On Homeschool Monitoring

homeschool monitoringIn her March 2, 2017 Washington Post article, “These activists want greater home-school monitoring. Parent groups say no way,” Lisa Lednicer discussed possible additional regulations for homeschoolers in response to claims of abuse and neglect.

We at GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum felt the need to add to the conversation.

GHF is a nonprofit reaching millions of individuals each month around the US (and the world) who believe that children whose needs are not accommodated in traditional educational environments should not be overlooked. Their needs deserve to be met, no matter their gender, race, culture, religion, or ability to pay. Many of our community members are families who homeschool one or more children; many of our community members do not homeschool but are open to learning from others with children like theirs. Many of our community members teach in or work for the public school system.

GHF absolutely places the utmost importance on the safety and welfare of all children, regardless of school choice. We view the right to pursue any and all educational options as critical to children’s safety and welfare, as many families deal with inferior schools, limited access to special needs services, bullying, dangerous school environments, and so on. We also strongly encourage all families pursuing alternative educational options, including homeschooling, to follow all related regulations outlined by their state. Most parents who choose to homeschool do so because they want a good education for their child. We recognize that there are significant differences in what a good education should entail within any and all communities.

What will not be helpful to the children whose families we represent is increased educational regulations, where stronger, better enforced child protection laws would suffice. Increased regulations and requirements would only serve to burden the vast majority of families who are doing an excellent job of educating and raising their children in an alternative education environment, while driving those few who would do harm to their children further underground and out of the reach of Child Protective Services. The families we serve often have the additional concern of seeing to their children’s special needs as part of their education. Placing them under the jurisdiction of the very system that failed them in the first place sets up unnecessary conflict and does the children a great disservice. It would be far more constructive for those who care about the public education system (as we do) to sit down with us and ask us what went wrong and why we have chosen alternative educational paths for our families.

Finally, we would like to note that the HSLDA, an organization that adheres to a very conservative religious view, in no way represents all of the estimated two million homeschoolers in the United States. GHF member families belong to every religion and to no religion, and we are aware of groups in almost every state who serve homeschoolers regardless of their religious views. For many years, and especially since NCLB, a significant percentage of families from all backgrounds have come to homeschooling not for religious reasons, but with the goal of providing their children with access to the best educational opportunities possible. The results can be seen in the increased numbers of homeschoolers being admitted to (and graduating from) colleges and universities throughout the country.

For a different perspective to the Washington Post piece, we recommend “Hard Cases Make Bad Laws,” from the Homeschooling2e blog, a GHF Blogger who was homeschooled by her fundamentalist family.

For more information on the outcomes of educational alternatives, we encourage you to visit our resource pages on education alternatives.

~ the GHF Board of Directors

P.S. Have questions or concerns? Please let us know!

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5 Responses to On Homeschool Monitoring

  1. Danna Lockerby says:

    While I don’t share HSLDA’s statement of faith, I also recognize that they have members from many faiths and have secular members. They provide representation in court for any member regardless of that member’s faith and I feel that should be noted. One may not agree with HSLDA’s conservative faith, and perhaps one doesn’t agree with their lobbying position in many cases. But they provide a very affordable legal representation for homeschool families facing unjust prosecution and harassment. For the price of membership that in many cases is cheaper than hiring a lawyer to write a letter, members have access to a legal team to represent them all the way through to the supreme court if necessary. HSLDA also has lawyers with expertise in constitutional law as well as homeschool law. I know that if I needed a lawyer in these areas in my state, without HSLDA I wouldn’t even begin to know where to look. So I guess I’m saying even if you don’t agree with the religious views of HSLDA, don’t “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

    • Corin says:

      We are not suggesting that HSLDA is evil nor that they don’t do some good work. They absolutely serve an important role. We are saying that homeschoolers are a much bigger, broader, and more diverse group than is represented by them, and that anyone interested in considering the perspective of homeschoolers needs to look further to learn what the majority of homeschoolers are thinking. That one organization doesn’t represent all homeschoolers, or even most homeschoolers.

  2. AoPS says:

    Homeschoolers are the ultimate non-elite, non-conformist, as protected under the constitution. That said,
    rulr #1 is live free but without infringing upon the rights of your neighbor.
    The purpose of our government is to preserve rights of the citizen and create a safe environment in which to thrive. In past decades a focus on hyper regulation in all aspects of life has been ever increasing, a factor which has driven many to homeschool our kids.
    Constitutionally speaking, the citizenry reserves the right of self expression. Whereas the states are granted the right to decide factors such as curriculum for government schools. The federal government has no part in either of these areas. This should not be forgotten or the basis of our freedoms will erode through time to what they were before 1776, government becoming once again feudal and dictatorial in nature.

  3. Jamie Heston says:

    ‘Finally, we would like to note that the HSLDA, an organization that requires its members to sign a statement of adherence to a very conservative religious view, in no way represents all of the estimated two million homeschoolers in the United States.’
    I wondered about the above statement and checked HSLDA’s website. They do not require that members sign a statement adhering to any religious view, in fact they specifically state that they don’t. The organization itself certainly has a strong religious viewpoint and even has a page dedicated to their statement of faith, but it’s overreaching to say it is as stated above.
    Having said that, they definitely swing very conservative in their views and lobbying and I prefer to support secular organizations like yours and HSC.

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