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Homeschooling Changes

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Parents of homeschooled students are bristling at a pending bill in the Michigan legislature that would require families to register with the local school district, according to The Detroit News. Backers say the bill is the best way to calculate the number of students being educated in the state. Critics see it as a slippery slope towards more state involvement and regulations for homeschooling.

Homeschooling is one the rise nationally. The Home School Legal Defense Fund Association told The Detroit News that the number of students being educated at home rose from 1.1 million to 2 million since 2003.

The reasons that parents are pulling students from traditional schools are also changing. Homeschooling has often been associated with religious families, but experts in Michigan are seeing a rise in homeschooled students who have special learning needs, are academically or athletically gifted, suffer from health problems, or just don’t fit the mold of traditional public schools.

Kimberly Fannelli, who homeschools two daughters with celiac disease, told The Detroit News, “it’s scary because their health is in someone else’s hands. At the school they were at they were doing everything they could, but there’s only so much you can do.”

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I work in a junior high where many parents bring their children after home-schooling them for several years. Some are awesome, completely at or above grade level, and some are abysmal. One girl right now is 8th grade age, but can't even complete 7th grade math work. Mom says she hasn't kept her at grade level. Homeschooling parents should be required to register at the least, or have the kids take the same MEAPs as our kids. Something should be done to keep these kids at grade level. For those who are above, excellent. But if the public schools are required to have our children 100% proficient by 2014, homeschooling parents should too. It is tantamount to child abuse to do otherwise.

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