Revolutionizing the Home School

The term in the header was a phrase from an article that showed up in my "homeschooling" alerts.  

Free Virtual Public School 07/31/11

Odessa, Texas – The start of the school year is just around the corner but for some kids that doesn't mean they'll be heading to school. Homeschooling has been around for many years but a Texas Academy is revolutionizing the home school experience by revolving their program around technology. It's literally a virtual public school and has local parents raving

Homeschooling as many of us private schools know it, does not need revolutionizing. This seemed to be a distortion of the clear difference between private schools and public schools.  I'm glad it works for some families.  I wish the media (and other interested parties) would not muddy the water.

Then there's Arizona.  A Columbia University education policy professor studying national homeschooling trends was interviewed for an interesting Tucson Citizen article about Arizona homeschooling.  In the Beyond Arizona section, Arizona Families for Home Education legislative liaison and board member Carol Shippy pointed this out about homeschooling and their organization.

Homeschooling is family-funded,” Shippy said. “This causes strife among our community, because parents who enroll in a full-time distance education program think they are homeschooling when they are not.”
AFHE members agree to adhere to a philosophy that rejects taxpayer dollars for their education.
The big change in our culture has been virtual school. When homeschooling began, there wasn’t an Internet, so we’re trying to make sure parents understand the distinctives. We don’t want to be morphed into public school at home,” Shippy said.
AFHE has been a public voice in protecting the rights of Arizona parents to home educate the way they choose.
Our state law says a non-public school conducted primarily by the parent or legal guardian and that has been our identity,” Shippy said.

We've used online education programs here and there for more advanced level classes. They weren't provided through the public schools and we paid for it out of our pocket. When public school funding gets in the mix, it's a whole new game. Some might call it "revolutionizing the home school", but there are many who have concerns with the attempts to co-opt independent private schools by the public school system.  Education Policy Professor Huerta displays some of the problems with this:

“A lot of people aren’t even aware that public resources are sponsoring private homeschooling,” Huerta said. “There’s a lack of accountability and oversight of what is going on in homeschool charters.”

I'm not sure what a homeschool charter is, but I know teachers unions are not particularly comfortable with public school charters.  Maybe Professor Huerta got mixed up with his terminology.  


Revolutionizing the Home School — 2 Comments

  1. We have used a private home study program to homeschool for the past 9 years. I send in their quarterly tests, progress reports and they send back graded material and a report card. One state out of the 4 we have lived in has considered us not homeschoolers (and legally that was a blessing at the time). But who is teaching these 6 children? Their mother. Who feeds them and puts them to bed? Their mother. I'm not a day care provider or a charter school parents, I'm a homeschooling mom. Carol Shippy can go stick it in her ear.

  2. Kat, Thanks for coming by!  I've not considered private school usage  as part of the concern with public school usage of the "homeschool" name. Schools like American School, Abeka, Christian Liberty Academy, or even the University of Missouri online programs have created a market that homeschoolers like us can pick and choose from that works best for our families.
    I thought Carol Shippy was referring to the public school mix where they intentionally throw in the term "homeschooling" even though it's under public school strings.  It's intentionally confusing.  What you are using is "family funded", as I read it.  Many families get into the "public school homeschooling" without understanding their home becomes a public school branch.  Many do understand exactly what they're doing and they're making an 'educated choice'.  
    The huge amount of money in the public school edu-industry for marketing, et al is concerning when they're using our homeschooling successes (with our name) to create a larger public school market.  One of our great successes in the homeschooling community is our use of autonomy.