Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Homeschoolers Need a Well Functioning Government

I think there's a misnomer that homeschooling families refuse to accept government assistance because they feel they can do it better on their own. This is not true in our experience. Not true at all. We simply have chosen to take advantage of a different set of government funded services, without them, my wife (who is doing almost all of the work) would be much less effective. The most obvious examples:

1) The Tempe Library

My wife takes our kids to the library once every few weeks, and literally turns in about 50 pounds of books and checks out 50 pounds more. My kids don't get through all of those books, but a lot of them. We use them to supplement history lessons (our kids are studying the Vikings right now and are reading book after book about the Vikings, not to mention building Viking ships, etc.), to learn and create science experiments, and to just enjoy the act of reading. Without this valuable resource, we would be left to the books we could afford to buy or borrow from friends, or google on the internet. But the internet offers shallow knowledge. Books allow you to explore a single topic at a much, more desirable pace, allowing yourself to immerse in a new world. And the library really expands this world beyond comprehension. Our homeschooling experience would be much, much poorer without our local library.

Not to mention what else the library provides beyond just books - story time, access to knowledgeable librarians... Not to mention what library's could provide as they learn to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world. See this inspired article by Seth Godin. Although I take issue with this quote:

"They can't survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don't want to own (or for reference books we can't afford to own.)",

but I love this quote:

"What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others."

So, city of Tempe library, we love you. And we hope you continue to thrive, grow, and become an even better resource for us and for others in our city.

2) City Parks:

Once a week, our kids join other kids to congregate at a city park for homeschooling PE. We demand a park with plenty of open fields, green (or near green) grass, basketball courts, so our kids can grow and develop physical skills and good health.

Not to mention all of the times we enjoy Tempe Town Lake, Kiwanis Park, Daley Park, and other parks throughout and around Tempe.

Our son's birthday party will be held at a local park. Our last trip to Portland, OR to visit my sister, we spend a lot of times visiting parks.

I love city parks, I want them well maintained, and as a homeschooling family and just as a family with kids in a place with nice weather (well in February), we want to be outside as much as possible. We demand parks.

Those are the two big things, but of course I can talk about a well functioning police and fire department - we want, need and demand basic security. A well functioning and affordable health care system, well functioning sewage, access to affordable and clean water, access to affordable and clean energy.

And of course, access to a well functioning school, affordable school system. We may or may not homeschool for our kids through high school, but either way, I could see us taking advantage of our local schools. Enrolling part time in courses we can't teach ourself, taking advantage of our affordable junior college network of schools. And our lives our much better because my community is well educated. I know everyone can't home school and I demand a high quality and improving school system - public and private.

None of this is possible without a well functioning government. Lets demand our politicians to provide it and make sure they have enough resources to get these necessary jobs done with a high quality.

A well functioning government is only possible if we have a well functioning and educating and engaged electorate.


H said...

Oh Scott, you're demanding an awful lot here. Next thing you're gonna want is free speech and the right to bear arms.

I would say, based on the amount of Library fines that I, my family, and friends have paid over the last year or so, that your Tempe Public Library is fairing pretty well. I've always been a fan of the library, especially that one.

I think if I were to write a post on "why homeless people need a well functioning government" it would look very much like this post.

Gosh, I've missed your good posts like this. Whatchadoin', facebookin' all the time?! Sheesh. Bill read me something that you wrote lately about schooling. I can't access it though so please send it to me somehow here or via email. Thx.

tempe turley said...


I know, I'm sorry... But Facebook is a million times more convenient for just posting these short quotes from books I'm reading or posting a link with a quick commentary...

Blogger I reserve for longer stuff now... And that's been pretty sparse lately.

I wish I could find a way to automatically consolidate all of my facebook updates into a blogpost for those of you luddites avoiding the wonders of facebook. :-)...

I'm reading some awesome stuff from a book called Linchpin...

Maybe I'll collect the quotes into a blog post soon...

The weird thing is that my blog posts get updated on facebook automatically... So, to facebook users, my blog post looks like another note... So, then I start sounding redundant..

But most people probably miss most of my fb updates anyway since they come out you in a stream mixed in with all of their other friends anyway :-).