I’d been trying to keep up with a home state 4 part series in the Salem Times-Commoner during the Christmas season. I read HEM NewsComm’s perspective, read the whole series and felt a need to write a letter for some clarifications. Since it’s my letter, I’m going to include it here too. Here ’tis.
Homeschool parent weighs in on recent series of articles
Dear Editor, As a homeschooling parent in east-central Illinois, I (along with other homeschoolers) followed your homeschooling series with interest. It appears to be laid out somewhat as a primer for new homeschooling parents. I enjoyed reading about Salem homeschoolers’ experiences, but I hope to clear up some misconceptions in the articles.
None of us come to homeschooling by the same path, as was pointed out in the first article. And as your reporter noted very briefly, the interviewed homeschoolers were “quick to point out that Christians are not the only people who homeschool their children.” Why were none interviewed in your area as there are many non-Christian homeschoolers?
April Struckhoff noted that homeschooling is learning that stems from life at home. The greatest gift is that we build our education from the individual family. Oftentimes it’s not from textbooks or a package. Yet, even as your article shared the interviewed homeschoolers’ experiences noting that “it is not just one particular package that will meet the needs of one’s children,” the emphasis was put back on those highly recommended packages. Homeschooling parents have the ability/time to individualize each child’s education. Many homeschoolers choose an eclectic approach which does not include “curriculum in a box.”
Unfortunately, the old mantra about “socialization” came up in this series. Even as your reporter noted “most research also concluded that socialization is not the problem it was once thought to be for homeschoolers.” Maybe socialization has different meanings in different settings? Homeschooled children encounter diversity and socialize through volunteering, public library use, music lessons, playing neighborhood basketball in the driveway, spending time with grandparents, or traveling on their own schedule. True, it is not classroom socialization.
Mr. Wilson, in his Regional Office of Education role of serving Clinton, Marion and Washington Counties, can ask for educational plans for homeschooling children even though it’s not proper or legal. It seems a waste of tax money and time as the vast majority of homeschooling parents successfully educates their children into productive citizens while leaving the public schools behind. If those families take on the responsibility of overseeing their children’s education, then surely school administrators have other fish to fry. Families often choose homeschooling to be rid of the busy-ness and pointlessness of bureaucracy. Taxpayers can be grateful that homeschoolers pay school taxes while refusing to fill out time-wasting forms for paperwork to be filed somewhere by someone. There are “no repercussions” for not filling out the form because homeschoolers have no good reason, legal or otherwise, to do so.
Homeschooling mom Laura Ferguson’s quote hit the mark for me in that we can help preserve our ability to be the ones who are “seeing your child say, ‘I can read!’ or whatever it is.” Homeschoolers savor the simple gift of sharing and enjoying the experience of watching their children live and learn. It is a joy and a blessing.