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Singer-Swapp siege a turning point in Utah home school policies, practices and attitudes

Published: Saturday, July 13 2013 6:05 p.m. MDT

The law requires home educators each year to file an affidavit with their local school district on behalf of each child they home school. Home-schooled children are not required to take standardized tests nor are their parents required to maintain records of attendance or instruction. Local school districts may not inspect school facilities or require that home educators be credentialed teachers.

Rep. Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork, the House sponsor of the legislation passed in 2005, said he’s unaware of any movement to change the policy.

“I think people have started to accept this is the norm now. It’s not a big, controversial issue any more,” he said.

While the Singers’ protests brought the of compulsory education to the foreground, Morely said, “you can’t legislate to the extreme.”

The goal behind sponsoring the legislation with Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, was to empower parents who want to exercise their right to educate their children as they see fit.

Allen says there are home school success stories but she worries about children whose parents aren't up to the task.

"Some parents do a great job. I personally know of parents who absolutely, positively did not," she said.

Sterling said Canyon School District strives to support all parents by offering instructional materials and it extends an open invitation to its family literacy center.

Whether a child attends his neighborhood school or he is educated at home, "they're part of our community. We want them to be an educated person so they can be a good citizen and ultimately contribute. Taking the big picture approach is always more helpful in the end."

The Mylars say they have tapped multiple resources to provide texts and curriculum that best suit their children. The beauty of home schooling is, the Mylars can be nimble if a certain approach does not suit one of their children. Public schools don't have that luxury, Debbie Mylar said.

Home schooling has had the added benefit of allowing their children sufficient time to develop their passions, such as art, music and athletics.

"I have more time to do things," said 11-year-old Rebekah, the budding artist of the family.

More important, Debbie Mylar said, home schooling allows the Mylar children to learn in a Christian environment and to build strong ties as a family.

"One of the blessings is being able to develop really wonderful relationships with all of them," she said.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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