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Homeschoolers & Public Schools
Why homeschoolers sometimes want
My PA Homeschoolers
article on changing my district's policy
Handout: Questions to consider
before denying services to homeschoolers
Reading List for Young Gifted
Public School Uniforms and Dress
put together these pages to make it easier to share
information I've gathered on various topics.
everyone thinks alike then no one is thinking."
use what you like and ignore the rest.
Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk, email@example.com.
Contents may be copied if credit is given.
|First, it's important to
point out that the question "Should homeschoolers be
allowed to participate in the public schools?" is
quite different than the question "Should
homeschoolers choose to participate in the public
schools?" I'd give it a "yes" and a
"maybe, in most cases probably not". Most
homeschoolers do not want or need services from their
school district. Nonetheless, there are situations where
participation is a sensible choice.
- Folks homeschool for
many different reasons. It may be a choice based
on religious beliefs, educational philosophy, a
child's special needs, the flexibility of the
homeschooling lifestyle, etc. Depending on why a
family chooses homeschooling in the first place,
participation may or may not be compatible with
Some homeschoolers have very negative feelings
about the public schools (often based on their
experiences), other homeschoolers have generally
positive feelings about the school, although they
believe that homeschooling is a better choice for
their child at this time.
It is not uncommon for a family to have one or
more homeschooled children, as well as one or
more children in public or private school.
- In some cases, the
reasons why a child is homeschooled may be of a
temporary nature. If the family anticipates that
the child is likely to return to school, they may
want to provide some continuity through
participation in some of the activities that the
child enjoyed while attending school.
- In some cases, the
parent has been running an activity (coaching a
sports team, running a club, whatever) in the
school their kids attend, and (for various
reasons) continues to do so once they decide to
homeschool their kids. Naturally, their kids
continue to participate in the activity.
- In the case of
sports, a homeschooled child may have been
playing soccer or football or basketball in a
public league for many years, but when they reach
middle school these teams stop, and the other
kids generally go on to play on their school's
team. The school's team is then "the only
game in town." A homeschooled kid may want
to continue to play, and to play with their old
teammates, by joining the school's team. (In some
cases a homeschooler may be able to play on a
private school's team.)
- In some cases, there
is an equivalent homeschool activity available,
but it may not be suitable for all homeschoolers.
For example, in some areas many homeschool
activites have a Christian component - these
activities may be deemed unsuitable by families
who are not Christian.
- In some cases, the
child has special needs of one sort or another
that are difficult/expensive/impossible to meet
elsewhere. These cases are often quite unique.
Homeschooling gives the parent a lot more
flexibility with the child's educational program,
but they may still need or want some specialized
services from the school district. This can apply
to kids with a formal label and IEP, both special
ed and gifted, or to kids with less-easy-to-label
needs. It is these folks I'm most concerned about
when I read stuff written by homeschoolers about
how it will hurt homeschoolers if some of our
kids get services. Parents of special needs kids,
labeled or not, can use all the help they can
get, and we should support that!
When homeschoolers argue
against participation (Home Education Magazine has
published a bunch of articles like this), there are
generally two concerns:
- If homeschoolers
participate in the schools, they may get
entangled in more oversight - for example, one
homeschool mom reports her son's
"grades" to the school weekly in order
to meet the sports eligibility requirement that
they have a "C" average in order to
- When homeschoolers
avoid the school's activities, they are motivated
to create activities within the homeschooling
This makes sense, but there are of course
situations where this is not feasible.
Developing, for example, a sports team would
require a bunch of homeschooled kids of the right
age who had compatible schedules and lived not
too far from each other and had roughly
comparable skill in the sport, and a knowledgable
coach, and a place to practice, and schools who
were willing to play against the team, and a mom
who had the time to arrange all of this! This
would require a lot of parental energy to create
from scratch! As homeschooling grows, more
activities for homeschoolers will be created, but
we can't always wait around for this to happen.
Bottom line - kids are all
different, and parents can be trusted to make sensible
choices to meet their kids needs - sometimes we just need
a little help!