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He Has Faith in Home Schooling

February 15, 1987

I couldn't resist the impulse to respond to the issue of home schooling. As a mental health professional, I consult with two school districts regarding non-attendance in schools. I sit on a panel interviewing families and their non-attending child. Often non-attendance can be traced to chaotic over-burdened parents, uninformed, inadequate parents and/or an extremely willful rebellious child.

Occasional exceptions include parents who genuinely believe they can provide a better education at home. These people have typically been intelligent, educated and articulate. While it's true the law requires a child to attend school until they graduate or reach 18, we could define "school" as a structured purposeful learning environment. Then we could give these families the support they're entitled to for trying to produce a higher quality learning environment.

There are a lot of reasons why home teaching could be superior to our public system. Unfortunately, through no fault of dedicated school officials, there are a whole lot of kids in our public system that aren't getting a quality education. I have been a guest speaker in several high school classrooms. I have seen students enter a classroom and promptly lay their heads on their desks and others who sat dispiritedly with unfocused eyes and a general look of disinterest on their faces. There were many who were curious and attentive. But there are some who can't be motivated by so few trying to reach so many.

--CHARLES GUSTAFSON

Long Beach

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