California Court: Home Schooling is a Crime

A California appeals court ruling has just made parents who home schooled their kids criminals (if they don't have teaching credentials). Here's the story that sent a shockwave through the homeschooling movement:

The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.

Some homeschoolers are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Longs, but others fly under the radar completely. Many homeschooling families avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their own children.

Yet the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California's compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child's grade level.

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. "Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the provisions of these laws."

Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

Link (Photo: Michael Macor / Chronicle)

Good. Homeschooled kids invariably turn out to be wieners.

And for all you homeschoolers out there who take offense at that, I'm just as sorry as you are that you're wieners.
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First, LOL @ Anthony.

Second, I'm not sure I agree (with Anthony or the state of California). Kids can get their socialization and education through home-schooling, whether or not the parents hold teaching certification; I've seen it happen. That being said, I would imagine that if people want this badly enough, they can get the law changed.

I also think the original ruling was pretty screwy. The judge found that the child was being "poorly educated". To me, that should have been enough to warrant ordering the parents to either get better or put the kids in a real school.

Does anyone else find it odd that it is the state of California doing this? And the line about the schools teaching patriotism was rather intriguing, given other recent California news items.
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Homeschooled kids do far better than those who were taught in government schools. This law comes from a state where the government wants to mandate almost everyaspect of your personal life.
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If this has been law in California since 1953, how did uncredentialed homeschoolers "just" be made criminals? If it's been law since 1953, then they've been violating that law for 55 years now.
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The reason it hasn't been enforced is that it has been up to the school districts to enforce (and will continue to be, under the ruling). Ergo, don't expect these cases to be prosecuted often, if ever; school districts have more pressing problems to address.
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If you click through the link to the full article, you find this out near the bottom:

Heimov said her organization's chief concern was not the quality of the children's education, but their "being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety."

So who cares if they're actually educated as long as the state can keep an eye on them?? Yikes!
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“being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety."

With metal detectors! ooooh! it feels safer already! ^.^
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"... in a place where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety"? Good grief. How about having those kids in a place where someone actually cares about their well being? Essentially they're saying that the Socialist Republic of California knows better how to raise your kids than you do. How long before the state commandeers your kids in the delivery room?

And this line is especially rich: "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare." My guess is that one of the issues is that home-schooling parents are teaching actual American history rather than the pabulum taught in gov't screwls.

The Nanny State has finally stepped over the line. Watch for a mass exodus from the Left Coast. Time to leave the place to fall into the Pacific.
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Wow ... Why is home school so wrong? If the kids can pass state examinations then what's the big whoop. Oh yea ... they want to halt growth in population who are too poor for quality private school education. Guess I'll never live in California because I plan to home school any future spawn I have so they can get a proper education that public school rarely if ever evenly provide (could be the other snotty-nosed students or that one a-hole teacher that can inhibit proper edu despite how good the school).
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Don't know about everyone else, but my kids go to school, but /also/ get a considerable amount of home schooling. They both learned to read and count before they got to school, and I spend plenty of time teaching them things that the school either doesn't do very well, or which aren't in the curriculum.

Home vs School? Do both!
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It's a case of the gov't wanting to make sure the kids are indoctrinated with their crap rather than the parent's crap. The schools are mandatory to make sure kids are trained to be good consumers and cogs in the wheel. Our public schools are awful in that respect.

But I do agree that there is a lot of room for error in keeping kids at home. At school, they may get exposed to some different views and ideas than they are getting at home. That infusion of ideas helps kids develop their thinking skills and helps foster a progressive society. In my area, pretty much the only people homeschooling their kids are REALLY fundamentalist radical Christians. I don't mean your standard evangelicals, I mean the scary kind. While I support the rights of parents, even weird fringe parents, to imprint their belief on their kids, it's really scary for these parents to be the only perspective on things that kids get.

