|Mimi Rothschild - Homeschooling|
Virtual charter schools are luring homeschoolers in with their promises of free curriculum, free computers for each student, and access to certified teachers. What seems like the best of both worlds is really a new spin on government controlled education. In fact, most homeschool experts feel that these virtual charter schools are nothing more than public school at home, a far cry from the vision that early home educators had in mind at the beginning of the movement.
Homeschooling parents find themselves the recipient of multiple glossy advertisements annually. This aggressive campaign is a bid for virtual school administrators to gain the fiscal benefits they get from drawing children into the public school system.
Virtual Charter Schools vs. True Homeschooling
Virtual charter schools are non- religious entities that use the exact same secular curriculum used by public schools. The requirements for virtual charter schools are set by the public school districts that sponsor them. The virtual charter schools are funded by the government and are closely monitored. Visits from the government school teachers to evaluate the learning environment are often the norm. Because of this government intrusion, HSLDA refuses to offer legal protection to homeschoolers who choose this option.
Homeschools are private, and although various states have individual academic requirements for homeschoolers, ultimately the parents are free to choose curriculum for their children. Parents are free to use Christian curriculum and make Christ the center of their children’s educations. This is a main reason many parents have chosen to homeschool their children in the first place. To forfeit that right sets the homeschooling movement back decades.
When you enroll in a virtual charter school, you are inviting a government entity to take full charge of your homeschool. You will be told what to teach, when to teach it and how that should be accomplished. Yes, the curriculum is free, but you have to weigh the spiritual cost of opening up your home to government scrutiny. For virtual charter schools, it’s all about bringing in dollars that come from luring homeschoolers into the public school system.
Christian parents justify enrollment in a virtual charter school by pointing out that their children get cutting edge curriculum and a free computer for their use. They point out that their kids aren’t actually going to a public classroom, so that cuts down on outside influences. While these may be true, the secular influences that government curriculum brings with it are counter culture to Christian morals and values. It confuses children to teach them Biblical values and allow them to be contradicted by government curriculum.
When we invite government involvement into our homeschools, we defeat the true purpose of homeschooling. Homeschooling should be far more than secular education at home, it should be parent directed, and Christ-centered. A homeschool that is meticulously monitored by the government, can not achieve that goal. To allow the government to influence our curriculum decisions and the influences in our private homes derails the purpose of true homeschooling altogether.
About Author: Mimi Rothschild