Many homeschooling parents approach the Coalition for Responsible Home Education with some degree of defensiveness, so we want to be clear about a few things upfront: We honor the efforts of homeschooling parents who put in untold hours of work to give their children an excellent education in a supportive and nurturing environment. When we advocate for oversight of homeschooling, we are not advocating for teaching to the test or for requiring homeschooling parents to follow a mandated curriculum. We understand that homeschooling is at its best when it involves flexibility and innovation and is tailored to the needs of the individual child.
We are homeschool alumni. We understand homeschooling can go well. Some of us were those homeschool poster children. But some of us have stories that are not so pretty, and even those of with positive experiences often watched as things went badly wrong for some of our fellow homeschoolers. We were that shoulder to cry on. Read our stories. Hear our voices. We want homeschooled children in the present and future to have good experiences and do well in life, and that means we want you, as homeschooling parents, to succeed as well. But sometimes working toward that success can involve telling hard truths.
Dialogue about advocating for homeschooled children is fraught with emotions and fears. Because the decision to homeschool can be highly personal, suggestions that more must be done to ensure the wellbeing of children in homeschooling environments can sometimes feel like personal attacks. We believe, however, that efforts to ensure the best possible education for each and every child are complementary, not in opposition, to parents’ freedom and opportunities for educational flexibility.
The best way to protect the rights of homeschool parents to give their children good educations is to create safeguards that ensure that all homeschooled children have access to a basic—and hopefully excellent—education. Children deserve a robust educational experience, one that supports their natural development and instills in them a lifelong love for learning. Homeschooling can accomplish these goals; however, homeschooling in itself does not guarantee it. Parents homeschool for many reasons; it is requisite to understand that some of these reasons are not always good.
“Keep an open mind, not all homeschoolers are good or doing it for the right reasons, even if you are.” ~ Felicia, homeschooled 7th-12th
A consistent public policy that values children’s needs and interests is essential to the viability and vibrancy of homeschooling in the future. When homeschooling fails to value children’s needs and interests, it needs to be corrected. Homeschooling laws that include basic safeguards to ensure that children are being educated not only improve the reputation of homeschooling by preventing homeschooling from being used as a cover for abuse and neglect but also offer homeschooling parents guidelines and feedback on their children’s progress.
Please understand that oversight designed to safeguard the interests of homeschooled children is not an attack on you as a parent or educator. Take some time to read our FAQ and our Policy Recommendations to better understand our viewpoint. Take a look at the cases listed on Homeschooling’s Invisible Children to better understand our motivation. Read through the thoughts of homeschooling parents who support our efforts, including Keith and Gail Brightbill, LaDonna Sasscer, Amanda Smith, Lara Kondor, Karen Goltz, and Jackie Cordon. Listen. Hear our hearts.