Homeschooling - A family Affair

by: Annette M. Hall

Homeschooling seems to be a hot topic in recent weeks. World Net Daily reports that homeschoolers are a new political force citing a new study recently released. Yet CBS reports that homeschoolers have something to hide and are potential child abusers who are hiding out. The truth could lie in a totally different direction.

Who are all these homeschoolers? Why would anyone want to spend all their time catering to the needs of their child?

Homeschoolers are, first and foremost, parents. By and large the vast majority of whom want the very best for their children and are willing to put forth the effort to achieve that goal. Many have sacrificed employment opportunities, a second income, larger homes, newer cars and more. They are putting the family first, ahead of material needs and are focused on what matters most.

"What matters most" varies from family to family. However, homeschooling parents know that it's nearly impossible to have a lasting impact on someone you rarely see.

Public schooled children are often deprived of family time. Rushing through dinners, church services and chores to attend school functions or for homework assignments can put a tremendous amount of stress on a family. To children subjected to bullying, peer pressure or learning difficulities, just getting through a single school day can mean facing challenges that are far from necessary in their youth.

With today's tight budgets many schools limit children to missing a scant three-days per year due to lost ADA funding. For families with a spouse who travels often on the job, family outings during the school year are a thing of the past.

Homeschoolers are able to participate in community events on their own time table, taking life at more even pace. While their public-schooled counterparts operate on the teacher or schools time-frame, often leading to great resistance by the child to put forth a half-hearted effort.

A child that feels secure at home is able to do things on his or her own learning schedule. They enjoy the luxury of exploring their community, often taking a real interest in governmental functions, volunteer projects or other civic ventures. Experiences such as these can carry over into adulthood, providing the individual a sense of accomplishment and power.

America's Promise

Barbara Bush commented on America's Promise founded by Colin Powell, in a recent interview on Larry King Live. She stated, "...it has five goals, and they are to see that every child has a caring person, that every child has a safe place, that -- I'm sure I'm not going to remember them all. That every child is fed and nourished, and that every child learns an occupation. Learns to read, write, so that they can enter into the world. And the fifth goal is that they turn around and serve. Teach them to give back. If that worked, we would have no troubles."

Those goals sound an awful lot like the state is attempting to take over a parents responsiblities. Little by little parents are losing their right to raise their children.

CBS's recent "Eye on America" piece is having it's intended results. The Jackson case, in New Jersey, has been making headlines since it aired. While the Communications Workers of America union officials fight for the jobs of nine suspended social workers, The Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) announced on Tuesday it will re-examine its policy of allowing children under its supervision to be homeschooled.

It would be folly for home educators to allow further restrictions in state education policy. Social workers would like to deflect blame and let homeschoolers take the heat for their inability to do their job. Homeschoolers can not afford to lose this ground. Should we allow the state of New Jersey to unnecessarily restrict parents in this matter, it could quickly turn out to be a slippery slope. For not only homeschoolers but for parents and foster parents alike.

The Jackson family had an open case, DYFS has policies in place that should have protected the children: The fact of the matter is they failed to do their jobs. They should be held accountable and not be allowed to play the blame game, making homeschoolers the fall guy for their mismanagement and negligent behavior.

Contact DYFS or Joe Delmar, DYFS - Office of Public Affairs at (609) 292-3703.