I think the secret is to find a happy medium. Kids could be schooled at home, but have to take the
same standardized tests every year as the public school kids at their same age level to be sure that they are getting an adequate education. Parents should be required to take periodic work-shops (monthly maybe?) to make sure that they are up to date with the latest teaching methods and technologies and ideas. While the parents are in their workshops, the children should also be required to be in workshops. The works shops could focus on things like the latest in technology and ideas, social issues, tolerance, diversity, etc. That would ease the impact of children's isolation, both from an academic standpoint and a social one. It would also allow other people to see and interact with the children regularly. Yes, not every day like public schooling, but often enough that if there is suspicion of abuse or neglect or other issues, it wouldn't go undetected. Seems to me there could be a cheap easy compromise that would make everyone happy. The state would be able to monitor the kids. The kids would be getting a good education. The parents would be able to control their kids education. Win, win, win situation.
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Thai hit the nail on the head. There have been a lot of cases where child abuse was only discovered because of a teacher at their school who noticed bruises, odd behavior, etcetera. Home schooling is a godsend for pedophiles.
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So, in the "Land of the Free" we are having, yet again, ANOTHER freedom infringed upon by an overbearing, overtaxing government that his hellbent on enslaving the people of America by taking away one freedom at a time. Keep in mind that in a death of one thousand cuts, no single cut is fatal. Likewise, in the death of freedom, no single infraction of our rights is thought of as being "fatal" either. Let the march to slavery continue onward.
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Scotter, you're being a prig. There are many reasons why home schooling is not a good idea (teaching kids creationism, molesting kids, not allowing for socialization) but it's also obvious that it should be an option for parents who desire a better education for their kids than the school district is able to provide.

Therefore, there may be a multitude of reasons why this case elevated this high up.

It's obvious that some other remedy than outlawing homeschooling is necessary.
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Um, good? Everyone I have ever met who was homeschooled was a MESS. Staying cloistered in a family results in poorly socialized adults who think thinks like creationism are real. Go California!
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The news coverage on this is complete bullshit. California allows homeschooling, and has for many years, and this ruling recognizes that. The ruling wasn't based on the kids being homeschooled, the ruling was based on the parents *lying* about the kid being enrolled in a charter school. The LA Times story (on which all the coverage is based) was written by someone who either didn't understand (or read) the ruling, or who just made stuff up to sell advertising. All the parents have to do is tell the school they're homseschooling, and submit an annual report of attendance and the subjects being covered. That's it.
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What a misleading headline. Homeschooling isn't criminalized. Parents who wish to homeschool can still go get credentialed, or hire someone. But, if you think the only thing that should count is that kids pass the tests, perhaps teachers at schools shouldn't have to be certified as long as they shepherd their kids into passing grades.
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I'm glad to see that Ben, Scotter, and others realize that this court decision is dead wrong. This is just another example of Kalifornia proving itself to be the "Land of Fruit and Nuts."

Those who spoke against home-schooling, above, don't have any idea what they are talking about. Home-schooled kids, on the average, do FAR, FAR better scholastically than kids in public schools (and better than kids in private schools too). They are much sought after by the best universities as applicants.

Also, they are VASTLY less likely to be abused by their parents than are non-home-schooled kids. Home-schooling parents are, on the average, MUCH more concerned about their kids than other parents, and they make more sacrifices for the kids. The parents want the kids to excel academically, spiritually, etc., so they give up the opportunity to have two incomes.

A couple of "old wives' tales" are that home-schooled kids do not "socialize" as well as public/private-schooled kids -- and that they do not excel in sports. These two "whoppers" have been discredited by researchers.
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Home schooling basically exists because end-times Christians want to teach their young'uns that the earth is 6,000 years old and that Jesus rode dinosaurs around the Holy Land. They HATE anything that has to do with the state, the government, y'know, the people that "force" your kids to learn things like science, and other demonically-inspired subjects. So I say fuck the home schoolers. This country is getting way too liberal with the "freedom" to teach your kids to grow up to become militant antiscience survivalist religious fanatics, in my opinion.
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Actually the surveys I have seen show that across america, homeschoolers are 30% hippie, 70% religious... I would imagine that the hippie ratio is much higher in California.

Anytime that the far left and the far right meet together in the middle, it's probably not that bad.
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California is one step closer to fully enslaving kids. Public schools are great, except for two things. One, they're paid for by theft... I mean, taxes. Two, kids are kidnapped... I mean, required to attend.

Most of the people here who are actually in favor of this new law have portrayed all home-schooling parents as militant Christians and child molesters. Is it just me, or is that a wee-bit narrow-minded?

