I am an attorney and a Mom. I homeschooled two daughters, who are successful, intelligent, and socially thriving adults. I have been advocating for freedom in educational choice, and the rights of parents, for more than thirty years. I know what “homeschooling” is, and what parents all across the nation have been forced to do during this pandemic, after public and private schools were shuttered, definitely is not “homeschooling.” It is public school at home, or private school at home, under emergency quarantine-like conditions. Please call it what it is.
Why is it important to call it what it is? It is important because the media, government officials, and the public need to understand that there is a clear distinction between public or private school at home and true “homeschooling.”
What is happening today is forced isolated public or private school at home. This type of education means that the children remain “enrolled” in a public or private school, and the government, or the school, determines, and continues to control, the curricula, time, place, manner, and method of instruction of the children. What we traditionally have called “homeschooling” means that the children are not “enrolled” in any public or private school, and the parents determine, and continue to control, the curricula, time, place, manner, and method of instruction of their own children. Those distinctions are extremely important and must not be blurred. Otherwise, parents who are truly “homeschooling” may lose the ability to do so by the blurring of the labels, and may be mistakenly caught up in erroneous new laws, regulations, policies, or executive orders that may come about as we progress into the not so distant future, simply due to the mislabeling or misnomer.
It is easy for parents who have never experienced “homeschooling” to think of themselves, now, as “homeschoolers,” because they are home, and their children are doing school work. Those parents may never have experienced the freedom to choose and implement a truly individualized education designed specifically to meet their own child’s needs, within the parameters of the subjects set by statute that are required to be instructed. The flexibility of curricula, materials, method, and time of instruction are what make true “homeschooling” unique and what leads to the successful education of the child. True “homeschooling” is the choice, and responsibility, of parents for the education of their own children. True “homeschooling” means following the interests and abilities of the child. It means freedom and flexibility of time to search out materials, resources, and people in the community to assist in developing the interests and skill of the child, and to socialize and learn from community members of all backgrounds, ages, and skills, rather than socializing mainly with the same children, of the same age, for twelve years. True “homeschooling” means the freedom and time to learn by following and developing a child’s own interests and skills, rather than being told teach day that they must learn, at a set time and place, the same materials, at the same time as all of the other children in the class.
Many public and private school teachers strive incredibly hard to meet the individual needs of the children they teach, but they often are hampered by the “one size fits all” single curriculum, manner, method, time, and place of instruction per grade or class that they must implement. That public or private school single curriculum, manner, method, time, and place of instruction may serve many students well, and it remains in place now during this pandemic. The only true difference during this pandemic is that the public or private school single curriculum is being implemented at the home of the children, by remote instruction of public or private school teachers, with parents remaining responsible for having the child to do as the public or private school tells them to do. The public or private school remains in charge, and continues to provide mandates, continues to grade the work completed, and continues to have full authority to determine whether a child will pass or fail the course, or will graduate to the next level of public or private school.
Looking at this system of remote public or private school at home, objectively, there is no realistic way this can be called “homeschooling.”
Please stop calling what parents of public and private school children are being forced to do at home in this emergency situation “homeschooling.”
Please understand the differences between the two types of education, and stop confusing them.
Parents need many options to educate their children.
Parents always must remain free to choose which option is right for them. That choice, however, is increasingly more difficult when people intentionally, or not, confuse “homeschooling” with what is happening for public and private school students at home now. Please stop confusing the issue.
Please don’t call what is happening for those children “homeschooling.”
Only through true facts and knowledge can we hope to remain free, and hope to make accurate free choices.
Attorney Stevenson is the founder of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC. For more information you can go here: https://www.dgstevensonlaw.com/national-home-education-legal-defense-nheld/
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