Keith and Gail Brightbill: “We are strong believers in accountability”
“Space does not permit us to discuss the many more positive benefits homeschool parents and their children receive by having accountability procedures in place. Following a few requirements is not burdensome and provides protection for both the parent and child and ensures a successful homeschool experience for all. Remember, the goal is to prepare our children to be educated, moral, productive members of society.”
As veterans of 18 years of homeschooling we are strong believers in accountability to ensure a child receives a quality education. All four of our children were homeschooled K-12, and then went on to college and earned bachelor’s degrees. Two hold master degrees, one is completing work on his doctorate, and one will be awarded her Juris Doctor in May.
We homeschooled under the covering of an umbrella school, and served on the school’s board of directors for at least 15 years. Requirements for school membership were closely fashioned after the state homeschool statute requirements. Parents were required to keep daily attendance records, (180 days, the same as the state public school statute) keep a daily log of lesson plans, keep a portfolio representative of the student’s work, and have an end of year evaluation using one of three methods: (1) standardized achievement test (2) Evaluation by a certified teacher or, (3) any other method mutually agreed upon by the parent and the board. The student must show yearly progress commensurate with his/her ability.
These requirements were not at all burdensome and were designed to help parents ensure that their child received a quality education. Not only were parents accountable to the board, they also received and welcomed valuable support as they embarked on the educational choice of homeschooling.
During our 18 years of homeschooling we witnessed many successful students go on to become happy, productive members of society. But, we also witnessed some homeschool failures as parents did not provide an adequate education for their children. The parents did not hold themselves accountable, either under an umbrella school as allowed by law in our state, or by following the state law requirements for homeschooling. They were accountable to no one and their children did not learn. They could not do the basic 3 R’s of reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. They could not get into college nor could they find gainful employment.
Another important issue is that without accountability in place there is the strong potential that child abuse will go unreported. A young boy in our community died at the hands of his adoptive parents who were ostensibly homeschooling. They had not adhered to existing homeschool laws. The repeated abuse went undetected because the parents hid the abuse in their home and had no contact with the outside world. Both parents were convicted of the abuse and murder of their son and are serving life sentences.
We strongly urge parents who choose to educate their children at home to make themselves accountable by following existing homeschool laws, keep good records (important for transcripts to get your child into college), and support homeschool laws that have reasonable oversight to protect children and ensure they receive a good education.
Space does not permit us to discuss the many more positive benefits homeschool parents and their children receive by having accountability procedures in place. Following a few requirements is not burdensome and provides protection for both the parent and child and ensures a successful homeschool experience for all. Remember, the goal is to prepare our children to be educated, moral, productive members of society.
Kieth and Gail Brightbill homeschooled their children in Florida in the 1980s and 1990s. For additional thoughts and experiences from other homeschool parents, see our Testimonials page.