Tuesday, March 16, 2010

State Review

Today is the day I meet with a representative from our county and provide him with evidence that I homeschool my children. Actually, it's not just that I homeschool, but that I meed the state's requirements and provide adequate instruction in all of the usual areas.


I'm not a fan of this procedure. For the past four years I have used a "cover" - an umbrella group which utilizes peer review. Because several acquaintances were under the same umbrella we happily signed each other papers. No meetings with government employees, no pressure.

I'm not worried or nervous. If I had to choose words to describe my feelings I would probably lean towards offended, put out, annoyed... I had to gather my childrens' work from September until now, organize it all in a certain way, and provide a bunch of book lists, course outlines, make copies, gather projects, etc., etc., etc. Times four kids. I had to arrange childcare because I didn't feel like subjecting myself to the stress of bringing my children into a small office for an indeterminate amount of time. If I thought that the person with whom I'm meeting actually cared about what we do I may not be so put out. But because I am certain that this is a rubber stamp procedure, I'm annoyed that it has to happen at all.

I guess I'm a fan of no government oversight at all. Really, what's the point? As anyone can tell you, you can make absolutely anything at all fit into one of their required educational categories so that you're meeting the state law. The reviewers simply look to see if there are a few papers in each section. Did you know that I had the option of simply dropping off the material between 9am and 3pm (along with everyone else in my county that opts for state review) and picking it up the next morning. Now please - how can they possibly understand what goes on in my home, let alone hundreds of other homes across my county, after such a brief look at a binder full of papers??? Not possible. And these folks are responsible for determining whether or not I'm qualified to continue educating my children. Uh huh. Right.

I decided to go for a face-to-face meeting with an actual person. Why not? I've gone the drop-it-pick-it-up routine, I've done the umbrella group action... time for a change. A real meeting with a real person. I'm curious to see how it goes. My expectations are incredibly low. In my mind's eye, he will shake my hand, flip through our binders, ask me a question or two (probably about Health since we're clearly lacking documentation in that area) and send me on my way.

I will probably slip back into the "cover-up" world of the umbrella group next year. It's just easier. No papers to prepare, no meetings to schedule and childcare to arrange. No hassle beyond filling out and sending in a paper with the initials of one of my friends. In other words - no review.


  1. I'll swop. LOL

    My son has to be orally tested by a panel of three teachers from his former school every year. The testing is subjective. I don't get to see it, there is no straight forward right of reply so it all comes down to how good your relationship is with the ex school.

    I wonder if they have forgiven me yet for going to the press to whinge about them a year before I gave up and chose to home educate ?

    Me and my big gob.

    I feel your pain though, I am fed up of looking and sorting my son's work with the main objective being do I tick the boxes and does it make me look good, rather than how well did this work from an educational perspective.

  2. So glad we live in a state with none of that. That's what I find annoying about the occasional calls for increased regulation of homeschoolers. It is nothing but a burden on good parents while doing nothing to actually solve the problems they're worried about. What is a yearly meeting with an overburdened official going to accomplish? Just overburden the system that much more, making it that much more difficult to help those who really need it.

    Sorry for my little rant. :)

    Hope the meeting goes well!

  3. Thank you both for your comments!
    Sarah - that is terrible! My children would be nervous wrecks. And I would be in the same position as I'm not known for keeping quiet when I feel strongly about something. ;)
    Dana - I totally agree. I had a long "discussion" with my mother about regulation last night. And you are 100% correct - the official we met with was overburdened and told me so.

  4. Son of Thor isn't that nervous, he is used to the process having been to school here and I've really played down the importance or he'll get a fit of the nerves and get stuck dumb.

    It's me that is in a flat panic LOL