*The following is a letter Maria Corse wrote to the editor of the local papers in December of 2014
To the Editor:
There are many misconceptions about homeschooling; I would like to dispel a few myths and provide some factual information. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. The Supreme Court has supported the right to homeschool in several landmark decisions (Meyer and Pierce), clearly stating in each that parents know their children best and have the legal right to direct their upbringing and education.
Each state has different rules to follow. The New York State Homeschooling Regulations can be found online (see resources list below) and are available to anyone who would like to explore homeschooling as an option for their child.
Children who are unhappy or struggling in their school environment often exhibit clear signs of stress and sadness. Homeschooling is an accessible way to immediately alleviate the anxiety and bring the joy back to learning. Any family who wishes to pursue homeschooling can legally proceed anytime during the academic year.
Three basic components are needed to homeschool in New York State: the letter of intent to homeschool (needs to be submitted to the school superintendent within 14 days of beginning home instruction), the IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan- includes a list of required courses and materials), and quarterly reports (assessment and documentation of instruction provided over the previous ten weeks).
These documents are not difficult to write and there are multiple resources and templates available to guide and support families. Parents do not need to be a certified teacher or be proficient in all of the subjects to provide home instruction; the best skill you can offer is an open mind and willingness to listen and learn alongside your child. The Internet, books, other family members or friends, learning centers, libraries, and local experts can provide everything else. Deep Root Center is also a viable resource that provides classes, one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, hands-on project materials and family support.
Socialization is another issue often raised when homeschooling is mentioned. It has been discovered, however, that children who are self-directed, independent learners are not going to be happy or satisfied with a closed environment that re-creates school at their dining room table. These students are empowered and motivated to take advantage of opportunities within the community and to interact and learn from others. They are often seen volunteering, shadowing a professional, or at the library. They take advantage of musical and theatrical performances. Homeschool families contract with artists, art councils and musicians for one-on-one creative opportunities. Children who are homeschooled have the opportunity to interact with children of all ages as well as adults through homeschool cooperatives and other community resources. They also have the time to pursue individual interests and are comfortable working on projects independently.
Deep Root Center (DRC) staff is available to answer any questions you may have about homeschooling, our consultation services, and the programs available to youth at the Center. DRC is holding an information session December 18th from 12pm -2pm. You can also find additional information through the resources listed below.
Executive Director Deep Root Center for Self-Directed Learning