Wow, my head is spinning after reading this entire thread lol, but I think it brings up many many good points for thought.
In response to the original question, I do not think government, federal, state, or local, should have any more regulation, I don't think homeschoolers should have or need more accountability. I live in SC, we have 3 options. The one I chose leaves me to report to a third party association 3 times a year, 1st to submit my curriculum choices (which are not regulated other than the core subjects that must be taught), 2nd is a mid year statement that I have completed 90 days, and third is a completion statement that I have completed 180 days. I must also keep a record of our studies, a portfolio, and attendance. Honestly I don't have a problem with doing these things, but I don't think they should be required either. No one sees my records unless I am investigated (like if someone called child services because my kids are not in school and they decided to be brats and investigate) but still, I don't think the state (or anyone) should have any say in the way I raise my children. I wouldn't however have any problem with a realistic standard to ensure children are being taught the minimum. (I will go into it later lol)
I also am a very opinionated person, so hopefully I wont offend anyone, but I also have a way of looking at many sides of a situation even if I don't agree. (If I may say so myself lol
) So many things have been brought up here I know I wont remember to touch on half of them lol but here is my 2 cents for what its worth.
Although I don't believe in government control, and I think it already has to much, I do have issue with some "examples" given here. I can understand where people are coming from on teaching children within there own belief system, and "trades" or "places within a household", but ultimately I think it is unfair to limit a child's learning to ones own beliefs. Just as I feel it is wrong that public schools teach a warped curriculum in some subjects, I think its wrong for homeschoolers to do the same. The reality of this country and this world is that there are many different people and beliefs, etc etc, and although we don't have to believe them all we do need to accept them if we are going to become a better people. There is already enough hate in this world without training our children only to accept those like us. As far as the "farmers daughter" example, how fair is it to that child to be taught nothing but to read if even that. The more you are taught the more the world opens up to you. That farmers daughter deserves to have the knowledge to make her own choices about her life. Just as much as a child doesn't know what candy is if you never feed it to them, a child doesn't know what knowledge and opportunity is out there for them if they are never exposed to it. Don't all of our daughters at least deserve the opportunity to choose between homemaker and scientist? There is nothing wrong with either but isn't it there choice?
I also have to agree with the opinion that it isn't right for people to say "down with government" on homeschooling but "control control" when it comes to gay marriage, abortion, religion, or anything else. It has to apply to all. I am not saying a homeschooler who is against gay marriage should necessarily fight for gay marriage but they shouldn't fight against it either. If you have the right to live as you wish so should others, you don't have to agree with it.
Personally, I believe everyone should be "allowed" (for lack of a better word at this late hour lol) to live and raise there children as they wish so long as it is not harmful to the children or others. The tricky part here is how to define harmful. If you ask 1000 different people you will get 1000 different answers. Thus this is an unachievable goal, but a nice discussion point! lol I think the closest we could come to this is if all homeschoolers could come together and define there own set of standards in there own "government", that could then be upheld by a national organization of some sort, but even that wouldn't please everyone. My personal opinion would be to have a national "test" that would simply test the core subjects (reading, writing, and arithmetic) at set grade levels that was a reasonable test. A test of factual information with factual answers, no opinions needed, and of actual knowledge. This could be created in the same manner as the regulations themselves in my make believe homeschoolers "government".
I know some people would be strongly opposed to something like that, and I can understand why. I am just of the opinion that there does have to be a happy medium. There are homeschoolers out there that, regardless of regulations or lack there of, don't teach there children. I think it is sad that those children didn't get the benefit that a good education brings. Do I think they would have been taught better in ps? Not necessarily, but maybe. I wasn't in that house, maybe they were taught more than it appears, but some national standard could help parents at least identify what areas there children need more focus on more than one might think.
I just want to say again, I am not suggesting government interference, I am suggesting a national standard WE create and regulate.
My make believe world is not perfect, and it will probably never come to be, but this type of thought and discussion is the only thing that will change the things we don't like about our country and keep the things we do the way they are. This issue isn't going to be solved here, and we are all going to be dead fast in our opinions most likely until the end, but it is food for thought. The only way anything will change is acceptance of each other and compromise with each other. If we are at odds it only gives them more leverage!
Ok, I am going to leave "make believe land" now that I have written a novel, but hopefully I have added some food for thought!
Just one more thing..... Again, I mean no offense to anyone here or anywhere, just my opinions to the topics at hand not your beliefs or lives!