Homeschooling Q & A’s
By Gail Nagasako.
Is homeschooling legal?
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. Hawaii has laws that are very easy to comply with.
Most state laws are not difficult to understand or follow, and your understanding of them will help you remain legal while maximizing your freedom. I have found that school personnel often do not know the laws and will attempt to enforce policies that are not required by law. Thus, it is important to be familiar with these laws yourself.
(Hawaii regulations can be found online at https://www.hawaiihomeschoolassociation.org/HHA/resources/pack4.html and in Homeschooling: Why and How. These two resources include an extended article to help you understand the laws and what they mean. For other states, go to Ann Zeise, “Regional and World Wide Homeschooling,” A to Z Home’s Cool, https://www.homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/Region.htm.)
Who can homeschool?
Enjoying being with your children is probably the most important requisite! Ironically though, you will likely find, as we have, that the more you are with your children, the more you enjoy them. Other qualities that are helpful to have if you intend to homeschool are curiosity, playfulness, empathy, and respect for your children and their struggle. Humility is also an extremely important quality, as is a willingness to question your beliefs and learn from your children and your mistakes. And lastly, and maybe most importantly, a good memory helps—not for facts, but for what it was like to be your child’s age.
On the flip side, some homes are so dysfunctional or intellectually impoverished that homeschooling would be difficult at best. For these families, school might provide children their best hope at rising above their family circumstances. That you are reading this magazine (or website) is probably proof itself that you are not in this category.
Won’t my child fall behind?
The model of education as some sort of race up a hierarchical ladder is a convenient construct for mass education, but is not the only or best model for learning. Education is a lifelong pursuit; none of us will ever know more than a tiny fraction of what there is to know.
Homeschoolers have more freedom to choose what to emphasize in their education, but when they do follow a school’s curriculum and are tested, they tend to outscore their schooled peers.* It’s easy to underestimate the positive effect an observant parent can have in a loving family. According to the Moore Foundation Bulletin, “In a reasonably warm home, adult-child responses, which are the master key to education, will be 50 to 100 times more than the average teacher-child responses in the classroom.” **
(*Anne Zeise, “S.A.T. and Other College Entrance Tests,” A to Z Home’s Cool, https://www.homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/olderkids/CollegeTests.htm <https://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/olderkids/CollegeTests.htm> ** “A Synopsis” was written to present the material from the book School Can Wait. Raymond S. Moore et al., School Can Wait. (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1979, 1982). Updated by Kathie Kordenbrock, daughter of Dr. Moore ©April 21, 2010. Full text in Homeschooling: Why and How)
What about socialization?
As has been mentioned before, it is a myth that school is the best place to learn positive social behaviors. Remember, your child needs a variety of social experiences with diverse peoples, not just cliques and clubs and sports teams of his age-mates. The best of all social experiences is that of a loving family and extended family and the opportunities for lifetime connection that they can provide.
Homeschooling: Why and How has an entire chapter on the subject of socialization as well as the full text of The Moore Foundation article on socialization: “A Synopsis,” written to present the material from the book School Can Wait. Raymond S. Moore et al., School Can Wait. (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1979, 1982). Updated by Kathie Kordenbrock, daughter of Dr. Moore ©April 21, 2010.