Thursday, January 06, 2011

Spunky warns against tax breaks for homeschooling

A few congressman are considering giving tax breaks for homeschoolers. In Homeschoolers and Tax Breaks, Spunky warns about allowing the camel's nose into the tent. She concludes with:

It would be just like liberals to find this tax-break one they could vote for just for the benefit of finally getting homeschoolers into the federal fold and add the regulation later after homeschoolers have taken advantage of the credit. Please homeschoolers don't fall for this trojan horse and Mr. Estrada please pick up the phone and call Mr. McCluskey ASAP.


abba12 said...

Here in Australia it has happened more than once, most veteran homeschoolers are quite cautious of ANYTHING that makes our life easier over here. That's why most are still skeptical of the new 'home education department' the government brought in just a little while ago, which sounds very similar to the american system, but mightn't stay that way long.

The biggest example would have to be about 7 years ago. Homeschooling outside of a registered system was illegal without some very strict requirments being met, but homeschooling in the system meant registering with either ACE (not a preference, even among many christians) or the government run schools of distance education (because of the sparsness of Australia, schools of distance education are nececary and quite accepted, IF you live in a remote town. The parent is nothing but a supervisor, work is sent out, teachers are contacted by phone regularly, work is returned fortnightly to be marked by the teacher, it's basically school via phone/internet)

It used to be if you were homeschooling, at a distance ed school 'by choice' (as opposed to those who couldn't reach a school, or the specialist groups like the circus kids and music prodigys) it would cost an arm and a leg to enroll for the year, but about 7 years back they announced more understanding for homeschoolers, so we could enroll for free like everyone else (it was a public school after all) and new innovations were going to make the curriculum more flexible than ever before. Parents were not only going to be able to take part in the schooling but would be encouraged more than ever before to have an active part in the childs learning, no longer being supervisors but 'home tutors' even past the first few grades.

Yep, we fell for it, as did thousands of homeschoolers around the country. Two years later the distance ed schools reintroduced the fees for 'by choice' homeschoolers, making them considerably higher than before, and at the same time their requirments for by choice homeschoolers became VERY strict, moreso than they were for the other students, including mandatory weekly phone lessons in every subject, when they were optional for everyone else. Having 6 or 7 1 hour lessons by phone each week on a non-negotiable timetable kinda screws with anything else you want to do as a family.

I don't know how it works in America but in Australia once you are 'in the system' its very hard to get out. When you leave a school you have to give the name of the school you are moving to, so just dropping out and going back to the old ways was not an option. They also announced it officially only a couple of weeks before fees for the next year and the end of the last term (most people got forewarning from a few wonderful distance ed teachers who supported homeschoolers and leaked the info.) Thankfully that same year a private christian distance ed school opened up. Poor guys had no idea what the government was doing, and were completely overwhelmed by something like 1000 applications for enrollment all at once. That school has become no better than the government school now, the regulations and the huge influx of students was just too much for them, but most people managed to find a way out of the system again from there. For those that didn't, I heard rumours of a 'school' being opened where the students could enroll, and when they left the school the principle would conveniently 'forget' to ask where the new school would be, don't know if it ever eventuated though.

So yeah, I agree with spunky here, good luck american homeschoolers!

Henry Cate said...

One of the more frustrating things for me is how few people seem to learn anything from history.

Thanks for sharing.