One of the questions Henry asked was, "What are some of your worries about the future of homeschooling?" Mr. Farenga's answer included three points. I'd like to highlight the third,
The growth of cyberschools that, in order to get state funds, lobby government to change the definition of homeschooling to mean being enrolled in their type of school. People who want cyberschools should have them - I’m not opposed to distance learning - but there are many legislative dimensions to defining who is a homeschooler and what is homeschooling and I'd hate to see all those efforts, made over a period of years, get short-circuited by companies who see this as a way to get guaranteed income by putting electronic schools in people's homes.I agree with his assessment on that point completely. There is definitely reason to be concerned. It's not just cyber schools but charter schools that are wooing homeschoolers back into the fold. Two recent articles point out how NorthStar Academy as part of the Vista Unified School District's schools and Bayshore Prep Charter School use the term homeschooling but are actually public schools with a homeschool twist.
The second article stereotypically and erroneously cite isolation as a reason for homeschoolers to participate in these public schools.
The "experts" sure love to pull out the myth of socialization to the own gain. And of course, the only place that can happen is with government help in a public school. The increasing desire to count homeschoolers in the public school rolls isn't social it's financial. They gain when as many heads are counted as possible. In the Bayshore Charter School
During the younger years, contact helps children expand their language skills, said James Rodriguez, a San Diego State University associate professor of education. As they grow older, hanging out with peers allows children to get closer to people of their same and opposite genders and shape their own identities, he said. Social interaction with peers is important because it's an opportunity to learn what the rules are, how they should act with other people," he said. "They learn when they should talk, how they should talk and how to approach someone."
Children who don't socialize with peers may have difficulty communicating well later in life, he said.
Parents keep attendance records, which is how charter schools are funded, and consultants verify students' time by how much work is done."Consultants" are verifying the work. Don't be fooled into thinking that requirement couldn't happen to homeschoolers who DON'T use the cyber or charter schools. As Mr. Farenga, points out defining who is counted as a homeschooler has many legislative dimensions. Allowing public cyber or charter schoolers to be called homeschoolers weakens our ability to fight this type of intrusive regulation. We all get lumped int the same term "homeschooler". The result will be a loss of ability to homeschool in a manner we feel appropriate for us - without the help of "consultants".
Obviously, I can't predict the future, but public /homeschool partnerships are a step in the wrong direction for homeschool freedom. You can read more about that at the post "Who is a Homeschooler?"
In other education and homeschool news....
...Mixing traditional and progressive ideas into one school. It's fun to watch educators attempt to manufacture what homeschool and family life do quite naturally.
...My favorite public school principal, Bill, has started a blog. Ask the principal. In his first post, he shares his background and a clear message....Get your kids out of the public school.
...The Carnival of Homeschooling is also up today at Why Homeschooling.
...Julie is always sharing free stuff from homeschoolers. Check it out.
Related Tags: homeschooling, John Holt, Pat Farenga, public schools, charter schools