baptist Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

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Berater/beratee

Bro. Joel- I wasn't speaking of you as a berater, but of people who criticize homeschooling whose only experience with it is "there was this weird family...". Homeschooling does not cause weirdness. Being weird causes weirdness. But should it be illegal to be weird? 'Cause someone should call Hollywood immediately and file a report... ;)

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Hi Susan,   Don't feel bad. 

Hi Susan,

 

Don't feel bad.  Those of us whom God has called to use the public education system take a lot of flack from the church.  I have even been questioned as to how can I as a pastor do such a thing.  So, in a round about way, I feel your pain.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Susan, I hear Joel is making

Susan, I hear Joel is making a new list of home-schooler types.  There is the Type A, Type B, and Type C.  I look forward to the parameters of each type.

Straight ahead Joel.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James

Hilarious man - once more I'm sure I deserved that.

Straight Ahead! Smile

jt

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Baptist Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

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Laws of the (educational) road?

Laws of the actual road I'm all for, as such. But, a public-school-only-er's laws of education? A tar sandwich may be so called, but unless there's any actual food in it, it's not something I ever want to find on a public school cafeteria menu. Apple pie with paint stripper mixed into it? Not even a chance. Pie are square in my book.

I was homeschooled from age twelve to GED, and this illegally (contra things which 'have the force of law' by mere hegemony). I also was unschooled from birth, though attended both public and private schools from K-5. For me, part of the backbone of being YEC (Ken Ham-ish) is that I see human education is exactly that. As I summarise it: it's all in Adam. It's not in group-ism or dominion-of-some-humans-by-other-humans-ism, much less in a particular kind of group-ism (Marxism, factory-model 'individualism', re-engineering-Adam-ism, etc.).

The origin of mental/psychological disabilites aside, I think the only reason school shootings happen is the nature of 'school' itself as a child-herding/trick-training institution (its very hegemony means that entire communities of parents have no clue but to respond to disturbed 'non-conformists' generally in ways that are injurious to those disturbed 'non-conformists'. By way of analogy, a ten-pound house cat may seem objectively light on the healthy chest of a prone adult human, but, unlike a human body, a person's psyche is all-but-insensible to others despite any normal theory-of-mind assumptions.

 

(see The Empathy Imbalance Hypothesis of Autism: A Theoretical Approach to Cognitive and Emotional Empathy in Autistic Development)

(full text: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=tpr)

(from http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol59/iss3/9/)

 

The next word you read is true (and now it's the seventh-to-last word).

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