Homeschooling laws vary by state. It's legal to homeschool in all 50 states but states and school districts vary widely in what they require and expect. Massachusetts is one of a handful of "approval" states, or those that request parents to submit a formal education plan and receive an approval letter from the school district indicating that the education plan has been accepted.
We received our written approval yesterday.
As much as I feel the government shouldn't meddle much in the lives of individuals and families, I can go along with submitting a simple education plan each summer. I can appreciate that school districts want and need to account for all school-age children and make some attempt to ensure that there is no parental neglect or woeful inadequacy of academic content. Still, as I completed my brief education plan earlier this summer, modeled after this template, it seemed rather silly. Sure, I listed the resources we use in and around the city: the classes and lessons, the museums and libraries and universities, the civic and cultural events. I mentioned the books and magazines we are reading and those that will likely make their way into our home-library this year. I highlighted our focus on child-directed learning and listed some of the resources we use to trigger natural curiosity and exploration.
But it was just so...one-dimensional, so generic and bland compared to the actual learning and doing that takes place daily, weekly, and seasonally around here. True learning cannot be captured in a box or on a form; it cannot be measured around a set of arbitrary metrics that necessarily fail to recognize each child's dynamic talents and interests. True learning, the kind we all see with our children every day when they are given the time and space to do so, happens genuinely, spontaneously, involuntarily. Children are bursting to learn, to know, to do, to become.
We can nod our approval if it makes us feel good; but then let's get out of their way and let them learn.