Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Can We Have Business Without Bureaucracy?

By David Ayers
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #7, 1994.

Will homeschooling partnering with business just create another bureaucracy

   Pin It

Dr. David Ayers

When you begin looking at the possibility of partnerships with big business, some questions arise. Being successful means real money and big plans—from creating and running thriving urban homeschool resource centers, to building up national organizations of size and power which are capable of negotiating with top executives, to writing (or helping others write) professional proposals, to serving as information clearinghouses and referral agents. In many cases this also means hiring and expanding staff, while establishing standards for those who work for you and for those you strive to help.

Many homeschoolers understandably cringe at all this. Why jump out of the frying pan of public school bureaucracy just to just to create our own private bureaucracy?

Our answer is that we can consciously avoid creating a homeschooling bureaucracy, while still becoming major-league players in the educational world.

Business funding means more resources for poorer homeschool families, and more help for families with less experience. This will mean more new homeschoolers, which will lead in turn to a richer community of fellow laborers and more political clout—not to mention a helpful transformation of the youth in our communities! And resources can be made more widely available which many of us could potentially use, but few of us can afford—from big software libraries and the establishment of many new local homeschool bulletin boards, to more featured speakers and workshops.

Here are some ideas about what we can do to build stronger homeschooling groups, while still keeping them on the leash. Certainly, this list does not exhaust the possibilities—so we’d love to hear from our readers on this one—but it is a start.

(1) Maximize the power and number of strictly volunteer staff. Some groups have strong volunteer boards that donate their time and keep close eye on all operations. Others are mainly staffed by homeschool parents who donate their time. Sometimes, this means loss of efficiency (more people going on and off shift, turnover, etc.). If a small cadre of salaried personnel are used to maintain consistency while most of the work is done by volunteers, a good balance can be struck—especially if salaried personnel with decision-making authority are elected by the membership.

(2) Keep budgets that are low on salaries, and high on equipment. Computers don’t talk back or plot takeovers! Whenever you think of hiring extra people, ask how much of that extra workload can be taken care of by simple technological upgrades. Such investments are usually cheaper in the long run. Fewer professional staff members means a smaller chance that your group will turn into an unresponsive bureaucracy.

(3) Use existing, “tried-and-true” groups to take on new obligations. At the national level, ideally a group like National Center for Home Education (NCHE) would be willing, with the right funds and help, to build databases of business contacts, provide sample grant proposals, and so on—and work directly with national business educational reform groups. Although NCHE has told us they are not willing to take on this challenge at this time, we can keep on hoping! Meanwhile, state associations can work with groups such as state NAPE affiliates more effectively than smaller local groups could. These entities have the equipment, staff, and contacts to do this. They will often be more trusted by businesses as stable groups to deal with (local volunteer groups tend to come and go too quickly). Most already have good guidelines to prevent abuse.

(4) Resist pressure to develop accreditation or compulsory “benefits.” Some universities or companies that might work with homeschoolers to offer “how to homeschool” classes might push for some kind of “certificate” to be granted upon completion. Before you know it, you have people advertising themselves as “certified homeschoolers.” This easily starts us on the slippery slope to requiring parents to have certain courses to participate in a resource center or similar entity (“We only accept certified homeschoolers!”).

Anti-homeschooling forces would pick up on this fast. “Look, they require certification of their own people, so why should it be a problem for us to throw in a few ‘reasonable’ requirements of our own?”

So we need to avoid offering certification or accreditation, and must certainly not force anyone to partake of certain “benefits” as a prerequisite to participating in organizations we create.

(5) Watch the contracts you sign. Think through carefully what commitments and restrictions you can and cannot accept. Don’t shut out internal criticism or warnings in your rush for business dollars! When agreement time comes, use experienced homeschooling lawyers in your own communities, or wise groups like HSLDA, to help you draw up agreements with funding sources. Be wary of companies who already have dangerous policies, such as those with aggressive, “politically correct” quotas and speech regulations.

As long as we follow these five guidelines, we should be able to benefit from business partnerships while extending our influence, helping many more families, and maintaining our rights and privileges as homeschoolers.

Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

University of Nebraska High School
Free Email Newsletter!
Sign up to receive our free email newsletter, and up to three special offers from homeschool providers every week.

Popular Articles

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

The Gift of a Mentor

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Laptop Homeschool

Start a Nature Notebook

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Who Needs the Prom?

The History of Public Education

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Shakespeare Camp

Teaching Blends

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry

Getting Organized Part 3

AP Courses At Home

Whole-Language Boondoggle

The Charlotte Mason Method

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Critical Thinking and Logic

Myth of the Teenager

A Reason for Reading

I Was an Accelerated Child

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Teach Your Children to Work

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Montessori Math

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Bears in the House

How to Win the Geography Bee

Character Matters for Kids

Narration Beats Tests

The Benefits of Debate

Classical Education

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Combining Work and Homeschool

Phonics the Montessori Way

University Model Schools

Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1993-2018 Home Life, Inc.