School choice: California public school charter serves homeschoolers

1 Jan

Moi has several posts about homeschooling. In Homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, moi wrote:

Parents and others often think of school choice in terms of public school or private school. There is another option and that is homeschooling.Homeschooling is one option in the school choice menu. There are fewer children being homeschooled than there are in private schools. There are fewer children in private education, which includes homeschools than in public education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the vast majority of students attend public schools. Complete statistics can be found at Fast Education Facts

The question, which will be discussed at the end of this comment, is: What is so scary about school choice? After all, the vast majority of children are enrolled in public school and school choice is not going to change that.

What is Homeschooling?

Family Education defines homeschooling.

Homeschooling means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, learning from the rich resources available in their community, environment, and through interactions with other families who homeschool.

Essentially, homeschooling involves a commitment by a parent or guardian to oversees their child or teen’s educational development. There are almost two million homeschoolers in this country.
There is no one federal law, which governs homeschooling. Each state regulates homeschooling, so state law must be consulted. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a summary of each state’s laws.

Why Do Parents Homeschool?

According to the Washington Homeschool Organization, there are many reasons parents choose to homeschool.

Advantages of Homeschooling
• Parents are with their children all day.
• Parents know and understand their children, and are influential in their lives, even as they enter the teen years.
• Homeschooling prevents premature parent-child separation, avoiding inappropriate pressure on children.
• Children are allowed to mature at their own speeds, no “hurried child” syndrome.
• Parents and other adults are the primary role models for homeschooled children.
• Homeschooling provides positive and appropriate socialization with peers and adults.
• Homeschooled children are largely free from peer pressure.
• Homeschooled children are comfortable interacting with people of all ages.
• Homeschooled children view adults as an integrated part of their world and as natural partners in learning.
• Family values and beliefs are central to social, emotional and academic development.
• Family life revolves around its own needs and priorities rather than the demands of school.
• Homeschooling creates/maintains positive sibling relationships.
• Homeschooling promotes good communication and emotional closeness within a family.
• Research shows that the two most important factors in reading and overall educational success are positive home influence and parental involvement; homeschooling provides both.
• A child’s natural thirst for learning is nurtured, not squelched, and learning becomes a lifelong joy.
• Each child’s education can be tailored to his or her unique interests, pace, and learning style.
• Homeschooling children have time to pursue their special interests and talents.
• Homeschoolers enjoy unlimited educational resources; the world is our classroom, and resources abound in the community.
• Homeschooling provides a high adult/child ratio for the student.
• Homeschooled children become independent thinkers who are secure in their won convictions.
Homeschoolers of Color

The Village Voice has an excellent article about the experiences of Black homeschoolers and why they made the choice of homeschooling.

Black parents tend to take their children out of the schools for other than religious reasons, and homeschooling groups say black children taught at home are nearly always boys. Like Robinson, some of New York’s parents have concluded that the school system is failing the city’s black boys, and have elected to teach them at home as an alternative.

The National Home Education Research Institute which cites statistics from The Condition of Education 2009 reports the number of homeschoolers of color is growing.

If one reviews the statistics from the last four years of USDE research (i.e., the last two USDE reports), one will find that 77.0% of homeschool students were white in 2003 while 76.8% were white in 2007 (i.e., a 0.2% decrease in those who are “white”). Second, this authors’ roughly 25 years of experience with and studying the homeschool community shows that the percentage of the homeschool community comprised of minorities is continuing to increase. Third, homeschool leaders across the nation are telling this author the same; that is, an increasing percent of the homeschool community is non-white.

Homeschooling is the choice for many parents because they don’t feel that current education institutions serve either their child or their values well.

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Calif. Charter Caters to Home-Schooled Students:

The Da Vinci Innovation Academy serves home-schooled students within a 90-minute drive of Los Angeles International Airport. The school, a partnership between the Da Vinci charter-management group and the Wiseburn school district, has developed intensive, connected parent-and-teacher professional development to keep widely disparate students on the same page.
“There are 270 kids attending DVIA, and they all have very different programs because every parent is seeing their role a little bit differently,” said Tom R. Johnstone, Wiseburn’s superintendent.
The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that roughly 3 percent of all school-age American children, or 1.77 million, were home-schooled in 2011. As the practice becomes increasingly popular, more states are requiring districts to provide at least some educational services if parents request them.
The partnership between Wiseburn and Da Vinci offers one model for keeping home-schooling families connected to the larger district community and highlights a more holistic approach to getting parents involved in their children’s schooling. While parent cooperatives are becoming more commonplace, the Innovation Academy is unique as a full public school serving only home schoolers.
“Asking parents to volunteer twice a year for a fundraiser isn’t enough to connect them emotionally to their students’ learning,” said Laura B. Glasser, whose son Jacob attends Da Vinci. “Doing homework with my kid at public school was really about [both of us] doing the same paperwork in a different location. Here, family learning is about understanding multiple strategies. … [The school] offers families multiple ways to understand their child’s education.”
Students attend in-school class two days a week, either in a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday cohort, though the school also offers a half day of fee-based elective classes on Wednesdays. For the rest of the week, children work with their parents on projects developed in partnership with the school’s teachers and aligned to the Common Core State Standards that most states have now adopted. Parents fill out a detailed “work journal” linking the activities they do on home days to specific standards, and a panel of teachers audits the journals every 20 days to ensure students are completing at least 20 days’ worth of learning in that time….
Parents attend two days of training at the start of the fall semester, learning how to align what they do at home with what students learn in class. Throughout the year, they continue to attend workshops given by teachers and other home-schooling parents on topics from reading-comprehension strategies to occupational therapy, and teachers provide online videos and other materials to help parents link school content to home lessons….
The school population is about half white, and the rest is a mix of black students and those of Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds. While under California charter law students can enroll from anywhere in the state, all so far hail from across the Los Angeles metro area, and a majority qualify for free or reduced-price meals. “When you think of home-schooling families, you think middle-class white, and that doesn’t end up being the model here,” said current Principal Michelle Rainey.
Parents run the gamut in educational experience, too, she added: “Some say, ‘I’m a home schooler at heart; I want complete autonomy.’ We have others who say, ‘I’m not sure about this whole home-schooling thing, but I like the way you work with kids, so give me materials and hold my hand through this…..’ ”
With parents responsible for covering the bulk of core content, the school also has more time to focus on teaching students to apply what they learn in multiple subjects, as well as cultivate noncognitive skills such as decisionmaking and cooperation.
“Content is about 50 percent of what we do here, and in most schools, content is 95 percent of what they do,” Principal Rainey said….

Many of our children are “unschooled” and a far greater number are “uneducated.” One can be “unschooled” or “uneducated” no matter the setting. As a society, we should be focused on making sure that each child receives a good basic education. There are many ways to reach that goal. There is nothing scary about the fact that some parents make the choice to homeschool. The focus should not be on the particular setting or institution type. The focus should be on proper assessment of each child to ensure that child is receiving a good basic education and the foundation for later success in life.


‘Hybrid’ homeschooling is growing

New book: Homeschooling, the little option that could

Homeschooled kids make the grade for college

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One Response to “School choice: California public school charter serves homeschoolers”


  1. Home School Education | Start Your Home School - January 2, 2014

    […] School choice: California public school charter serves … – drwilda means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, … […]

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