Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homeschoolers, you should fear me

I got a response from the email I sent to my state senator about a possible bill allowing homeschoolers to participate in public school sports. He was very receptive and said he and some other colleagues were drafting legislation in support of equal access and in support of homeschooling in general.

Very nice to know.

What's not nice to know is that, apparently, in my quest to help my son fulfill his goals, I will personally bring down homeschooling.

I apologize, in advance, for the disruption.

What bothers me about that article in Home Education Magazine is it's like that dude behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.

"Pay no attention to the myriad of homeschooling laws your state has. Forget about the fact that your tax dollars support public education. Try not to remember that your child is subject to standardized testing. Forget all of that and believe it is the homeschooler whose child wants to play sports in public school that will put the final nail in the coffin."

I'm up to here with it. (I'm holding my hand way above my head -- fyi.)

I choose to face reality in this situation. The fact is we have a limited right to homeschool --- we don't have complete homeschooling freedom. We live in a country where the majority of children attend public school, therefore they have the most access to certain undeniable educational advantages. That's a hard truth, but it's still true.

I am willing to make sacrifices to homeschool. And, make no mistake about it, there are sacrifices involved. We spend money that public schoolers don't have to spend in order to educate our son. Plus we pay for other kids to be educated through tax dollars. I wanted to do a science unit study that involved a microscope, but couldn't because the microscope I wanted was so expensive, so we put it off for a while. My son wants to take a homeschool enrichment class in the fall and I'm not sure we're going to be able to afford it.

There are sacrifices.

There are also undeniable advantages to homeschooling. My son can pursue his interests. He loves to learn about World War II. We study a lot about it. He is good at math and I know he doesn't need to go over for the fourth time in a week how to cast out 9s, so we skip that. We are planning a Civil War study in the fall and we'll go to every Civil War cemetery, museum, and battlefield in our area (there are plenty in Georgia) to make that part of history come alive for him in a way it wouldn't if he spent the time just reading about it in a classroom.

Not to mention there is no doubt I have his best interests at heart. I can guarantee he will get what he needs, because I'm willing to fight for it.

So, I get it. I'm on board. I love homeschooling. I'm proud to talk about the great things about homeschooling, but I'm honest enough to admit some things bug me about homeschooling.

Why can't I be sad that my sports loving son won't have access to a competitive sports program if things are not changed? Why can't it bother me that he can only receive the Hope scholarship retroactively if he maintains a good grade in his first year of college? Why can't I worry just a bit about the cost of his college education when he doesn't have access to all of the scholarships that are available to public schoolers?

I belong to two local homeschooling message boards and haven't mentioned my email to my state senator on either of them. Want to know why? I would be blasted for doing it. "We are fine homeschooling and we don't want our freedom taken away because your child wants to play sports."


Just stay behind your curtain. I'll stand there with you.

"Don't think about the four homeschooling families I personally know whose kids now go to public school just so they can have access to the sports programs."

It's hot behind this curtain. I don't think I can stay here much longer.


Nikki said...

Thank you for sending that email. Since I will be homeschooling our children in a few years, I appreciate any effort made in order for us to have some of the opportunities available to those in public school.

If you don't mind my asking, who did you email? I wrote our senators about something unrelated, and I got a very nice reply from Saxby Chambliss. Oh, I'm in Georgia, too.

Tina said...

Nikki, I emailed Chip Rogers who is my state senate representative in the Georgia General Assembly. You can find out who your state rep is at this site:


I'm happy you are supportive of this. I hear a lot from those who aren't, so I guess we need to make our voices heard also.

A. said...

Wow, I never knew it was such a hot topic! To be honest, we just do our own thing and I stay out of the discussion groups and message boards as much as possible. I keep up with the law as it pertains to me. If I thought the letter was called for, I'd have written one too.

My reason for homeschooling is to look out for the best interest of my son. If it is in your son's best interest to play sports, then who can blame you for sending an email?

But then, I'm generally not out to change the world. I just want the best for my boy and my family. If changing the world coincides with that, so be it!!

Tina said...

Well, to clarify, the yahoo groups are the message boards of two local homeschool groups I associate with, so it's not as if I'm talking about anonymous people that I can just avoid by not getting on a particular website. These are moms in my community that homeschool who I know through a homeschool enrichment group Evan, at times, participates in.

And, yeah, it's a hot topic in our community, especially when your child is involved in competitive sports teams.

We'll see what happens.