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Crowded Classrooms Have Families Embracing Homeschooling

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Crowded Classrooms Have Families

Embracing Homeschooling

By Linda Dobson

In a recent interview, I had just told Laurette Lynn, The Unplugged Mom (which will be posted here soon!), that I believe the government school system is imploding, and that its swollen, unsustainable budgets were going to help grow homeschooling.

Voila! Out of California, birthplace of America’s education trends, comes a lengthy article titled, “As Class Sizes Rise, So Does Homeschooling: Parents Say One-on-One Attention a Victim of Budget Cuts” at MyDesert.com.

“Class sizes have increased dramatically,” said Tina Jung, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education. “We understand why parents feel the need to pull their kids out of public school and teach them at home.”

Class sizes have spiked as $18 billion was cut from California education over the past three years. Nearly 19,000 teachers have received layoff notices for the 2011-12 school year.

In the Desert Sands Unified School District, the number of home-schooled students has nearly tripled since last year.

How Do the Professionals Feel about Homeschooling Growth?

Mom and son homeschoolingDesert Sands Unified School District’s Bob Hicks, director of child welfare and attendance (how did so many of us get through school without a director of child welfare and attendance?) says that while they do their best to dissuade parents from choosing homeschooling (forewarned is forearmed!), “We try to help them so they can make sure their child is meeting standards. Our job is to make sure kids are being educated, whether they’re in a classroom or at home.” (Given the stats that come out of California, how can he say they are making sure kids are being educated in the classroom?)

Palm Springs Unified School District’s director of student services, Jane Mills, claims, “One cannot blame a parent for doing what they feel is in the best interest of their child. But we believe it’s in a student’s best interest to remain in a traditional school setting.”

No article on this topic would be complete without two cents from the National Education Association which maintains a perennial Grumpy Gus attitude about parents taking responsibility for their children’s education away from failing schools.

“The NEA believes home- schooling lacks regular interaction with caring, trained professional educators, which we believe greatly aids a child’s social, emotional and intellectual development,” said Bob Tate, a senior policy analyst with the NEA.“(Homeschooling) provides no assurance of regular face-to-face interaction with peers in the structured setting of a school, which we believe is an important part of a child’s development that cannot be fully realized through online or informal neighborhood interactions,” he added.

Yawn.

Oh, yes, we can’t leave out the teachers union rep.

Meanwhile, the California Teachers Association — though not opposed to homeschooling — feels guidelines are imperative, said Mikki Cichocki, board member and desert representative. “Things like required record- keeping and assessment tests,” Cichocki said. “Basically we want there to be accountability and we want to make sure these kids are actually being taught.”

Zzzzzz.

What Do Kids and Parents Think about Homeschooling?

As you might imagine, kids and parents are more concerned about the potential of homeschooling than the institution’s keepers-of-the-gate.

Kristen Wollan’s stepdaughter, Taylor, 14, attends John Glenn Middle School in La Quinta.

The eighth-grader is one of 43 in her math class, one of 60 in her P.E. class.

She will begin home-schooling in the fall.

“I really want to home-school,” Taylor said. “I will get more help when I need it and, aside from socializing, regular school doesn’t have anything that home-schooling can’t provide.”

And from a parent who took her child out of a 45-kid kindergarten class:

“I was in the boys’ classrooms helping and realized how little time they actually spent learning because so much attention was given to keeping all those kids on task.”

Romero and her husband converted their dining room into a classroom

“We start our school day at 8a.m. and everything is planned out and organized by subject and assignment,” said Romero. “But there’s also an aspect of flexibility. Part of why we home-school is to allow our boys to find their academic strength and hone that. We don’t want them to be confined by the walls of the classroom.”

And, just in case you’re one of those who worry that the future is dim for a child who learns at home, and that your hurting chances for college (if, indeed, that is a goal), check this out:

A growing number of home-schooled high school students are being accepted to universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Duke and M.I.T., according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Princeton University’s 2002 class valedictorian was home-schooled through high school.

Schools such as Yale, Texas A&M, Brown and Carnegie Mellon Institute have created flexible rules for submitting transcripts, let parents write student evaluations and don’t require a general equivalency diploma, or GED, from home-schooled students.

Many moons ago, if a family didn’t have enough money to send children to private school, they were stuck in the local public school, no matter how bad it was. Today, a thriving homeschooling community not only provides a viable option, it is filled with experienced parents happy and eager to share what they’ve learned.

If your child’s school is among the growing number that will see class size increased, lose classes deemed “non-essential” like art, music, science and more, or be filled with inexperienced teachers who will work for less than previous teachers who have been laid off, it’s important to start looking into the wonderful world of homeschooling and learn how it can benefit your children and family.

See also “Your Homeschooling Options.”

 

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2 Responses to “Crowded Classrooms Have Families Embracing Homeschooling”

  1. Mary McCarthy says:

    okay, I'll bite – what's a "desert representative"?

    If the kids don't tow the line, they get thrown out in the desert?

    Mary

    Meanwhile, the California Teachers Association — though not opposed to homeschooling — feels guidelines are imperative, said Mikki Cichocki, board member and desert representative. “Things like required record- keeping and assessment tests,” Cichocki said. “Basically we want there to be accountability and we want to make sure these kids are actually being taught.”

  2. grandma_linda says:

    It was never "explained," but from the context of the article I took it to mean a representative of a certain district or region. (This is out of the Palm Springs area of CA.) There. Clear as mud? <g> Thanks for being here!

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