[Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of commentaries written by home-school students about a recent state appellate court ruling that may affect the future of home schooling in California. The students, in grades sixth through eighth, have been working with Annette Bannister, who offers writing classes for home-schooled students at the Goleta Valley Community Center.]
Currently, the state of California is considering placing some regulations on home-schooling students and parents. Home-schoolers continue to flourish and these restrictions aren’t necessary.
Home schooling is a creative way to help children who have learning disabilities, physical health issues or students who need one-on-one time. Home schooling allows a parent or teacher to spend one-on-one instruction with the student, an opportunity a lot of kids don’t have, and allows a child to work at his or her own pace.
Some of the regulations considered are having required education courses for parents, a teaching credential required for parents to home school, having a set curriculum for all home-schoolers to use, or to be required to take SAT testing each year. Although it may seem that home-schooled children are not getting proper education and home schooling needs some guidelines, the many home-schooling methods seem to be doing just fine without any rules restraining them.
If parents were required to take education classes, or get a teaching credential, they may not have as much time or money to spend on the education of their kids. Most parents have college degrees already. I am home-schooled and see no gaps in my parents’ teaching abilities, although they, like many other home-schooling parents, did not get a teaching credential, or take education classes. There has never been a question they couldn’t answer, and I see no need for further instruction in teaching. If parents feel as if their child has a particular talent or need, we have a wide variety of classes and learning opportunities available to us.
There is a large variety curriculum that we as home-schoolers use, all of which are different, according to our different learning styles. If one set curriculum were to be issued to us, it might not be the way the child learns best. By not restricting home-schoolers to one curriculum, it allows kids to learn in the best way possible for them.
Although it is not required, many home-schoolers take SAT testing at the end of each year. For home-schoolers, the purpose of SAT testing is to evaluate what the child has learned that year, and what must be worked on in the future. It is solely for the teacher’s benefit, and if a teacher feels it is not necessary, that he or she knows the child’s learning level and feel that they want to spend more time doing school, it should not be required to prove what the child has learned.
As you can see, none of the above listed restrictions seem needed. They would not benefit, and possibly prevent, kids from learning. I urge you to support this cause by calling your assemblyman and state senator as soon as possible. Ask them to “please support Assemblyman Joel Anderson’s ACR 115 by signing as a co-author. This resolution calls for a reversal of a state appellate court’s misguided interpretation of the laws under which people educate their children at home.”
I ask that you would fight for the rights of one person — even if his or her circumstance doesn’t affect you — or you may find your rights eroded in the future. And parents of non-home-schooling children, I ask that you may be persuaded to support this issue, so that home schooling will always be an option for you, as you yourself might be called upon to home school because of an unforeseen circumstance.
So, please, support this issue, and join in helping make kids all around the world successful people.
Mikaela Ryan is a sixth-grade home-school student.