Homeschooling In The Next NCLB?

Homeschooling seems to be in the air -- or at least in the media -- and could soon be the subject of more state and even national policymaking.

First, this NYT article from over the weekend focuses on a Chicago family who, like an estimated 1.1 million families nationwide, has decided to unschool its children (basically homeschooling without the religious focus). Interesting facts from the story (Home Schoolers Content to Take Children’s Lead) include the fact that only 25 states require testing of homeschoolers, and that Illinois and several other midwest states have the most flexible rules.

Then there's the MSNBC squib in which it's reported that actor Will Smith is homeschooling his kids for lack of confidence in teachers: Will Smith thinks teachers are useless (MSNBC via The Superficial). He's quoted as saying: "The date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter. I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they put it in a book. Give me the book, and I do not need somebody to stand up in front of the class."


Blogger Spunky said...

Just a small correction, unschooling is NOT homeschooling without the religious focus. It is child directed learning. That may or may not include religion.

Further, testing homeschoolers is ridiculous. The state exists to serve the needs of the people, not the other way around. Think of it this way, we the people are the employer the state is the employee. Testing homeschoolers is as ridiculous as an employee testing their employer for competency.

For more thoughts on unschooling and the NYTimes article you can visit my blog. That was the subject of yesterday's post.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article says 1.1 million kids, not 1.1 million families. As you can see from the picture accompanying the Tribune article, one family can mean 3 kids. 1.1 million kids is about 2 percent of the school-age population, far more than the number attending charter schools or receiving vouchers.

2:47 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Like Spunky, I don't understand the description of unschooling as "homeschooling without religion." There are many religious unschoolers; there are a huge number of families who don't homeschool for religious reasons, but certainly don't unschool.

This is increasingly the case as homeschooling becomes more mainstream, and parents teach their own children because they don't believe the schools provide a rigorous academic education (the opposite of unschooling), but to whom religious concerns are secondary or non-existent.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Alexander Russo said...

thanks for the clarifications and reminders. for what it's worth, the article defines unschooling as follows:

"what is perhaps the most extreme application of the [homeschool] movement’s ideas. They are “unschooling” their children, a philosophy that is broadly defined by its rejection of the basic foundations of conventional education, including not only the schoolhouse but also classes, curriculums and textbooks."

9:18 AM  

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