An Analogy: Government Funded Homeschooling
By: Dorothy Karman

An analogy

Telecommuting is to home business as public-school-at-home programs are to independent homeschooling

Thanks to computers, phones, email and fax lines, employees can work at home. Telecommuting has definite advantages. You don't have to get dressed in the morning before you start work. You control your hours. You can take care of the needs of your family. However, when you are telecommuting, you are working for someone else. You are not your own boss. You do not decide what your next project will be. You do not set the standards for your work. You do not make the ultimate decisions. You have more freedom than if you went into the office, but not as much freedom as if you owned your own home business.

When you own your own home business, you are the boss. You decide what your next project will be. You set the standards. You make the ultimate decisions. You have a great deal of freedom.

Public-school-at-home programs are very similar to telecommuting in the business world. They have vast advantages over traditional public schools. The student receives one-on-one attention and has fewer distractions. Family ties are strengthened and peer pressure lessened. However, parents and students in these programs are not in control of their homeschool. Someone else is making the decisions, setting the standards, deciding what should be learned.

When you independently homeschool, your family controls curriculum content, standards, speed of learning. You make the ultimate decisions based on your intimate knowledge of your children, their needs, strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly for the Christian homeschooler, you are free to honor God the Creator in all you study and all you do. You are the boss of your homeschool.

The distinction between telecommuting and owning a home business has been clear for years. Unfortunately, the distinction between public-school-at-home programs (you could call it "teleschooling") and independent homeschooling are not clear - either in the public's mind or even in the homeschool community's mind. This sets the stage for regulations which will impact not only public-school-at-home programs, but independent homeschooling as well.

During the next few years, we will have to work hard to clarify the distinction between the two if we want to prevent public- school-at-home programs from compromising independent homeschooling's freedom.

As long as these programs are profitable for the public schools, they will be in existence. They actually provide a positive alternative to traditional public schools. It is not our intention as independent homeschoolers to attack these programs or those who choose to participate in them. Our goals are to make the distinction between publicly funded programs and independent homeschooling clear, to protect the rights of families to homeschool independently and to clearly enumerate the advantages of independent homeschooling so that families see the benefits of being independent of government funding and control.

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