Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why We Didn't Move To California

Me and my husband met in California. I went to college in California. My husband grew up in California. But when we were living in Italy, and I was getting out of the Navy, and could move anywhere in the United States that we wanted to, we chose to move anywhere but California. Why? Because they like to harass homeschoolers.

A few years ago, it was in the news every fall. Someone would be told by their school districts that homeschooling was illegal and they were required to send their child to public school, yadda yadda. This happened for two or three years in a row. For the last couple of years it's been quiet. But now, California has a new harassment case in the courts. What a surprise.

Many people who have been keeping an eye on education know about California State Bill 777, which requires public schools to actively portray homosexuality and homosexuals in a positive light. Several family and religious advocacy groups have been encouraging people in California to pull their children out of public schools as a result.

Recently, a California judge has ruled a mother of 8 to put two of her children into public schools.

In this case, the parents were following the laws, which in the state of California require you to either a) establish a private school, b) have your child taught by an accredited teacher, or c) have your child homeschool under an umbrella school. The family in question had been using option c to homeschool. Since no laws were being broken, why are these people being singled out?

The judge says that keeping the children at home deprived them of interaction with people outside of the family, people that could help if something was amiss in the family, and the ability to develop emotionally into a broader world than their parents "cloistered setting."

None of the judge's arguments are a part of the law. He is just legislating from the bench. While it is good for kids to get out and make friends, that's not part of the law.

I like our laws here in Arizona. Tell the people that you're homeschooling when your child is old enough to go to school, teach them, and you're good. I haven't heard of any recent cases where parents are being harassed in this state either. And I do get my kids out to be with other people. This week, my daughter has played with her neighbor friend, played with her friends at church, been to Sunday School, and spent the afternoon playing with some more friends and evidently pouring sand all over her brother's hair in the process (somehow he had bucketloads of sand on his scalp yesterday). We would have been to the library as well, but my car battery needs to be replaced and so it's not working right now.

Hopefully, this case will get overturned on appeal. And hopefully, what happens in California stays in California. If not, I'm already throwing around a few alternatives if things do become hostile to homeschoolers in Arizona.

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