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"WHY DO WE CHOOSE TO HOMESCHOOL?"

Posted Monday, January 11, 2010, at 3:54 PM

Why do we home school?

"According to the National Home Education Research Institute, the number of homeschoolers rose from 1.2 million in 2003 to an astounding 2.4 million in 2006. With this staggering increase in those receiving an education from home we have to wonder why people are choosing this form of education."

Since our decision three years ago to home school our children, I'm often asked, "why home school?" The truth is, there really is no one simple reason why we made the decision to pull our children from public school and dedicated the time and resources needed to home educate successfully.

According to the U.S. DOE's "Homeschooling in the United States: 2003", 85 percent of homeschooling parents cited "the social environments of other forms of schooling" (including safety, drugs, sexual harassment, bullying and negative peer-pressure) as an important reason why they home school. 72 percent cited "to provide religious or moral instruction" as an important reason, and 68 percent cited "dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools." 7 percent cited "Child has physical or mental health problem", 7 percent cited "Child has other special needs", 9 percent cited "Other reasons" (including "child's choice," "allows parents more control of learning" and "flexibility").

Unlike most parents who choose to home school, we did not make the decision for religious reasons. Bedford county schools, while keeping to the laws regarding separation of Church and State, do offer a great deal of leeway with regard to prayer at sporting events, upon news of a tragedy, etc., even allowing the Gideon's into the classroom. We are satisfied with the amount of [Christianity] religious freedom the schools here allow...trust me, the public school I attended in southern California allowed no religious flexibility.

While I wish the days of prayer before class still existed, I do not think my children need to mix religious beliefs with classroom studies...in our opinion, that's what bible study and Sunday school at church is for. Think about it, if we allow religious studies into the public classrooms it will not be limited to Christianity. Personally, I prefer my children not study and learn the Koran, Vodou, Judaism, etc., even it does mean a trade out to allow in the open study of Christianity in public schools. Home educating allows us the freedom to introduce religion into our studies if we choose to do so, but with full control of the type of material, amount of material, etc. So, in part our decision was dictated by religion, but we do not incorporate religion into our academic studies.

We tailor our academic material to coincide closely with the public schools', and even cover controversial material, such as Darwin's theory of Evolution. Yes, we are a Christian household. But we are also a "realist" household, and as such I believe my children should be aware of significant scientific events/theories  within the world as a whole...that does not mean they have to believe it. Darwin's theory of Evolution is just that...a theory. If I don't arm my children with this controversial knowledge, then what becomes of them in college where they are expected to know it? I also teach them about other theories, including Creationism...again, just a theory. This is where we differ most from the "typical" home school family.

So then why do we home school? Because home educating gives us the freedom and control to provide our children with the type of education we feel will serve them best in today's world. Who is more dedicated to your child's future success than you, as a parent? Home educating further allows us to connect and bond as a family, and to instill moral training into our children's development...something no longer incorporated into today's [public] classroom.

My daughters are closer to one another than I could ever have imagined being to one of my siblings, and every day is a "learning day" when you home school. We study the type of leaves indigenous to this area when on a trip to the park, the amount of sodium and cholesterol levels in today's foods when eating at McDonald's (an oxymoron, I know), and visit zoos and museums in numerous cities surrounding our own.

Study results often show that home school students test up to (30%) thirty percent higher than publicly educated children. Regarding SAT and ACT tests, homeschooled and formally-schooled students  averaged higher scores on college entrance tests. Belfield (2005) found homeschooled students to have SAT college-admission scores higher than private-religious school and public-school students.

Standardized test results for 16,000 home educated children, grades K-12, were analyzed in 1994 by researcher Dr. Brian Ray. He found the nationwide grand mean in reading for homeschoolers was at the 79th percentile; for language and math, the 73rd percentile. This ranking means home-educated students performed better than approximately 77% of the sample population on whom the test was normed. Nearly 80% of homeschooled children achieved individual scores above the national average and 54.7% of the 16,000 homeschoolers achieved individual scores in the top quarter of the population, more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter.

In summary, multiple studies show that home-educated students in grades K to 12, as a group, score above average on standardized academic achievement tests. And it is believed approximately sixteen billion tax dollars are saved annually because of parent's choice to home school. So, how could someone criticize our decision to home school?

Opponents of homeschooling state several categories of concerns relating to homeschooling or its potential effects on society:

  • Inadequate standards of academic quality and comprehensiveness;
  • Reduced funding for public schools;
  • Lack of socialization with peers of different ethnic and religious backgrounds;
  • The potential for development of religious or social extremism;
  • Children sheltered from mainstream society, or denied opportunities that are their right, such as social development;
  • Potential for development of parallel societies that do not fit into standards of citizenship and the community

In rebuttal to these oppositions--with regard to our personal situation--I offer the following details:

ˇ         My husband and I are both college educated. I have a dual major B.A. and A.A from an accredited university. I worked in the California public school system and passed the California C-BEST exam on my first attempt. I currently teach Spanish, algebra and drama with the Bedford County Homeschool Enrichment Program (HEP), and formally taught Spanish in an industrial setting for a local fortune 500.

 ˇ         It is my understanding that when a child is registered to homeschool as an Independent under the school board of education, that some funding is still received (I have been told this information second-hand, so please do not consider this factual without further investigation). 

ˇ         Our children are actively involved in local recreation sports activities and events. They play on socially diverse teams, and study other cultures and ways of life in their "world geography and cultures" coursework. 

ˇ         Our children attend the Bedford County Homeschool Enrichment Program (HEP) co-op. They meet one day a week and attend classes in a structured classroom setting, go on field trips, and are involved in community events, such as the recent 2009 Festival of trees "Christmas around the world" at The Fly cultural arts center.

 ˇ         Again, my children are taught to understand other cultures and way of life; are actively involved in social public activities, such as soccer; and observe the world around us with interest and curiosity.

I stand firmly behind my decision to home educate my children, in order to give them the best advantage in life. If anyone objects to my decision...bring it on!

But again, I do not recommend home school for everyone. And if you choose to home educate, do so for the right reasons...most importantly, what is truly in the best interest of your child educationally and socially. Research the subject beforehand and consider co-ops, classes, groups, and clubs to keep your child submerged in the world outside your home.

Do not hide your children from the world, or they will not be prepared to face it on their own. Do not fully discourage conformity--for it is needed in certain situations within the real world--but remember also to teach your child to embrace diversity and encourage individuality. Home educating gives you a lot of control in shaping your child into the type of person you wish them to become....do not abuse that power, nor take it for granted.

For those of you who want more information about how to home school--or are trying to determine if it is even the right choice for your family--and want to know what resources are available to aid you, email me at homechooltrend@aol.com.

FYI to those of you who have made the very discriminatory, ludicrous remark that homeschoolers account for a large part of our wasted tax dollars and the welfare plague burdened on society....take a look at these INDEPENDENT, STUDY-DOCUMENTED FACTS:

Distribution of Homeschool Students and Students Nationally Classified by Parent Academic Attainment: 1999, Education Policy Analysis Archives.[90]
Did not finish high school High school graduate only Some college, no degree Associate degree Bachelors degree Masters degree Doctorate
Homeschool fathers 1.2% 9.3% 16.4% 6.9% 37.6% 19.8% 8.8%
Males nationally 18.1 32.0 19.5 6.4 15.6 5.4 3.1
Homeschool mothers 0.5 11.3 21.8 9.7 47.2 8.8 0.7
Females nationally 17.2 34.2 20.2 7.7 14.8 4.5 1.3

Lawrence Rudner's (University of Maryland) 1998 study shows that homeschool parents have a higher income than average (1.4 times by one estimate),[82] and are more likely to have an advanced education. Rudner found that homeschooling parents tend to have more formal education than parents in the general population; that the median income for homeschooling families ($52,000) is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States ($36,000); that 98% of homeschooled children live in "married couple families"; that 77% of homeschool mothers do not participate in the labour force, whereas 98% of homeschooling fathers do participate in the labour force; and that median annual expenses for educational materials are approximately $400 per homeschool student.[91]

A 2001 study by Dr. Clive Belfield states that the average homeschooling parent is a woman with a college degree. Belfield estimates annual homeschooling costs to be approximately $2,500 per child[92]

...And here are a FEW other "socially deprived" former home schooled children...imagine what they could have done for the world if they hadn't been homeschooled? (yes, this list is "outdated" but I used it to point out the most famous people....there are plenty in today's day and age if you want to take the time to look. And then there are those home schoolers who are not famous, but are still notable, like the home schooler who was accepted to Auburn Univerity at age 14, or the home schooler who scored the highest possible (maximum) score on the SAT exam.

 Agatha Christie

Pearl S. Buck

Alexander Graham Bell

Ansel Adams

Robert Frost

Woodrow Wilson

Mozart

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Louisa May Alcott

Theodore F. Roosevelt

George Washington

Queen Elizabeth II

John Quincy Adams

James Madison

Thomas Jefferson

Abraham Lincoln

Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Edison

Mark Twain

Charles Dickens

Robert E. Lee

George Patton

"Stonewall" Jackson

Florence Nightingale

Martha Washington

Not to mention countless U.S. Senators & Congressmen, artists, Generals, Governors, College Presidents, Composers, Authors, Scientists, Business men, and more...

SOURCES:

http://www.eadshome.com/Famoushomeschool...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooli...

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100...

http://school.familyeducation.com/home-s...

http://www.foche.net/famous.htm

DO THESE HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN LOOKED SOCIALLY AND CULTURALLY DEPRIVED TO YOU?

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooli...

http://www.academicleadership.org/empric...

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00...

http://www.sanepr.com/Identification-Car...


Comments
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My only qualms would concern the people who isolate their children for the wrong reasons and the absence of high-calibre kids as "leavening" in a mainstream environment that may get progressively worse as our best-and-brightest are sifted out of it.

I think we have forestalled some of the potential damage of both these issues by accepting homeschoolers as part of the norm instead of some "fringe" movement.

The more homeschooled kids see and get seen,the less chance there is for negative forms of stratification,deliberate and inadvertant ignorance and misinformation and a "hothouse" environment that leaves the homeschooled child ill-equipped to take on the "real world" as adults.

By definition,the homeschooler may be more self-directed and have more involved parents.

That alone might give them an edge.

When they can share their skills and perspectives with other children and learn from those with different backgrounds,then there's less to worry about in regard to educational and social gaps and indoctrination.

Any lapse or abuse occurring in either camp can be spotted and alleviated by people outside who are detatched enough to have an accurate and objective view of things.

The evolving amalgam of homeschooling and the traditional public and private schools allows us to blend the best of each and patch up the flaws in each system that might go unnoticed or untended if there were only "one game in town".

It's been about forty years since the modern wave of homeschooling started.

The fact that many people who have gotten their education both ways are making the best of both systems (and often hybridizing them) instead of rejecting one or the other for their own children reveals that homeschooling need not be at odds with the alternatives or "regular" society.

It is an option that meets the needs of those it serves best and it provides enough "competition" to encourage traditional schools to perform at their optimal levels.

Ideally,all sources of learning will work together and create a generation of independent,lifelong learners who have common bonds,common experiences and knowledge bases and a sense of community with people as diverse and multi-layered as the content of their own minds.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 6:46 PM

If I had any children of school age, they would be home schooled rather than receive the very liberal "indoctrination" they recieve now in public schools. Had my child come home and informed me that he was instructed by some school teacher to believe that homosexuality was normal and to be celebrated, I would have snatched my child out of school the very next day.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 1:01 AM

"Darwin's theory of Evolution is just that...a theory. If I don't arm my children with this controversial knowledge, then what becomes of them in college where they are expected to know it? I also teach them about other theories, including Creationism...again, just a theory."

You are playing on two different meanings of the word "theory" to place creationism on the same level as evolution. In everyday conversation, theory means little more than a guess or highly questionable opinion. However, in a scientific context, a theory is a well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for observations. A theory is as close to proven as something can get.

When someone says evolution is "just a theory", they are using the non-scientific definition of the word to try make it seem less significant. Evolution is a scientific theory. Creationism is not. The ordinary definition of "theory" as "guess" or "hunch" is more appropriate for Creationism.

-- Posted by Richard on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 2:23 AM

Richard--

Thank you for taking the time to give a more in-depth clarification of the meaning of the word "theory," and the distinction between the two references.

In short, I was merely making the point that unlike most home school families, I incorporate scientific theories and observations into my child's studies...including the "assumption" that our ancestors evolved from primates. Darwin's theory of Evolution [and natural selection] is based upon both scientific observations that can be proven, as well as "educated guesses and assumptions."

