Does Your Teen Want to Attend Public School?

AlgebraThe Washington Post has an interesting article that focuses on the homeschooling experience of a young man named Josh Powell. His education wasn’t ideal. It is important to note that there are certain factors in his situation that are not necessarily a part of everyone’s homeschooling experience.

Josh Powell lives in Virginia. He, and his siblings, were homeschooled by their parents. When Josh was 16 years old, he asked to be allowed to attend public school. His parents said no.

The reasons Josh wanted to start going to public school weren’t the ones that many teenagers might focus on. Some teens might be interested in the social experience that public school can offer. They want to meet new friends, join a school sports team (or other extracurricular group), and maybe start dating. Josh’s reasons were different.

He felt that he was missing out on important parts of his education, and believed the best way to get that would be to attend a public school that would teach him the things he missed out on. According to the Washington Post, Josh, at age 16, had never written an essay. He didn’t know that South Africa was a country, and he couldn’t solve basic algebra problems.

After Josh became an adult, he took it upon himself to figure out how to pass the standardized tests that are required if a person wants to attend college. He sought out financial aid for school, and located a college that offered remedial courses that would help him to “catch up” to where he should be at academically.

It is important to note that not everyone has a homeschooling experience that is as lacking as Josh Powell’s was. There were specific factors in place that resulted in his lack of educational opportunity.

Josh Powell lives in Virginia, a state that allows parents to opt-out of public schooling as a religious exemption. That’s not the problem. Some feel that the problem is that the state of Virginia does not require parents who homeschool to have any accountability in regards to academic standards.

The other problem is that Josh has 11 younger siblings. This means his parents were trying to homeschool 12 children at the same time. I doubt that the majority of families who decided to homeschool their children have that many kids to homeschool!

There are so many resources that parents who homeschool can use in order to supplement and enhance their child’s education. Many are freely available through the internet. It seems to me that parents who are homeschooling, and struggling, can reach out for help, lesson plans, and guidance. What happened with Josh Powell’s education can be avoided.

Image by comedy_nose on Flickr.

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