Wow! What a question. As a mother who homeschools, this was quite an odd question to see in the middle of my most recent issue of Parade magazine. I had to take a closer look. 

Every Sunday, I skim through the weekly publication, dreaming of the day when one of my freelance pitches gets picked up, but mostly scanning the celebrity Q&A in the beginning of the mag. (I’m always stunned to see so many mentions of celebrity dog weddings.) This issue had more meat than most, and a small Intelligence Report article enticing readers to examine the legality of homeschool was tucked away towards the middle (next to the ads, of course.) Citing recent California rulings that forced fear into the heart of the homeschool community, the article left readers to answer a poll with their own opinion:

Should parents need teaching credentials to home-school their kids?

(The entire article and poll can be viewed online at http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2008/edition_06-01-2008/Intelligence_Report)

What do you think? Do parents have the right to educate their own children in the home environment? Should they be forced to obtain teaching credentials or join a union to do so?

I’m sure you all know my feelings on the matter. We had quite a scare earlier this year when legislation was introduced into the Nebraska law system that would change the face of our homeschooling rights forever. For the past 20 years or so, our only requirements were to file paperwork with the state letting them know our hours of schooling and curriculum choice. The proposed changes included having homeschool parents be “observed” by state officials and required standardized testing at the parent’s expense before and during each school career. It also would have mandated that if test results weren’t “acceptable” by national standards, the student would be required to enroll in an accredited school. (So where would public or private school kids be forced to attend if they didn’t meet national standards?)

Thankfully, this new proposed legislation stalled. In what the HSLDA considered a gross overstepping of parental boundaries, homeschooling parents and children turned out by the hundreds (over 1,500 to be exact) to show their disapproval of the new plan. Presentations to the Board of Education cited multiples cases in favor of homeschooling and only one rather personal account against it. Our voice was heard loud and clear.

Where do you stand on homeschooling? Even if you don’t currently claim your right to educate your own kids, would you want that right to be preserved for later?

By the way, the results of the online poll at Parade were obviously in favor of being able to homeschool (at the time I took it). 95% of readers didn’t think you should have to have official teaching credentials. Right on.