Personally, I do believe in evolution and natural selection of species, to a certain degree...this can be proven as evidenced by fossil remains of the Hyracotherium, a small (10-20") econe horse with 3 & 4 toes, an arched back, short neck and snout. Fossil record thus provides consistent evidence of systematic change through time of descent with modification, evolving eventually into the present-day equine (horse). But science has yet to unearth the remains of "monkey-man." And thus, without that key provable evidence, Darwin's theory remains a THEORY...not FACT.

Aside from the writings found in the Holy Bible, I cannot offer you concrete evidence to support the theory of Creationism...it's simply a theory to be taken in value by Faith alone (although there are observed facts that can be linked to the defense and support of events depicted as occuring in the Bible, such as fossilized and time-line evidence of a "great flood" once occuring on earth during the presumed time of Noah).

Additionally, Creationism's theroy of Intelligent Design is rooted firmly in science. Intelligent Design, in short, says that many of Earth's complex systems had to have been formed immediately, not gradually as evolution demands. Intelligent Design, at its foundation, suggests that some creative intelligence must have formed many of these systems by design, rather than by random chance.

By the same token, science has yet to provide me with concrete evidence that my great-great-great...great grandmother swung down out of a primate laden tree and started walking erect and talking in sentences. As such, that portion of the belief remains a theory. Either scenario must be accepted and taken on Faith.

Did we suddenly "BANG" into existence from nothing and evolve from a single-cell organism into the present-day creatures that inhabit the world we live in? Or were we created through Intelligent design by a Higher power? EVEN IF science explains the CAUSE behind the creation of the Universe, it would still have to find the CAUSE OF THAT CAUSE, and so on. Did nothing begat nothing? And if a Higher Being [God] created us in His image, where did he come from? You decide...

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 4:35 AM

It takes exceptional parents to choose homeschooling. Too many are too comfortable with someone else raising thier children. Congradulations to you and your husband.

-- Posted by goose2008 on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 6:26 AM

'Additionally, Creationism's theroy of Intelligent Design is rooted firmly in science. Intelligent Design, in short, says that many of Earth's complex systems had to have been formed immediately, not gradually as evolution demands. Intelligent Design, at its foundation, suggests that some creative intelligence must have formed many of these systems by design, rather than by random chance'.

Gradualism is falling out of favor in many evolutionary circles. Some (likely not all) of those complex systems can be indeed explained by Punctuated Equilibrium (P.E.) a more 'immediate', type of change.

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 8:52 AM

The ordinary definition of "theory" as "guess" or "hunch" is more appropriate for Creationism.

-- Posted by Richard on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 2:23 AM

So believing that everything has come from time plus matter plus chance is more than a "guess" or a "hunch"? There is enough scientific "evidence" for a person to believe either way. Like it was stated earlier you have to have faith to believe one way or the other. I hate to take over someone else's blog so if you would like to debate this further feel free to email me. bumper.45acp@yahoo

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 9:48 AM

Home Schooling is your choice as it should be but there are many parents who "think" they are qualified to teach their children when in fact they are not (I am not referring to you by any means) Children come out of home schooling into the Public system everyday without the knowledge they need to be in classes with children of their own age groups.

To say your child receives the same education or above the Public System is a stretch... your child may very well be getting the education you wish him/her to have but they are certainly lacking in social interest. I realize things like Prom, Club activities, Bonds of life long friendship, Home Coming may not mean a lot to you as an adult but can mean a great deal to a teenager. We all want to protect our children from the nasty outside world but by doing so we are placing them in a box. Whether you realize this or not you are controlling the people your child is around which may be fine when they are in elementary school but what happens to your child in his college years? It could be a rude awakening for him unless you plan on him/her getting their degree on line in the safety of your home.

Our children must learn about the outside world and the people in it, the only real way they can learn this is being involved with the outside world. They have to make their own decisions and their own mistakes in order to grow and become a productive adult.

But as I said before it is certainly your choice to raise you children as you see fit.. it is not my place to judge you for any decisions you make for your child just as it is not your place to judge any other parent for the decisions they make about their child.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:59 AM

I am a mother who homeschools my 3 children, and I do not do it for religious reasons. Right now they are in 2nd, 5th, and 6th.

I read the above comments about homeschoolers not having the chance to be with other children their age. And not having long-lasting friendships or Proms, dances, parties,etc. Homeschoolers still experience these. Every year, High school homeschoolers have proms. Homeschoolers compete in sports, 4-H,etc and socialize just like regular public school kids.

Just because we choose to homeschool doesn't mean our children are alone or shut-ins. They are very well socialized.

One of the main differences between homeschool families and public school families is that we make sure our children have a well rounded education. We make sure our children are learning what they should be. We sacrifice to make sure our children get the best possible education that they can. We also prepare our children for the outside world.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 11:26 AM

Intelligent Design was proven invalid several years ago and the person that conceptualized the theory was directly involved in its downfall.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 12:49 PM

Intelligent Design was proven invalid several years ago and the person that conceptualized the theory was directly involved in its downfall.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 12:49 PM

In what way is it invalid? I have yet to see anything that would disprove that there is an intelligent, uncaused, creator god.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 12:56 PM

I would invite you to watch the video that is linked here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/beta/evolut...

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 1:27 PM

Nathan,

I apologize, but I do not have speakers on my computer at this time, so I will not be able to watch the video right now. I posted my email address earlier if you would like to take the debate away from this particular blog, and state your case.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 2:23 PM

I would be happy to create a new blog on the subject.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 3:40 PM

That would be wonderful Nathan. I am trying to find some new speakers so that I can hear whats on the video. I look forward to the blog, and the future debate/Jerry Springer-esque argument that is sure to follow, lol.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 3:48 PM

lol :)

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 5:49 PM

Dianatn--

"To say your child receives the same education or above the Public System is a stretch... your child may very well be getting the education you wish him/her to have but they are certainly lacking in social interest. I realize things like Prom, Club activities, Bonds of life long friendship, Home Coming may not mean a lot to you as an adult but can mean a great deal to a teenager. We all want to protect our children from the nasty outside world but by doing so we are placing them in a box. Whether you realize this or not you are controlling the people your child is around which may be fine when they are in elementary school but what happens to your child in his college years? It could be a rude awakening for him unless you plan on him/her getting their degree on line in the safety of your home.

Our children must learn about the outside world and the people in it, the only real way they can learn this is being involved with the outside world. They have to make their own decisions and their own mistakes in order to grow and become a productive adult."

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:59 AM

First of all, documented studies have shown that home school children [on average] test up to 30% HIGHER than public school children...including higher SAT/ACT scores, and higher college attendance rates...so I do not find it to be a "stretch" to say that my child is receiving an education above that of the Public System. Certainly there are parents who may not be educated enough, dedicated enough, or adequately qualified to home educate their children...but I think the numbers speak for themselves in regards to home educating as a whole versus public school education. Do you know the number of children who slip through the cracks in public school and graduate with little to no reading skills?

"Unfortunately, more than 8 million U.S. students in grades 4-12 struggle to read, write, and comprehend adequately."

"There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation's population is illiterate or barely literate."

SOURCES:

http://www.edutopia.org/why-johnny-still...

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/2008...

Furthermore, you are very much mistaken in your assumption that clubs, proms, graduation cap & gown, dances, etc. do not mean a great deal to me...they DO. I think perhaps you would do well to re-read my blog. My children are NOT socially deprived by any stretch of the term.

As I've pointed out above, we participate in the Bedford County Home School Enrichment Program (HEP) co-op. The group meets every Tuesday and the children attend classes in a structured classroom setting with OTHER children (there were approximately 38 families last semester and over 60 children involved in the program... a mixture of Caucasian, Hispanic, and African-American).

We also have a nature club that meets every other Friday to collect and study local foliage (a club...hey, there's one of the words you used to describe my children's lacking of social interaction). Additionally, we go on field trips to museums, zoos, etc.

HEP encourages and promotes cap and gown graduation ceremonies for our 8th grade and 12th grade home school students, and I intend to organize and assist in planning a jr. and senior combined prom when the time comes. My children are also very active in sports within the community, and even attend and watch Jr. high and high school games with Community and Central High School students. My daughter, Lillie, has 256 friends on Facebook--ALL of them live in Bedford, Coffee and Moore County. Explain to me again how it is we are isolating/shielding our children from others?

We cannot--and do not--shield our children from reality, nor do we shelter them in a box or bubble. In fact, we let the oldest two watch CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds with us (in moderation and always under supervision), and we explain to them forthright that those "storylines" are based on the harsh realities often faced in the "real world." There is good in the world, and there is bad. Our goal is to see to it that our children are better equipped to handle both. We do not "hold our children's hand," but make them get involved in the world around them. Why is it so wrong to want to provide them guidance and supervision while doing so?

While you say home school children lack needed socialization skills, in contrast I say public school children lack needed socialization skills. One area home schooled children predominantly have an upper hand in is socialization with adults. Since home-schooled children have "one-on-one" teaching with an adult, they naturally tend to speak better with adults than the average child. Perhaps your child is better equipped to interact among his/her peers--other children. But I expect that my child is better equipped to interact among adults--and it is adults that run the world, not kids. I am not satisfied with my child just "getting by," but rather expect that they excel to their full potential. As such, I give up my time and dedicate myself to providing my children with the best education I can, and encourage socialization with peer groups who are less likely to coerce drug use and alcohol consumption.

I choose to home school because I believe it to be in the best interest of MY child. That is not to say it is for everyone. This is a subject area I become very defensive of because home school parents have to sacrifice a lot in order to better their child's education. The majority of those who condemn homeschooling work in, or are connected with the public school system. I worked in the California public school system for two years...long enough to know I can give my child a better chance in the world by choosing to home school. Remember the recent public school "REPORT CARDS?"

FYI:

As updated in my blog, here are some other "socially deprived" former home schooled children...imagine what they could have done for the world if they hadn't been homeschooled:

Agatha Christie

Pearl S. Buck

Alexander Graham Bell

Thomas Edison

Ansel Adams

Robert Frost

Woodrow Wilson

Mozart

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Louisa May Alcott

Theodore F. Roosevelt

George Washington

Queen Elizabeth II

John Quincy Adams

James Madison

Thomas Jefferson

Abraham Lincoln

Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Edison

Mark Twain

Charles Dickens

Robert E. Lee

George Patton

Stonewall" Jackson

Florence Nightingale

Martha Washington

Not to mention countless U.S. Senators & Congressmen, artists, Generals, Governors, College Presidents, Composers, Authors, Scientists, Business men, and many more...

SOURCES:

http://www.eadshome.com/Famoushomeschool...

http://www.foche.net/famous.htm

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 8:49 PM

Again, if you want to home school your child that is your choice but please do not pretend it makes your child any more equipped to handle the world than any other child out there.

I for one prefer professionals teaching my child. I surely wouldn't let my Mother perform surgery on me even though I think she would have my best interest at heart.

As far as your list of former home schooled children, for every home school child you mention I can list 10 more individuals who was taught in the Public or private school system who have accomplished just as much if not more than any one on your list.

Although I guess it would be nice not to have to get up and rush out the door with breakfast in one hand and books in another to get to school on time. But then again , having to be somewhere at the correct time does teach responsibility .

As far as Facebook goes I have 175 "friends" on Facebook all from Middle Tennessee problem is I only know about 20 of them personally. There is a great difference in associates and Friends.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 9:45 PM

Dianatn and Shawna,

You both make very valid points.

It is true some children (esp. those that are found on either tail of the intellectual curve) may benefit from the individual attention of home schooling but parental involvement and educational enrichment (weekend trips to the parthenon or tpac at EARLY ages)could regain any ground lost from the home school environment.

From those that I know or knew most Home Schooled (HS) kids were just as adept with other kids as the public/private school(PS) kids and were no more comfortable with adults than the PS kids. On this point Shawna you seem to be a little defensive and your seemingly belligerent generalization attenuates your arguement.

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:10 PM

George and Martha Washington, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln... I would have never guessed that they were home schooled (*rolls eyes). If you want to give your child an advantage and an education experience better than public school send them to private school. If you can't afford it then home school them after they come from public school by helping them with their home work. If you think that you can replace a collection of teachers, most of whom have put long hours into the study of their subject of choice and know how make that knowledge absorb into a young mind, then your child has a fool for a teacher. Your 30% higher test score number is suspect because almost all children in the US attend public school. That includes all the smart ones and all the stupid ones.. Some people are good at math, others music, and some can spell the hardest words with ease and read at accelerated rates. Some students don't care and will never care. A proper education in a classroom environment doesn't work for every student because not every student truly wants to be there, but don't post a list of exceptional individuals that lived during a time when illiteracy was common and public schools were not to support your claim that homeschooling works. Do you have a list of individuals born in the later half of the 20th century?

