Thursday, March 27, 2008

Homeschoolers In California "Not Dead Yet"

Hope you got the Monty Python joke there.

Anyway, a state appeals court is going to try again:

The 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed Tuesday to schedule another hearing in the case of a Southern California couple it ordered to send their children to a conventional school. The children were educated at home by their mother, who is not a credentialed teacher.

I'm always surprised how clueless reporters must be, because I haven't seen a related story yet that mentions that private school teachers don't have to be credentialed.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

What on earth this (very messed-up) family should have to do with anyone ELSE's educational choices is beyond me. Have you read the PDF from the court about their situation?

Also, it *looks* like they might be American Indian from the papers and maybe that ought to change the idea that they're even in the court's jurisdiction? Wasn't sure from the papers.

In any event, it's a bad situation if homeschoolers get lumped in with these folks. I think the court probably ought to have ruled that THIS family should send their kids somewhere (they *need* the oversight!!!) and left everyone else alone.

Yes, I got your "Not Dead Yet" joke. I'm a little sensitive about abuse in schools though because I think I mentioned before that they locked my autistic son "Elf" (not his real name) in a closet frequently.

Bless you for reporting on this. :]

Darren said...

I agree that this particular family has some pretty serious issues, and agree with you that they should be treated as individuals and not lumped together with all the other homeschoolers.

Locking your child in a closet, though? If it's not criminal, it should be. Did you shoot anyone for that? I get angry just reading that.

Anonymous said...

What interests me in this story isn't the initial ruling but the quick backtracking by the court.

I read about occasional efforts, generally legislative but sometimes judicial or administrative, to cut into the home-schooling movement. My perception is that they are generally followed by the beating of a hasty retreat by the prospective cutter.

As I commented over at Joanne Jacobs blog, there's the whole "getting between a mother bear and her cubs" response by the home-schooling community but beyond that is the record of success in deterring encroachments on the rights and scope of action of home-schooling parents. Being stirred up is one thing, winning a fight is another.

That's my perception but I'd sure like to know whether taking aim at the home-schooling movement is a good way to end up with a couple of memorable, political scars.

Darren said...

I guess we'll find out when they rehear the case.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Darren, the closet thing is WHY we homeschool. The educational experts call it a "safe room," as if that makes it OK.

And yes, Mama Bear is angry, you betcha. I'm an HSLDA member now, too.

Public education is just a business when you come right down to it, and I do my best not to take it personally. Guess how I'm voting on the next bond issue?

As the Don would say, "It's just business."

Ellen K said...

Just as with all schools, there are good homeschool situations and bad homeschool situations. We had a couple of bad situations in the past few years where horrendous child abuse was covered up by keeping the kids in a homeschool situation. There have also been circumstances where elite athletes, child performers and children of the independently wealthy were able to afford homeschooling at a level not accessible to the average parent. My take on it is that if the curriculum is wide range and varied and if the parents are really on top of their game, it's a good situation. But I also see kids who were removed from schools because parents had a tiff with the local school board and the kids were yoyo'd back and forth every other year. One of the sweetest kids I have had was homeschooled for nine years because her parents thought the private schools in which she was enrolled weren't helping her to read quickly enough. When she got to our school, she was diagnosed as dyslexic. She could recognize words by shape, but it was such a struggle that she didn't have energy left to examine what she was reading. Granted that's a worst case scenario, but that is something that a well-meaning but untrained parent might miss. She's better now, but I hate to think how long she had to deal with that frustration.

Darren said...

The early schools caught the dyslexia, either.

Many years ago I went camping near the beach with a friend, and we met up with some "diving friends" of his brother. One family there homeschooled their 3 kids. They were the most friendly, articulate, bright kids I've even encountered. I had a lengthy conversation with a 5- or 6-year-old about Edgar Allen Poe. He explained to me which was his favorite Poe work (yes, he'd read much more than just The Raven), was able to explain *why* the particular work was his favorite, and was able to contrast it with other Poe works. He'd either done an *exceptional* job of memorizing, or his mother was an exceptional teacher. I'm going with Option B. She *was* college educated, though, and fortunately dad made enough to accommodate this lifestyle.

I asked mom about socialization. The kids seemed very balanced and socialized to me, and she said that of course they were--all the neighborhood kids hung out at *her* house after school got out! Throw in Little League and such, and the kids were around people all the time.

That happened a few years before I became a teacher so I didn't carry any potential anti-home-schooling bias into the encounter. In fact, that weekend provided the impetus for my *pro*-home-school bias, even though I fully understand that not every kid is going to have the exceptional teacher/mother that these three kids had.

Anonymous said...

> Just as with all schools, there are good homeschool situations and bad homeschool situations.

That's a questionable comparison since lousy home-schooling parents won't hurt any kids but their own but a lousy teacher, principal or superintendent can hurt vastly greater numbers of kids and keep doing so for years, even decades.

With regard to the kid diagnosed as dyslexic, good for you but given the still widely practiced fad of whole language (or whatever flag it currently sails under), I'd say the public education system does far more to exacerbate easily-treatable dyslexia then the it does to ameliorate it.

So Mrs. C., got any idea how effective home-schoolers and home-schooling advocacy groups are in delivering political corporal punishment?

I have no doubt about the ferocity of the response but that's not quite the same thing as political success, although the two have an obvious relationship.