Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tiger by the tail

I've been trying not to spend too much time on the computer lately, and e-mail has been consuming most of my extra time. Why e-mail? Because every homeschooling list I subscribe to has been sending out voluminous correspondence about the recent court decision that can be construed as declaring many popular forms of homeschooling illegal.

Of course, there really is no legal homeschooling in California. Children are enrolled in school independent study programs, state charter schools, private charter schools, or extremely small private schools. This ruling, however, would seem to limit the first three options to a set of very narrowly defined circumstances, and call into question the small private school option. People are still debating what it all means.

If anyone asked me how they could help, I would refer them to HSC -- The Homeschool Association of California. They have a Yahoo group here, and their website is here. They are based in California, unlike the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (Virginia), and are nondenominational and inclusive. Donations to their legal fund will help them defray the court costs associated with their attempts to get this ruling depublished, which is probably the simplest and best way to get this all to go away. Depublishing means that the findings in this ruling will be limited to the particular case that was ruled on, and will not set precedent for rulings in the future.

As all this plays out, there has been an onslaught of media coverage that took me by surprise (who knew so many people cared?) and of course, a slew of e-mail and blogging. I've read pages and pages of point and counterpoint, so this post, by Alice Bradley on Alpha Mom brought a welcome moment of comic relief. An excerpt:

Most of all, I feel pity for Judge Croskey. You poor man. Of all the people to take on, you had to choose homeschoolers. Around 200,000 children are currently homeschooled in California. That means there are many many homeschooling parents angry with you right now, Judge Closkey, and you are making the wrong people mad. These parents have powers you couldn't even fathom. Most average humans can't teach their kids to operate a zipper, and these people are preparing their kids for college. The average parent falls to pieces at the end of a long weekend with the kids, yet these homeschooling super-beings have the intestinal fortitude to spend all day, every day with their (often numerous) children. And they're organized. They have, like, associations, and leagues, and whatnot. Think they won't start a letter-writing campaign? That's their idea of recreation. You messed with the wrong people.

And don't get me started on those homeschooled kids. You think the parents are trouble? The kids, they're self-motivated. And they will get you. They will make the biggest marshmallow catapult you could imagine, and launch it right at your office. They will construct a Rube Goldberg device that can boil noodles, overturn your court decision, and give you an unflattering haircut before you even know what hit you. They will compose devastating Spenserian sonnets about your nonsensical ruling. Then they will construct a new court made entirely of popsicle sticks! And, hmm, insert another thing here that I imagine homeschoolers do!

We are homeschoolers, hear us roar!



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