Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Sarah Majewski

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to last week’s letter to the editor on the topic of homeschooling. I was homeschooled myself (grades 5-12), have homeschooled my own son and the children of friends, and have tutored for homeschool families for over 20 years.

For those who think parents choose to homeschool because they don’t think education is important, I’d encourage you to get to know a homeschool family personally, and see for yourself if that is the truth. Parents who choose to homeschool invest thousands of dollars into their child’s curriculum, including textbooks, hands-on activities, online classes, and private tutors when necessary.

Then there is the vast amount of time spent on planning, teaching, and evaluating. It is certainly not an “easy way out”! Parents choose to homeschool for many reasons, but laziness is not one of them. I have known many homeschool families, but have never known one to skip subjects because they didn’t think it was important - rather they are very concerned if they feel that their child is “behind” and often hire me to help out if they’re not sure what to do.

There are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool. Some want a more flexible schedule so they can incorporate farming, a family business, or traveling into the school schedule (and may choose to homeschool year-round).  Some desire a Christian education and do not have access to a Christian school nearby. For families with gifted students, at home they can often learn faster than they could in a traditional school setting.

Conversely, many parents homeschool because their students are struggling or have learning disabilities.  At home they can be taught at their own pace, in a low-stress environment, with curriculum suited to their own learning style - and nearly all of them succeed in catching up with their peers, or even surpassing them.

As for the rules in Iowa, there are three ways to homeschool in our state, and two of them do require oversight and testing. For the independent option, most of us do choose to test our kids regularly because we’re very concerned about their education.

If you’d like to learn more about homeschooling in Iowa, please see www.homeschooliowa.org for all the details. (And by the way, most of us don’t want money from the government - we just want to teach our children in peace.)

Sarah Majewski