And Bean, I'm glad you care about child abuse as much as I do, but you have a poor way of showing it. One, you don't seem to mind that kids are FORCED to attend school. Two, don't confuse pedophiles with child molesters. Some of those kids you want to "defend" are actually the former. If you don't know what I mean, then read my website or my blog.
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Homeschooling could not be any worse than the public schools here in California. Half the students can't speak English, the classrooms are overcrowded, the administration hogties the teachers ability to teach with too much unnecessary paperwork and oversight and most parents are uninvolved. Still I would hope that homeschooled kids would have credentialed people teaching them.
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I must say, I'm pretty shocked at all of you who are insisting that home schooled kids are smarter and more well adjusted than public/private schooled kids. I'm 17 and attended public schools K-12 and for a couple years, my high school was one of the worst performing in the state. However, education is what you make of it and not all public school teachers are bad-the kids who WANT to learn WILL learn. And so much for us not being as able to get into prestigious universities as home schooled kids, many of my classmates and I are now attending some of the best colleges in the country. I, for one, would never have wanted my parents to homeschool me because though they are both college educated and very open minded, there are many things they simply cannot teach me. I find it reallyhard to believe that every home schooled child's parents are proficient in every subject necessary to a child's decent education. Oh and on a final note, I never once felt forced to go to school. I went because I realized the importance of going, and if, for some reason, I didn't feel like going one or two days, it was never a big deal. thanks for listening :)
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I personally know some great adults that were home schooled. Also, nine U.S. presidents were home schooled(see list below). It doesn't look like turned out so bad. Okay, I also know a few kind of goofy home schooled children. But I can honestly say the worst behaved and most dangerous children I've seen were in our pubic schools. Plenty of kids in public school are abused and nothing is done about it. I was an elementary ed. major for 3 years and worked a number of months at several pubic school with teachers and guidance counselors. Because of what I saw I came to the conclusion that I did not want to be a teacher there. After seeing those video clips of recent problems in schools with disruptive and disrespectful kids I cringe to think that children could be forced to attend there. I don't call that quality education. Of course some schools are better than others no doubt. The home schoolers I know are not kept at home all the time. They meet up with other homeschoolers seveal times a week. There are lots of museum outings and social activities for them to participate in. Some of the children had struggled in public schools but are now learning much better in a less stressful environment while still enjoying group sports, social activites and lots of field trips. I've been looking into homeschooling my children. I think that is the kind of teaching I really want to do. I hope that right is never taken away. Guess we'll have to fight for it.

here's a few famous hoeschooled individuals-

PRESIDENTS-George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt

FAMOUS WOMEN- Abigail Adams, Mercy Warren, Martha Washington, Forence Nightingale, Phyllis Wheatley, Agatha Christie, Pearl S. Buck

GENERALS-"Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton

ARTISTS-John Singleton Copley, Andrew Wyeth, Rembrandt Peale, Claude Monet, Ansel Adams

AUTHORS-Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Irving Berlin, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis

COMPOSERS-Anton Bruckner, Felix Mendelssohn, Amadeus Mozart, Francis Poulenc

PREACHERS & MISSIONARIES-John & Charles Wesley, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, Dwight L. Moody, John Newton, Hudson Taylor

CHIEF JUSTICES U.S. SUPREME COURT-John Rutledge, John Jay, John Marshall

DIVERSELY TALENTED-Blaise Pascal, Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison,Benjamin Franklin,Andrew Carnegie, John Stuart Mill
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Just move your precious snowflakes to Kansas, where you can legally home school them or send them to public school where myths are taught as facts.

Either way you'll have your kids brainwashed into mind-numbing stupidity in no time.
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If you're ok with the government deciding what your children think, then by all means support this. If however, you'd rather PARENT your children, you should be furious about this decision. If in the same breath you can say that our education system is pretty bad, but children should be forced to attend, you've got a bit of a contradiction there.

Children who are homeschooled, on average, perform better on standardized tests and college entrance exams. They typically perform better in college. Whether they are socially adept is the responsibility of the parents. Anyway, the social "reality" of public high-school is about as genuine to adult life as the easter bunny... hence the reality check that occurs when people finally get out of school and out into the world.
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Hey, anybody who wants to actually read a discussion of demographics & standardized testing for homeschooling, the (well cited) Wikipedia page is

Some exerpts:
Statistically, the typical American homeschooling parents are married, homeschool their children primarily for religious or moral reasons, and are almost twice as likely to be Evangelical than the national average.

home school parents are 39 percent less likely to be college graduates, 21 percent more likely to be married, 28 percent less likely to have experienced a divorce, and that the household income is 10% below the national average. Barna found that homeschoolers in the U.S. live predominantly in the Mid-Atlantic, the South-Atlantic, and the Pacific states. It found that homeschoolers are almost twice as likely to be evangelical as the national average (15 percent vs 8 percent), and that 91 percent describe themselves as Christian, although only 49 percent can be classified as "born again Christians." It found they were five times more likely to describe themselves as "mostly conservative" on political matters than as "mostly liberal," although only about 37 percent chose "mostly conservative", and were "notably" more likely than the national average to have high view of the Bible and hold orthodox Christian beliefs.

