I recently posted a picture of a letter an Oklahoma school district was handing out to homeschoolers, and I warned that my homeschooling friends in Oklahoma should not follow the requirements in the letter, as they were beyond what is required of homeschoolers by law.
In the comments of that post, the question came up of why homeschoolers resist government oversight. I mean, if we are doing a good job, wouldn’t we want to report that to officials? Public school students are required to take tests and follow approved curriculums, so why aren’t homeschoolers? And if we don’t want to report our students’ progress, what are we trying to hide?
One person even asked “Are homeschooling families fearful if their children are required to take standardized tests they would then be forced to attend public or private school if their scores are low?” (This was deleted by the commenter later.)
I can only speak for myself and my family, since those are the only opinions I know for certain, but I suspect the real root of why homeschoolers don’t want the government all up in our Kool-Aid is that we are really mavericks at heart.
When our family first began homeschooling 13 years ago, we didn’t know anyone else in our town or our families who did it. We were going against the grain, swimming upstream, breaking the mold.
That same spirit is what is required for most homeschoolers to keep doing, year after year, what most of their friends, family members, and neighbors are not.
This sense of “I’ll do it my way, but thanks for asking,” is why many homeschoolers object to following approved curriculum and submitting test scores to government officials.
Add to that the fact that homeschooling families are not participating in government schooling, so why should we report our statistics or conform our education model to them? As one friend put it, “That would be like turning in an attendance record to a church you do not attend.”
Then there’s the healthy dose of distrust that the government will do an adequate job in any endeavor they monopolize. (Detroit, anyone?) Why would we want to walk in lock-step with government schools, when we can do much better on our own?
But I think this commenter, Amanda, said it best.
Public schools and their employees/programs are required to account and report things, and stay accountable, because they are using public dollars and are essentially employees to public money. As such, they do and ought to provide all kinds of accountability to pretty much everyone and their mother/neighbor/tax paying citizen for their choices in manner and method of providing educational services. Parents using their own dollars to educate their children (who, let’s remember, they’re entitled to execute in utero should they so choose!) don’t owe accountability to the state or anyone else.
Homeschoolers do not feel we owe it to the government to allow them to review our test scores or approve our curriculum.
What are your thoughts on this?