Sunday, October 21, 2007

Responsible Homeschooling

Rudy Giuliani made a speech recently in an attempt to court the more conservative voters. In it, he specifically addressed an issue dear to my heart, that of homeschooling. As a homeschooling parent, I want the freedom to educate my child as I see fit without government interference. I want the ability to choose the curriculum I wish, teach in the manner I wish, and generally be left alone to meet the needs of my children.

The speech Giuliani gave sounded okay, except for one little word, "responsible". The quote (reported on here) is, 'Every parent in America should have the right to send their children to the school of their choice – including the right of responsible parents to choose home-schooling". It's possible I'm nit-picking, but the use of that word bothered me.

Frankly, my concern is in regards to what "responsible" means to Mr. Giuliani and others in power. From what I've read, the NEA thinks a responsible homeschooler is a licensed educator using a state approved curriculum. If it's their standards being used, I would miss the mark completely. Some people think, a responsible homeschooler would be one using an approved curriculum and submitting to regular checks and testing. If that's the standard, again, I would miss the mark.

Homeschoolers are an eclectic bunch. From structured Classical education, to the "living books" of Charlotte Mason, to the religious Abeka or Catholic Heritage, to the freestyle of the unschooler, we are all doing what is necessary to meet the needs of our children. Personally, what I'd like to hear from leaders is their plan to keep their hands off of homeschoolers and protect our right to continue educating our children freely. And I'd like them to protect those rights because we are the parents, not because we meet some arbitrary standard of "responsible".
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