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 7:07 AM

Shawna,

My wife and I do not have children yet, but we are leaning heavily towards homeschooling when we do. I have a couple of questions for you. How long do you spend per day on teaching? Do you adhere to the basic public school standards for each grade level or, as I suspect, are they more advanced? Do you teach on the same schedule (i.e. take holidays and summer breaks) as the public school or do you teach year round? Thanks.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 9:11 AM

Do you have a list of individuals born in the later half of the 20th century?

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 7:07 AM

Here are a few. You can do your own research to see all of the people who were homeschooled. You can use Yahoo, Google, etc.

Tim Tebow ( Gators)

* received the 2008 Quaqua Protégé Award as an outstanding home-education graduate

*first home-schooled athlete to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy

*Has a government bill named after him, "The Tim Tebow Bill"

Serena Williams (tennis)

Venus Williams (tennis)

*Father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus.

Jason Taylor ( Dolphins / Redskins )

*homeschooled from 10th to 12th grade

*2006 NFL defensive player of the year

Ansel Adams (photographer)

Tamara McKinney (skier)

*was the first woman to win the alpine ski racing World Cup

Christopher Paolini (author)

*author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Eragon

Sally Ride (astronaut)

*homeschooled until Middle school

*Was first woman to enter space

Shaun White (snowboarder)

*X-Games snowboard gold medalist

Katie Hoff (swimmer)

*2004 Olympic swimmer

I can go on and on. But I think you get the point. Famous and important people come from various backgrounds. You must also remember that most celebrities are homeschooled as well.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 10:41 AM

I can go on and on. But I think you get the point. Famous and important people come from various backgrounds. You must also remember that most celebrities are homeschooled as well.

Posted by PrpleHze on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Sorry but celebrities have tutors their parents do not teach them. Tutors are actually certified teachers. Many of the ones you mentioned had private tutors you can not lump private tutors with home school parents.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 11:12 AM

The ones that I named were homeschooled by their parents, not private tutors.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 11:25 AM

On this point Shawna you seem to be a little defensive and your seemingly belligerent generalization attenuates your arguement.

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:10 PM

You're right, I got carried away and let my emotions get the better of me for a moment. I even stated that I become very defensive on this subject area. Unfortunately, once I hit "submit" I couldn't undo it.

I DID NOT mean to imply that I think home educating is the best way for every child, only for my children. I raised 3 older children through the public school system...the results of which is why we've chosen to homeschool.

My older children--now grown--have told me of the difficulties they faced by the amount of peer pressure in high scool to consume alcohol/use drugs, "try the Gay way" (according to them, it is cool to admit to being bisexual these days), etc. And after dropping my daughter off at a high school football game one night, where she pointed out a lesbian couple from the school who were hugging one another, I'm inclinced to think there may be some truth to it. I'm not condemning gays...I just don't like the idea that my kids might get caught up in a "fad" like that one....my oldest daughter did, in fact.

My youngest son, now 18, was a straight A student through elementary school...even holding a record at his school, presumably in affect to this day, for reading. By middle school, when puberty and peer pressure began to take hold, his grades started slipping, eventually failing more classes than he was passing, and his behavior spiralled downhill. It got so bad that he had to finish his senior year through an accredited "home education" program, where he graduated in a class size of 3 in February of his senior year (he was 17 years old).

He took the ACT exam that year, scoring a 28, and was awarded two scholarships to attend MTSU. He did not go to college using his "full-ride" funding. Instead, he has now enlisted in the Navy at age 18, scoring the highest entry test scores in the history of that state (he enlisted in Arkansas) and top 7% in the nation. He desires to be a nuclear engineer, so he took and passed the nuclear exam. But even with some of the highest scores possible, because of his failing grades in high school his recruitor had to file a waiver for acceptance approval into the nuclear engineering position. He's still awaiting determinination.

I'm not making the statement that homeschooling is best, it's just better for us. The title of this blog is "why WE choose to homeschool," NOT "why YOU should choose to homeschool."

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 11:52 AM

Sally Ride once said in an interview:

When I was in elementary school,

our teachers would wheel these big

old black-and-white TVs into our

classrooms so we could watch the

rockets launch. ... From about that

point on, I knew I wanted to go into

space someday.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 12:20 PM

Sally Ride was definitely not homeschooled. The list you provided was basically a list of athletes. Either way, I was only pointing out that the original list provided was not very compelling evidence, and your list Purple Haze was not that much more compelling either. People can home school their children all they want. Less competition for my daughter when she hits the job market. :p For me the ultimate reality is that when it comes to intellect, you either have it or your don't.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 12:53 PM

"Sorry but celebrities have tutors their parents do not teach them. Tutors are actually certified teachers. Many of the ones you mentioned had private tutors you can not lump private tutors with home school parents."

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 11:12 AM

First of all, those of you trying to criticize homeschooling need to move into the new century and get your facts straight on a subject matter you obviously have no personal experience with. Home education of today is not the same as that of the Dark Ages, as some of you seem to still believe.

Home education of today has become more of a co-op. I can only speak for the 50 or so families in this area that I know of personally who home school, but we all meet once a week in a classroom setting (we also meet once every other week in an outdoor seeting for nature club). Parents who are experienced in, and/or certified in a specific subject matter teach a class. I've found that about 1/3-1/2 of the parents are former teachers...that's right, they were considered proficient enough to teach your children in public school, including myself.

The difference is our classroom sizes are smaller, not exceeding 10 or 11 students to TWO instructors in each class, and the other four days of the week we teach the students ourselves.

Nathan, none of us claim to know more, or even as much, about every subject matter. That is in part why we have a co-op of educators. And amazingly, there are these instructional materials on ebay and in stores that you can purchase to aid in teaching your homeschooler...they're called books, dvds, tutorials, workbooks, practice guides, etc. Ok, I'm getting snippy to add some fun, please don't take it personally...it's in good humor. These blogs get too heated sometimes, we have to try and lighten the mood.

But seriously, the homeschoolers of today have the advantage of purchasing math dvds (algebra, calculus, etc) that are created by former, and current professors and instructors, specifically for the educating of home school children. If you've never viewed one, I recommend you do so. They are very informative, demonstrative on projector, paper, and blackboard, and break things down into the simplest form...they even cover all possible questions the instructors have encountered in the past, and expect to encounter from your child. Yes, someone else is in essence teaching your child that subject, but under your guidance, and with your assistance. What is wrong with that? How else do you think these children learn who are homeschooled....we don't just make up the material, lol.

And they are not limited to math...dvd instructional aides are out there for virtually any subject...all the way INTO the college years. Did you know there are accredited online universities now? Well, guess what, there are online classes for homeschoolers too.

And dianatn, home school children are allowed tutors also...many home school families do take advantage of tutors in areas where they cannot offer their child the most beneficial assistance.

As I've mentioned previously, a large number of the home school parents in our HEP group are former teachers--a former home school parent from our group now teaches at Cascade, in fact--and as such, we can often find a tutor for our children within the group and free of charge. I've been told that the Murfreesboro home school co-op group has parent-teachers who are former MTSU instructors. I'm not trying to make the statement that home educating is better, we're just tired of hearing others--who have no clue what modern home education entails--state that it's worse.

The public school system--and teachers in particular--complain continually about over-crowding, under-funding, etc. How exactly is that better? If teachers and schools had the funding to down-size classrooms and work more "one-on-one" with children, then I would agree.

In short, public schools need more funding, more qualified teachers, more supervision, and more classroom space. This is a real issue that most of you would be hard-pressed to deny. Perhaps we should focus more on that topic? If my 4th grader could have kept the same teacher she had during 1st grade in public school, with a slightly smaller class size, she would be in public school today. We pulled her out after 1st grade.

In response to a previous comment, my children have to be prepared and on time for HEP classes every Tuesday morning, and for our bi-weekly nature club on Fridays. My 14 year old daughter works as a soccer referee for the Bedford County soccer league and has to be on time for games. My children play sports and have to be on time for practices and games...again, my 14 year old child has a job...I think they ARE learning responsibility.

Once again, the point I need to stress is this....home educating is not for everyone, and may be a disadvantage in some situations..but it is the best choice for us. We no longer have to worry about school shootings, drunk bus drivers, teachers that date children, peer pressure involving drugs and homosexuality, over-crowding, under-funding etc. I've taught in a public school and my children previously attended public school...I believe they are best served by home educating...MODERN home education...at least at this time.

But if I have to return my children to public school someday (for athletic reasons), I'm glad it would be in Bedford County...I do like the teachers and administrators in this county, and the majority do an excellent job. It is not the educators that keep us from returning our kids to public school. When you have 1,200 or so "puberty-stricken" children all assembled in one location, it is virtualy impossible to monitor everything and everyone...sometimes kids fall through the cracks, or things happen that are out of your control. Perhaps we should focus on getting schools in this area more funding instead of debating "who's right or who's wrong?

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:16 PM

Here's an article that covers some of the INDEPNDENT testing that was done regarding homeschooler's test scores:

"I. Independent Evaluations of Homeschooling

1. In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, "Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America." The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less. The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile. i

This was confirmed in another study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of 20,760 homeschooled students which found the homeschoolers who have homeschooled all their school aged years had the highest academic achievement. This was especially apparent in the higher grades. ii This is a good encouragement to families catch the long-range vision and homeschool through high school.

Another important finding of Strengths of Their Own was that the race of the student does not make any difference. There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. For example, in grades K-12, both white and minority students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while minorities scored in the 77th percentile. In the public schools, however, there is a sharp contrast. White public school eighth grade students, nationally scored the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored on the average at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. iii

These findings show that when parents, regardless of race, commit themselves to make the necessary sacrifices and tutor their children at home, almost all obstacles present in other school systems disappear.

Another obstacle that seems to be overcome in homeschooling is the need to spend a great deal of money in order to have a good education. In Strengths of Their Own, Dr. Ray found the average cost per homeschool student is $546 while the average cost per public school student is $5,325. Yet the homeschool children in this study averaged in 85th percentile while the public school students averaged in the 50th percentile on nationally standardized achievement tests.iv

2. In a study released by the National Center for Home Education on November 10, 1994. According to these standardized test results provided by the Riverside Publishing Company of 16,311 homeschoolers from all 50 states K-12, the nationwide average for homeschool students is at the 77th percentile of the basic battery of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. In reading, the homeschoolers' nationwide grand mean is the 79th percentile. This means, of course, that the homeschool students perform better in reading than 79 percent of the same population on whom the test is normed. In the area of language arts and math, the typical homeschooler scored in the 73rd percentile.

These 16,311 homeschool students' scores were not self-selected by parents or anyone else. They represent all the homeschoolers whose tests were scored through the Riverside Publishing Company. It is important to note that this summary of homeschool achievement test scores demonstrates that 54.7% of the students in grades K-12 are achieving individual scores in the top quarter of the population of students in the United States. This figure is more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter.vii

3. In 1991, a survey of standardized test scores was performed by the Home School Legal Defense Association in cooperation with the Psychological Corporation, which publishes the Stanford Achievement Test. The study involved the administering of the Stanford Achievement Test (8th Edition, Form J) to 5,124 homeschooled students. These students represented all 50 states and their grades ranged from K-12. This testing was administered in Spring 1991 under controlled test conditions in accordance with the test publisher's standards. All test administers were screened, trained, and approved pursuant to the publisher's requirements. All tests were machine-scored by the Psychological Corporation.

These 5,124 homeschoolers' composite scores on the basic battery of tests in reading, math, and language arts ranked 18 to 28 percentile points above public school averages. For instance, 692 homeschooled 4th graders averaged in the 77th percentile in reading, the 63rd percentile in math, and the 70th percentile in language arts. Sixth-grade homeschoolers, of 505 tested, scored in the 76th percentile in reading, the 65th percentile in math, and the 72nd percentile in language arts.

The homeschooled high schoolers did even better, which goes against the trend in public schools where studies show the longer a child is in the public schools, the lower he scores on standardized tests. One hundred and eighteen tenth-grade homeschool students, as a group, made an average score of the 82nd percentile in reading, the 70th percentile in math, and the 81st percentile in language arts.

4. The Bob Jones University Testing Service of South Carolina provided test results of Montana homeschoolers. Also a survey of homeschoolers in Montana was conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute. Dr. Brian Ray evaluated the survey and test results and found:

On average, the home education students in this study scored above the national norm in all subject areas on standardized achievement tests. These students scored, on average, at the 72nd percentile in terms of a combination of their reading, language, and math performance. This is well above the national average. viii

5. In North Dakota, Dr. Brian Ray conducted a survey of 205 homeschoolers throughout the state. The middle reading score was the 84th percentile, language was the 81st percentile, science was the 87th percentile, social studies was the 86th percentile, and math was the 81st percentile.

