I started homeschooling 5 years ago. Because I could no longer afford private school for my then ONLY school aged child, and the local public schools were just NOT an option, and I KNEW that soon I would have two in school, I decided to take the plunge and start while I only had one in school. I have used two different curriculum's, but both offered as a "public school" option, so we are not charged tuition or any fee. Currently I am part of a local Charter School, where I use most of their curriculum and we meet with a certified "resource teacher" 9 times throughout the school year and he collects samples of their work and I can get any additional materials, resources, or teacher support that I need. It works well for us. Now I'm worried because I have now had two friends alert me to this bit of news just this morning. I don't watch the news, much (during the day we are mostly busy with school stuff, anyway...) so I hadn't heard anything about it.
I graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies, emphasis in education. But I never completed my teaching credential. At the time, my husband and I had only been married a few years and we started our own business, and were still hoping to start a family. I was not really interested in putting in the additional time and expense of finishing my credential. I passed the C Best and could teach, if I wanted to, in the local private schools, as well as substitute in any of the public elementary or high schools, which I did do for several years. I enjoyed the flexibility of being able to work when and where I wanted.
After my first couple of years of homeschooling (my second year I had my two oldest to teach), it became clear to me that my second son was a WAY different learner than my oldest. Sitting still and paying attention was a real struggle for him. He couldn't seem to get a grasp or really even care about letters and sounds... yet, he was BRILLIANT with any kind of tactile, or physical learning and his math and science skills were pretty good. My guess is that he could take apart a computer and put it BACK TOGETHER with little trouble. And he was able to climb, tumble and move as gracefully as an Olympic gymnast. But reading and writing, 3 1/2 years later, are STILL a real struggle for him. He's doing better. You should see his face light up when he realizes he just read something that had previously looked like just a jumble of shapes. I have no doubt that he will eventually get it down. It's just going to take some time and the patience and energy of a mom that loves him and can/will take the time with him to teach at his pace.
But having worked in the public school system for several years, I can't help but look at him and literally CRY at the thought of putting him in a public school. My mind flashes back to the kid, sitting in a classroom, "blocked off", "singled out", "shut in" by teacher and students as being the "trouble kid". More than once I walked in to a classroom and found one desk boxed in by a line of masking tape, with instructions that this is where this child was to stay. And the rest of the class was quite "helpful" in "sounding the alarm" if that child so much as set a toe outside the tape. I understand that teachers, pretty much, have their hands tied. They are limited by what they are able to do in a situation such as this, and the classrooms are WAY overcrowded, anyway. And kids learn early on that some kids are just "different" and it is best to just single them out, early on, give them a "label" and stay away... My son could easily be "that kid" if he were in a public school situation.
All children are different. Not all children are capable of being placed in a "group" setting and be expected to learn the same thing at the same pace. I understand that many children do fine. Others do not... Still others pick up or bring in their own family issues that have to be added to the whole group dynamic... issues like parents that fail to parent at home. Kids coming to school dirty, with little or no sleep. Kids that have witnessed violence, to themselves or between their parents, or parent and "significant other". Kids that are allowed to watch 'R' rated movies (sometimes worse) at home and come to school to "share" their new insights. Kids that live in a "gang" environment coming to school to demonstrate and teach their "gang skills" to others. Kids that are told it's their "Right" to carry a sword under their cloak/toga because it's part of their religion. Then there are kids being told they can't PRAY in school because it's infringing on the rights of the children that aren't Christian. These are all things/issues that I have seen when I was still working in the publilc school system 5 years ago...
I don't want my kids learning about "alternative lifestyles" so they won't grow up to be bigots. My children are already taught that we are ALL created in the image of God and each individual needs to be treated with human dignity. I don't want my kids being taught about other religions, yet having their own Christian faith squelched because it isn't "politically correct" or accepted. I don't want the fate of my son's education placed in a school system that will continue to treat him as another labeled "kid with issues", transferred from one program to another, when he already has a mom at home willing and able to work with him, and we are succeeding!
This is a BAD decision, and it is my hope and prayer that more homeschooling parents will stand up and make their voices heard. In the two school curriculum's that we have been involved with over the last 5 years, both showed a DOUBLED increase in students each year. More parents have been discovering the homeschooling option and more kids are reaping the benefits of having parents actually get involved with their lives! Parents have been taking back their fundamental right to raise and EDUCATE their children. And the successes of homeschooling have been becoming more and more evident. I will be keeping a close eye on this issue that is very close to my heart. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have MERCY on us and on the whole world....
For any updates or additional information, you can keep track of it at the Homeschooling Association of California.