Just the other day a homeschooler in California alerted me to the fact that homeschooling is under attack in CA. She also shared her concerns over the possibility of pre school education being mandatory for all children of 4 years of age and up. I haven't heard any more on this last possibility, but this morning my husband shared the following article from the San Francisco Chronicle about serious threats to homeschooling. Those of us who have always had real concerns about accepting money from the State for homeschooling have watched the developments in the CA charter school movement with concern over the years. As a "curriculum provider" we at Christopherus have seen increasing bureaucracy crowd into the lives of many CA homeschoolers - and have shaken our heads and murmured "what the State gives, the State can take away....." One year our publications are deemed acceptable - the next year some little person in an office (and without ever talking to us) has decided they are unacceptable.
So it unfortunately does not come as a surprise to us that this is happening in California. Now the task is not to say "I told you so" but for all of us homeschoolers to come together and protect our rights as citizens and parents and ensure that homeschooling is one among many choices in the supposedly free US of A.
Unfortunately..... as is usually the case.... in the particular case referred to in this article, it could well be that the parents were negligent and that homeschooling was just a fancy way of saying "doing nothing with the children." These things happen. But just because there are some people who do not have the wherewithal to care properly for their children's education it does not follow that education should then only be in the hands of certified teachers. To argue that would be akin to arguing that because some parents abuse their children, children should only be raised in state run institutions (it's for their protection, dearie!).
Freedoms have to come with responsibility and with vigilance. If some people are unable to cope, then others need to step in and help. Families which are suffering need support in their communities. People need to be free to decide how to run their lives even if they do not meet up to current standards of acceptabilty. And if choosing to homeschool - for whatever reason - is part of that, then so be it. In a free society we need to be free to mess up and fail just as we need to be free to succeed and triumph. For some people, the path is rockier than for others. The logistics of protecting children might then indeed be a bit harder - but is the alternative so much better?
I strongly encourage all of you, in every state (and in every country) to join your local secular state-wide (province wide etc) homeschooling organization and get involved in the campaigns to create fair homeschooling laws. The law in California has in the past been intepreted in one way - now, in this particular case, a judge has turned that ruling on its head with important implications for homeschoolers. It is up to homeschoolers and lovers of freedom to ensure that in Californa (and elsewhere) fair laws are passed concerning the education of children, homeschooling or not.
Anyway, here's the article. It might give some of you pause for thought to consider the words of the judge when he sings the praises of the reasons for public education....