Join me on Labor Day (Monday, September 1) for Home School Talk’s first ever holiday special! (Monday, 1PM CST) The show is now archived at that link if you want to listen to it! This will be a shortened show, only half an hour, but will feature positive and encouraging stories about homeschooling. I will also have a very special guest and co-host: my own nine year old daugter. She will be discussing the stories with me and talking a bit about her own homeschooled experience. Which unfortunately hasn’t been entirely positive. In fact, she doesn’t want to go to public school because she figures it is everything she doesn’t like about homeschool, but longer and without as many breaks.
My poor eldest daughter suffered the most under her drill sergeant mother who tried to make kindergarten and the beginning of first grade look more like boot camp a classroom than a home. I discussed this more during Back to Homeschool Week, but happily I’ve improved. To her, school still seems to mean “copy work.” Actually, everything she doesn’t like, she identifies as school. Everything she does like is just life. And she seems to be tired of me reminding her that “this is school, too.” So I can’t win. We’ll see what she thinks of being on the radio.
Note to iPod users: For some reason my show was moved to the Heading Right channel without my knowledge and that was the feed being used by iPod. It is now moved back to where it belongs, but it will likely be a couple of days before the feed over at iPod is corrected.
September 8: Ann Zeise of A to Z Home’s Cool
September 15: Kelly Curtis of Pass the Torch and author of Empowering Youth
Show Notes for 8/25/08
To begin, I relate a story about my children at a local carnival and an overheard conversation between a younger woman and an older woman about children not wearing shoes. The younger woman thought they were cute; the older woman didn’t seem to agree. But there are a multitude of reasons for a bias agains barefooted children.
The school in which I taught, for example, was previously known for being the school for children without shoes. Possession of shoes was for many a recognizable division between rich and poor. I would guess that those who lived through that stigmatization might be more inclined to be sure that their children had nice shoes regardless of the health benefits known for children running barefoot.
Related, perhaps, are recent stories about the increase of homeschooling among minorities, particularly among African Americans. The Houston Chronicle notes the increase, stating that blacks homeschool for many of the same reasons as whites while also having concern for teaching their cultural heritage. Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute also noted one reason the black community has been reluctant to embrace homeschooling:
Peer pressure also might have kept many blacks away from trying something different, Ray said. In the black community, there’s always been a strong advocacy for public schools. Many blacks see them as a good route to leveling the playing field for everybody, he said. Chron.com
Two years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a similar story with a little more information. It includes some insight from Jennifer James who, as the founder of the National African American Homeschooler’s Alliance, likely understands the challenges this group faces a little more personally.
“Some educators and families think that because blacks fought so hard to get equal access, we shouldn’t abandon it. But times have changed. It was a great step, but we have to think about our kids.” San Francisco Chronicle
I, on the other hand, as a white, middle class American never had to fight for access to public education and often take it for granted and often as not much of a privilege at all. Walking away from the system was therefore not so difficult.
Connecticut Tax Revolt
An interesting story in the Wall Street Journal takes a look at Connecticut education and the dissatisfaction of tax payers who are paying more than twice as much for their education system while enrollment has only increased ten percent over the last 25 years.
One proposed solution? Homeschooling.
The calculator [on the website of a local tax payer group] enables the resident of any town to compare the cost of constructing and staffing a new building (or addition) to the cost of simply subsidizing the overflow number of students to attend private, parochial or home schools. Says David Bohn, president of the group: “You could extend the subsidy to children already in such schools and still save hundreds of millions long term.” WSJ online
And one politician has suggested paying students to not go to school: $1500 for vocational school, $3000 to homeschool and a $5000 scholarship for private school. All in the name of saving tax payer dollars. It makes you wonder about all the programs out there trying to attract homeschooled students back into public schools even on a part-time basis. Sure, these students bring money to the school, but at what expense?
Encouragement from Germany
Hans-Ulrich Pfaffmann, an education expert from the Social Party of Germany (SPD), which would be the more left-leaning of the major parties in Germany, was recently interviewed by the Bayerischen Rundfunk, a radio station in Bavaria. He had some interesting comments on homeschooling in Germany (my translation):
I deem prison sentences or fines in this situation as a total overreaction because in reality, homeschooling can be very high quality. To this extent, it is certainly a topic which one must work on politically. There can be no black and white here, instead one must be able to discuss the subject without ideological blinders.
There cannot be a single dogmatic stance of the state that the state must educate all children. I think we must really put the possibility of homeschooling on the discussion list, then I can envision starting a homeschooling pilot project as school replacement. That cannot be put off until never-never day, but must happen quite quickly to see if it is an option.
If you would like to hear more on homeschooling in Germany from someone homeschooling in Germany, I interviewed Rina in July for the show, A look at homeschooling in Germany.
Those measly homeschoolers
I actually went into this a bit more on my blog this week as I talked about homeschoolers and vaccinations. I don’t know that I made my point that clearly in the show, but really all I was saying is that you look at these issues a little differently when your child is affected, even as you continue to support the decisions of every parent regarding their choices for their own children. It becomes more personal and you become more aware of the risks involved.
Guest: Jube Dankworth
Twenty year homeschool veteran Jube Dankworth joined the program to talk about why she chose to homeschool, how homeschooling as grown over the years and ways to advocate for homeschooling. She is also the founder of Texas Home Educators and national director of Homeschooling Family to Family, a ministry of Frontline Ministries.
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