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State board discusses home-schooling requirements

While I can't speak for all home schoolers, I know that we keep ALL of the English and composition papers our kids write, all of the end-of-level tests from the math curriculum, all the tests for the geography, history, science, and social studies curriculum in a portfolio for each child at every grade level. My wife and I have set a pass fail level of 80% correct on the written tests, or for our children to demonstrate orally that they know and UNDERSTAND the material presented. We keep attendance records and a journal for each child to document how they respond to the material presented, We go to school the entire year, usually with breaks of a week or two every three months, with an emphasis on starting a new grade level at the same time the local school does. We use documentaries, museums, the great outdoors, and anything else we can to teach and educate our kids. We created and taught a citizenship class to help our kids understand civic duty and pride in our country regardless of political affiliation. We bust our back sides to make sure we exceed the public school standards, and we document as much as possible so we could send our kids back if that was the right choice for our family.
I shudder to think that any "test" of a homeschool parent would really become a test of parenting ability and from there a test of whether people should be allowed to become parents.
I would like to remind everyone, that this country now ranks 25th or worse in math and science...when I graduated in 1990 we were still ranked third, if I remember correctly.
We home school because we want to give our chidlren the best possible education. While there are many wonderful, dedicated teachers in the public education system, they cannot offer any child the focused learning that home schooling parents can. And while more money has been poured in the public education system every year for the past 2 decades, graduating students retain less general knowledge, lack more basic skills and have more trouble communicating verbally and in writing than students graduating pre-1990. Lack of discipline in the classrooms & an entitled attitude fostered in public education (participation trophies, prohibition of competition & promotion of the idea that everything should be "fair") does not prepare our children for reality once they are out of school.
There may be examples of people who claim to home school their children but do not put the effort necessary to actually teach them. But the majority of home school families are dedicated to not only educating their children academically, but also to building strong, creative, well-rounded people who will be productive members of society. Most of our country's founding fathers were home schooled, as was the majority of society around the world until public education became available just over a century ago.

August 17, 2012 at 5:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )