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    Why We Don’t Charter School {Introduction}

    October 17, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    I have been thinking about writing this series for a long time. And I’ve been working on this series for a while. However, I’ve debated over whether or not to post it. For one thing, the series isn’t finished, so once I post I’m committed to carrying this on to the end. Moreover, I recently learned that more than one person in the Afterthoughts readership is a charter schooler. But, after talking with Si, I decided to post.

    So for starters, I’m not looking for a fight. Really, I’m not. I’m noticing more and more homeschoolers in our area turning to charter schools. Frankly, these folks believe they are getting such a good deal, they have trouble understanding why Si and I don’t jump on board and grab our free zoo passes while we can.

    And I won’t say it wasn’t tempting, and I won’t say it won’t be tempting again in the future.

    We here often choose the hard road because the easy road conflicts with our conscience. I am not, incidentally, saying that you must have a hardened, evil heart if you don’t see things our way. I simply want to explain that, to us, the charter school would be the easy road. And we just can’t take it.

    This is the first in a series of posts to explain why that is. You do not have to agree with me. That is not a requirement for reading this post. Really, I am writing this to work out my own logic, so that when a smiling mom asks me why in the world we aren’t attending the local charter school and getting all the “free” stuff that is being handed out, I actually have a good reason ready.

    Readiness is very helpful in difficult conversations.

    Also, I would like to invite you all to think this through with me. Obviously, I can’t think it all through on my own, and the perspective of others is always helpful. And I think intelligent discussion is enjoyable. So please join me as I walk through what I think are some logical objections to charter schooling.

    You’re reading Introduction
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Ending Note

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    1 Comment

  • Reply M&L Owens October 21, 2007 at 5:25 am

    You are a great writer! I am so glad you are doing this blog. My wife told me about it and I jumped in to see what you had to say. You know the program I work for and at my wife’s request I am not writing the name because our son is on the premises from time to time.

    I see your point so far. I assume that by Charter, one of the programs you are referring to is our school. I have a small conflict of interest and a little bias as I am an employee, a parent of a “student,” and a husband of a parent-teacher. In your blog you welcomed others to think this through with you so here I am.

    The “homeschooling” endeavor (as you know) is not the easy road. I would argue that being involved in your child’s education in any capacity is not an easy task. Least of all homeschooling. Once the decision to take the more strenuous road is made I am proud to say there are many options in how you go about it.

    Our “school” is one option among many. The school’s back bone is a phrase that we hold in high regard and that is “Parent Choice.” Within that option are many other options for those families with just as many variables to choose from. Some parents are confident, have all the resources they need and simply take advantage of the extras the school has to offer. Some parents are not confident yet and appreciate the resources that are available. The school is available to those parents at either end of the spectrum and all that are in between.

    The families that enroll in our school only actually come to the location of the school to meet with their “Resource Teacher” or to attend what we call enrichment classes that are offered once a week, in five week sessions, four times a year. That’s a total of 20 days a year. The actual “schooling” takes place in the home, by the parent the majority of the time. I’m not sure what to call it besides homeschooling.

    This is meant to be a joke but it is true: I really think that it is possible to be enrolled at our charter school and take a hard road. A family can choose not to use the resources that would make it easier for them and only use the resources that allow the family to have a difficult time. : ) Really, a family can choose the resources they would like to take advantage of and not use resources that are not beneficial to their homeschooling endeavors. Homeschooling is not an easy choice, but it is worth every struggle.

    I saw there is another blog about this. I can’t wait to read it…

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