Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stateswomen (Amy)

Have you heard? A California Court of Appeal recently ruled that homeschooling is illegal in California unless a parent is a certified teacher. Seriously. Checkout www.hslda.org for more information and to sign a petition requesting the depublification of the case.

I have to say that I'm shocked about the decision and what it's ramifications could be. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Last year I don't think this would have even phased me. But as I become more involved with Leadership Education and what is best for my children, I am becoming increasingly more alarmed at what is happening in the world around me in regards to homeschooler's rights.

A couple weeks ago, an assistant superintendent for the Galena School District (which houses IDEA, a homeschool charter school), sent an email out to all IDEA families (of which I am a part). His topic was Thomas Jefferson Education. He reminded all families that we were part of a public school program and therefor had to meet the national standards for "No Child Left Behind", etc and standardized testing. He cautioned us to look closely at what methods we were using and to make sure that they fit within those standards. He suggested that Thomas Jefferson Education was contrary to those standards.

After getting over my frustration with being told "how to think", I realized that he is right. IDEA is a public school and whether I like it or not, if my children are enrolled I have to do as they say. And they are part of the conveyor belt. Each year they tighten restrictions and there is more regulation. I feel like a boiled frog. The heat gets turned up a little at a time until it's too late and I'm cooked. Right now I can still jump out of the pot. But am I too comfortable? Receiving $1800 per child per year certainly helps offset the cost of educating at home, but at what cost to my family? At what cost to my rights? Hmmm. Definitely something to think about.

I'm starting to feel like there may be a reason to stand up and be counted as an "independent" homeschooler, to fight for my rights to keep my children at home and teach them what I want and how I want. I don't view myself as an extremist. I'm just a mom who enjoys staying home and teaching my children and I think I can do just as good of a job (better even) than anyone else.

My journey through homeschooling has definitely been more than I thought it would be when I started. I guess I'm changing and growing and looking outside myself to see what needs to happen around me and how I can effect change. Is that the definition of a Stateswoman?

*Visit www.aktjed.org for an amazing article entitled "Steel to Gold" by Rachel DeMille

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