Saturday, 8 March 2008

California homeschool ruling-will it be UK next?

Some of you may be aware already that in California there has been a ruling against one family that essentially makes homeschooling illegal for all. It would seen from what the papers are reporting that in fact homeschooling has been considered illegal to some extent in California since the 1950s but presumably no one has had much trouble with this as HSLDA have 13,500 members in that state alone.
It is interestin to note that the case began as a child welfare case when one of the children in this particular family put in a complaint about they way her father was treating her. Instead of dealing with the case of whether the father was or was not abusing his children, it all became about whether the children were homeschooled. Why? Finally it seems that problems that may or may not exist in this one family are supposed to effect everyone. For once I agree with Govenor Schwarzenegger who sees that parents do have a right to home educate if they so choose.
I do not doubt for one minute that this case will have ramifications here in the UK. Ed Balls and the ever wise Barry Sheerman are already casting their Great Eye towards those of us who homeschool. While ignoring the appalling standards of education in state schools; the bullying, violence, disruptive classroom situations and the sheer boredom and ignorance among so many children-they are looking at us and saying our children are at risk!
It will not be long, I fear, before legislation that tries to make homeschooling as difficult as possible is brought in.
Partly, I blame homeschoolers for this.
We have to get off our high horse sometimes really we do. If there are things we are not coping with in teaching our children there is no shame in asking for professional help. I have a Maths tutor come in. I have also had a friend who is an English teacher come in. Her methods, knowledge and skills have been a great help with my children.
If we don't teach our children properly, if we allow poor behaviour and poor social skills we not only hurt our own children- we will lead to other people's children being hurt.
The Govt are looking for excuses to curb home ed in the UK. Education Otherwise is already in a dance of swords trying to protect our rights.
As a homeschooling mum I am not homeschooling because I like it (frequently I don't) I do it because as things stand it is the best for my children. There are no good schools around here.
I am acutely aware that what I do as a mum and how I educate my children can effect them for the rest of their lives and for eternity. I am not only preparing my children with the hope I can help make them fit for heaven-but fit for the journey towards heaven.
They need to be able to be around other people of all ages, to be reliable, honest and committed to the tasks ahead. It's up to me to ensure they have a broad, well rounded education that also ensures they are socially adept and have some thought for other people.
I am horrified when I see homeschool kids who are rude, unkempt, dishonest, aggressive and uncaring of others. Okay, so I see this with kids who go to school too-but somehow I always expected that homeschooler parents would take more care in child rearing. And whether we like it or not the powers that be don't mind seeing this behaviour in school kids-but homeschool kids will be noticed.
School children who haven't learned to read, write or learn are common and everyone groans and shrugs. But if homeschooled children can't read, write or sit and learn something then it will be said it is because they are homeschooled.
This might come across as just a rant-and I guess it is. I just have a lot on my mind about the homeschooling at the moment.


the mother of this lot said...

I have to say I was very surprised when I heard this - I believe it affects 100,000 children. And you have to wonder what sort of precedent it will set.

Joyful Catholics said...

How I wish I could have homeschooled our sons. I know I can't look back, but only forward. Bless all of you homeschooling parents~~ You're very much serving the rest of society by teaching your children at home, a brave and valiant thing! Every homeschooled child I've met is bright, and polite and respectful and the world needs more people in it with those virtues and characteristics~

KitBrookside said...

Do not count CA homeschoolers out yet - I have no doubt there will be another appeal, and I'd hazard to guess legislation introduced to carve out an exception or otherwise overturn the existing law.

Have you read "Hold On To Your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld? Interesting, if you can get it.

swissmiss said...

I'm finally back online! Whew!

Since I'm just starting to homeschool, my experiences may be limited, but most home schooled kids I've come across are well beyond most others in their behavior and awareness that they aren't the center of the universe. I think most parents I've met who home school do take it very seriously and I hope to follow their examples and have my kids emulate their children (best laid plans of mice and moms). I do know of some children who are "homeschooled" but it's more a response by the parents when their children are failing either academically or behaviorly in a public/private school. My husband's cousins are examples of this. Both parents are working full-time but they supposedly "homeschool" their two teenage daughters who have been in trouble in school. The parents just let them stay home unsupervised without any intention of really educating them. Shameful and I don't know how they can do this. Makes sincere homeschoolers look very bad.

I think this legislation is a clear shot across the bow and homeschoolers need to be vocal and support each other to stop this attack on the family.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words everyone. I take a deep breath and plunge back into my homeschooling endevour; and I will not be afraid. Whatever the UK Govt are planning-they have yet to act against us, so I'll just get on with things.
However poorly I see some other homeschooling families behave-that is not the case for most.
Ever onwards...
God bless

MaggieClitheroe said...

Aren't there many different types of people who homeschool? We homeschool our son essentially because we don't want him to be exposed to the impurity, and secular influences that are evident even in the best of Catholic schools these days. We want the Catholic Faith to permeate his life at this stage, (what he does with that in future is up to him) but because of this, we tend not to mingle with other homeschoolers simply on the grounds that they homeschool. We meet as often as we can with other Catholic homeschoolers, and ones that really have the same values as we do. Most of the children I've met from this background are well behaved, socially adept, and polite - but they can all have their moments - they are children, after all.
We have tried attending Education Otherwise H/S groups, but I saw too many secular, worldly and impure influences on some of the children, just the sorts of things we were trying to avoid in the first place.
Also, I have seen in some Catholic homeschooling families, where older children have school going friends, the bad influences can filter down to the younger ones.
Homeschoolers can't all be lumped together, and there can't be an expectation that every homeschooled child will be a model citizen. Just as with any child, it's all down to what values the parents instill in them. I have a responsibility before God for the one child I've been given, and I just have to hope and pray that, despite the difficulties of homeschooling an only child, it is ultimately going to serve him well.
God Bless, I know it's not easy juggling homeschooling for several children.