Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Case of Homeschool Discrimination

Homeschoolers have not been allowed to participate in public school activities, such as sports teams, literature clubs, and science activities simply because they have no association with the schools. However, this particular case seems to be pure discrimination.
State chess officials allowed the homeschool students to play as teams for two years because of changing or unclear national rules on the subject, but this year, they ruled team members must come from the same school.

"The tournaments were created and designed for school teams," said Will Wharton, president of the Arizona Chess Federation board. "The problem is their connection is just chess, they're not doing any schooling together."
The justification of this ruling is curious, in that a homeschooling dad made the disingenuous statement, "If homeschool students were allowed to form teams, he said, it would be like allowing sport teams to take students from any geographical area." This argument seems to be a red herring of the worst kind in that private schools already do this, and their student population tends to be even more exclusive than the number of homeschool kids.

The point is that the state chess committee felt that homeschoolers were stacking the deck in their favor. Perhaps they are making the same assumption that this particular group of homeschoolers doesn't do anything but sit around and play chess all day, much like a group of homeschoolers that swept the Scripps Spelling Bee about ten years ago.

The bee has come under fire in recent years as a number of students allegedly hired special coaches to help them prepare for the bee, a luxury many spellers cannot afford. Some suggest homeschooled students have an advantage, that they can forgo their studies to prepare for the bee. Homeschoolers respond that, while they do have extra time to devote to spelling practice, such extra time does not come at the expense of their other studies...

It seems the homeschooling movement is gaining a full head of steam and is drawing more and more attention.

(HT: Janine Cate)


Elder's Wife said...

Do you do any cooperative teaching or activities with other home schoolers? Do the public schools in Virginia allow home schooled students to take classes in music, art, etc?
When we began home schooling in 1986, there were very few home schoolers in our county. We banded together to meet one morning a week to provide music & art classes and some social time for our kids, planned group field trips and a spring musical program. Another mom & dad and I taught our kids (just our two families) literature, govenment, science & economics cooperatively at times.
Over the past 20 years, the number of home school families has increased dramatically (there are 6 families who are or were schooling at home just in my rural neighborhood. The public schools now offer the option of part time attendance, and the Christian schools also do that. Last year, the lead part in the high school musical was played by a home schooled student, and a home schooled friend of ours won a full-tuition musical scholarship to Houghten College with a semester of training in London. Other home schoolers have been scholarship winners in the past and are now college graduates working in the chemical and computer industries.
We've come a long way, baby!

Tony said...


Yes, we do use a co-op of sorts. We call it "School of the H&ARTS," where the ampersand stands for the "E" in HEARTS. It means History and arts.

We meet on Tuesday afternoons. I have taught the last four years. Three years I taught world history and then this year I have taught chemistry. My wife has helped with music and we also have art and PE. there is also a literature club that meets once a week, but we do not participate in that. One day out of the week away from studies is a lot.

We also have a once a month group we call TEACH at Home, for "Teaching, Educating, and Changing Hearts at Home." That group organizes field trips, science fair, Valentine's party (bleccthh), Christmas gift swap, etc.

Out of our homeschool group, there are a couple of young ladies who have gotten scholarships to go to Liberty U in Lynchburg, VA.

For the most part, our group is very young and does not reach all the homeschoolers in Halifax County. But we try!