Academic journal article Rural Educator

A Hybrid Way of Learning: Taught at Home and Taught at School

Academic journal article Rural Educator

A Hybrid Way of Learning: Taught at Home and Taught at School

Article excerpt

There can be a natural conflict between home schoolers and the school district's attempt to restrict their freedom. Home schooling is an age-old educational method that was primarily utilized by parents seeking to teach their own children at home in order to restore traditional values and bring what they perceived to be an order to the family.

Presently, a few parents for reasons unique to themselves are now requesting home schooling for other than religious instruction. This type of parental request may place administrators and school boards under rigorous community and faculty scrutiny. Blueville High School is completely fictitious as are the names referenced. The events did occur.

My meeting with Mrs. Brown was cordial, but she was adamant in her decision. Mrs. Brown's daughter, Charlene Brown, a current sophomore at Blueville High School, would be taught her junior year of American History at home during the next year.

Our conversation took place on April 15, which is prior to the May 1 deadline established in the Illinois School Code, as to when a parent may make application for parttime attendance in a public school district (Illinois Compiled Statutes).

This request, in reality, was for part-time home instruction, not for part-time school attendance. Mrs. Brown wanted Charlene to attend the public school fulltime, except for one class, American History. The Brown family had what they considered to be an unfortunate experience with the American History teacher a few years previously with an older daughter. Mrs. Brown was under the distinct impression that because of the other daughter's difficulties, Charlene would also not have a good experience in the American History class

Unfortunately, being a relatively small district with one teacher qualified to teach American History, there was not the luxury of placing Charlene in another class. Junior year American History was under the direction of Mr. Dark, all five sections of it. There was not a way to circumvent the situation. Every junior was required to take American History at Blueville High; there was no substitution available. Furthermore, Mrs. Brown made it clear that Charlene would continue to play on the varsity volleyball team, on which she was an all-conference performer with the opportunity for a college scholarship in that sport.

Mrs. Brown was not asking the superintendent for permission. She was telling the superintendent what her and Charlene's plans were for the coming school year. Certainly, this was an atypical request on the part of a parent. Other students were home schooled in the district, but they were totally home schooled. There was no mixing and matching.

The Blueville District Policy concerning home schooling strictly followed the Illinois School Code; "All requests for part-time attendance in the following school year must be submitted before May 1." Mrs. Brown had complied with the law. The policy further stated that, "Students accepted for partial enrollment must comply with all discipline and attendance requirements established by the school. The parent of a student accepted for part-time attendance is responsible for all fees, pro-rated on the basis of a percentage of full-time fees. Transportation to and/or from school is provided to non-public school students on regular bus routes to or from a point on the route nearest or most easily accessible to the non-public school or student's home."

Nothing contained in this policy concerning homeschooled students was going to present a difficulty for Mrs. Brown, at this point. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA), the governing body of interscholastic sports in Illinois, addressed the issue of home schooling in two ways. First, their by-laws state that students "shall be doing passing work in at least twenty credit hours of high school work per week" to be eligible to participate (Illinois High School Association Handbook, 2001-2002). …

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