|February 11th, 2005||#1|
NEWS: The Ongoing Battle Between State and Homeschoolers
Faith sparks home-schooling for some
By DAVID SERBER
February 2, 2005
To the left, a large shelf spans the entire wall filled with education curriculum, history and literature books and rocks labeled with their scientific names.
In the corner of the room sits a student’s desk, there is a globe on another desk, and hanging on the wall is a chart listing all the U.S presidents.
To many, it would appear to be a classroom in a public school until one reads the sign posted on the cabinet:
“We obey the Lord Jesus Christ,” it reads.
This is not a public school classroom. It is the basement of Randall and Jami Prather’s house, and the classroom for their children.
It was here on a Saturday afternoon, where they oversaw the dissection of an owl pellet and a sheep eyeball, and a dead crayfish, frog, fetal pig, starfish and grasshopper — a lesson as part of the family’s home-school curriculum for their daughter.
“It’s a mutilation marathon,” Randall Prather joked.
Randall Prather is a distinguished professor of reproductive biotechnology at MU and Jami Prather holds a master’s in nutrition.
They are but one of an estimated 400 families in Boone County, according to Brad Russell, who choose to home-school their children. Russell and his wife, Ann, are another.
According to a study by the National Household Education Surveys Program, in 2003, there were more than 1 million home school students ages 5 to 17 in the United States.
In the report, 30 percent of parents who home-school said they do so for religious reasons.
Faith is the number one reason for both the Prathers, who have seven children, and the Russells, who have five children.
“We wanted to explain our faith and encourage the children to adopt it in everything that they do,” Jami Prather said. “They are getting an academic lesson and being grounded in Christianity.”
About 15 years ago, the Russells and Prathers were part of a small group of newly married couples who met in the Russells’ two-bedroom apartment for Bible study.
The group, all Christians, eventually became interested in exploring what home-schooling had to offer them.
“There came a point where we just said, ‘Hey let’s look into this,’” Brad Russell said.
After studying the benefits, the Russells and Prathers, as well as many of the other Bible-study members, elected to do it, citing their faith as the top priority.
“We knew that you don’t get reinforcement in the public schools for your faith,” Jami Prather said. “It’s just so important to shape children and lead them toward the Lord.”
A strong bond has grown among many of the home-schooling families.
Jami Prather said, “We just kind of encourage each other.”
Ann Russell said, “In the early years, a lot of us would get together comparing curriculums. There was a lot of interchange.”
She said that even now they exchange curriculum and books.
Kathy Noble also has experience with home-schooling her four children
“If you are doing it well, it really is taking up your life,” she said.
Jami Prather can attest to that. She has home-schooled all seven of her children for the past 13 years.
She makes sure the kids start school at 7:30 a.m. The three older children study upstairs independently, and the four younger children study in the basement.
Jami Prather’s responsibilities include grading, giving assignments, teaching, reading out loud, giving counsel and leading discussions about the big questions in life such as faith and marriage.
“It’s pretty labor intense,” she said.
The children study until 11:30 a.m., when they break for lunch. Then they resume their studies, the younger children for about an hour and a half, and the older children for at least two and a half.
By the end of the day, Jami Prather says she is tired and won’t talk about anything related to school.
Laura Prather, the oldest child at age 17, said she is thankful for her home-schooling education.
For the past three or four years, she has read about a hundred books each year. Literature is her favorite subject.
“Home-schooling teaches you to teach yourself because that’s what you have to do your entire life,” she said. Laura, a National Merit semifinalist, plans to attend MU next year.
Although all three families decided to home-school their children, they were all careful to say home-schooling was not the only way.
“For our family, and I can only speak for our family, home-schooling was the thing to do,” Noble said.
Likewise, Jami Prather said, “If people want to home school, we will be there to encourage them. If they say there’s no way, we make sure that they understand that we do not look down on them or think they are doing anything wrong.”
