Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Open Letter to Loretta Weinberg

For those of you in other parts of the country who may not be aware of what is going on here in New Jersey: Over the last eight years, there have been TWO cases of neglect of children who were NOT registered in school.  Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County, NJ has proposed that restrictions be placed on homeschool families whereby the state monitors them for child abuse and to ensure that their children KNOW what the government has deemed appropriate for them to know.

Dear Ms. Weinberg,

 I studied to be a Child Welfare Advocate at Montclair (back when it was a State College, before it was a University).  I can completely and totally understand and appreciate your concern for the voiceless victims- innocent children.  I commend you for your many efforts and the many bills you introduced that have protected the women and children in this state.  I have the utmost respect for you.

After graduating from Rutgers College and working in education for a number of years, I was a stay at home mom.  When my own children entered school I was very upset by what was going on in the schools.  There is such a great emphasis on a standardized test, that the fun and creative aspects of elementary education are being sacrificed to drills and rote memorization of facts.  Drills and rote memorization are not going to ignite a love of learning, nor are they going to create innovative thinkers.  Children are not inspired and there is no joy in learning.  I would love to fill you in on my children's school experience, feel free to email me.  I would love to speak with you.  I would love to see school change.  I would love to see all children LOVE learning.  I would love to see all children's natural curiosity inspired, harnessed and cultivated.  But until that happens, I will homeschool.

I would love for you to take your time and explore this blog and tell me that I am not doing a good job with my girls education.  My girls are learning Grammar; they are learning to diagram sentences.  My girls have discovered a love of reading and history.  My girls are immersing themselves in science and doing supervised experiments.  My girls are learning to write by copying well-written passages.  They are writing outlines for 5 paragraph essays on things that interest them. They are learning vocabulary through studying Latin and Greek roots. They are learning Math for mastery.

My girls are not learning to pass a test.  They are not necessarily learning what is on the test.  They are learning because exploring our world is exhilarating and stimulating.  We are not using a spiral approach to learning, because we feel that it doesn't allow a child to feel completely comfortable with new skills, it doesn't allow a child to realize that thorough exploration and investigation, comprehension and understanding are KEY elements of education.  We believe that spiral learning does not provide a solid foundation, it is just a means to expose children to as many concepts as possible so they can attempt to do well on a test.

The United States ranks 8th in the world for science and math.  That speaks volumes for how our education system is failing.  I don't see why parents who are willing to be innovative and take responsibility for their children's education should be forced to comply with state standards that could possibly dictate how we educate our children when our education system is far behind other nations.

I understand that your concern is for the innocent children.  I am nauseated by these stories of abuse and neglect too.  But let's remember how many children are in our school systems and are abused.  Let's consider how often they slip through the cracks.

I don't have as much of an issue with requiring every child to be registered with the local school district as I do with the regulation of imposed standardized testing.  Let's consider, however, that a parent who can do heinous things to their child will have little to no respect for the law.  That parent is not going to care that the law states their child needs to be registered for school.  Those children who are in severe abusive situations will not be registered if the parents don't want to register them or if the parent is under the control of an abuser.  It is, unfortunately, the same situation as gun control or abortion or just about any other imposed law.  Criminals don't care what the law is.

The people you will effectively be punishing here, Ms. Weinberg, are the parents who really and truly care about their children and the creative, innovative minds of our future.

I encourage you to read this blog post, written by another homeschool mother in another state about why parents feel so strongly about homeschooling: Excellent Schools.

I know that I am one of several thousand homeschoolers in New Jersey, but I read the Message Boards, I attend the social events and field trips and I talk to other homeschool moms.  We inspire, encourage, support and empower each other.  I know that I am just one of many homeschool teachers in this state who are inspiring a love of learning in my children by setting a strong academic foundation.


(To protect my family, I do not use our last name on this blog, if you would like to speak more, please email me at