Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mislabeling of Public School at Home Causes Confusion

Dan at Cerulean Sanctum insist on calling his public school at home, homeschooling. He took offense when "real" homeschoolers pointed out he is not homeschooling according to Dan

People must come before labels. When we love our labels more than people, there’s a big problem. Jesus blew that kind of thinking away.

My response

Labels (or names) help us identify things. It’s not about loving labels more then people or using labels to put people down. It’s about having clearly defined definitions so we can communicate with others without misunderstandings.

Ironically Dan doesn't have a problem using labels. Apparently he has decided to do some reading and he had this to say about one of my favorite authors.

Never having read a Dean Koontz novel in my life, I picked up The Taking. For the purposes of my mission, I'd hoped to avoid any kind of pseudo-Christian themes in any secular authors

Gosh Dan's on a roll he labeled Koontz's work pseudo-Christian and labeled Dean Koontz as a secular author. Maybe he should think twice over admonishing people for using labels, since he obviously uses them himself. But honestly we all do. You couldn't communicate with others without labels (or names) for things.

But back to the subject at hand the mislabeling of public school at home students as homeschoolers. Dan has a big problem with homeschoolers objecting to him misusing the homeschooling label for his public school at home venture. According to him we are bad Christians because we want to keep the homeschool label for ourselves. This kind of rhetoric usually shuts most people up. Dan has said they are "mean", Dan has said they are "bad Christians"; so they better be silent and let Dan call himself a homeschooler even though he isn't and even though he is doing harm to the homeschooling cause. Heaven knows being labeled "mean" in today's politically correct society is enough to get you banished from social events, being labeled a "bad Christian" probably gets you thrown out of church.

Why is Dan so invested in calling himself a homeschooler?
From his previous post I gather it is because his religious leaders have told him that good Christian parents homeschool and bad Christians send their kids to public school. Dan apparently has bought into this belief; but for some reason chooses not to homeschool. He seems to feel doing public school at home is OK as long as he can call it homeschooling. Never mind that by misusing the homeschooling label he is causing confusion and sowing discord (two unchristian activities).

Why is it important to distinguish between families that homeschool and those who do public school at home?

1. Tax Money - Public school at home is paid for with public funds, just like traditional public schools are. The public has the right to expect certain things when their tax money is being used. On the other hand parents are solely responsible for the expense of homeschooling therefore the public (government) has very little excuse for interfering with homeschoolers.

2. Testing - Public school at home students are required to take the same test and meet the same requirements as their traditional public school counterparts. These test and requirements should not be required of homeschoolers, who do not receive public funds.

When public school at home parents insist on mislabeling themselves they cause confusion. J.Q. Public wants to know why they are being forced to pay for homeschooling? J.Q. Public wants to know why homeschool Dan's son has to take certain test while Susie homeschoolers children do not? When you attempt to explain to them that Dan isn't homeschooling, he is doing public school at home, they look at you blankly and state but HE SAYS HE IS HOMESCHOOLING!!!!

So maybe Dan should ask himself these questions.

  1. Would a good Christian intentionally attempt to deceive people about the educational choice he has made for his children by mislabeling public school at home, homeschooling?
  2. Would a good Christian cause confusion?
  3. Would a good Christian sow discord?

When "real" homeschoolers attempt to explain to Dan that he isn't homeschooling, we aren't labeling him a bad parent, we are simply attempting to prevent confusion that could lead to the loss of our homeschooling freedoms.

IF everyone agrees that homeschooling is an educational choice paid for by the parents. That homeschoolers do not receive public funds, and that the testing and requirements required of public school students is not required of homeschoolers, then we can converse with J.Q. Public without confusion. On the other hand if public school at homers insist on muddying the water, then any discussion about homeschooling will be fraught with confusion.

Annette Hall explains how charter schools are hurting independent homeschoolers. I encourage you to read her entire post.

The public schools have done everything they can to neutralize the homeschool movement, right down to absconding with use of the "homeschool" label. We must ask ourselves why? Why wouldn't the public schools simply call their students, charter school students or something properly describing their ownership? With all of the words in the English language they could have selected, homeschooling was chosen to confuse parents and blur the distinction between public and private educational options.

If you haven't signed the We Stand For Homeschooling Resolution, please do so.

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  1. I just don't get why some people don't get it!

  2. Well, I think you're mean for posting this. OK, you can't tell I'm kidding. I'm surprised that public schools even want their at-home programs to be called homeschooling. But I agree - homeschoolers are people who direct and pay for their children's education. I only wish there was NO state interference, at least where I live...

  3. I think it may be an attempt by the public schools to make homeschooling regulations so difficult for independent homeschoolers that they will have to do public school at home in order to meet the requirements. Their justification will be that homeschoolers (which were really public school at home students in the first place) wanted these programs.

  4. I read the article/blog about charter school. The problem is sometimes you need to define your labels. Dan does public school at home. That is a label that defines itself and it the correct label. Charter schools is a big one. I have no idea what she is talking about. I am from NJ so our definition of charter school could never be confused or even used by homeschoolers. Could someone come to my blog and leave an explanation or a link to one on my comments?

  5. I understand we all use labels--but what I respectfully disagree with is someone else defining a specific label for me. From my definition, Dan is a homeschooler. From your definition he is not. Does that make you right and me wrong?

  6. Jettybetty
    It's not about one person being right and another being wrong.What is your definition of a homeschooler? In my book a homeschooler is a NONPUBLIC School Student. Since by Dan's own admission his son is enrolled in a PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, how can he be a homeschooler?

    Homeschoolers do not receive public funds, to educate their children. Parents of private school students do not receive public funds to educate their children. This is one of the things that make both homeschoolers and private school students different from public school students. Their parents have chosen to educate their children at their own expense rather then use public funds.

    Someone has to define what words mean. That's why we have dictionaries, if everyone decided on their own meaning for words we would never be able to communicate with one another.

    Legal definitions of homeschool

    Home school - A non-public school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household.

    (l) The general assembly hereby declares that it is the primary right and obligation of the parent to choose the proper education and training for children under his care and supervision. It is recognized that home-based education is a legitimate alternative to classroom attendance for the instruction of children and that any regulation of nonpublic home-based educational programs should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate a variety of circumstances. The general assembly further declares that nonpublic home-based educational programs shall be subject only to minimum state controls which are currently applicable to other forms of nonpublic education.
    Homeschool Laws Colorado.

    Home schools are nonpublic, nonaccredited schools. As such, the parent, not the state, legally establishes the school. No state or public school "permission" is required.

    Parents in Mississippi are required to file an annual Certificate of Non-Public Enrollment with the county's school attendance officer by September 15, but if the move to Mississippi occurs after September 15, there is no penalty for late filing, and there is no prohibition of homeschooling for the remainder of the school year. The same certificate of enrollment is required for children attending ANY non-public school. The certificate must be requested from the county of residence (e.g., in Hinds County, contact the District Attorney's office) or might be available from local support groups' conferences (e.g., HECM's August workshop). It must include the names and addresses of parents and children involved, dates of birth of the children, and a simple description of the type of education the children are receiving.

    All these legal definitions agree that homeschooling is a NONPUBLIC SCHOOL.


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