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 25th, 2008 at 11:13 AM.
|February 11th, 2005||#2|
Home Schooling & The Future of Higher Education
By Nancy Levant
Jan 31, 2005
People once thought that home schooling was a result of extremist-religious groups and isolationism. Today, home schooling enrollments double each and every year in the United States and internationally. The reasons why are that the quality and variety of curriculums and programs are truly remarkable, and because virtual classrooms are the future of public and university education.
You can continue, year after year, to deny that children are stressed by dull 10-hour days, curriculum work loads, homework over-loads, harried teachers, and proficiency tests, or you can educate your child without stress, with literally a world of curricula, including a host of proficiency test aids, very superior programs in art, music, foreign languages, and physical education, and completely flexible school hours and styles.
Parents must investigate today's home schooling opportunities. They employ the latest technologies, award-winning on-line curriculums and educational models, and they are being accessed by the brightest and most gifted children in the nation because they are superior programs. There's a whole world of educational opportunity for children. There are many options to over-crowded and noisy classrooms and parents forced to sign documents swearing their children have mastered weekly or monthly subject matter.
Parents, however, must be responsible for the quality education. Always remember that public schools are, first and foremost, government institutions. This means agenda, agenda, agenda. This year, two agenda items were clearly global warming and controlled burning of forests. These two topics were squeezed into every subject, including math, and in every grade level. Obviously, the concepts of global warming and controlled burning of forests are to be forced into the consciousness of the upcoming generation, and all but guaranteed we will see these topics over and over again in public school curriculum as sustainable development takes root in the United States.
If you want superior education for your children, and you want them to compete in tomorrow's universities, you are going to have to educate your children with efforts that far surpass the passing of proficiency tests alone. Proficiency tests will soon be used to label and certify your children in particular subject areas. These certifications will determine the higher education tracks, college loans and grants, and career potential for your kids. Don’t think that mandated proficiency tests were created to annoy us. They have governmental purpose, and the tests are used to serve big business.
Public education serves big political agendas, and times are changing. If you have hopes for your children to be other than employees for big business and living in human settlements governed by NGO’s, than you are going to have to participate in your children’s educations. You are going to have to advance grade levels at a quicker pace and supplement government curriculum with advanced subjects and hands-on interest/career opportunities for your children prior to college. It is all but guaranteed that your children’s choice in higher education is going to be turned over to big business who, by the way, is now sponsoring public schools and entire school districts in every state in the land.
It is a sad day when one realizes that being an ordinary American citizen now mandates being a government watchdog, but, in fact, it does. Be very careful with your children who are going to inherit a very new world. Keep your eyes and ears open, talk openly, and take issues to church and civic organizations. Form information-spreading groups, and educate your children far beyond what government curriculum is offering to them. It is imperative that you do if you have hopes for their attendance in fine universities or for them earning masters and doctoral degrees. Most children who now attend public schools will never have these degrees because their proficiency ratings will disqualify them from “the top.” Sad, but true.
|February 11th, 2005||#3|
Home Schooling Benefits Are Real, Widespread
Written By: David W. Kirkpatrick
Published In: School Reform News
Publication Date: February 1, 2005
Publisher: The Heartland Institute
The evidence that home schooled students do well is more than special-interest pleading. Departments of education in such states as Alaska, Tennessee, and Washington have conducted studies that found the typical home schooled student comes out ahead on virtually every significant measurement.
Specific instances abound. One family sent three home schooled youngsters to Harvard; a home schooler wrote a bestseller at age 15; home schoolers placed first, second, and third in the 2000 National Spelling Bee; Patrick Henry College in Virginia was founded for such students. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett has suggested, probably only partly tongue-in-cheek, that “Maybe we should subcontract all of public education to home schoolers.”
Self-esteem is a goal for students much-proclaimed by many public educators, a goal that, whatever its merits as a theory, has created much controversy. John Wesley Taylor found in research published in 1986 that home schooled children did far better when measured for this attribute as well. Only 10 percent were below the national average. By definition, among the general student body, 50 percent score below average.
