One of our wonderful moderators for an on-line support group in our state MHLA shared some very interesting statistics with the list yesterday:
For the second year in a row, over 1300 public school students (and their families) decided to leave the system and homeschool in MA.
Last year, 2006-07, the DOE ran their new SIMS stats for me (with the new Transfer to HS code) and determined that some 1371 students had "transferred" to homeschooling.
They have just run the stats for the 2007-08 school year and another 1323 have also decided to homeschool.
As stated before, this only tracks students that were enrolled as public school students and have left the system in the past year. It does not include those who previously left the system to HS, nor those who have HSed from the beginning and were never enrolled. Nor those who have left private schools for HSing.
Since my daughter is one of the 1323 students from the 07-08 school year, I thought I would comment on it. I have seen the term "accidental homeschoolers" popping up more and more in articles for parents who are new to homeschooling. It has been used to refer to the parents who never intended to homeschool their children, but have pulled their kids out of PS. I get the concept of it, but really I think it would be more accurate to call us "Parents that are Utterly Disgusted with the Public School System," "Parents who don't want to FIX their kids!" or "Parents for Truly Educated Children".
We didn't just fall out of bed one morning and say "Oops I guess we can't send her to school anymore!" For most of us it was a process that took a lot of wasted time, energy, and aggravation. We have been let down by a system that was suppose to educate ALL students that walk through it's "hallowed" halls. We have undertaken a huge responsibility in the structure of our children's futures. We have broken away from the norm, taken criticism from family and friends, suffered through our children feeling alienated and broken, in order to give them what they truly need to be well rounded responsible educated adults.
When I see that the numbers are as high as they are two feelings cross my mind:
1) Pride - I am proud of the fact that I can be included with such a courageous group of parents!
2) Sadness - for all the children whose parent's cannot, for whatever reason, give them this wonderful gift!
With the numbers this high, how can anyone say that these children would be better off in PS? Really can we ALL be wrong? Can we ALL be crazy?
For those of you who are also part of the 1323 - welcome! No matter what curriculum you use, what style suits your family, what religious background you come from - you are now "Homeschoolers"! You are brave, you are caring, you are wonderful! You are giving your child the very best gift you can give them!