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  • PRETTY GOOD COLUMN

    Filed at 9:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    I really don’t like the term “homeschooling movement,” but other than that quibble, the Kaseman’s are spot on in their latest HEM column. A snippet:

    Because homeschooling is created by individual homeschoolers, what each homeschooler does impacts the movement. This gives us exciting opportunities. We can create and choose approaches to education. The hard work we do and the decisions we make have an effect beyond our families. But with this opportunity comes responsibility.

    Setting Precedents–When we interact with public officials or institutions in ways that other homeschoolers (or sometimes other homeschoolers in our local area) have not done before, we set precedents that either help or hinder others. When we act responsibly to break new ground while keeping requirements to a minimum, we are opening doors for others. For example, if we use the minimum documentation necessary to gain admission to a local technical school by convincing admissions officers that we are qualified even though we don’t have a conventional high school diploma, we open doors for homeschoolers who come after us. (A situation like this requires careful balancing. Suppose we have extensive course outlines, certificates from correspondence schools, high SAT or ACT scores, and other documentation. It’s best to think carefully, assess the institution’s usual requirements and the personalities and biases of the people we are dealing with, and set a precedent of submitting the minimum information to meet only requirements that are reasonable.)

    However, some precedents are harmful. Suppose a school official demands to see our curriculum and progress reports. It may be tempting to provide the materials since this would supposedly keep us out of trouble or help us get out of a tight situation. We might think we’d also be educating the official about the strengths of homeschooling and perhaps increasing our confidence by knowing we have the approval of school officials. But by complying with such a request without further investigation, we risk setting a precedent and encouraging school officials to demand such documentation from other homeschoolers and to demand this (and perhaps more) from us in the future. It’s much better to contact experienced homeschoolers (perhaps through a statewide homeschooling organization) and find out if such documentation is required by law. If it is, how do homeschoolers comply with the minimum requirements of the law and thus keep government regulation of homeschooling to a minimum? Finding out how others handle this situation enables us to avoid setting precedents that will increase government control over homeschooling and reduce our homeschooling freedoms.

    This point can’t be hammered home often enough. (Are you paying attention, NCHE?) It’s not a slippery slope argument. It’s the nature of all bureaucracies to grow and seek to extend their reach. When we provide more than the bare legal minimum we are just helping to grow the beast. And why would we want to do that?

    One Response to “PRETTY GOOD COLUMN”


    Comment by
    Darren
    September 29th, 2006
    at 9:49 am

    I think one of the reasons this is so hard for some homeschoolers to understand is that as a homeschool father, I am already used to thinking, “What is best for MY children?” Then, if it appears to me to be best for my particular situation, I may take action that, if I thought of the long-term consequences, I wouldn’t have.