Studies by Cornell University Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner suggest that, at least until age 10 or 12, students who spend more time with other children their age than with their parents tend to rely on other children for their values. The result? They tend to have a lower sense of self-worth, of optimism, of respect for their parents, and, ironically, even of trust in their peers. If Bronfenbrenner is correct, this is one of the major, and unrecognized, reasons for the growing dysfunction of much adolescent behavior.
More than 200 colleges, including such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, actively seek to attract home schooled students not only because of their high SAT scores, but for their advanced social skills as well. So much for the rhetorical concern about socialization.
<b>A 1960 study for the Smithsonian Institution by Harold McCurdy concluded that genius is more likely to develop among children who spend more time with their parents and other adults, spend less time with their peers, and have freedom to work out their fantasies. McCurdy also suggested the public school system tends to do the reverse and restrict the development of geniuses.
PUBLIC SCHOOL = CHILD ABUSE
PUBLIC SCHOOL = SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF MENTICIDE
Martin Engle, head of the National Demonstration Center for Early Childhood Education in Washington, DC, some years ago said children sense rejection if they are schooled too early. Raymond S. Moore, citing Engle in a September 1985 Phi Delta Kappan article, suggested “early schooling may be the most pervasive form of child abuse in the Eighties.”
That may be carrying things a bit too far. But in the face of the evidence, there is no justification for the hostility so many public school supporters seem to feel toward home schoolers. In district after district they are rejected when they try to participate in a limited number of school activities, academic or extracurricular, although a number of states now require public schools to allow such participation. In Pennsylvania, which lacks such a law, hundreds of school districts do this voluntarily.
As Stephen Arons wondered in his 1983 book Compelling Belief, “Why is it that millions of children who are pushouts or dropouts amount to business as usual in the public schools, while one family educating a child at home becomes a major threat to universal public education and the survival of democracy?”
BECAUSE THE HOMESCHOOLERS ARE MAKING A DIRECT FUCK-YOU STATEMENT TO A SYSTEM THEY REJECT, NO MATTER HOW POLITELY THEY DESCRIBE THEIR MOTIVE.
Home schooled students, whether there are 850,000 or 2,000,000 of them, save the taxpaying public billions of dollars a year by withdrawing from the public schools. Using $9,000 per pupil as a rough approximation of current annual spending on public schools, home schooled students save the taxpaying public between $7.65 and $18 billion a year. It has been estimated that home schooling parents spend about $800 of their own money annually to educate each child.
THE GOVERNMENT SPENDS 12X AS MUCH, AND PRODUCES WORSE RESULTS. ARE YOU SURPRISED?
In brief, although no one should be compelled to undertake the unusual dedication required to home school their children, those who wish do to so should not have government place bureaucratic roadblocks in their way. The evidence to date makes it clear the success rate is much higher for home schoolers while the actual cost is lower--as little as zero for taxpayers. The results benefit students, parents, family, and society.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
David W. Kirkpatrick ([email protected]) is a senior education fellow with the U.S. Freedom Foundation and also with the Buckeye Institute in Columbus, Ohio. This article was released to the public by the author on December 23, 2004.
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 25th, 2008 at 11:18 AM.
|February 11th, 2005||#4|
Homeschooling was in children’s interest
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a statement from Phil Long, candidate for Medford school superintendent, on the issue of his decision to homeschool his children. After the statement is the complete text of the essay he submitted to the School Board about the issue.
By PHIL LONG
Part of the application process established by the School Board required the applicants to describe, in writing, a challenge we have faced. I thought quite a while about the topic before writing and submitting this essay.
The School Board and the community certainly need to be confident that the next superintendent of Medford schools is supportive of the work our district is doing for students and their families. I am.
As a product of Portland public schools and Oregon’s public university system, as a former custodian at a public elementary school, a former warehouseman at the Multnomah ESD, a former middle school and high school teacher of English, reading and German, a former high school administrator, and even now as a district office administrator, I have had ongoing dialogue with parents and school district employees about what is working and what isn’t for their children and students. And as a homeschooling dad, I have had access to the stories of families who have chosen private schooling or homeschooling.
