Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Response to Dan Edelen - A Public School At Home Dad

Dan Edelen claims he homeschools even though he is doing public school at home.
He says
* I am the teacher.
According to the OHVA website he is teamed up with a certified teacher. At best he is an assistant teacher. The certified teacher is calling the shots.

* My son does not attend physical classes as a group with any other children.
So you are doing public school at home. In his own post he admits this is a public charter school paid for with tax $

*My son attends class as a lone student within our home.
Again you are doing public school at home. OHVA has more then one student.

* I select the curricula.
Really!!! Nowhere on the OHVA website, did I see a place for parents to choose textbooks.

* I select which parts of the curricula we do in a day and how it is taught.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can include family activities or other resources as schoolwork.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can skip over whatever curricula I feel my son has already mastered.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* Our schooling is subject to all the positives and negatives of being schooled at home.
This statement shows how much Dan Edelen doesn’t understand real homeschooling. He is not receiving all the positives real homeschoolers do. But since he has never been a real homeschooler he doesn’t know what he is missing. I have the freedom to choose every textbook we use, I have the freedom to select every subject I teach. As a real homeschooler I am not subject to government oversight. And I resent public school at home parents co-opting the homeschooling label which could lead the government to take away my options.

The OHVA website claims
Top 10 Reasons Parents Choose OHVA:
1. Public School Accountability
I don’t want to be accountable to a public school. If you do that is fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

2. Superior K12 Curriculum
Really, says who. Is it as good as the curriculum I picked out on my own that allowed my son to start college at 16 and major in computer science?

3. Extensive Support System
I don’t want government support. If you do that’s fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

4. Flexible Scheduling
As a homeschooler I already have this.

5. Expert Lesson Plans
Homeschoolers can find expert lesson plans on the Internet, or they can make their own.

6. One-on-one Approach
As a homeschooler I already have this.

7. Socialization Opportunities
Homeschoolers are free to join recreational sports leagues, participate in church youth groups and form homeschool support groups, we don’t need a public school at home program to provide socialization.

8. Focused, Ethical Environment
Yeah, we all know how ethical public schools are, Bennett’s K12, especially.
In Arkansas -The U.S. Department of Education employees who oversee the public school choice program initially suggested funding for 10 programs, basing their on recommendations from peer reviewers. Bennett's K12 Arkansas project was not among them. Education Week reported that K12's proposal did not score high enough among the peer reviewers to win a funding recommendation.

9. Gifted & Talented Support
If having a gifted or talented program is important to you as a homeschooler you can either find one or start your own, you don’t need a public school at home program to do so.

10. Safety, Peace of Mind
Homeschoolers already have this; they don’t need a public school at home program.

Dan maintains he is a homeschooler because he son doesn’t attend a traditional public school, but Annette points out why he is doing public school at home, by providing us with what the government legally determines a public school to be.

1.) Is supported with public funds.
He brags about getting tax money in his own blog “so our taxpayer dollars go to our homeschooling!”.

2.) Is authorized by action of and operated under the oversight of a publicly constituted local or state educational agency.
Again in his own blog he admits it is a public charter school.

3.) Provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.
Yes, OHVA provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.

4.) Has an appropriately credentialed teacher (or teachers) who provides instruction.
Says they do on the OHVA website.

5.) Has at least one appropriately credentialed administrator, usually a principal, who is responsible for all aspects of school administration including supervision and evaluation of staff, fiscal responsibility, student discipline and safety, supervision and evaluation of curriculum, and assessment of academic achievement and school accountability.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

6.) Has an administrator, usually a principal, with access to and responsibility for maintaining official student records for all enrolled students.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

Looks like Dan’s public school at home meets all the requirements for a public school to me. So why is he adamant that he is homeschooling? When it’s obvious that he isn’t.

Christy commented
Confusion like this– asserting that a child enrolled in a public, private, or online school– will lead to messier legislation that will adversely affect homeschoolers everywhere.

She is right and that is why real homeschoolers do not want public school at home parents claiming to be homeschoolers. It is not because we are elitist, it is not because we feel superior to you, it is because we do not want our freedom to homeschool curtailed. We do not want the government or someone like Dee to decide the only legitimate way to homeschool is by doing public school at home.