Further, Dr. Ray found no significant statistical differences in academic achievement between those students taught by parents with less formal education and those students taught by parents with higher formal education.

6. In South Carolina, the National Center for Home Education did a survey of 65 homeschool students and found that the average scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills were 30 percentile points higher than national public school averages. In math, 92 percent of the homeschool students scored above grade level, and 93 percent of the homeschool students were at or above grade level in reading. These scores are "being achieved in a state where public school SAT scores are next-to-last in national rankings." ix

7. In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled "A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement." This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families.

The study found that the average scores of the homeschool students were at or above the 80th percentile in all categories. The homeschoolers' national percentile mean was 84th for reading, 80th for language, 81st for math, 84th for science and 83rd for social studies.

The research revealed that there was no positive correlation between state regulation of homeschools and the home-schooled students' performance. The study compared homeschoolers in three groups of states representing various levels of regulation. Group 1 represented the most restrictive states such as Michigan; Group 2 represented slightly less restrictive states including North Dakota; and Group 3 represented unregulated states such as Texas and California. The Institute concluded:

...no difference was found in the achievement scores of students between the three groups which represent various degrees of state regulation of home education.... It was found that students in all three regulation groups scored on the average at or above the 76th percentile in the three areas examined: total reading, total math, and total language. These findings in conjunction with others described in this section, do not support the idea that state regulation and compliance on the part of home education families assures successful student achievement. x

Furthermore, this same study demonstrated that only 13.9 percent of the mothers (who are the primary teachers) had ever been certified teachers. The study found that there was no difference in the students' total reading, total math and total language scores based on the teacher certification status of their parents:

The findings of this study do not support the idea that parents need to be trained and certified teachers to assure successful academic achievement of their children. xi

8. In Pennsylvania, 171 homeschooled students took the CTBS standardized achievement test. The tests were all administered in group settings by Pennsylvania certified teachers. The middle reading score was the 89th percentile and the middle math score was the 72nd percentile. The middle science score was the 87th percentile and the middle social studies score was the 81st percentile. A survey conducted of all these homeschool families who participated in this testing found that the average student spent only 16 hours per week in formal schooling (i.e., structured lessons that were preplanned by either the parent or a provider of educational materials). xii

9. In West Virginia, over 400 hundred homeschool students, grades K-12, were tested with the Stanford Achievement test at the end of the 1989-90 school year. The Psychological Corporation scored the children together as one school. The results found that the typical homeschooled students in eight of these grade levels scored in the "somewhat above average" range (61st to 73rd average percentile), compared to the performance of students in the same grade from across the country. Two grade levels scored in the "above average" range (80th to 85th average percentile) and three grade levels scored in the "about average range" (54th to 59th average percentile). xiii

10. In Washington state, a survey of the standardized test results of 2,018 homeschooled students over a period of three years found that the median cell each year varied from the 65th percentile to the 68th percentile on national norms. The Washington Home School Research Project concluded that "as a group, these homeschoolers are doing well." xiv

11. Dr. Brian Ray, president of the Home Education Research Institute, reviewed over 65 studies concerning home education. He found that homeschoolers were performing at average or above average on test levels. xv

12. In 1986, researcher Lauri Scogin surveyed 591 homeschooled children and discovered that 72.61% of the homeschooled children scored one year or more above their grade level in reading. 49.79% scored one year or more above their grade level in math. xvi

1. In 1982, Dr. Raymond Moore studied several thousand homeschooled children throughout the United States. His research found that these children have been performing, on the average, in the 75th to the 95th percentile on Stanford and Iowa Achievement Tests. Additionally, Dr. Moore did a study of homeschooled children whose parents were being criminally charged for exercising their right to teach their own children. He found that the children scored on the average in the 80th percentile. xvii

13. Statistics also demonstrate that homeschoolers tend to score above the national average on both their SAT and ACT scores.

For example, the 2,219 students reporting their homeschool status on the SAT in 1999 scored an average of 1083 (verbal 548, math 535), 67 points above the national average of 1016. In 2004 the 7,858 homeschool students taking the ACT scored an average of 22.6, compared to the national average of 20.9.

According to the 1998 ACT High School Profile Report, 2,610 graduating homeschoolers took the ACT and scored an average of 22.8 out of a possible 36 points. This score is slightly higher that the 1997 report released on the results of 1,926 homeschool graduates and founding homeschoolers maintained the average of 22.5. This is higher than the national average, which was 21.0 in both 1997 and 1998. xviii"

Primary Source: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/20...

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:29 PM

Our family chose to home school our children for numerous reasons, and all of them were with our daughters' best interests in mind. I am in full agreement that home education is not the ideal setting for every child and should be considered very carefully on an individual basis to ensure maximum benefits for the student.

I have many friends that teach and I admire their dedication and very much appreciate the job they do on an every day basis. They are truly among the working class heroes and we should all thank them every chance we get for the jobs they do in challenging environments and often times without the essential resources they need to be as effective as they aspire to be. I have sought their council on many subjects, including this one. Our decision to home school is in no way an indictment on their abilities or for that matter, the system as an entity.

We did not make our decision lightly. We spent many hours researching and discussing the pros and cons with other parents and grandparents from both sides of the spectrum. Our approach included attending more than one home school based classroom in a cooperative setting to access the learning environment and curriculum, seeking legal advice from more than one source, and more importantly, we spent numerous evenings at home talking with our children about the possibilities over the course of several months.

Our investigation into the subject included input from educators whose opinions on the subject were very subjectively offered and with due consideration we based our decision on the following criteria.

We felt that in a large classroom setting, even the best-trained, well intentioned teacher is incapable of giving the individual attention necessary to help each student excel. We as parents are not only able to devote much more time to our children, but we are able to tailor our curriculum and teaching styles in ways that are most conducive to our child's productivity. It includes incorporating their individual interests into the lesson planning. Every teacher that we talked to was in agreement that one of the most effective methods of education is one-on-one tutoring. Our kids get that on a daily basis.

Studies have shown that children whose parents are directly involved in their education are more apt to excel in academics. I assure you that our children are aware of our dedication to their educational success.

Family is of paramount importance to us so we felt that extended periods of time together would strengthen our relationships, not only between us, but also with their siblings. It has been our experience that children tend to adopt the behaviors and values of those around whom they spend the majority of their time. We have seen it first hand with the three children that did attend public school. It is another factor in seeking alternative methods.

Children are going to move from childhood to adulthood with or without us. They will do it by spending time modeling what they learn at home or modeling their peers. It was our deduction that our home-schooled children would be more likely than their classroom-schooled peers to value the views of family over the views of their friends. We make no apologies for taking that stance.

Those that are concerned for the socialization of our children are welcome to visit our home at any time. The door bell rings constantly summoning our daughters outside or to some event that they wish to attend. Cell phones buzz incessantly and the Jones family taxi cabs are constantly running to accommodate their schedules.

They play sports, go to camp, attend church, attend community events, are members of a fitness gym and take part in club functions among a myriad of activities available to them.

Heck, I suspect like many parents, we would like to slow the flow of activities to allow us some sanity! We certainly aren't concerned that they have no interaction with their peers simply because they don't sit in a classroom every day.

I would dare say that anyone that has met our daughters would not use the terms introverted or withdrawn to describe their personalities.

Finally, in conclusion, we choose to exercise our personal freedom to determine what is best for our children. We fully support your right to do the same.

Note:

I am posting the following for informational purposes. You may want to consider it before sending your daughter out to the job market Mr. Evans.

The reality, verifiable by anecdote and standardized test alike, is that in every academic area home-schooled students are far surpassing students enrolled in government schools. The most reliable data are from a 1998 study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland in which over 20,000 home-schooled students took standardized tests and completed other questionnaires. Unlike previous studies, Rudner's was conducted on a comparatively large sample and included only families who agreed to participate before knowing their children's test scores. The study concludes that "in every subject and at every grade level of the [tests], home schooled students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts." Furthermore, the study shows that home-schooled children had average scores that fell between the 82nd and the 92nd percentile in reading and reached the 85th percentile in math. By the eighth grade, the average home-schooled student is performing four grade levels above the national average.

Source: The Cato Institute

-- Posted by Jimmy Jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:30 PM

Before you continue to tell us that our children are at an academic disadvantage by homeschooling, here is a link to an article with a story about a 14 year old homeschooler who was accepted to Auburn University, and another student who was homeschooled since 2nd grade who reached the HIGHEST POSIBLE (MAXIMUM) score on the SAT exam, and how homeschool students test higher on ACT exams than their public school counterparts, etc.

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00...

And you might also want to take a look at these INDEPENDENT studies performed by several state departments of education or local school districts, along with the previous studies provided in my last comment...Tennessee is the first state notated below. For more detailed study information, you can contact the Home School Legal Defense Association - http://www.hslda.org, 540-338-5600, info@hslda.org.

"II. State Department of Education Statistics on Homeschoolers

Several state departments of education or local school districts have also gathered statistics on the academic progress of homeschooled children.

Tennessee--

In the spring of 1987, the Tennessee Department of Education found that homeschooled children in 2nd grade, on the average, scored in the 93rd percentile while their public school counterparts, on the average, scored in the 62nd percentile on the Stanford Achievement Test. Homeschool children in third grade scored, on the average, in the 90th percentile in reading on another standardized test, and the public school students scored in the 78 percentile. In math, the third grade homeschooled children scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile, while their public school counterparts scored in the 80th percentile. In eighth grade, the homeschooled students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile in reading and in 71st percentile in math while their public school counterparts scored in the 75th percentile in reading and the 69th percentile in math. xix

Alaska and Oregon--

Similarly, in 1986, the State Department of Education in Alaska which had surveyed homeschooled children's test results every other year since 1981, found homeschooled children to be scoring approximately 16 percentage points higher, on the average, than the children of the same grades in conventional schools. In Oregon, the State Department of Education compiled test score statistics for 1,658 homeschooled children in 1988 and found that 51 percent of the children scored above the 71st percentile and 73 percent scored above the 51st percentile.

North Carolina--

In North Carolina, the Division of Non-Public Education compiled test results of 2,144 homeschool students in grades K-12. Of the 1,061 homeschool students taking the California Achievement Test, they scored, on the average, at the 73rd percentile on the total battery of tests: 80th percentile in reading, 72nd percentile in language, and the 71st percentile in math.

The 755 homeschool students who took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills scored at the 80th percentile in the total battery of tests: 81st percentile in reading, 77th percentile in language, and 77th percentile in math. The remaining students who took the Stanford scored, on the average, in the 73rd percentile in the whole battery. xx

Arkansas

In Arkansas, for the 1987-88 school term, homeschool children, on the average, scored in 75% on the Metropolitan Achievement Test 6. They out-scored public school children in every subject (Reading, Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies) and at every grade level. For example, at the 10th grade level public school children scored an average of 53rd percentile in social studies, while homeschool children scored at the 73rd percentile. In science, an area in which homeschoolers are often criticized for lack of facilities, the homeschoolers scored, on the average, 85th percentile in fourth grade, 73rd percentile in seventh grade, and 65th percentile in tenth grade. The public school students, on the other hand, scored much lower in science: 66th percentile in fourth grade, 62nd percentile in seventh, and 53rd percentile in tenth. xxi

Arizona--

According to the Arizona State Department of Education, 1,123 homeschooled children in grades 1-9, on the average, scored above grade level in reading, language arts, and math on standardized tests for the 1988-89 school year. Four grades tested were a full grade level ahead. xxii

Nebraska--

In Nebraska, out of 259 homeschooled children who returned to public or non-public schools, 134 of them were automatically placed in their grade level according to their age without testing. Of the remaining who were given entrance tests, 33 were above grade level, 43 were at grade level, and 29 were below grade level. Approximately 88 percent of the returning students were at or above grade level after being homeschooled for a period of time. This survey was the result of the responses of 429 accredited schools. xxiii

III. Local School District Statistics on Homeschooling

1. In 1988, 30 homeschooled children in Albuquerque, New Mexico, participated in the state-mandated testing program (Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills) and scored on the average in the 83rd percentile for 3rd grade, the 85th percentile for 5th grade, and the 89th percentile for 8th grade. This group of homeschoolers scored 20 to 25 percentile points higher than the local public school students taking the CTBS in 1987. xxiv

2. In a 1980 study in Los Angeles, homeschooled students scored higher on standardized tests than children in the Los Angeles public schools. xxv

3. In South Carolina, the Greenville County School District stated, "Kids taught at home last year outscored those in public schools on basic skills tests." In that county, 57 out of 61 homeschooled students "met or exceeded the state's minimum performance standard on the reading test" of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. The homeschool students' passing rate was 93.4 while the public school counterparts passing rate was 83.9 percent. Furthermore, in math, the homeschooled students passing rate was 87.9 percent compared to the public school students' passing rate of 82.1 percent. xxvi

4. In Nevada, according to Washoe County School District's data, homeschooled students scored higher than their public school counterparts in first through seventh grade. All children were tested with the Stanford Achievement Test, and homeschoolers consistently scored higher in reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, math concepts, math comprehension, math and math concepts and application.