I hope by submitting this essay for inclusion in the Mail Tribune, more people in the community will see that I, like many other public servants, am more than a district office administrator. I am a concerned parent, a faithful husband, a committed father, a hard-working advocate for children and families and a thoughtfully prepared leader who wants the community I live in to thrive because we listen to each other and look out for our children — all of our children — whether public, private, or homeschooled. For how we treat the least among us reflects the intentions of our hearts.
Here is the essay:
How Healthy is the Air in Your Home?
"This above all — to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
That advice from Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been with me since I was a young boy. My mother would often quote it in conversation as we discussed the many seemingly minor personal decisions that eventually add up to define one’s character. When I moved from the classroom to an administrative role, my wife presented me with a framed version to display in my office. It has followed me in every subsequent move and currently resides above my desk. It is such a simple, straightforward life principle. But adherence to it has been at times most challenging.
"How is it that you are the curriculum director for the Medford School District and you homeschool your children?"
That question has certainly perplexed some people I have encountered in recent years. On several occasions, well-intentioned colleagues have commented that to not have my children attending a Medford elementary school would prove challenging to my effectiveness and career options in this community.
Three years ago, the question was tossed out in a challenging tone during an intense meeting between the Medford School Board and a small watchdog group of patrons who had organized themselves as the Medford School Watch. While that was, to say the least, an uncomfortable situation in which to be asked such a question, the decision by my wife and me to teach our two children at home has been the litmus test of how my philosophy of education aligns with my actions.
Someone once said that "the decision to have children is the decision to have your heart walking around outside your body." I agree with that wholeheartedly.
When I set out to be a teacher I was young, single, and idealistic. I believed that my experiences growing up in a large family with five siblings had given me some valuable insights into what my students would need.
My father supported this large family on his wages as a county employee working at the Multnomah Juvenile Detention Home in Portland. Our family life revolved around our active involvement in church. Both of my parents taught Sunday school classes and most of my siblings gravitated toward teaching and leadership work.
Teaching became my calling and in August 1984 I landed my first full-time teaching position in Medford. Seven years into my teaching career, my wife and I were blessed to have a baby daughter, Abigail. It was at that point I began to realize that my education was really just beginning.
Becoming a parent caused me to look at what I do as a teacher through the eyes of a parent. I realized that as a teacher I made some assumptions about my role in teaching children that conflicted with my expectations as a parent.
When my wife and I were both teachers at South Medford High School, a large portion of our waking hours had been spent thinking about our students. Our vacations always included time looking for things that would help our classes become even more interesting to our students. We spent a good part of our weekends grading papers and planning the lessons and preparing materials for the next week of classes. We volunteered as club advisors so we could know our students better. We chaperoned student activities. We looked for ways that our students could gain special recognition for their successes. And then Abigail landed in our laps and our world changed.
When it was just the two of us, we could choose when to open our hearts to others and when to protect our hearts. But now, with Abigail, our hearts were exposed at all times.
We began to develop a family life distinct from our South High Panther experiences. And we were forced to acknowledge our heartfelt desires for our children.
Soon Abigail was reading and writing, and then her brother, Aiden, arrived on the scene. Because of our personal religious beliefs, we enrolled Abigail in a preschool program at a private Christian school. The following year it seemed a natural fit for her to continue in kindergarten, and then first and second grades.
During this time I completed my doctoral program at the University of Oregon while working as a very busy assistant principal at South High. In spring of 1998 I completed my dissertation, "Home Schooling in Jackson County, Oregon: Implications for Public School Policy," and took a new position in the district office working with Kathy McCollum as the secondary curriculum supervisor.
In late-September of Abigail’s second-grade year, we became concerned that she seemed to be losing interest in school. An older friend of ours who was giving Abigail German lessons told us concernedly that she had asked Abigail what she was learning at school. Abigail began to weep and responded, "I haven’t learned anything new in two weeks."
When we investigated we found that her teacher was choosing to have the students do packets of worksheets. When the students were finished, they were to put their heads down and wait for the others to finish. The problem was that Abigail was finishing her weeks’ worth of work in one or two days and spending the rest of the week waiting. I offered to purchase supplementary curriculum but was rebuffed. The teacher felt it would be too distracting to the other students.