* Homeschool graduates are active and involved in their communities. 71% participate in an ongoing community service activity, like coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association, compared with 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages from a traditional education background.

* Homeschool graduates are more involved in civic affairs and vote in much higher percentages than their peers. 76% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the corresponding U.S. populace. The numbers are even greater in older age groups, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared with a high of 53% for the corresponding U.S. populace.

* 58.9% report that they are "very happy" with life, compared with 27.6% for the general U.S. population. 73.2% find life "exciting", compared with 47.3%.[49]

Although there are studies that conclude that homeschooled students on average do well on standardized tests,[53] these studies generally compare voluntary homeschool testing with mandatory public-school testing. The study organizers cannot require testing. Homeschooled students are not subject to the testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. Some states require testing for homeschooled students and some do not; many that do require testing let homeschooling parents choose from more than one evaluation method. Since testing is not required, homeschoolers taking the tests are self-selected, which biases the statistical results. Therefore, the progress of homeschooled students cannot be compared with that of students in public schools.
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Gabrielle said ONE thing I agree with:

kids who WANT to learn WILL learn.

That's true of public schoolers and homeschoolers. I wish people would stop getting so hung up on demographics and percentages that are utterly skewed and slanted according to who funded the research. There are quacks and geniuses in both schools of learning, and it seems like the more volatile arguers on this thread have simply clung to a few non-representative extremes that have made headlines, and then formed their own badly-informed generalizations from there. Especially about homeschoolers being either "hippies" or religious nuts. This is the same narrow-minded stereotyping that lazy minds never think to question.
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MoniA, here are some famous homeschooled individuals minus everyone not born in the last hundred years:










Homeschooling: wave of the future!
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Be sure to check out the link at the end of my last post. There are just some of the currently homeschooled celebrities and athletes featured. I had a good friend in highschool that was homeschooled by his grandmother while he competed in the olympics. I graduated from public school and college but had some homeschooled friends. No, I don't think any currently homeschooled child will become a future president. Maybe this country would be better off if they did though. The way politics are these days I don't think I'd want my child running for president.
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I am always amazed at arguments promoting public school socialization as a compelling reason to discourage homeschooling. Certainly my own children are quite well socialized. We don't lock them in the closet, nor do we require them to wear a funny, archaic costume (oh, wait. That's a public school uniform).

When our local elementary school had to go into emergency mode when a student was found to have a gun in his backpack, I was very relieved that my youngest daughter was no longer attending.

My own experiences in the social environment of the playground leads me to characterize public school socialization as "The Lord of the Flies". Bullying and ostracism are the rule, and children who show academic aptitude are often denigrated. The pressure to conform is also very strong, while the norms of behavior, then and now, are not always positive.

OH, by the way, while I am a Christian, and our family is active in church (look up my previous posts on our homeless outreach), we are not creationists. I suppose we are kind of hippie-evangelistic.
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Hey Daniel-- I think a big part of "socialization" is learning to deal with bullying & ostracism, & the denigration of the exceptional, along with the pressure to conform. Keeping your kids out of that situation when messing up is expected-- i.e., as kids, means they will get to college as giant messes. I don't have sources or cites to back me up other than my life, but the homeschooled people I've known have lacked a lot of essential interpersonal skills. School is a miniature real world, where you're going to run into jerks & losers, & packs of bullies.
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"learning to deal with bullying & ostracism, & the denigration of the exceptional"

That's why we named our son "Sue"

(Humor notice: We don't have a son, actually.)
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Daniel Kim,
Good one. LOL :)
Life is hard enough. We don't need to purposely put our kids in bad situations. There are plenty of bullies and mean people out there for them to interact with even if they don't atend public school. Heck you even see rude people online quite often. There's just no escaping.
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I have cousins who were home schooled. The oldest (now 25) can barely string together a coherent sentence. Fortunately she's a stay-at-home mom and seems pretty happy with that, but I doubt her younger brothers will have much luck getting into college (if they want to go, which is doubtful at this point since education has been a pretty low priority for their family). I'm not saying all home-schooled kids turn out that way, but it is a danger. I think some government oversight is in order to ensure kids get a decent education.

VonSkippy, Kansas isn't that bad! That stupid evolution / creationism debate was embarassing for us, but please don't assume my home state only produces brain-washed, mind-numblingly stupid kids. I'm a 4th generation Kansas who went to public school in a tiny town of 4,000 and I managed to get into a top-rated private university and do well in it. Most of my friends consider me pretty smart and open-minded. I'm even enlightened enough to read such websites as Neatorama.

