Homeschooling

I belong to a couple of yahoo groups that are geared toward homeschooling using the Three R’s.  If you don’t know what the Three R’s are, well we have bigger problems.  But basically this philosophy is that if you focus on reading quality books, learning math, and writing daily, a quality foundation can be had on which any future learning can be built.

 

One of these philosophies is solely based on a self-teaching model.  This has fascinated me for about the last year.  Essentially you give kids access to quality materials and lots of support until they learn how to self teach, and their confidence in their own abilities will keep them motivated and allow them to learn anything they want. 

 

In these yahoo groups I periodically feel like a minority in homeschooling realm.  Most of the people (mothers mainly) are part of what I would call the Christian right.  I do want to preface this by saying that I admire these families and their experience and commitment in educating their kids.  I have gleaned so much information from them in how to better school at home.  However, a handful of comments have been made since the election that they fear for their rights as homeschoolers because of Obama winning the election.  They believe he will pass legislation that will make it illegal to homeschool and that a public school education will be mandated – especially since he talks about early education. 

 

I’m conflicted for a couple of reasons.  I believe that every child should have the access to a quality education.  If that education happens to be at home, so be it, but many families either can’t afford to not work or the parents don’t feel confident in teaching their children.  Some families can’t afford a private school or don’t align themselves with the faith on which a private school is based.  Some families don’t have the means both financial and/or social support to accomplish early education.  I want every child to have opportunity.  Take my niece for instance.  My parents are paying for a preschool that is fairly pricey along with providing support to her parents with pick-ups and drop-offs; otherwise, she would not be attending.  This is an awesome investment of time and money.  But there are also kids that just aren’t ready to formally learn at an early age.  Forcing a child to learn in a certain environment because “that’s what you do” is not the answer either. 

 

There are so many families that don’t have options or have very limited options with regard to educating their children, and this is extremely true in the city I live in.  Your choices are public school, a Catholic private school, or a couple of other private Christian elementary schools.  I’m not sure if you know where Nevada falls nationally on the spectrum of dropout rate and quality education, but let’s say it is at the bottom of the list.  Moving here from Idaho, where there were so many options, was difficult.  SmartyPants had just started kindergarten in an online charter school, and I didn’t know what I was going to do when we moved here.  She was already a grade ahead of what was being taught in “traditional” schools.  We couldn’t afford private school, and I didn’t feel confident in my abilities to teach her on my own.  Currently Nevada has the option of the online charter school.  Sass started in kindergarten this year with them, and, like her sister, started in the first grade curriculum.  I am a firm believer in parents having options…and one of those options should be homeschooling. 

 

I don’t believe, in my heart, that Obama has any intention of trying to federally mandate that homeschooling be illegal or to restrict parents’ rights to choose the right education for their child or their family.  If anything I think he is a firm believer in people having options in all aspects of their lives – be it from legitimizing gay marriage, supporting women’s rights about their bodies (not pro-abortion), women being allowed to be paid for their knowledge and expertise along side their male counterparts, and even the rights of gun ownership. 

 

My inner conflict, I guess, really isn’t a conflict.  It’s just that I still don’t see how the Christian right can insist on demanding freedom from governmental oversight on things like education, guns, and religion, but yet they desire a restriction of other groups’ freedoms that they don’t agree with.  I abhor double standards.  And I am having troubling wrapping my head around this concept.

 

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