Does Homeschooling Need More Regulating?

If you’ve read some of my blogs and comments, you know that I live in a state that’s very highly regulated. Just to give some background, I have to turn in, each and every year, a letter of intent, and individualized home instruction program, four quarterly reports and one annual assessment. In fact, I’ve done quite a bit of research on the requirements of various states and there is not a state in the US that requires more paperwork. (Although there are a few states where getting ‘permission’ to homeschool seems to be a bit more tricky.)

I was recently talking with someone and shared that I really felt like the regulations were over kill. I know that my kids are doing well (or if they’re not doing well) without writing it out four times a year on a quarterly report. The evaluation process, in practice, is ongoing and I don’t need to grade them on a piece of paper. I take great care in selecting their homeschooling curriculum and I take advantage of every possible opportunity that comes our way whenever possible. In other words, I’m doing my job, I take the responsibility seriously, and really, I think most homeschoolers do take their children’s education very seriously. That’s why they home school.

As soon as I said, however, that I thought homeschoolers should be regulated less, a whole host of objections arose: What about educational neglect? What about child abuse? If they’re not regulated, how will the kids learn what they’re supposed to? If they’re not regulated, how can the state be sure that they’re achieving at least a minimal standard? What if they ever have to go back to traditional school? If they’re not regulated the transition will be much worse.

I think these are good and valid questions. So I decided to devote a few blogs this week to discussing them. So this week we will be discussing whether or not regulations help or hinder homeschoolers. I am definitely biased, but I always welcome others’ opinions.