Monday, March 30, 2009

Remember Me? I'm Back!

Hello everybody, it has really been a long time since I have blogged. I know this disappoints many of you but now I am back and I hope to erase your disappointment. I figured since I haven't blogged for a long time I would come back slowly so tonight I want to talk about Home Schooling in our education system.

Today every parent has the opportunity to keep their kids out of the public schools and educate them at home. There are many arguments about this issue some good and some bad. There are cases of home schooling where it makes sense and of course cases that don't. I am going to discuss my concerns for homeschooling and what irritates me about this issue.

I live in Wyoming and am a teacher in the state. In Wyoming a home school student in the district does not count on the school enrollment which results in less funding for the school. In Wyoming this is about 7-8000 dollars per student. If you have 10 kids in your district that are home schooled your school loses out on 80,000 potential dollars for the school budget. I am unsure if this is the same issue in other states, I do believe that in South Dakota, home schooled students do count towards the enrollment figures of the district that student lives in.

I have no problem with a family who decides to home school their children. If the parent is qualified to teach that student and progress is made in the learning process then it is a good situation. The main problem I see here is how are these kids and parents held accountable for the learning that is being achieved? There are no state wide aptitude tests these kids have to take and frankly a parent can pass their kid to the next level without actually mastering the objectives of the level they are at. More often than not, I have seen home schooled kids enter our school system and are way behind the students at their grade level in many of the core subjects. Their needs to be a way that these kids can be evaluated to ensure they are getting the necessary education for the future. If they are unable to then the state needs to get involved and make the parent accountable and answer questions as to why their kid is not achieving at the adequate level they need to be at. How this is done without much controversy is beyond me, but something needs to be done.

One problem I do have with students who are home schooled is the pedestal parents put themselves on for homeschooling their students. The attitudes I see here in (town unnamed) is concerning to me. These parents who are Conservative Christians,(I am one too) believe that they are better for keeping their kids protected from the evils of the school system. I'm sorry but if you shelter your children from these evils now, how will they handle the exposure they will receive when they are adults? And why is the public school system considered evil? In my beliefs as a Christian, it is our responsibility to witness to people the word of God, by speaking and actions. What an opportunity for our young kids to be witnesses than in a public school where there are many kids who do not know anything about God. But parents decide to shelter their kids from this and thus risk the possibility of them not having the necessary social skills to contribute in our society in the future. I just scratch my head and wonder why parents take away this opportunity for their children.

One argument parents will have is we involve our kids in other activities and extra curricular activities in the school system. In my school home school kids are allowed to participate in sports, music and any other extra activity there is. I am aware that these parents are taxpayers to the district but they are also taking away 8000 dollars from our general budget by not enrolling their child in our district. Why do these kids get to be involved in this activity. It seems like the parents want the best of both worlds. As I stated earlier I am not against parents who home school their kids, but do not expect the best of both worlds. You made your choice and parents of public school students made their choice. You have to live with the choices you make even if they are hard.

How do we solve the extra curricular problem? You charge an activity fee for home school students. It is only fair in my opinion, because what I learned in my life is, there are no free lunches. If a parent is needing their child to be active in sports or music then they need to pony up the bucks and take the responsibility of making it happen financially. It is rude and arrogant to expect the school district to bend over backwards for a home school student when they provide no financial gain to the district. I say again, make your choices and be prepared to accept what comes with those choices. It is like going to McDonald's and ordering a value meal, and then realizing their wasn't a dessert with it and going back to the counter and demanding that you get dessert for free. It just doesn't work that way and frankly, make absolutely no sense.

OK enough rambling from me I think you know my stance on this issue. I have no problem with parents homeschooling children. I do have problems expecting the best of both worlds. Choices are hard to make, we all have been their. Make them wisely.

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