Importance: Home Schooling Children with Disabilities
In addition to the issues and concerns that have been discussed regarding parents of children with disabilities, there is a population of parents that are dealing with the education of their children with disabling conditions by teaching them at home.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children being home schooled in this country (Wendel, Konnert, & Foreman, 1986). Although the exact number is not known, it is estimated that there were approximately 10,000 home educators. This figure has jumped to 260,000 (Lines, 1987) with estimates of a million children (Zakariya, 1988) and the numbers growing each year.
The home education movement has grown in both its complexity and diversity. Home schoolers reflect almost every point on the social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical spectra in our society. The movement's multifaceted nature is seen in many ways, but especially in: (a) the composition of the families involved; (b) the curricula and teaching methods employed; and (c) the characteristics of the children taught at home.
Home schooling has also generated much controversy. The mere mention of home schooling can elicit strong reactions from people. Whether it be about its basic legality, the issue of state's rights versus parental rights, the socialization of the children or the concern that "teaching children at home is like practicing medicine without a license" (Wilson, 1988), home schooling can be a very charged issue.
The legal and legislative ramifications stimulated by home schooling have been felt in recent years in almost every school district, state legislative body, and judicial system throughout the country. However, cases relating to some aspect of home schooling have been before the courts for almost 100 years (from Commonwealth v. Roberts, 1893; Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 1923; Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925; State v. Massa, 1967; Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972; Perchemlides v. Frizzle, (1978); Deleconte v. State of North Carolina, 1985; Dept. of Social Services v. Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, 1987; and Blackwelder v. Safnauer, 1988.
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