Hultgren talks homeschooling, Common Core in Johnsburg

Urges officials to rethink Common Core at J’burg event

JOHNSBURG – Congressman Randy Hultgren lauded the option of homeschooling and briefly touched on the Common Core standards during a Johnsburg Public Library event Monday evening.

Hultgren, R-Winfield, hosted “State of Homeschooling” at the library – home to the Homeschool Resource Center, which draws interest from homeschool families across the state.

Hultgren, whose four kids are or have been homeschooled, said he called the event to draw attention to the center and to the effectiveness of homeschooling. He spoke and answered questions for about 25 minutes before mingling with the crowd of about 50 people that filled a conference room in the library.

“I honestly believe in local control, and homeschooling is the ultimate local control,” he said. “It’s a family making decisions of what’s good for their kids.”

Hultgren has come out in opposition of Common Core because he says the set of education standards – on course to be fully implemented by next school year – would take control away from local communities. On Monday, he said he’s urging Illinois to take a step back and re-evaluate the standards, an action that would mirror Indiana’s recent withdrawal from the standards.

“Let’s wait on this,” he said. “Let’s get some more answers on this.”

Speaking about homeschooling, he applauded Illinois’ approach as one that allows families greater freedoms than some states. He said other states keep a closer eye on homeschool families, sometimes requiring approval of lesson plans and curriculums.

Cheryl Flood, a homeschool mom of two in Island Lake, agreed with that point.

“Illinois leaves a lot of that up to the parent on how to educate their child,” Flood said. “And I think that’s a fundamental right.”

Flood came out to Monday night’s event because she said it’s important to keep informed on issues affecting the homeschool community.

Kathy Wentz, a volunteer who helped create and now helps oversee the library’s homeschool resource center, said she was happy the event could shed light on what she believes is a resource unlike any other in the country.

“Almost all of the other libraries that you will see that have homeschool sections, it will be, at most, six or seven shelves of homeschool support materials and a little bit of curriculum,” Wentz said. “Nobody has microscopes and telescopes ... and puzzles and games. This is the only one like it.”

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