The most extreme gap between the public school children and the homeschooled children was in the area of vocabulary. For example, fourth graders in public school scored in the 49th percentile while the homeschooled fourth graders scored in the 80th percentile.

Conclusion

These statistics point to one conclusion: HOMESCHOOLING WORKS. Even many of the State Departments of Education, which are generally biased toward the public school system, cannot argue with these facts. Not only does homeschooling work, but it works without the myriad of state controls and accreditation standards imposed on the public schools.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:47 PM

On this point Shawna you seem to be a little defensive and your seemingly belligerent generalization attenuates your arguement.

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:10 PM

You're right, I got carried away and let my emotions get the better of me for a moment. I even stated that I become very defensive on this subject area. Unfortunately, once I hit "submit" I couldn't undo it.

Shawna,

In all truth, I understand your sentiment. Sometimes, too, the written word (or in theis case typed word) does not convey true the true tone and meaning and comes across as much harsher than intended.

-- Posted by gottago on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:49 PM

Sorry about the typo in my last post....yes, I can spell. My 3 year old pulled 4 keys off my laptop recently, so sometimes I miss a letter if I type too fast. Too bad t-g hasn't set-up "spell- check,"lol.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:51 PM

I have not found any where in the us const.that said the us gov had to teach your kids

or give you med. care

its up to you .But states have made it that way for schools to brain fry our kids.

-- Posted by c t brown on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 2:03 PM

Note:

I am posting the following for informational purposes. You may want to consider it before sending your daughter out to the job market Mr. Evans.

-- Posted by Jimmy Jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:30 PM

I was only kidding with you when I said what I said about the job market, that is why i put the ":p" after it. I am sticking with what I said earlier, the ability to absorb knowledge and solve problems is something that some people are just born with. Home school or public school is one in the same, so long as the home school program is comprehensive, as yours seems to be. And you are correct, I did have some preconceived notions about home schooling and you have shown me otherwise. There are some issues that I wonder about, such as competition with classmates that may be lost in a home school situation. I also think that not dealing with many different types of individuals and learning that the world can be cruel from time to time is lost in a home school, but maybe those are good things to avoid learning. Other than that, I would imagine that the academic side of school would be the same so long as the instructors themselves truly understand the subjects they are teaching.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 2:15 PM

If you think that you can replace a collection of teachers, most of whom have put long hours into the study of their subject of choice and know how make that knowledge absorb into a young mind, then your child has a fool for a teacher.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 7:07 AM

Well Nathan, in light of all that has been posted, including your admission that you had preconceived notions of homeschooling, don't you think it is time you apologize for calling Mrs. Jones a fool?

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:25 PM

"There are some issues that I wonder about, such as competition with classmates that may be lost in a home school situation. I also think that not dealing with many different types of individuals and learning that the world can be cruel from time to time is lost in a home school, but maybe those are good things to avoid learning. Other than that, I would imagine that the academic side of school would be the same so long as the instructors themselves truly understand the subjects they are teaching."

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 2:15 PM

I agree, but I would like to mention that our HEP co-op is composed of a divere ethnic group of Hispanics, African-American, and Caucasians from various economic social levels...ranging from some very wealthy to some very poor. But you know what I've discovered...no one is treated differently regardless of race or economic standing.

I would guess it to be in part because the majority, if not all, are of strong Christian faith (that's not to say that all those who claim to be a Christian are good people, or that I am forcing Christianity on anyone...my husband is essentially an agnostic waiting for proof), but that may be some of the reason in this case. I also credit the smaller class sizes and the fact that we all get to know one another on a personal level.

Yes, that may spare my children from the cruelty of the world around them, but I remind them of it. I've openly told them of all the "bad" I encountered while growing up and later as an adult. I don't want them to experience it, but I do want them prepared for the possibility of facing it themselves, someday....we do not live in a cotton candy world. Admittedly, our kids probably watch too much "real-life" on tv (CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds). We tell them truthfully that those things really do happen in the real world and that there re some very "sick" people out there. And no one wants to see their child bullied or tormented, but it happens. Even children in the home school co-op may get their feelings hurt sometimes...that's life.

Anyway, home educating has come a long way, and I just wanted to make you aware of that fact so that we could move way from the incorrect assumption left behind by the "isolated behind-closed doors image" of the past. Not everyone can give up their freedom and time to home educate...and some people have no business doing so for various reasons...but for those that can, it is often a rewarding and beneficial challenge for both the parent(s) and child.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:25 PM

ugh, I have got to get these keys on my laptop replaced, lol.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:27 PM

Well Nathan, in light of all that has been posted, including your admission that you had preconceived notions of homeschooling, don't you think it is time you apologize for calling Mrs. Jones a fool?

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:25 PM

Thank you for the defensive play (you can tell I'm married to a sports writer, lol)...luckily I'm secure enough in myself not to have taken it to heart. And Nathan was under the misconception that homeschoolers only learn how to basket weave and macrame, (:jk).

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:35 PM

Thank you for the defensive play (you can tell I'm married to a sports writer, lol)...luckily I'm secure enough in myself not to have taken it to heart.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:35 PM

El gusto es mio (I had to look up that phrase). I knew you wouldn't (take it to heart), but I thought someone should remind Nathan of his intention (on another blog) to refrain from those kinds of statements.

However, the criticism did produce a good education on the issue of homeschooling. The T-G should work with you on editing some of it to put it in the print edition, or, as I can see, you are quite capable of editing and writing the article yourself. Nice post, thank you.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:55 PM

Midnight Rider -

Muchas gracias por todo lo que compartiste. Perhaps I will speak to Hugh about a written piece. Too many people are still unaware of the progresive changes made in the "home education" movement in recent years. Gone are the days of sheltered/isolated children sitting in their living room floor reading a text book to gain knowledge (altough that does still take place in some cases).

Today's home school families (most anyway) welcome diversity, socialization, and "modern" teaching methods. We just prefer to have a "hands-on" approach to teaching, rather than stand on the sidelines while someone else guides our children through 13 very formative years of their life. We welcome and encourage questions like "what areas are Squirrel tree frogs indigenous to?"...my 4th grader--who aspires to become a vet--asked me that last summer. Because she wants to become a vet, we cater her lesson plans to spend sligtly more time on the study of animals and science than would traditionally occur.

Both my school-age daughters enjoy life science, and ask to play an online microbiology and immunology "test your knowledge" game with us at least 3-4 nights a week. How many 10 and 14 year old children do you know who want to study DNA, RNA, and HIV? The trick is to interact with your children during their studies and make them more fun using games, quizes for prizes, puzzles, etc...learning can be fun (of course not always, and not all subjects). But when we learn with our children, we are modeling the idea that we enjoy learning, and they in turn will likely enjoy learning (again, not always in every case).

Just remember one thing, and this applies to home educators and non-home educators alike....when you tell a child "stop asking so many questions," your telling them to stop seeking knowledge and answers.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 5:19 PM

lots of typos again....please bear with me until I swap out my keyboard. I ordered a used one off ebay for $35 (it was $79 for a new one,lol).

Emily tore off the brackets for the keys also, and it would cost me $5.99 each to replace 5 keys (she took the shift key off too)....so buying a the whole keyboard was just as cheap and a whole lot less work to repair since the brackets would have to be replaced. And I can take the remaining keys/brackets off my old keyboard and sell them back on ebay to get my money back....gotta love free enterprise.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 6:17 PM

Or you could sell them to my key-stealing cat.

She likes to remove vowels and function keys the best but she's not that picky.

I think these toddlers and kittens must see all the Etsy products featuring old typewriter keys and figure they'll get a head start on projects made with newer tech components.

An intact Royal,Olympic,Underwood,or Remington Rand is worth more than the sum of its parts.

If only we could convince our computer manglers that the same applies to Dells,Hewlett-Packards,Macs,IBMs,et al.

P.S.

If anyone's looking for a fun way to socialize and exercise some brain cells,check out H.V. Griffin Park's Gobs-of-Games Family Fun Night from 5-8 p.m. Friday.

I think they're trying to have something for everybody so folks could attend the event to play or,perhaps,run their favorite games.

(Check with Jennifer at the Rec Center for more details.)

That's the kind of activity that could bring the homeschool camp and the fans of traditional education together.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 8:01 PM

Shawna,

You've made some very good points. The bottom line to this debate is: Parents have the freedom to choose the paths of their children, educationally or otherwise.

I was schooled in the government system and I come from a family of public school educators (so I am not prejudiced against the general idea), but I chose homeschooling for my children because I care more deeply about my children's education than any school policy maker. I care if they are prepared for "real life" more than any school board member ever could and I care if they "get it" in any subject more than the most educated teacher.

But, honestly, to each, his own.

-- Posted by jbcataldo on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 8:23 PM

The only thing I am curious about is why Thomas Edison shows up in your list of 'famous home-schooled' people... twice??

Oh and the first list of people you posted is composed of people who were lucky to have ANY school at a time when education was the least of anyone's concern.

I am sure I could sit here all day and give an equally compelling list of entrepreneurs, CEO's, doctors, and billions of others who achieve greatness in their own way, all after attending public school. But frankly, I see no need in posting entire essays [see above] on a blog... It really doesn't matter who does what, because we live in a nation where we have the freedom to decide which option is right for ourself.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 9:38 PM

Shawna it sounds more like you are not so much Home schooling your children but there is a group of parents teaching each other's children.

The problem I have with the entire Home School or even group teaching is there is no mandatory requirements for a parent to have in order to teach children. Which I find amazing within itself. I hear everyday people complaining about the teachers in public schools not knowing how to teach their children and then parents with little to no education think they can do a better job. Bedford County may not have much but we do have some very intelligent and caring teachers within our system. I understand that you was once a teacher yourself and are probably equipped to teach your children but there are thousands of parents out there that have no formal education and barely made it through school themselves trying to teach their children in a home school environment. Teachers in Bedford County have to have a love for what they do or they would surely go to another surrounding county to teach. It can't be for the money because the pay stinks, the hours are long and the rewards are few. Teaching is not a field I would encourage any child to go into. I know this because my daughter is a teacher I see the hours she puts into her class, the nights she sits up preparing for the next day, the countless hours she works during the summer months getting ready for the next year students. And for what? It sure isn't the money. She loves what she does, she cares for the future of her students and their well being. Then you have a parent come along and decides she can do a better job so she rips her child from the system when she has no idea how to begin to teach her child. She attempts to teach her child a couple of years until she decides it is to hard and Johnnie really isn't reading as well as he should. She then tosses her child back into the system and expects a teacher to catch him up and perform a miracle of learning. This scenario may be nothing like you have with your children but there are thousands out there that this is exactly the way it goes. It has nothing to do with living in the Dark Ages I just know for a fact that all Home Schooled children are not learning what they need to be learning from their parents. I mean really if a parent can not even balance their checkbook how can they be expected to teach math. This does not even take into account the thousands of children that are kept home under the pretense of Home School that are left to their own devices of Sesame Street and Dora in order to get an education, not to mention the ones who are abused and parents know better than to send a child to school these days with bruises.

I know a lady who has a grand daughter who has been home schooled her entire life she is 16 years old and very shy and withdrawn. She seems to be intelligent enough but she has no social skills what so ever. I am not saying Home School did this to her she may have been this way even if she had been in Public School. When I lived up North I worked with a set of twins who were Home schooled also they were very odd, they did not take charge of any issues and had no social skills. They never spoke unless you ask them something directly and then you had better be standing very close in order to hear them. I thought they were odd because as a rule usually one twin is much more out going than the other but these girls were just alike almost like somebody make them with a cookie cutter. Again they may have been like this even if they had attended Public School...Who knows? But it was definitely to late to find out.

You home Schooling your children may very well be in the best interest of your children but do not think for one minute that it is in the best interest of every child that is Home Schooled because evidently there are still a lot of "Dark Ages" parents out there that believe handing their child a book to read and popping them in front of Sesame Street is teaching.

I think just a little accountability would be nice, don't you think?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 12:22 AM

Dianatn--

"I just know for a fact that all Home Schooled children are not learning what they need to be learning from their parents."

Are you stating that all homeschooled children are not learning what they need to be learning from their parents (as you've written in your comment)...or do you actually mean that not all home schooled children are learning what they need to be learning from their parents? There is a very big difference between those two phrases.