At that point we decided to school her at home rather than move her to another school. Aiden continued that year as a pre-schooler, but it was becoming clear that our family lifestyle would be changing even more. One morning as Aiden and I went out to the car so I could drop him at pre-school, he shouted back through the door, "Don’t do history until I get home." We began homeschooling him the following fall. That was six years ago.
Despite the challenging and sometimes awkward position this decision has placed me in, we have been richly blessed through our decision to homeschool our children. It has allowed me to participate in my children’s education by reading literature to them at night that coordinates with the day’s lessons. And in the craziness of my work schedule, my family has been able to adjust its schooling schedule to spend time with me when I have it. It has given me a broader perspective on what it means to be a parent responsible for the education of my children.
I firmly believe that parents are ultimately responsible for raising their children to adulthood. This includes responsibility for the training and preparation of their children for adult responsibilities.
|February 11th, 2005||#5|
How fortunate Lori and I have been to be educators by training and nature. Many parents do not innately have that expertise. During the past six years, I have had countless opportunities to talk with fellow educators about our role in reinforcing the active involvement of parents in their children’s learning. And I have found that our choice to educate our children at home has challenged others to reflect on what their role as public educators should be.
We revisit the decision to homeschool our children each year, discussing this with our children and looking at the various options that are available to us. Abigail will be a ninth-grader this next year. At this point in her education it makes the best sense to us and to her for her to attend South Medford High School. Aiden will enter the sixth grade and will likely continue to be homeschooled for a while longer.
I feel blessed that our decision to school our children at home has been a good thing for our family. And it has been a healthy experience for me to have my beliefs challenged by colleagues and patrons alike. I have had to choose between what is perceived as being "politically correct" and what, in my heart, is best for my family. To be true to myself has in the end meant that I have not been false to others.
As a parent and a public educator, I believe we must seek a better way to align our skills and resources with the important work of helping parents educate and raise their children to adulthood. It is a daunting task for them, as it is for me.
They have hopes and fears for their children’s futures as do I. And when they entrust us with their children — their hearts walking around outside of their bodies — we must cherish and value that trust. And we must encourage each other to be true to ourselves, for "it must follow as the night the day," we will "not then be false to any man." This principle will help prepare us to successfully respond to the personal and professional challenges that await us and our students.
|February 11th, 2005||#6|
I continue to be surprised at how prevalent the German names are in this home-schooling field. Until i started searching the news and reviewing what I found, I didn't realize that. German-descended Christians seem to be the main folks home-schooling, or the main ones reporters talk to.
|March 5th, 2007||#7|
Join Date: Sep 2005
I am confused about the 2nd article, from winnipegsun.com. I can't pull up the original article on my weak little computer - does it really include mention of Ernst Z. or is that your "editorial plant"? No way would anything but the most fulminating, foaming hatred of EZ be allowed to see the light of day in an Absurdistanian newspaper. I am sure of that.
On the other hand, I do know that the Sun chain of newspapers in Canada sometimes rock the boat a wee bit.
|March 9th, 2007||#10|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Blog Entries: 3
Faggots want to force faggotry on homeschooled children
Canadian Gays Urge More Government Control Of Private And Home Schools Over 'Homophobia'
March 7, 2007 - Gay activist groups in Ontario are urging the provincial ministry of education to exert more control over private and home schools to fight against the alleged effects of homophobia.
LifesiteNews.com reports on an article in Ottawa's Capital Xtra that objects to religious schools teaching "only their own values."
The article by Tony Lovink claims that "All private schools tend to be at least implicitly homophobic. And I would say all religiously formed independent schools are definitely homophobia. Lovink describes himself as a gay Christian school teacher.
The Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario says it is concerned that the provincial ministry of education was failing to exert "more control" over the curriculum used by private religious schools. The coalition also objects to private schools hiring teachers based upon the school's own qualification requirements.
