I completely agree about the disservice of this kind of "homeschool our way or else" proclamation. I've seen this proclamation discussed at length on a homeschool mailing list. I find it very troubling that some homeschoolers feel a need to be so divisive. I see it happen with private homeschoolers v. charter homeschoolers and even with unschoolers vs. curriculum users. In both cases people often feel the need to say that only their way is "real" homeschooling. I see frankly this kind of nannyism as a sign of insecurity. It's ironic that some of those who worry that charters are a "slippery" slope which will lead to government encroaching on private homeschooling feel the same need to control others' homeschool choices, rather than celebrating that we *do* have choices and the ability to choose what works best for our families year by year.
My personal point of view is that the charter homeschool is empowering. I am using my tax dollars -- the closest we'll ever get to vouchers in CA, I suspect -- to buy what I consider a high quality curriculum, K12. Using the charter also makes it easier for novice homeschoolers to take the plunge and withdraw from neighborhood schools. I personally know of several people who, after trying homeschooling through the charter, went on to homeschool privately. The charter opened doors and helped these people "think outside the box" of traditional schooling.
If the government directly threatens private homeschooling here in CA I would be among the first to declare myself a private homeschool and take a stand against this. Parents should have the right to direct their children's education as they see fit. (Fortunately the state homeschooling climate seems to shifting for the better under the new Superintendent of Education, who has removed language from the state's website telling parents that homeschooling without a credential is "outside the law.") I would also quit if I felt that the charter school teacher or requirements were too intrusive. To date I have yet to hear of a negative experience a CA parent has had with K12 and the California Virtual Academies (CAVA); to the contrary, I hear only that the teachers are very homeschool friendly and supportive.
Free choice includes my right to use my tax dollars to purchase a quality curriculum. To say that I am merely "masquerading" as a homeschooler is a juvenile insult. It is hard to take the hyperbolic language in this proclamation seriously. It is certainly not trying to win friends in a positive way. Why not build alliances by focusing on what unites, rather than what divides?
I completely agree about the disservice of this kind of "homeschool our way or else" proclamation.
I'm with you, Princess. For all their excellent qualities and passioned defense of homeschooling families, I get a little put out with HSLDA sometimes. Especially their advice to avoid any kind of interaction with public schools.
Some states permit homeschooling families to take advantage of public school facilities and organizations, but not to "buy into" the whole public school course of study.
I'm told this is especially popular in Florida, where homeschooling teens often take Driver's Ed, Music, Lab Sciences, and Foreign Languages in the public school, but homeschool for other courses. I don't know if we'd do that, but I like it that there is an option for those that want to do so.
One of our reasons for choosing homeschooling was that we didn't want to subordinate our educational goals to someone else's agenda. Why would homeschooling families want to shove their agendas on other people?
In essence, we homeschooling families have told the government and all its beaurocracies to "mind your own business." I think it's time for a few of us to heed our own words.
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