"Shawna it sounds more like you are not so much Home schooling your children but there is a group of parents teaching each other's children."

Yes, we attend a co-op of home school parents who teach each other's children in a classroom setting on a subject matter that they are either trained in, certified in, licensed in, or have a specialty and/or experience in...(1) ONE day out of the school week. Parents teach their own children every other school day...HEP is not meant to take the place of the parent teaching their own child.

We term the [HEP] program "enrichment" because many of the classes offered are electives designed to meet the educational elective requirement and enrich the child's skill area and need development. Past classes have included/or currently include electives such as sign language, sewing, guitar lessons, drama, art, book study, music/choir, cooking/food prep...and core subjects such as Chemistry, algebra, Spanish, and Medieval history. We also formed a nature club that meets every other week. This is just one of the many ways that we keep our children socially active within the community, so that they are not isolated.

As far as teachers go, there are good teachers and there are bad ones...just like there are good home school parents and there are bad ones. It wasn't too long ago that a [then] Bedford county teacher/coach put us on the map by getting caught having an affair with one of his students--his story made prime time news on television...so it happens even here.

I commend your daughter for being one of the dedicated teachers in our county, and if you'll read in my previous comments you'll see that I respect educators very much and think especially high of those here in Bedford county...because you're right, the teaching wage in this county sucks! My sister has been a 6th grade teacher in a California public school for almost six years and earns $45,000 a year. The starting wage in the area of California where I taught middle school was $35,000...and that was back in 1998 (I'm sure it's higher now).

As I point out several times in my previous comments above, "public schools need more funding, more qualified teachers, more supervision, and more classroom space. This is a real issue that most of you would be hard-pressed to deny. Perhaps we should focus more on that topic?"

Here is another excerpt from my previous comments you should take a look at before continuing:

"But if I have to return my children to public school someday (for athletic reasons), I'm glad it would be in Bedford County...I do like the teachers and administrators in this county, and the majority do an excellent job. It is not the educators that keep us from returning our kids to public school. When you have 1,200 or so "puberty-stricken" children all assembled in one location, it is virtually impossible to monitor everything and everyone...sometimes kids fall through the cracks, or things happen that are out of your control. Perhaps we should focus on getting schools in this area more funding instead of debating "who's right or who's wrong?"

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 1:16 PM

If you read what I wrote, then you'll notice that I have no problem with the teachers in our area, and I am not disparaging your daughter by any means. Some of my best friends are public school educators, including my sister and one of my aunts.

You'll also find that I DO NOT state anywhere in my blog or comments that everyone should home school their children, and I make mention that there are those who should not home school their children. I also wrote:

"Once again, the point I need to stress is this....home educating is not for everyone, and may be a disadvantage in some situations...but it is the best choice for us. We no longer have to worry about school shootings, drunk bus drivers, teachers that date children, peer pressure involving drugs and homosexuality, over-crowding, under-funding etc. I've taught in a public school and my children previously attended public school...I believe they are best served by home educating...MODERN home education...at least at this time."

I differ from many of my home educating counterparts in a lot of ways, one area being in my agreement with you that there should be regulations over who is considered qualified to teach their children...specifically at the middle school and higher grade levels.

There are, in fact, state mandated regulations for those home educators, such as myself, who register with the TN Board of Education as an Independent...which I have being doing since we first began homeschooling our children (I've been told it also brings in funding for the county by registering as an Independent).

"Parents may home school their own children pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §49-6-3050 by registering with their local education agency (LEA). Parents choosing this educational option must meet specified educational requirements, test the child and report attendance to the local education agency at the end of the year."

The educational requirements that have to be met, as referenced above, are as follows:

Must have a high school diploma or G.E.D to teach children in grades K-8th, and must have a Baccalaureate Degree (B.A/B.S) or Waiver from Commissioner of Education to teach in grades 9th-12th.

I fully accept and agree with these requirements, and I think a minimum requirement of at least a high school diploma or G.E.D should be a standard for all home educating parents.

Furthermore, Independent home school students are required to test in grades 5th and 7th with the same state board approved secure standardized tests required of public school students. In grade 9, the same state board approved secure standardized tests required of public school students but NOT the high school proficiency test.

Children found to be testing at 1 year or more below grade level for 2 years in a row may be required by the superintendent to enroll in public or private school (unless the child is learning disabled).

You can verify these facts here:

http://www.state.tn.us/education/homesch...

You home Schooling your children may very well be in the best interest of your children but do not think for one minute that it is in the best interest of every child that is Home Schooled because evidently there are still a lot of "Dark Ages" parents out there that believe handing their child a book to read and popping them in front of Sesame Street is teaching.

I think just a little accountability would be nice, don't you think?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 12:22 AM

As I pointed out in several earlier comments, I do not think [for one minute] that it is in the best interest of every child to be home schooled. I NEVER state that anywhere, only that I believe it to be in the best interest of MY child. There is a very big difference between those two phrases.

And as I state above, I am all for accountability. My husband and I are both highly educated, open-minded (for the most part) individuals. I would not have chosen home education if I didn't believe we were qualified and studious enough to provide our children with the best education to benefit their individual needs.

The only real qualm I have is in your references to home schoolers you've encountered as being "very odd." I'm sure there are those in the world who might term you to be "very odd" simply because you may differ from them (please note, I think you're a very nice person and I'm not implying that you are odd, only making a point). Also, take look at the pictures of homeschooled children that I posted in this blog...those children are anything but shy and withdrawn.

You are going to find "odd" children in public schools as well home schools. Remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold...the two seniors from Columbine [public] High School who killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured 24 other students? You might call them "odd."

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 5:26 AM

I imagine that an "odd" child will be so regardless of the origins of their education. I was/am undoubtedly odd. It may be the case that odd children are more likely to find themselves being home schooled, if they are lucky enough to have parents willing to go the extra distance, for the very same reasons that they never achieve a comfortable fit with the cookie cutter approach to education prevalent within the public school system.

As a matter of fact, in some instances it is the labels attached to children that can do the most harm. What makes a child odd anyway? What is the natural state of a child? Is there a norm, moreover who decides what that should be? I wish I had been home schooled. I have also wanted to home school my own children, but none of them would have any part of it.

I can honestly claim that I learned precious little during my limited career in school, and as far as I am concerned, what I did learn was detrimental to my intellectual growth. I learned to sit down, shut up, walk in a line, blend into the crowd and respect the hierarchies presented by both the administration and my peers. If I had been training for the life of a prisoner, the instruction given me would have been much more apt.

I don't think you should be defensive about your decision at all. I think it is admirable that you do what you do. I also think it is completely unnecessary to resort to statistics and other evidence to validate your decision. Pursuing what you believe to be in the best interest of your children should require no further justification.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 9:59 AM

Shawna Maybe I need to make myself clearer to you: I think it is a wonderful program that your children are in it is Fantastic that you are able to provide this education for your children. All I am saying is that not every parent of every home schooled child are qualified to teach them. And no one is stopping them from attempting to teach them. Why do home school children wait until 5th grade to be tested anyway?? If the parent isn't teaching these children then by the time they reach 5th grade these children have lost 5 years of school! I just think there should be some type of certification required for parents to teach their children. It isn't rocket science but you sure can't teach a child to read if you can not comprehend what you read yourself.

Parents should be at least tested themselves before they are allowed to teach and children should be tested by the Board EVERY year, not by the parents.

The only parents who should have a problem with their child being tested every year are the parents who are not really teaching their children. These parents who do not provide a good education for their children are the ones who have given Home Schools a bad name for many years. Weed them out and you may find more people drawn into your way of thinking. The only way to weed out the bad parents is to require some type of testing before they are allowed to Home School.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 10:39 AM

I have been reading this blog, and do not want to argue. I will state this. I do know for a fact: There are good and bad teachers in public schools and home schools. I have known both type of students. There are good and bad students in both types of settings. Children that are taught at home are not deprived of any type of setting. The "Jones children", I have met and watched all them grow except for the oldest. Im so glad your son is doing well. I love him to death and think about how a couple of bad decisions almost destroyed a great young man. This boy was good at anything he tried, he was a great soccer and baseball player, a good soul. This young man is one of those people that you meet and know there is something great and good about him. I truly think he is destined to do something great with his life. I know for a fact, all the kids are well rounded and competitive. They get it from their dad.LOL. Shawna and Jimmy love their kids, always do what is best for them, and allow each one to shine in their own way.I truly feel that the decision they made about their children's education, was what was best for their family based on a great deal of research. These things I know for a fact.

-- Posted by Easton on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 11:25 AM

The only parents who should have a problem with their child being tested every year are the parents who are not really teaching their children. These parents who do not provide a good education for their children are the ones who have given Home Schools a bad name for many years. Weed them out and you may find more people drawn into your way of thinking. The only way to weed out the bad parents is to require some type of testing before they are allowed to Home School.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 10:39 AM

I know your comments were not directed to me, but I have to say that I agree with you on the testing. When I signed my children up to be Independent homeschoolers two years ago, I was shocked to find out that I didn't have to take them every year for TCAP. I am probably one of the few who think that the children should be tested every year. That way it shows me how they are doing compared to the public school kids. I had to take one of my daughters last year for her 5th grade testing. And her results showed that everything was above average. I have to take one of my other daughters this year for testing.

As for testing for the parents, I have no problem with that either. Because a parent who neither write nor read should be able to teach their children. Because they are not going to be able to help them learn if they are not educated.

Lastly about the odd comment. I have always been "odd" as well. I was one of the kids in high school that you saw dressed goth/headbanger. Now, I am "odd" because I basically have a mohawk. I attended public schools my whole life and was never taught anything from my parents. So "odd" people come from everywhere, no matter where they got their education from. But I understand what you mean though. There are probably some parents who homeschool and do not socialize their children. That is their choice. I don't think that it is right, but again it's their choice.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 11:35 AM

By your logic, Dianatn, a parent would have to have all manner of "certification" for the "jobs" they have in rearing a child. Feeding them is at least as important as education, don't you think? Should we all have to go through a comprehensive food production program to educate parents on how to prepare nutritious meals? Where do you stop the certifications? It would be arrogant for me to assume that I would be rated higher than other parents in childrearing skills, and therefore would be protected by the laws, instead of ultimately condemned. Furthermore, there are no guarantees that any given child will achieve a certain level of success in any form of education.

It is not public school vs. Homeschool, the issue is parental involvement, and no amount of legislation is going to enforce that. I would implore you to trust that other loving parents are making sound decisions for their children even if their paths to scholastic or technical success are different than yours.

-- Posted by jbcataldo on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 11:56 AM

Shawna, do you ever look at your children and tell them they're a waste? Do you put them in closets when they don't behave? Have you chosen one you like better than the other, then only push him/her to succeed? Do you wake up every morning with the only dilema being, "what will I wear" Do you tell your children you don't have the time nor an investment in them? Do you tell them they can be anything they want to be, then not supply nourishment for them?

When one fails, do you go on to the next lesson, or do you reinforce the lesson until it's understood? Do you pass your children through just to get them out of the way? Do you have the materials and books needed for your children?

Do you receive millions in public funding to Ignor Failure? Do you receive millions to Ignor parents?

I bet in your school you can be as parentally involved as you want to be, without being labeled..."difficult." Wow!!

-- Posted by Freedomof Speech on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 12:39 PM

You are correct there is no guarantee that any child will achieve success but you can bet your bottom dollar if a child isn't given an opportunity to learn then achievement is not in his future. There are children that refuse to learn regardless of the place they are being taught.

There is a vast difference in being able to raise your child and being able to teach your child. I know many parents who are unable to read or write, they raised their children just fine but to say they were qualified to teach their children would be a far stretch of the word.

A parent can teach their child the basic needs of life without having any formal education. Teaching math, reading, science or history are not natural abilities and must be taught by someone who understands the subjects. In order to be able to teach these things you must have an understanding of them yourself. I would not pretend to know how to teach someone to perform brain surgery if I did not understand the procedure myself.

Although I know of a lot of parents who could use a good course of general nutrition for their children as well.

As far as me trusting parents to do the right things for their children: I learned a long time ago, Trust is not given it is earned.

Many parents believe it is no one's concern about how they raise or teach their children but their own concern. Until that child is unable to function in the outside world then of course they become a product of welfare and is everyone's concern. I am by no means saying this would only happen with Home School children it happens with children being taught any every sitting. But even if your child is in the Public School system there must be a certain amount of parental/adult involvement for your child to be successful. Sometimes it is the parents but then again sometimes it is a teacher who shows the child the correct path to follow.

