Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changing Thoughts on State Requirements

Over the last few years, I've grown to appreciate the freedom homeschoolers hold in my state.  All you are required to do when registering as a non-approval seeking private school is to submit a letter of intent to homeschool.  No curriculum plans, schedules, or attendance records required.  You don't even submit the names or ages (much less social security numbers) of your children.  Only the name of your school and its total enrollment.  In our case, one student.  That's it.  C'est tout.   And yes, I count my self extremely blessed.

But I must admit, I didn't always feel this way.  Back when I worked as a curriculum coordinator for a private school, part of my job included giving entrance exams and conducting interviews with new students and parents.  The first time I asked a homeschooling parent for records, test scores, grades, a portfolio, or anything they could give me to show what the student had been doing and they said they had n-o-t-h-i-n-g . . . well, I thought they were going to have to scrape me from the ceiling.  What do you mean you don't have to keep any records???  I couldn't believe it.  Seriously?  Nothing?   You have to understand that this shock came from twenty years of public schooling and public/private school teaching.  There are regulations and requirements for everything.  Oh, sure I resented those rules and regs, but if I had to be subjected to them, shouldn't everyone else?  Yes, that's unfair, harsh, and childish, but that was my gut reaction.

I still think there are far too many constraints placed on public school teachers, but that's a completely separate issue.  I now realize how important it is to support the rights of parents to educate their children the way their children need to be educated without micromanaging the entire process.  And there are rules in place.  If you completely neglect your child, then guess what?  It's called child neglect.  And there are laws for that.  But the vast majority of homeschoolers are caring, responsible parents, who are already taking the best care possible of their children by making their education a priority.

I have a class of one, and that one doesn't fit into any cookie cutter idea of what homeschooling should be.  And because of that, I have changed my tune.  I am truly proud of my state and am grateful for our homeschooling freedom.

Does that mean I won't keep records just because I don't have to?  I can't imagine not keeping stuff or planning things, at least a little bit.  I am a list-maker, file-keeper, and to-do-list-checker-offer.  I take pictures of my kids.  I blog about them.  And you'd better believe I'm going to keep boxes filled with stuff they do while they homeschool, just like I did when Ella was in public school.  So you see, the bottom line is that I'm going to do what's best for my kid, and I'm going to have stuff to show for it, even though the government isn't telling me what to do.  Go figure.

2 comments:

  1. Now do you see why I consider myself more Libertarian than anything else? :) We are sort of middle of the road as far as New England states go (I gather it's far easier to hs in other parts of the country than in the northeast).

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  2. Oh yeah, I get it. We're very states' rights oriented down here anyway. But it's becoming more of an "Everyone leave us the f$%@ alone," vibe.

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