Steohawk, you frighten me. Take your child-love and sign up for that one-way trip to Mars.
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@MoniA & Daniel Kim

Have you ever heard of those parents that overprotect their children from germs? The ones that make sure to spray every countertop and doorknob so that their kids never get sick?

Well, those kids usually wind up with chronic illnesses for the rest of their lives BECAUSE they were never exposed to germs - they never got a chance to build a strong immune system...
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From the ages of six to eighteen, I have attended nine public schools in two states. I have attended one private school. I have been home schooled independently, and I have been home schooled within a state-certified satellite program. I've also spent two years in community college as part of a state-specific high-school alternative program. I've been everywhere. I have seen just about everything in every age group. My experience is -not- the case for everybody, and I'm going to try to avoid any sort of sweeping generalization by going over what I've seen.

Public schools. Some public schools are better than others, but in general I'd usually compare them to juvenile delinquent programs. This isn't everyone's experience, but since my parent's divorce most days I'd come home in tears after the bus dropped me off: First grade, second grade, third grade. Teachers do nothing about bullying. And I was bullied for years. I went back to public school for Junior High and my first year of high school and found that nothing had changed. The thought of making public school mandatory with tight exceptions of the rule makes me suck my breath in and stare in horror.

Private schools. Private schools were better, but still not perfect. My grades improved dramatically, but still I wasn't good with people. Even so, finally (at the age of ten) I'd managed to make some friends. I attended this private school for two years.

Independent home school. Probably the most interesting period of my life. I was thirteen, and after experiencing the hells of New Jersey junior high my mother decided that she couldn't take putting me through that any longer. History turned into an extensive Revolutionary war time line with car trips to see all of the local sites like the Delaware crossing and the plaques marking the Christmas attack of Princeton on the British. Literatures was watching 'Much Ado About Nothing' (public school had never even touched Shakespeare before) over and over until I finally got the language and began studying the classics properly. However, my mother wasn't very good with math, and I had to regulate learning that myself out of textbooks. All of the work that I did every day was documented to the best of my mother's ability (though she can be a little scatter-brained at times when it comes to organization (and I say this in love)). This is also the year that I decided to sit down, and I wrote my first fantasy novel. We home-schooled this way for half of a year before interrupted by yet another move, and this one across the country with different state laws regarding how we did things.

A note to the left-wing extremists that seem to be highly vocal about this. Creationists will teach their children religion whether or not they go to a public school if they care about the subject at all. I suggest you remind yourself that people are still allowed to practice religion as they see fit, even if you don't like it.

Accredited home school. A vast improvement when it came to math, but some of the teachers were downright bad at what they were doing. Like most things, you have to use judgment about the situation at hand. I was here for another half of a year before circumstances demanded that I return to public school for high school.

Community College. I opted for a program where my junior and senior year of high school was spent in community college and took the introductory courses there. It was like high school, except they actually taught you things. And it was a good introduction for the state university, which really was the first place people started treating my like an adult and I finally excelled.

My education is piecemeal just from moving around to the extent that I did. There are things that I really was never taught (certain forms of math... and I never had to dissect anything). I scored 1260 on the SATs when I took them at sixteen, scoring pretty evenly on both sections. I have a friend who had been in home school all her life, was valedictorian of the high school she was enrolled in (Washington State requirement) but had never gone to, and scored in the high 1500's on the SATs before she went into computer science at an acclaimed university. I also know a guy who was 'home schooled' and was barely literate.

I have no intention of subjecting my children to public school, unless I have a very good reason. If the child isn't developing social skills properly, then I'd find a way to make sure that he or she interacts with children his or her own age. Sports, clubs, extracurricular activities. These points that people are making as an argument against home schooling can be prevented by good parenting.

My point is that subjects like this need to be weighed and judged carefully, and to figure out what's right for you. But to have the state decide for you what ought to be done with your kids is outrageous. I'm more willing to trust my discretion than theirs.
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The hell? What exactly is the government afraid of? Ti's not like kids aren't separated enough from their parents, and where exactly in the Constitution does it condemn home schooling? I don't remember anything like that.
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One last thing. This is what's needed to get this 'certification': 12-24 months of coursework, 5 expensive examinations ranging from moderately easy (CBEST) to fairly challenging (3 CSET) to downright tough (RICA), proof of knowledge about the US Constitution, TPEs, TPAs, and a whole lot of observation and supervised student teaching.

This is basically a master's degree program, and isn't required for teachers in private schools. It may not be required for public school teachers either (I haven't found out California requirements, but nothing more than a bachelor's degree and a short side program is needed here).
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