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Home schools are solutions, not problems

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In your Oct. 19 issue, Superintendent Scott Bean of the State Office of Education voiced his concern about research and publications that he feels are "inaccurate" efforts to "recruit people to have home schools."

Mr. Bean is not the only one who has assumed that home schoolers are actively recruiting new devotees - and that they don't hesitate to distort the facts in order to win new followers. A similar assumption was made by Bob Chase, president of the NEA, in his letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal last March, and other such statements crop up regularly in discussions about education.Apparently it doesn't occur to the leaders of the education industry that some parents - even parents who are not radical "separatists" or religious cultists - might choose to educate their own children in their own homes without being pressured into it.

The fact is, home schooling works. It works efficiently, quietly and naturally. It works because it allows children to retain their inborn love of reaming, to learn by experience and parental example (always the best teachers), and to progress at their own pace.

Home schooling works because it bonds parents to children and siblings to each other. It strengthens family values, encourages independent thinking and instills responsibility.

Home schooling works because, contrary to popular belief, home schooled children associate with a real-life cross-section of people, both in and out of the home; they play and work with adults, teenagers and babies - not just children who were born the same year they were - and in doing so they become respectful of and comfortable with all kinds of people.

And home schooling works at about one-tenth the cost of public education.

Today, more and more parents, concerned for their children, are beginning to see how well home schooling works, and when that happens they also begin to seek out information on their own - without coercion from their home schooling friends and neighbors.

Organizations like the Utah Home Education Association have been created - by parents themselves, who receive no salary for their service - as a resource for established as well as prospective home schoolers, not as a propaganda agency attempting to delude families who are happy with the public schools.

As Ned Fuller says in his article "Private Minds in Public Schools": "At the heart of government is the presumption that people are too ignorant and weak to recognize and participate voluntarily in programs promoting their own welfare. This presumption, to the chagrin of liberals, is being disproved by private educators throughout the country. In fact, public schooling has become a source of great encouragement for the independent-minded. Since government has created a crisis among the youth of catastrophic proportions, individuals and families have risen to solve the problem. The solution has been an exponential increase in home and private schooling. . . .

"While the message of government is one of dependency, the message of America is one of optimism. It is a message of hope. As is so often the case, that hope emanates from the homes and hearts of families across the country. These families believe stay-at-home moms do more than just bake cookies. These families are willing to sacrifice second incomes, exotic vacations and expensive sport-utility vehicles. More importantly, these families are willing to sacrifice their time and themselves for the good of their children - and all without government coercion."

Home schoolers are not creating problems for the public schools; they're offering solutions. Leaders in public education would be wise to admit and learn from the phenomenal success of home schooling rather than trying to disprove and deny it.