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Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Quality of education varies at home schools

October 1, 2000

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— From time to time, state education officials worry about the quality of education home-schooled children are getting.

But Sharon Freden, assistant commissioner of the Kansas Department of Education, said the state has no legal authority to oversee home schools.

There are some really good home schools. Some simply have kids baby-sitting."

Randy Weseman, interim superintendent of Lawrence public schools

"From time to time, we talk about ... how well some of the home schools are operated," Freden said. "At the same time, we readily acknowledge that there are obviously some doing very well."

Randy Weseman, interim superintendent of Lawrence public schools, said he had witnessed extremes of home schooling in Lawrence.

Some home schools offer outstanding instruction, he said, while others are bogus operations created for the convenience of parents rather than instruction of students.

"There are some really good home schools. Some simply have kids baby-sitting," Weseman said.

David Barfield, a Lawrence resident whose three daughters have always been taught at home, said a few inappropriate home schools shouldn't color public opinion of thousands of good ones.

The same goes for the public school system, he said. Having a few weak elementary schools in Lawrence doesn't mean all are bad.

"We interact with a lot of home-schoolers," he said.

"There are home schools that don't work. If the parent has the commitment, the time, most can succeed. Your long-term home-schooler is doing a pretty decent job."

Tim Carpenter

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