The attitude of wait and see if they turn out ok will not work.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 12:40 PM

Dianatn--

Again, I fully agree that there should be qualification requirements of all home school parents, not just those of us who register as an Independent. Unfortunately, even enacting educational requirements across the board will not alleviate all of the problems that may result, such as poor teaching methods or parents who choose to completely isolate their children. Public school teachers are required to test periodically with the state, but tens of thousands of children still graduate every year who can barely read and write. There will always be poor exceptions that filter through in both sectors. But again, I believe there should be mutual accountability for all who choose to home educate.

Also, I further agree that children should be required to state test more frequently....at least every two years. And you should also be aware that we have the right to choose to test more often on our own...5th, 7th, and 9th grade are just what the state has determined to be "trouble" markers.

PrpleHze--

LOL! I attended a private school through my middle school years and graduated in 8th grade as class valedictorian (my mom still has the video of me giving my "lame" speech). I also scored 99 percentile across the board in EVERY subject of the California (CAP) proficiency exam. I was a model student.

Then in 9th grade I entered public school and by the end of the school year I had pink spiked hair and wore a safety pin through my cheek... I would never have dubbed myself odd before that. Of course, I can also chalk it up to puberty, the 80's punk rock phase, and the fact that my public high school was in southern California. I think we would all have to admit to being "odd" at some point in our lives.

Easton--

I can only guess which one of my husband's fans you are, LOL (:jk). Seriously, thank you for what you said about our children and especially about my "wayward" son. We are SO PROUD of the progress he has made! You know, one of the reasons I chose to finally write this blog was because he and I had a "heart-to-heart" talk after Christmas and he told me that he wished he had been home schooled. My very bright and gifted son made a lot of poor choices in high school, and now they have come back to haunt him in his pursuit of a career. His experience factored heavily into our decision to home school our younger children.

But again, I do not recommend home school for everyone. And if you choose to home educate, do so for the right reasons...most importantly, what is truly in the best interest of your child educationally and socially. Research the subject beforehand and consider co-ops, classes, groups, and clubs to keep your child submerged in the world outside your home.

Do not hide your children from the world, or they will not be prepared to face it on their own. Do not fully discourage conformity--for it is needed in certain situations within the real world--but remember also to teach your child to embrace diversity and encouraging individuality. Home educating gives you a lot of control in shaping your child into the type of person you wish them to become....do not abuse that power, nor take it for granted.

For those of you who want more information about how to home school--or are trying to determine if it is even the right choice for your family--and want to know what resources are available to aid you, email me at homechooltrend@aol.com.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 12:52 PM

Shawna, tell him that I wish him luck and he knows our numbers if he ever needs anything. I think he knows that though. I will always pray for his safety. Tell him to throw a couple of pitches a year for me. LOL

-- Posted by Easton on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 1:12 PM

"Shawna, tell him that I wish him luck and he knows our numbers if he ever needs anything. I think he knows that though. I will always pray for his safety. Tell him to throw a couple of pitches a year for me. LOL"

-- Posted by Easton on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 1:12 PM

I will, thank you. The lost dream of a potential baseball career is probably one of his biggest regrets...he was throwing what, 84MPH at age 13-14? Personally, I wish he'd stayed with soccer, but his talent was stronger in baseball. I miss the days of watching him play, but we'll always have our memories.

May God keep him safe through his military years and beyond...thanks for saying an extra prayer for us...and don't forget, you can always call us if you need anything too. Just email me at the address above if you need the numbers.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 2:18 PM

I think there is an advantage in home schooling (maybe several) that is being overlooked.

Having taught a few Church and youth group classe then speaking with the other teachers, I learned that it was the teacher, or in this case, the parent, that learned the most. It would be interesting to see some statistics of homeschooled childrens parents scores vs public school parents scores on standardized tests.

You are never to old to learn.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 3:26 PM

"Having taught a few Church and youth group classe then speaking with the other teachers, I learned that it was the teacher, or in this case, the parent, that learned the most. It would be interesting to see some statistics of homeschooled childrens parents scores vs public school parents scores on standardized tests.

You are never to old to learn."

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 3:26 PM

That's a very good point, one which I almost addressed myself, but assumed I would be taken and twisted out of context to come under "more fire" -LOL- so I just left it alone.

Anyway, I graduated college with honors (top 5% of my class and two B.A degrees) and I cannot begin to tell you how much "5th grade" subject matter I had forgotten, like the different types of good/bad microogranisms or constructive and deconstructive processes of the earth's surface...how often have I had to know that in my graphic design & photography business, or even when I as an HR manager at a fortune 500?

My point is, you're right....educating your child at home forces you to re-learn and/or remember grade school and college material. But parent's of children in public school can also apply their time and energy into learning and assisting their child with his/her classroom work--and some do---but many don't, leaving it entirely up to any random teacher to "train" their child. As a former teacher I can tell you that most, if not all teachers want their student's parents to take an active role in assisting and participating in their child's learning/teaching...regardless of whether they public school or home school.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 4:10 PM

Very true.I also have had to re-learn elementary lessons while helping our kid with homework. So it may be a wash. I would think that teaching would increase the level of re-learning though.

Additionally, I have been appalled at how our children are given a grade just for bringing in a newspaper clipping or other trivial item and believe that does nothing other than raise the grade point average in an attempt to increase the average grade of the students to comply with government standards.

I applaude all of those who homeschool their children. We have considered it many times and may eventually do it.

One main reason is because of the social impact on our children. They come home speaking foul words they learned at school which have no place in a Christian life. It makes me wonder what other prejudices and biases that are being implanted by the contact with those that don't share the same values.

One bad apple may not spoil the whole lot, but it sure can taint them.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 4:37 PM

I do not want to argue with anybody... yet I do feel responsible to dispute things that I feel are expressed with authority though not backed by experience or research... even if they are expressed with the best intentions.

I want to encourage all the home school parents who might be following this discussion. The arguments brought forward here, against homeschooling, are archaic and obsolete. I remember listening to such worries around the dinner table when I myself was homeschooled... back in the 80's. These were very serious and legitimate concerns at that time. Since then homeschooling has been proven a viable and perhaps superior form of education. Now there are so many articles available for parents to research the pros and cons of training their own children that it amazes me. Shawna has tried to post information and articles that might educate people and alleviate some of their fears about home schooling.

I suppose if there were many tragic home school stories I might enter into a 'more regulations might be appropriate' conversation. It seems that most of the issues here are as shallow as, well, I just don't like what you are doing with your children and, I am sorry to say, they seem a little odd to me. Hmmm, and the 'they all must be tested' mantra... I have personally known children that were trained with the 'unschooling' method, a method I have enormous arguments against, tested each year only to progress annually alongside their public school counterparts. That alone speaks volumes.

I must say some truth against homeschooling has been spoken here. Home schooled children do tend to be different. I am amazed how comfortable they tend to be with people of all different ages and economic situations, how they tend to jump in and help at community events, how they seek out knowledge rather than assume it will be handed to them... I could go on and on about how different they are but I suppose I really like those differences and it would just sound like bragging.

Lastly, I am the oldest of thirteen children, all schooled by my mother, and not one of us would consider welfare as a legitimate lifestyle. Perhaps our mother, finally refusing to accept 'free' lunches and the other tax payer 'freebies' continually offered to public school children, had something to do with that... alas I have no studies to prove that I am right about this :). I do know that my siblings and myself are all people that contribute to our communities. We are business owners, artists, musicians, writers, spouses of remarkable people who also contribute to society, parents, and, I think, average home schoolers. I am proud that my mother didn't wait until she had 'earned' somebody's trust, somebody that ultimately meant nothing to her or to her children. I am glad that she was able to ride out the anti home schooling sentiment and raise her children in a way that she felt was better than what she was being offered... for 'free'. I suppose I feel that anyone that has the wherewithal to fly in the face of convention has been 'certified' enough. I have lived long enough to see that going against the norm is not an easy thing to do. Parents that don't want to 'be held accountable' don't choose home schooling as an educational option. Ultimately a home schooled child's failure or success in life rides solely on his parents efforts. That is being held accountable. We do not have the ever ready excuse of blaming the teachers, or the school system for our failures at parenting.

I will quote an earlier post: The bottom line to this debate is: Do parents have the freedom to choose the paths of their children, educationally or otherwise? I am forever grateful that MY parents did!

Bravo to all of you that are involved in your children's lives, whether you train them at home or have them go to the local public school. Whether you like it or not you are all in the minority and in that way all a little 'odd'. Good for you!

(Sorry if this is a bit blunt, I believe I am feeling a little 'defensive' too. :))

-- Posted by Efindod on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 5:39 PM

Efindod

I am going to say this then I am done because if is evident that you are always going to feel the way you do and I am going to feel the way I do... Odd? Perhaps

You are only looking at Home schooling from your perspective. You only see that you and your siblings did well in Home school. You are not seeing the 1000's of other children that are not taught the things they need from their parents. You are not seeing there are children who are isolated from other children.

If I used your same logic, I could say my children are warm, have clothes on their backs and plenty of food to eat so that means every child in the United States has the same. But we both know in reality that is a untrue statement, don't we?

I have no real qualms with Home Schools as long as they are done the right way but how do you know if they are doing every child justice when you only looking into your own living room.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 7:19 PM

Dearest Dianatn,

I am sorry that you do not understand what I am saying. I am saying that I don't think that it is my business to look into the living rooms of all the other parents on the planet. I think that you are obsessing about something that is NOT YOUR BUSINESS. I don't know how to word it politely. It's funny, now that you mention it, I have actually looked at this issue from all the perspectives you have discussed. My children have been to private schools, public schools, home school. I have good things to say about any of these choices if somebody cares to discuss them with me. I just don't think I should impose that experience on others. I have spent twenty years passionately looking everywhere that I can look for information on different forms of schooling. I love education. I love that you care. I think you are wrong. I am sorry that you think those that disagree with you are narrow minded and too simple to view things from all the angles that, you imply, you see so clearly. Then again, perhaps it is how you have been taught. Thank you for your opinions. It is amazing how often, actually, I have changed my opinions over the years and it is due to the fact that there are people that are not afraid to speak their minds and discuss issues of importance with others. Thank you.

-Efindod

-- Posted by Efindod on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:11 PM

I never once called you narrow minded so please do not put words in my mouth.

If it is none of my business as to whether or not parents are supplying their children with an education then it certainly should be none of my taxes if their child is unable to fend for himself as an adult when they go to apply for government assistance!!

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:41 PM

Ah yes! Here is something we finally agree upon! I don't believe that you should be paying for everybody's education, another thing that makes home schooling appealing to me.

...and does "when you (are) only looking into your own living room" not sound incredibly narrow minded to you? Hmmmmmm...

I've got to go to bed. Good night and I think it would be great to continue our conversation privately, if you would like. I feel we are, at this point, monopolizing the conversation. Do you think?

-- Posted by Efindod on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 9:20 PM

Dianatn--

My husband has instructed me not to waste any more time trying to "make a blind [wo]man see," but in response to your very discriminatory and ludicrous implications that home schoolers account for a large portion of our wasted tax dollars and the welfare plague burdened on society, I will simply point out that the results of several independent studies, including those I've posted below, reveal that it is in fact the public school failures that are costing tax payers, like me, BILLIONS of dollars each year. Home school families still have to pay for those educational failures, and we then pay out-of-pocket to educate our own children, as well.

Don't take my word for it, look it up...ALL over the internet. That is something home school children learn to do--RESEARCH for FACTS, not state asinine opinions about how we "perceive" something to be. I've provided numerous un-biased reference sources throughout this blog and commentary, including studies that were performed by state and county educational boards. I have yet to see your independent surveys, facts, or studies.

Independent studies also reveal it is the home schooled students who have a HIGHER RATE of students [per capita] graduating from high school, a HIGHER RATE of college attendance, a HIGHER RATE of college completion with an A.A, a HIGHER RATE of college completion with a B.A, and a HIGHER RATE of Master Degrees earned. And guess what, another study also showed that homeschool parents have a higher income than the average...so it's not you who pays taxes to support them, but instead their tax dollars pay your daughter's salary (see the updated chart in my blog or look it up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooli....

"Lawrence Rudner's (University of Maryland) 1998 study shows that homeschool parents have a higher income than average (1.4 times by one estimate),[82] and are more likely to have an advanced education. Rudner found that homeschooling parents tend to have more formal education than parents in the general population; that the median income for homeschooling families ($52,000) is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States ($36,000); that 98% of homeschooled children live in "married couple families"; that 77% of homeschool mothers do not participate in the labour force, whereas 98% of homeschooling fathers do participate in the labour force; and that median annual expenses for educational materials are approximately $400 per homeschool student.

A 2001 study by Dr. Clive Belfield states that the average homeschooling parent is a woman with a college degree."