  1. Want to see my comment that Dan wouldn't allow me to post?

  2. Sorry, that was me.

  3. Annette, yes I would be interested in seeing your comment, that Dan didn't allow you to post.

    Thank you for all the info you have been leaving in the comments. This does seem to be a very complex issue, that could have serious consequences for homeschoolers. You made some good points on Dan's blogs in the comments he did allow.

  4. You're welcome and thank you, Alasandra I appreciate your opinion on what I shared there. I'm interested too in any thoughts on how I could have communicated those better to Jettybetty and Dan.

    From the comment that Dan would not let post:
    JettyBetty wrote:
    I cannot justify the abuse I have seen in my lifetime by allowing a small, vocal group to advocate only their definition of homeschooling.

    You have lost me here.
    Let's agree to disagree on these points:
    I *think* hsing is not a generic term:

    You *believe* it is.

    You *believe* that the fact that psing has a definition has no relevance to you or to hsing.

    Okay, we agree to disagree on that point too.

    You *think* that my working to protect hsing freedoms by making distinctions between psing and hsing is somehow being exclusive to parents like Dan who you *believe* are hsing.

    I guess we can agree to disagree on that too.

    Having a discussion about different viewpoints and about the facts does not mean that I'm not accepting of people with different *beliefs*. I have a yahoogroup where the group description is welcoming to people who do not agree with my positions on psing at home programs. We are still able to work together in a way if they are willing.

    We can agree to disagree on the fact that a person cannot homeschool their children *thru* a ps at home program. You can call it opinion but it is something that is backed up by facts.

    You're okay, I'm okay, we are okay with all our facts, opinions and beliefs. I'm going to continue making distinctions and trying to protect hsing from becoming psing at home.

    I fail to see how giving people the truth is being exclusive. You get to be the nice guy to parents like Dan by telling them what they want to hear, and I get to be the bad guy by having people look at their own public school & homeschool laws in their state.
    We can agree to disagree on whether giving out the truth really does make me a bad guy.

    I should have written "by trying to get people to look at their own ps and hs laws in their state."

  5. I am not sure how you could have communicated better with JettyBetty and Dan as I thought you did a good job of explaining yourself. I am not sure why but Dan seems to be emotionally invested in calling himself a homeschooler.

    I thought of a comparison that might work. public school at home is like renting your home. You may consider it your home but it belongs to your landlord. You can not make changes without his permission and when your lease is up your landlord can ask you to leave. Yelling and screaming that it's your home and you are a homeowner doesn't make it so. You do not have the same rights as someone who owns their home. Public school at home parents & students do not have the same rights and freedoms as homeschoolers. But in this instance yelling and screaming that they are homeschoolers could lead to homeschoolers being striped of the rights and freedoms they currently enjoy.

  6. My first comment on Dan's blog was actually spurred by JettyBetty's comment that Spunky doesn't get to define homeschooling. It wasn't for Dan. On Dan's earlier post, one might be able to see where some emotion had come into play when there have been comments to him that he is basically selling out by using a cyber charter.
    Hard walls to penetrate with this communication.
    I personally think that in communicating the issues, the selling out comments would be along the lines of being judgmental, not helpful and detracting from the issue. Anyways, so I can understand --at least to a point--Dan's emotional investment in the word hsing. But what about JettyBetty a parent who tutored her ps children in the evenings. Why is she invested in the term do you suppose? Odd.

  7. Alasandra,
    I have a guest post about this topic at Spunky's:


  8. As a Catholic School teacher,(Grade K) and from a non homeschoolers point of view, I can understand why Dan says he is a homeschooler. Why must "homeschoolers" get so defensive. If Dan wants to call himself a homeschooler so be it. He does "school at home". What do you think Jesus would say or do in this situation. Just some thoughts. I am making no judgements.

  9. To Catholic School Teacher

    The problem is that Dan's child as a PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME STUDENT is required to meet the same legal requirments as public school students.

    Dan by insisting on calling himself a homeschooler is opening the door for government intrusion into homeschooling. That is what homeschoolers object too.

    We are trying to protect our homeschool freedoms.

  10. alasandra,

    I see your point now. Now, "home instruction" might be a better word, but that has other connotations also. My son was "home instructed" by a teacher when he could not attend school, and learned from home. Just one question though, I'm just curious. Don't homeschoolers have to follow the standards also?

  11. In Mississippi ALL homeschoolers have to do is register their child as homeschooled with the school attendance officer.

    Each state has different homeschooling laws.

