I really appreciated finally seeing something in the NCJ about homeschooling here in Humboldt County ("High School 2.0," Sept. 30). Thank you to the people who help to organize and support this valuable program. It's only one part of the world of homeschooling experiences that so many amazing teachers, parents and community members provide for those locally who, for a variety of reasons, choose not to be in school full-time. Considering that we've got a substantially sized diverse group of people that are taking on this endeavor, might the topic in general not make an interesting and informative future cover story?
Thanks also for the heads-up movie blurb about Race to Nowhere, a documentary focusing on the impact of No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top, the Big Business of getting into college, and the enormous pressures put on many of today's children, parents, teachers and administrators. I was able to catch one of its showings at the Broadway and am still feeling the emotional aftershocks. As a dedicated former public school teacher (pre-Bush) and now a homeschooling mom, I'm constantly wondering what the ideal balance is between structure and creative play and exploration when it comes to learning. Clearly that's not something the Department of Education is currently unsure about. Even with the best of intentions, many of their methods to reaching their expectations are taking a toll on many of our youth (three to five hours of homework each night, pressure to take AP courses, teaching to the test, having to be able to read before leaving kindergarten, etc.).
I know the scenarios depicted in the film are not necessarily what all our local students, conscientious parents and devoted teachers may be experiencing, but it's all too real for many a someone somewhere. I hope people/schools will check this film out on DVD and talk about it. If you homeschool, it will give you the encouragement to keep at it. If you work in public or private schools or have children in them (or even if you don't), it will encourage you to speak out.
Kristina Pearlingi, Orleans