An Oklahoma parent (Noddy) posted a Daily Kos article stating in the first sentence she was a “secret homeschooler”. That seemed odd to me in that particular state. Oklahoma has private school laws similar to Illinois, maybe even better. Minimal language is great in my statute wish book. Here’s Oklahoma’s compulsory attendance language:
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.
But it turns out Noddy was using a public school/after-school routine to educate her children. The idea of dealing with public school schedules and homework, while also setting up after-school homeschool learning schedules for your kids seems exhausting. All of this was accomplished as a single working parent. The fortitude has to be admired.
The “segregationist” piece of this isn’t concerning to me. If you’re offering your children (only) a private education, if you don’t take the public carrots, you don’t have the leash limiting your children’s best educational direction. But Noddy’s motivations were from a parent’s perspective whose children were enrolled in the public school. What I found quite troubling was the notion that parents can’t do what they want with their children at home without punishment:
As forward as Oklahoma is in homeschooling, the state is strictly segregationist. If you homeschool, you are not allowed to use public school facilities.
If the state ever learned I was homeschooling in addition to sending my children to public school, they would have been expelled. So I had to homeschool them secretly. I told them we were playing games, doing chores, visiting friends, and doing extra credit activities so when they talked about it at school, it would never sound like they were being homeschooled.
I had to scroll down comments to find the reason for secret OK homeschooling:
…homework help is different, because you use the school’s materials and curriculum and obey the teacher. But full-on homeschooling such as I was doing, with different textbooks, different curriculae, and without the supervision of my children’s teachers, was not legal.
There were 2 students I know of who were expelled because their parents were using a different curriculum and homeschooling after school, and the children talked about being homeschooled. One of them wasn’t really being homeschooled, but her mom called it that whenever she kept her daughter home from school because she didn’t feel like taking her to school that day. The girl was expelled in the 5th grade. She’s 30 now and because her mom really didn’t homeschool her, she never did get much more than a 5th grade education. She finally did manage to pass her GED but it was a “teach to the test” passing.
They are why I made sure my children never heard the words “homeschool” about what we did. It was all volunteer work, and games, and visiting friends (I had a lot of “friends” I’d never met – and some of them actually became friends), and chores, and extra credit.
It always baffles me that school authorities and legislators can’t figure out the public school truancy issue and try to put the responsibility on others. If this parent noted in this comment above enrolled her daughter in the public school and she didn’t show up, then the child was truant in the public school. The punishment was to expel her because she was “homeschooling”?! What strange logic to weave.
This Daily Kos article is an interesting perspective. Practical reasons are listed to homeschool. There was definitely more vigilance on the author’s part to stick with what I consider a failing system, but I understand her reasons to have them occupied at school.
After all our public school adventures, we opted out of the school room. Worked for us in that we found a more direct, efficient approach to striving for a useful and positive society.
Somewhat related post from Home Education Magazine’s News & Commentary in 2011 – Refusing the Carrot – The Tax Credit Issue