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Friday, August 26, 2005

Growing Number of Homeschoolers in Virtual Schools

Amy Hetzner, writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, penned an article a few weeks back titled "Home-school enrollment falters: 20 years of growth halts; impact of virtual schools felt" (thanks to the Daily News feature of Distance-Educator.com Inc. for bringing this to my attention.

This is an issue that still puzzles me in my own thinking, and I wish more homeschoolers (as I know there are a lot of them that are blogging) would help me figure this out. In the past, I have made entries such as "Who Are Virtual Schools For?," "Online Learning for Who?," and "What Are Virtual Schools For?" trying to figure this out, and while I have gotten some feedback, I still have issues.

Here are my issues... I am firmly against the use of virtual schooling and, more specifically, public money to support religious schooling (see "Loopholes with Cyber Charter Schools," "Questions for those Involved in Virtual High Schools," and "Religion and Virtual Schooling" for my thoughts on this). I do realize that many parents who have chosen to homeschool do so for religious purposes. While I have read in my own graduate studies of some of the other reasons why parents may chose to homeschool their children, I have yet to come across any personally, in the popular media, or blogging that homeschool for any reason other than a religious one.

So, here is my challenge to you... Convince me that you are out there... Calling all homeschooling students and parents who do not do it for religious reasons, drop me a comment telling me why you have chosen to homeschool your children (or for students, why you believe that you are being homeschooled). I'm hoping that based on these comments, that it will help my own thinking on where the homeschool movement fits in with my own thinking on virtual schooling.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have we met yet?
I'm Annette and I own the National Charter School Watch list.
I am a homeschool mom.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

National Charter School Watch:

11:16 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

No Annette, I don't believe that we have met. Although I'm glad you've found my blog, as your constituency is one of the aspects of virtual schooling that I've yet to get a handle on.


11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't homeschool and be in a virtual charter. Annette

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you get a moment, why don't you introduce yourself on my group, include your blog link, and ask some questions of the group. There are some people who disagree with my and others' position that you can't be enrolled in a charter school and still be hsing. However, there are some very factual points that support this position.

12:19 PM  
Blogger MKB said...


Okay... Let me give you a situation... I used to be involved in a virtual school consortium in Newfoundland, Canada and we had a homeschooled student from PA taking one course from this virtual high school.

What perplexes me about homeschoolers is the purpose or rationale. I don't necessarily agree with a religious rationale for circumventing the publically funded education system (which is what many charters do). However, if you elect to homeschool for religious reasons, you aren't taking money out of teh publically funded system (unless your son or daughter enrolls partially in a charter school - as my example from PA could have).

This is where my own undecidedness comes in.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the case in PA, I would have to understand the law in PA that would allow a hs student to enroll in the virtual school. I would say, at the least, in the particular class the student was enrolled in at the virtual school, they were not hsing for that class. Even though they were at home. Legally, for that class they were enrolled in a public school; albeit it was a public-funded virtual (charter?) school. Whether they were actually considered hsing for the rest of their classes, I cannot say without knowing more. Focusing on your issue, the parent wasn't receiving money to homeschool, the parent was receiving funding for enrollment in a public school. It's not a homeschool issue. It's a public school/charter school issue.

In AK, when the govt. is paying for students to receive public funds to do public/charter school at home, a rule is being applied which states that even if the parent purchases religious materials out of their own pocket, the students will not get credit for the course. This has nothing to do with homeschooling. It is about public school enrollment and the strings that come with the public funds. This rule, may or may not be overturned with time. However, I really think this is going to become an issue in other states. CA universities a couple of weeks ago, were refusing to recognize high school science credits if the high school (such as a private Christian school) used a textbook from a Christian publisher.
Let me know if this helps in your understanding.

4:36 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

I'll be honest with you, I don't know the law in PA either. This school was in Canada and was a non-profit entity. It charged a tuition, which this student paid directly. So, the school was neither publicly funded or a charter school.


5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the parent paid for it, then it isn't an issue for me. :)
Feel free to post on the group some of your past meanderings about hsers and virtual schools on the list for the purpose of feedback. You can expect feedback about those enrolled in public virtual schools are not hsing. Maybe you can get some other feedback that would be helpful and shed some light.

6:26 PM  

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