  12. Well, now you've got me really wondering! It seems to me that without any kinds of standards, some parents, and I do emphasize SOME, might be lax in what they teach. I personally believe that certain standards should have to be met, just like we must meet certain standards when teaching in the classroom.

  13. Most parents have their kids best interest at heart.

    Where has no child left behind got you, where has teaching to the test got today's students? Most people do very well without standards and testing.

    BTW my eldest son took the ACT at 15 scored a 28 and got early admission to college. So he started college at 16. He is now in his second year of a computer science major. This with no other standard being meet other then I registered him every year as homeschooled.

  14. alasandra,

    I am not talking about teaching to "the test". I have many issues with NCLB. It leaves a lot of children "behind" in my opinion. What I should have said was there should be some kind of curriculum guidlines that should be followed.
    It's great your son did so well on the ACT. Unfortunately not all kids are that smart. I do know that homeschooled children do better on the average than children who attend schools. That is a big positive. The people I know in my neighborhood who have homeschooled are very nice people, but unfortunately their children are socially behind other children. How do you deal with that, and what can be done to avoid this problem?

  15. I am not sure what you mean by socially behind other children.

    My children have always been involved in cub scouts, boy scouts, recreational soccer, etc. in order for them to make friends with other kids their age. We also found an inclusive homeschool group that we joined PEAK.

    curriculum guidelines
    That is simple IF you intend for your child to go to college (and most homeschoolers do) you find out what their requirements are credit wise and you build a curriculum around that, then you are free to study other things of interest to your child. My eldest took computer programming classes while he was still being homeschooled, this wouldn't have been possible in a public school.

    If you stick with Literature, Grammar, Math, Science, and a Foreign Language (required by most colleges) you can't go wrong. Then you are free to add courses of interest to your child.

  16. alasandra,

    You said: "I am not sure what you mean by socially behind other children."

    What I meant by that is they have trouble interacting with and communicating with kids their age in a mature, age appropriate way. I didn't want to say "nerdy" but that might give you a better idea of what I mean. My kids were always "different" from other kids because of our family values, monetary situation etc., but they all had good communication and social skills. I think in the case of our neighbors, the kids didnt' interact enough with kids their age, or could have become that way because of their family environment.
    I am quite sure that in your case your kids were quite well rounded because of the opportunities they were offered growing up. Children who are lacking necessary social skills face many challenges. I have seen too many cases of homeschoolers where the children were too isolated from others and had a difficult time in later years. Some people in my own family have homeschooled, and pretty much Poo Pooed this important part of developement. Maybe where you live there is more support. I am in a borough of New York City where homeschooling is not accepted very well. I am eager to learn more about it, and find ways to share my findings with the homeschooling population here.

  17. I am not sure if there is more homeschooling support here. There are tons of religiously based homeschool groups here that force you to sign a statement of faith to join. I was unhappy with these groups so I pretty much found my own activities for the kids, where they mixed with kids their age from our community. Hence the scouts, recreational soccer etc. Then Natalie Criss created PEAK.
    PEAK is a wonderful homeschool group that is inclusive. And I have really enjoyed being a member of PEAK.

    So the socialization/lack thereof depends largely on the parents.

    Many of the parents who are homeschooling for religious reasons do NOT want to socialize with anyone of a different faith or with different values. They tend to only do stuff with their religious homeschool group or their church groups. And the majority of their activities are religiously oriented. But overall their kids seem to be pretty well adjusted. There are a few kids that are socially awkward, but for various reasons would probably be that way even if they attended public school, where they would probably have to deal with being teased.

    As people start homeschooling for reasons other then religion, homeschoolers are becoming more mainstream and diverse.

  18. Hi again alasandra,

    You bring up some good points! The socially awkward kids do get teased in school. I see it first hand. The particular neighbor I was talking about, associates primarily with people of their own religion, which is fine, but she is the minority here, in a predominantly Catholic community. She did befriend me, and has tried to reach out to my kids, but there is just "something" that seems awkward there. I do agree wholeheartedly with you that the homeschoolers who are doing it for reasons other than religion, (which was the case with my nieghbors) are much more diverse and much more mainstream.
    Have a good weekend. Hope to have more conversation with you!

  19. I look forward to future conversations feel free to stop by Home~Schoolers Rule anytime. You may also want to check out The Homeschool Cafe
    although lately the cafe regulars have been MIA


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