Public School ''Home School'' Programs
By: Leigh Hurst

A growing number of home schoolers are showing an increasing reliance on so called public school “satellite” programs. These programs usually involve classes and counseling offered by the public school system under the guise of “outreach” to home schoolers. What many home schoolers do not realize is the public schools are offering these programs for their own financial gain and as a means to retain control over our children’s educations. The schools register home schooled children onto their enrollment rolls. They then grab state tax dollars for every “head” they bring in.

Since these classes are offered by public schools, the content is always secular and may be contrary to the teachings of the Christian parent. One parent using these classes was told by a public educator that she could always do “damage control” later with her child.

I recently received a phone call from a very distraught home school parent who had enrolled her children in a well-known public school program. An administrator had convinced her that she was completely incompetent to teach her own child. Her confidence shattered, she felt pressured into enrolling her oldest child full time in a specially designed program engineered to transition her child back into public school.

The Corbett School District recently announced a program to enroll home schooled students into their schools. The contract between the district and parents included an either/or requirement. At the end of the year, parents would either agree to sign their children over full time to the public school or lose their rights to use any further “outreach” services. [ed. note: article on the Corbett program appeared in the Oregonian, MetroEast edition 9/16/97).]

In addition, reliance on public schools by homeschoolers will undermine our credibility and freedoms with the state. If so many of us appear to need and require public school and governmental services, many of our legislative advances may be rebuffed and eroded. The government may assume that we really cannot make it without their intervention.

As a suggestion, families desiring cooperative learning activities may look elsewhere than the public schools. Many excellent Christian home school outreach programs exist locally. Home school support groups can provide cooperative activities using the talents of their members.

Support group leaders can provide confidence boosts and prayer for struggling or new home schoolers. Veteran home schoolers can role model diligence and commitment to the overwhelmed or discouraged home schoolers.

Instead of rushing back into a system that many of us have repudiated, we may instead consider this verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13, KJV)

Ron and Leigh Hurst are support group leaders of Sonrise Christian Home Educators.

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