Thursday, March 12, 2009

We Know Where You Live

Dana has the full scoop on this report prepared by U. of Iowa students for state legislators on the subject of homeschooling, but I was struck by this anxious little paragraph at the end, on the difficulties of enforcing intrusive regulations within private citizens' homes:
Little data exists on how often homeschooling laws go unenforced.... Furthermore, many states have no way of knowing if the information given by homeschools is accurate. For example, in Iowa there is no way to know if the attendance records are being accurately kept.
My! Really? If only there were some way to figure out if those homeschooled kids were actually showing up. In their homes. Where they live.

I know in this economy state budgets are tight, but surely we can find a way to fund school investigators to go to every homeschooling family's residence and inspect the attendance records. After all, it's for the children.


Blogger Jim Janknegt said...

Maybe they could team up with the guys who are going to be inspecting our gardens to make sure what we grow is safe to eat. Kill two birds with one stone.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Yes, that is absurdly almost humorous.~~

1:40 PM  
Blogger mrsdarwin said...

But no expenditure is too much if it's for the children!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Soutenus said...

I hope you don't mind but I have a some questions -----
WHY do you homeschool?
What is/was the hardest or most unexpected part?
What curriculum do you use?
What is the highest grade you have taught to your kids?
Do you plan for them to transition into any other kind of schooling in the future?

We are making some big changes and I am hoping for sage advice :-)

Feel free to email me or just leave the answers in a com box at A Catholic Notebook.
I truly appreciate any information you have to share.


7:50 AM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...


1. Multiple reasons, but the primary instigator was Offpring #1, who was well past elementary-school math at Kindergarten age and reading Kafka for fun. The principal of the highly rated elementary school near us told us that if in second grade they felt she was gifted, we could talk about advancing her one grade. We couldn't afford private school, so homeschooling it was.

2. The hardest parts are (1) For me: knowing you've basically sacrificed any chance at a career (as opposed to a job). I was trained as a lawyer, and I know at this point I'll never have a real legal job again. The financial and self-fulfillment hits you take are worth taking into account. Also keep in mind your financial vulnerability; I've had two homeschooling friends whose husbands left them--after they'd homeschooled their kids for over ten years--and not plunging suddenly into poverty suddenly became a real issue for them.

The hardest part for children, I think, is loneliness. This isn't what people seem to mean when they worry about "socialization"; homeschool kids generally have no trouble with social skills (excepting those who are homeschooled partly because they're the odd-man-out because of their own circumstances or the way their family lives). But loneliness is a real issue, and not much discussed because (I believe) there are so many people ready to outlaw homeschooling that nobody dares talk publicly about problems like this.

Now obviously I believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages; but nobody should be in denial about the disadvantages.

3. We're "eclectic," which means we have a fixed academic curriculum (i.e. not unschoolers), but we arrange for our own curriculum for each subject rather than having one curriculum (e.g. Seton or A Beka) for the whole package. For details, see earlier posts on "What We're Using."

4. The oldest is in 7th grade.

5. Offspring #1 wants to apply to a private boarding school, so we're open to that possibility. Otherwise, we decide each semester what seems best for each child. That's one beauty of homeschooling; you don't have to commit for the long term, so you don't have to be nervous about trying it out for a while. If it doesn't work out, the schools are always happy to take them.

Hope this helped....

8:54 AM  

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