05 July 2015

One-Track Homeschoolers

I've been getting a little concerned recently that there's going to be a new batch of people homeschooling who are one-track homeschoolers.  That's  what I'm calling people who are homeschooling because of one issue, usually moral or idealogical, they feel passionately and they will do just about anything to avoid that issue in public schools.

First, let me say that one-track homeschoolers can do a great job teaching their kids.  I think many parents can be good homeschoolers if they are willing to commit the time and resources necessary.  What concerns me is that more people might homeschool because of recent issues like Supreme Court decisions or California's new vaccination law.  

It's easy to say you're going to homeschool to avoid curricula you don't like or because you won't vaccinate, but people don't always seem to fully understand that they're not just avoiding something by homeschooling, they are choosing to take on complete responsibility for the academic education of their children. You're already responsible for a lot of things as a parent whether you send your child to public school or not.  Homeschooling is not merely an extension of parenting, it is an additional and extensive set of new responsibilities.

If you're homeschooling or thinking about it, you have to be realistic.  Yes, you won't have to vaccinate, but you will have to figure out a way to make sure your child is prepared for adult life.  This is going to take either some significant time on your part or some money, or both.  You cannot hand your child books from the library for 12 years and expect them to be a competent adult. You can't send them to the Internet to find their own free curricula and expect them to be ready for college and to support themselves.  There are stories out there of that happening, yes, but they are the exception, not the rule.  You are the responsible party here even if you think unschooling is the way to go (I am not a fan of unschooling, but as with just about anything, a committed parent can make it work well- it's still about you).  You are going to have to make this happen.

No matter how strong your ideals are, you must be prepared for the possibility that your children will end up in public school sometime because of the health or financial situations of the parents. One of the nice things about homeschooling is that you can work with your child at the level they're ready for, but this can be taken too far.  Neurotypical homeschooled children should be working at least somewhere near grade level.  Don't listen to the people who say that homeschooled kids can't be behind.  They most certainly can be.  If they're behind when you're functioning well, they will be lost when things get hard for a year, and they will. Home life and circumstances always affect schooling, but it has a far greater effect on homeschoolers.

I know you're serious about your ideals and what you're trying to avoid. Just be as committed to what you're choosing to take on because it is not a small thing.


  1. Hear hear. We are in CA, and our independent-study charter has taken on two new people just for our county to deal with the people joining up because they're upset over the new vaccination law (which IMO is a stupid law, though I am firmly on the side of vaccinating healthy children). A couple of years ago it was Common Core, and there were a gazillion people who vowed not to touch any curriculum that said CC on it--which they all do, whether or not they've changed an iota. I felt like a broken record as I advised people over and over to judge a curriculum by the child's needs, not by a CC label. I don't think they listened. :P

  2. The CC people drive me batty. I can't even imagine how crazy homeschooling is likely to be this year in CA.

    1. All I can say is, this is a good year for me to not be eligible for the parent board. (My term just ended and a year break is required.)