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The Homeschooling Boom Is In the News!

Rather than copy the world onto this site... we've decided to send you to the best articles on homeschooling available today.  Please let us know if one of these links becomes inactive.  Email Kate



A Brief History of Homeschooling in Oregon
Jeanne Biggerstaff, Legislative Liaison
Amy Grant, President
Oregon Home Education Network
February 8, 2003

Prior to 1985, permission to homeschool was completely at the discretion of each school district. Some districts required families to submit lessons plans; others flatly refused permission.

1986 saw the first law granting the statewide right to homeschool, removing the requirement to get the permission of the local school superintendent. This was a definite improvement over local jurisdiction, but it left many of the important definitions to be determined by administrative rules that are not approved by legislative vote. Under this law homeschoolers were required to test annually, there were no provisions for children with special needs and the district superintendents retained the right to remand students to school if they were not showing satisfactory educational progress (a definition vulnerable to change at any time).

Between 1986 and 1997, there were many attempts by various educational organizations to tighten restrictions on homeschoolers either through new legislation or reinterpretation of administrative rules. Only through the tireless lobbying efforts of homeschooling families and organizations were these efforts sidetracked.

In 1997, a bill to lessen the testing requirements and provide additional assessment options passed both the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by the governor. During this legislative session, homeschoolers made it abundantly clear that their long-term goal was complete freedom from government oversight of homeschooling.

In 1999, a total freedom bill was introduced. During negotiations, a compromise bill was developed that required one-time notification and one-time testing. Additional testing would only be required if the student scored below the 23rd percentile. After passing the House by a large majority, the governor indicated that he would veto the bill. Further compromises were made and the final bill was passed and signed into law. The definitions of educational progress were written directly into the law, an alternative assessment method (privately developed plans) for special needs students was added and the authority to remand to public school was significantly reduced. This is the law that is currently in effect.
While homeschooling is legally defined as an exemption to compulsory attendance laws and has proven to be an effective form of education, there are many who would like to see homeschooling outlawed, or at the least, highly regulated. Each legislative session, bills are introduced that would increase the restrictions on homeschoolers. Often these bills are aimed at solving problems outside the homeschooling community, but are written so as to directly impact us. (A good example of this is the current SB 272, which was allegedly intended to address habitually truant students, but was written to include noncompliant homeschoolers.)
It is important for the homeschooling community to remain vigilant in protecting the rights that have been so hard-won, if we value our homeschooling freedom.

Dr. Dobson
Don't you think home schooling might negatively impact the socialization process? I don't want my children growing up to be misfits.

Dr. Dobson Responds:
This is the question home-schooling parents hear most often from curious (or critical) friends, relatives, and neighbors. "Socialization" is a vague, dark cloud hanging over their heads. What if teaching at home somehow isolates the kids and turns them into oddballs? For you and all those parents who see this issue as the great danger of home education, I would respectfully disagree for these reasons.

First, to remove a child from the classroom is not necessarily to confine him or her to the house! And once beyond the schoolyard gate, the options are practically unlimited! Home-school support groups are surfacing in community after community across the country. Some are highly organized and offer field trips, teaching co-ops, tutoring services, social activities, and various other assistances and resources. There are home-schooling athletic leagues and orchestras and other activities.
Even if you're operating completely on your own, there are outings to museums and parks, visits to farms, factories, hospitals, and seats of local government, days with Dad at the office, trips to Grandma's house, extracurricular activities like sports and music, church youth groups, service organizations, and special-interest clubs. There are friends to be invited over and relatives to visit and parties to attend. The list is limitless. Even a trip with Mom to the market can provide youngsters with invaluable exposure to the lives and daily tasks of real adults in the real world. While they're there, a multitude of lessons can be learned about math (pricing, fractions, pints vs. gallons, addition, subtraction, etc.), reading labels, and other academic subjects. And without the strictures of schedule and formal curricula, it can all be considered part of the educational process. That's what I'd call socialization at its best! To accuse home schoolers of creating strange little people in solitary confinement is nonsense.

The great advantage of home schooling, in fact, is the protection it provides to vulnerable children from the wrong kind of socialization. When children interact in large groups, the strongest and most aggressive kids quickly intimidate the weak and vulnerable. I am absolutely convinced that bad things happen to immature and "different" boys and girls when they are thrown into the highly competitive world of other children. When this occurs in nursery school or in kindergarten, they learn to fear their peers. There stands this knobby-legged little girl who doesn't have a clue about life or how to cope with things that scare her. It's sink or swim, kid. Go for it! It is easy to see why such children tend to become more peer dependent because of the jostling they get at too early an age. Research shows that if these tender little boys and girls can be kept at home for a few more years and shielded from the impact of social pressure, they tend to be more confident, more independent, and often emerge as leaders three or four years later.

If acquainting them with ridicule, rejection, physical threats, and the rigors of the pecking order is necessary to socialize our children, I'd recommend that we keep them unsocialized for a little longer.

Thinking is like loving and dying... each of us must do it for himself.  ~Josiah Royce