Homeschooling in the Education Debate

An up-state New York radio station talks about homeschooling, as related to the Education Scene.  The home education lifestyle doesn’t compare to a public school classroom, while the powers-that-be are paying attention to the entire money issue.

How does homeschooling fit into the ed debate? by Nora Flaherty

Some parents, though, don’t worry so much about public school funding (or private school funding, for that matter), because they don’t send their kids to school; they teach them at home.We hear a lot anecdotally about home schooling, and an article in today’s Watertown Daily Times provides some numbers:

Although the number of home-schooled students in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties has increased from 789 to 794 over the past decade, the percentage of the total student population has remained at about 2. In New York state, the figure is 3.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Nationwide, it’s 3.4 percent, representing approximately 1.8 million students, up from 1.1 million a decade ago.

Illinois – fortunately – does not waste taxpayer money and tax-paid staff tabulating the number of homeschoolers.  We are not required to report or register to the state, which works wonderfully well focusing on the important issues such as learning.

This below is true. We all have unique motivations not sending our children to school:

People have different reasons for home schooling their kids: For some, it’s religious; for others, it’s because they don’t think their kids are getting a good education at their local school; and some just want the freedom that comes with not being tied in to a particular school’s schedule or curriculum. – See more at: North Country Public Radio

After reading a NY Times commentary posted by a Maryland mom, it appears some parents don’t feel comfortable owning up to homeschooling their children, no matter the reason to educate at home.  Excuse the sole description of a “mom” for Ms. Kulynych, as I suspect she would also like acknowledgement as a professional. Understandable, with the hard work it takes to be a lawyer, but that point doesn’t have anything to do with homeschooling/nurturing capabilities. Sometimes it’s nice to have a lawyer in the house.

From Jennifer Kulynych, who has chosen what she calls an “alternative” style of homeschooling:

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is owning this new identity as a home schooler. I told no one at work, preferring to stay completely in the closet about teaching my daughter at home. My corporation values diversity, but somehow being a home-schooling corporate lawyer felt beyond the pale — a topic simply too taboo to discuss. The corporate world reluctantly accepts a skilled professional working part time while raising small children, but home schooling — so retrograde, so unprofessional — is harder to understand. Acknowledging that I have made this choice feels risky, like an open invitation to question my commitment to a legal career.

Even so, I can’t help thinking that there must be others like me: working professionals who, out of necessity, because the economics are so compelling, or simply for the fun of it, are home-schooling their children sotto voce, on the quiet. If we spoke up, maybe we would dispel the skepticism and the stigma. And we might argue we’re in the vanguard of educational progress: According to Wired magazine, researchers find that children make the greatest academic gains when we spend less time lecturing them and more time equipping them to teach themselves. Done right, that’s home schooling at its best.

Apparently she is coming out of the closet with this piece to dispel the drama of being out of the societal mainstream. I can only ask – Where have you beenRod Dreher suggests this in response to Kulynych.

Read the whole thing. Come out, come out, wherever you are, homeschoolers! Kulynych is certainly right that homeschooling is not for every parent, nor for every child. But it might be for you — and you might have fun doing it. These past few nights, my seven-year-old has asked me to read a new canto of Dante’s Inferno to her, while she draws a picture of what she’s hearing. This was entirely her idea; she kept hearing me boring her mother to death with talk about my latest obsession, and decided she wanted to be part of it. And why not? This is the kind of thing that happens sometimes when you homeschool. The boundaries between learning and life become more porous. It can be a lot of fun. A counterculture adventure, I’d say.

It’s reasonable for a home-based parents to be cautious with clients and employers assuring them the paid job is being done.  Makes sense one could also note how cool it is to be home educating their kids.  When the opportunity arises, the children usually speak for themselves. Everyone knows one now…that’s what I keep hearing. 


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