In October 2006, the Quebec government ordered private Christian schools to begin teaching sex education and Darwinism in compliance with the provincial curriculum. Schools failing to implement these materials were threatened with closure.
Faggots want to force faggotry on homeschooled children
In British Columbia, gay activists Murray Corren and Peter Corren were granted power over the provincial school curriculum as part of a lawsuit settlement. The settlement also introduced a policy prohibiting parents from removing their children from the classroom when gay-affirmative materials were being taught.
British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life
Homosexual Activists Consider Targeting Private Christian Schools for "Homophobia"
OTTAWA, Ontario, February 27, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Ontario private schools are coming increasingly under the lens of homosexual activist groups for "homophobic" teaching stemming from the schools' primarily religious foundations, a report in Ottawa's homosexual news media indicated earlier this week.
In an article warning about the increasing trend toward private and religious schools in the province, Ottawa's Capital Xtra objected to religious schools that teach children "only their own values."
Last edited by William Robert; March 9th, 2007 at 11:34 PM.
|March 10th, 2007||#11|
Join Date: Sep 2005
|August 13th, 2007||#12|
Latest from HSLDA...
Homeschoolers Lobby Congress as Part of Congressional Action Program
By Will Estrada
Sandy and Lewis Toms and their four children meet with Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. Nearly 50 homeschoolers with HSLDA’s CAP program went to Washington in June to lobby their congressmen.
On Monday, June 25, 49 homeschool parents and children from four states joined staff from HSLDA’s Federal Relations department in Washington, D.C., for the Congressional Action Program’s CAP Lobbying Day on the Hill.
Homeschooling families from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia were briefed on current homeschool issues by HSLDA President Mike Smith, Director of Federal Relations Will Estrada, and former CAP participant Elizabeth Smith. Families then heard from staffers from the offices of Representative Buck McKeon (CA-25), Representative Pete Hoekstra (MI-2), and House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH-8).
After the briefing, the families headed out for their previously scheduled visits with staffers and congressmen on the House and Senate education committees.
“When we were walking to the buildings, I was kind of nervous,” recalled Andrew Toms, age 12. “Then, once we sat down with the staff people, I was kind of excited.” His parents, Sandy and Lewis Toms, enthusiastically added, “God opens doors!” The Toms family and their four children were able to meet with Representative Frank Wolf (VA-10) and Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah).
Julie Randall, her married daughter Rachel Estrada, and the homeschooling daughter of a friend, Johannah McWilliams, also saw firsthand how doors were opened to them. As they stopped by the office of Representative Danny Davis (IL-7), a Democrat from Illinois, the congressman saw them talking to the receptionist and came out to meet them. He asked them to come into his office and put another meeting on hold as he looked over their materials and talked to them about homeschooling.
From left, Rachel Estrada, Johanna McWilliams and Julie Randall meet with Representative Danny Davis of Illinois. The Congressman put a meeting on hold to discuss homeschooling issues with the CAP lobbyists.
“Representative Danny Davis was a very kind man,” said Julie Randall. “It was an awesome experience for Johanna McWilliams, my friend’s 11-year-old daughter, to actually get to meet Representative Davis on her first CAP lobbying day and sit and talk with him in his office and to hear Representative Davis say that he wants to be a ‘champion’ of homeschoolers.”
One of the powerful benefits of the CAP program is that homeschool families are able to share how laws and policies directly affect their families. For example, Doug and Kim Kincell from West Virginia came to the CAP lobbying day straight from a vacation with their three daughters, Kiri, Keely, and Kelsi. They met with a staffer from the office of Senator Robert Byrd (West Virginia)’s office to discuss amending federal law to open up the Byrd scholarship for homeschoolers. Since the Kincell daughters are college age, the staffer could see firsthand how this law discriminates against them. The Senate soon after passed the Higher Education Act reauthorization and included language which would make homeschooled students eligible for the Byrd scholarship, something which has been a high priority for HSLDA for several years.
HSLDA applauds the work of our CAP families and is actively planning additional CAP events. CAP families have achieved great success in the past and continue to achieve great success today as they lobby Congress to protect homeschooling liberty.