....A study performed by The Alliance for Excellent Education, a non-profit group based in Washington, D.C., "shows that a good chunk of students are unprepared for life after high school," according to Danielle Wood, author of the story at education.com.

After taxpayers spend about $10,000/year/student in public school, "close to one-third of all community college freshmen enroll in at least one remedial course upon arrival and 20 percent of freshman in four-year institutions do." Those who skip college to enter the workforce are "just as unprepared."

How much do you think this costs the country? The study estimates the price tag at $3.7 billion annually. Yeah, that's "b" as in billion.

Speaking about those students immediately entering the workforce, "more than 80 percent of employers said recent graduates were deficient in 'applied skills,' and 72 percent said they were deficient in basic writing skills." Noting that it costs $22,218 per year on average to attend a private college, it doesn't seem a very good investment when employers called most grads "adequate" or less.

The modern school system was set up to create good employees. This report seems a pretty good indication that it's failing in this regard, too...

SOURCES:

http://parentatthehelm.com/558/more-cost...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooli...

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:52 AM

I will admit that I use to have a negative perception of children who were schooled at home but my opinion changed when I went to college. I met this boy who was 16 and was a freshman like me and he had been homeschooled and yet he was taking the same advanced courses that I was taking and scoring high grades like me. He had a diverse range of interests and was very intelligent. Here was a 16 year boy who was able to not only match but sometimes excel against his peers who had a couple of years on him and who had been schooled in traditional ways(public or private schools). At first he was a bit shy but I believe that was due more to his age and not the fact he was schooled at home but by the second semester he was friends with everyone and was always involved with something and even joined a fraternity. He really changed my perception of homeschooled children and made me realize that there are many different ways a child can be taught and at the same time find success in learning and excel. To be honest, I felt I was always limited when I attended public schools and it wasn't until I went to a private college that I felt I could reach my potential because most public schools are over crowded and teach to only to maximize test scores instead of promoting actual learning and self discovery and the ability to think for oneself. Every child is different and some will thrive in one environment while others thrive in another. That is why I have always been a big believer in concepts like magnet schools and the like. Why limit the potential of one student just to maximize another? The idea is not to produce an average student or learner but an exceptional one and that can be done through a variety of resources including homeschooling.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 7:08 AM

Maybe you really should have listened to your husband or at least read what I said.

I never said Home School children make up any part of our tax waste dollars....What I said WAS if a parent is NOT supplying their children with the neccessary education either by not teaching them if they are Home Schooled or not sending them to school where some one else could teach then MY tax dollars should not go to support their needs as an adult who would be unable to support himself!!!!!

Regardless of what you think not every child that is home schooled is getting the education they need or deserve..Not every child that is home schooled is in your Co-op or even has a parent that really cares. I know you can not be that blind.

When a parent is home schooling their child for a couple of years and a parent decides he isn't learning enough or they are just tired of doing it who has to take up the slack on that student? It certainly isn't the parent...who has to show his test scores now that he is in Public School? It sure isn't the parent.. but who is really responsible for the child not being taught the things he needed? The school system gets the blame because they are the ones who have to report his scores..even though they were not the one who had been teaching the child!! Yea sounds fair to me!

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 10:23 AM

Dianatn . . . how many children are not getting properly taught and educated at public schools throughout the nation? How many times we the taxpayers have had to pay for the failings of public schools? To be honest, this argument can go both ways.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 11:19 AM

This argument easily goes both ways.

Shawna's situation is different from many families that homeschool. She is educated and does not seem to be homeschooling so that her children can avoid being exposed to certain subject matter or certain types of people. I think Diana's point is...and a point with which I wholeheartedly agree... is that too many of these parents lack any academic background and/or are doing it to prevent any exposure to evolution,to ideas of the origins of the universe that do not involve a creator-god,or even the possibility that homosexuality has a strong genetic component,etc.

I also agree with the point that she makes about the importance of professional educators. Now, don't get me wrong, I've seen some of the students that declare an education major and some that even make it through and believe me when tell you they are dumb as dirt, however I still believe that formal instruction in pedagogy is important.

Homeschooling is a viable option for those who do it for the right reasons and have the background to do so. Shawna, you are, by past profession, a teacher. While it may not have been in the public school you have demonstrated experience in a classroom setting and Diana is making the point that many have not and have no real ability to disseminate information to others and/or have no ability to implement teaching of certain skill sets.

-- Posted by KelliM on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 11:51 AM

Dianatn,

Do you have some sort of statistics to back up your rants? I mean I have read you say "I know" about a lot of things, yet you have not offered up one iota of evidence that supports your claims.

I mean Ms. Jones has said more than once that homeschooling is not for everyone, and that not every child will benefit, and I even believe she said she is not opposed to some standards, but you keep "layin the pipe". She is just sharing her experience with others.

I don't know her or her husband, but I do have some friend that home school, and the mom who teaches has previously been a public school teacher as well. They have a couple of great kids, and you would never know by talking to them that they were not in the public school system.

Yeah, I know, not every parent who homeschools is a former teacher, but until you have some sort of evidence that we have these mass quantities of unqualified parents turning out kids that could end up on your tax dime, you should stop beating a dead horse.

If you are that concerned, you should take it up with the school board or city council to enact the regulations you so badly want.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:02 PM

Jaxspike

Oh, I am sure the number is much larger than Home Schooled children simply because for every one Home Schooled child there are 1000 Public School children. Not to mention within the Public School system they get the children who are really smart and the ones not so smart, along with the ones who really don't care and wouldn't learn even if Einstein was teaching them. But at least they are given the opportunity to get an education; there are teachers there to teach them if they are willing and able to learn.

I am sure Shawna's children will do just fine she is educated and has the ability to teach her children plus she is trying to keep her children social.

But not all home schooled children have this advantage. Then you wonder why don't you see the numbers on these children affecting the Home school numbers? That's because they are tossed back into the system and become a Public School number.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:11 PM

But not all home schooled children have this advantage. Then you wonder why don't you see the numbers on these children affecting the Home school numbers? That's because they are tossed back into the system and become a Public School number.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:11 PM

How do you know this? What proof do you have?

Sheesh, give it a rest already!

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:17 PM

"then MY tax dollars should not go to support their needs as an adult who would be unable to support himself!!!!!"

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 10:23 AM

LOL...by your logic then MY tax dollars should NOT have to go to support the needs of those adults who WERE educated in the public school system...and the FACTS and NUMBERS show the public schooled kids are the per capita majority who are dropping out and less likely to hold a job and end up on public assistance. Do the research and stop making second-hand assumptions. There are good and bad to both sides, and I will say it once again...home education is NOT for everyone.

I DO NOT think EVERY child is getting the education they need at home, and you and I actaully agree in the area that there should be accountability and requirements...and there are for those like myself who choose Independent home education. By that same token, there should be MORE accountability in public schools than there is currently. "No child left behind," yeah right...half of them who are graduating--or dropping out as the trend shows--can't even read and write beyond a 2nd-4th grade level, if at all! And I DON'T blame the teachers...

Btw, YOU might also be wise to read what I wrote. I said you IMPLIED the fact, and you did. I will remind you that you've made references in the past to welfare recipients as being "lazy." Well hear this...lazy parents DO NOT choose home schooling, or not for long if they do.

Do you know how many times I've made the comment to my husband, "it would be so much easier to put them back in school!" I mean seriously, I could throw a bowl of cereal in front of my kids, load them on a bus or drop them off and let someone else deal with them for 7 or 8 hours.

I apologize in advance for any rudeness or hostility. I do get defensive about our choice to home educate because it is an all-consuming venture that we make sacrifices for in order to continue. With a few days of exception, my children are with me all day long on a daily basis. I get up in the mornings and either cook a meal or take the easy way and hand them cereal, and that is where my journey starts and the typical mother's ends.

On an average day (when we are not at HEP on Tuesday or Nature Club on bi-weekly Fridays) we follow breakfast with an hour of English literature for one child and Reading comprehension for the other. That is followed by a combined hour of world geography and cultures of the world, catered at 5th grade and 9th grade level questioning. We have a 15 minute discussion period and then a 15 minute break. Next, we move into an hour of 4th grade division and fractions for one child and algebra I for another, followed by lunch.

After lunch we take on physical science AND life science because my kids love science and want both subjects. Our primary focus for this year is physical science, but they like to play an online challenge game about cells...microbiology, immunology, etc. As such, we spend 45 minutes on physical science and 15 minutes on life science.

To give their brain some rest, we do a 30 minute work-out video called "walking down the blood sugar," lol. Obviously this is more for me, but I incorporate into their P.E. requirements. They also play soccer, referee, etc. to get exercise and our 14 year old works out at Bedford Gym.

Then each child is required to read an age appropriate or higher book for one hour and write a minimum half page in their journal. I'm flexible in this area and allow them to do it in the evenings when they prefer. Journals are collected and corrected for spelling, punctuation, grammatical structure and content on Fridays and returned on Monday mornings. A spelling word list of 15 words is given each Monday and they are tested on Friday. My 4th grader has a 9th grade vocabulary, spelling, and reading level as confirmed by placement testing so both girls receive the same list and test.

On Saturday my children are still required to read for an hour and we (usually) work on a craft and/or art project together. Sometimes I help the kids sell their art work in my etsy store for profit, but they usually prefer to keep their pieces. On Tuesday they fill their electives at HEP. This semester I'm teaching drama and pre-algebra. My 14 year old is in my drama class, but aside from that they are interacting and communicating with other adults. One child is taking food preparation and art, and the other is taking a book study class in addition to drama.

My children are among 60 or so whose days are similar to ours. I am not implying that everyone who home schools their children has a schedule like ours, and some are actually more rigorous in fact. But I can assure you, lazy people want no part of the responsibility that home education entails. Why would these people whom you've described as 'possibly having a sesame street babysitter do their job' even bother? I mean, the state gives them free child care with a licensed teacher for 7 or 8 hours a day.

I don't have someone else teaching my kids-- I do it. I don't have a cafeteria--I feed them. I don't have a janitor--I clean the mess, or make them do it. Home schooling is the last thing a "lazy" parent wants any part of. And the numbers show it is the public schools that have higher drop-outs, less college attendance and completion...and hmmm, I just wonder what the numbers would be in a rate of teenage pregnancy comparison?

"The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says there are about three quarter of a million teen pregnancies in the US each year. Four out of five of these are unmarried teens."

According to statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, the US has "one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world--almost twice as high as those of England, Wales and Canada, and eight times as high as those of the Netherlands and Japan." Because of the rising pregnancy rates among teens, in addition to the rising rates of sexual activity among teens, both parents and public schools are exploring the best sex education programs to benefit students.

Sources:

http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articl...

http://homeschool-helpers.info/hsnv85.ht...

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:24 PM

"My children are among 60 or so whose days are similar to ours."

I was referring to those of us in the Bedford County HEP group when I wrote that...there are thousands state-wide who home school, I'm only speaking of those whom I know personally.

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:39 PM

Midnight Rider

If you want me to Sheesh, give it a rest then do not post a comment to me.

Pretty much every time I have commented I am only responsing back..

Am I going to name names for you...Heck No.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 12:41 PM

"I think these toddlers and kittens must see all the Etsy products featuring old typewriter keys and figure they'll get a head start on projects made with newer tech components....

....If only we could convince our computer manglers that the same applies to Dells,Hewlett-Packards,Macs,IBMs,et al."

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 8:01 PM

I used to build and repair IBM laptops and have a bunch of partial keyboards laying around. I kept thinking about doing something with them, so I decided to throw something together after I read your post. I've made the vintage key bracelets before and figured IBM keys could work for something.

If you find time, check out my etsy store and see what you think. I've also got some mixed media pieces posted, plus I design ooak wing images for transparencies and altered images for crafting, and sell ephemera compilations for scrapbooking.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/OldMadeNewAgain

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Sat, Jan 16, 2010, at 4:09 AM

Thank you!!!

I adore Etsy stuff-particularly anything that would fit with the Red Hat Society or Steampunk.

I've hoped I could do scrapbooking or altered art one day as I like the idea of giving new life and new purpose to quirky,overlooked,under-appreciated ephemera and the exciting works that they inspire.

Etsy stuff from a home town,orphan disease- conquering,Renaissance woman...

That sounds so neat!

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, Jan 16, 2010, at 11:07 PM

I like the Steampunk stuff also and just ordered some vintage Swiss dial pieces. I used the largest one on my mixed media collage that's listed on etsy, but I'm making jewelry and a Steampunk paper bag doll with the rest. Should be fun...

I can't wait to see your "artsy" stuff. When you finish with one of your projects, please send me a pic of the piece or a link to your etsy store. I love scrapbooking--never have time for my own--but I like to see what others put together. I sell digital album pages that I design from a mixture of hand-drawn embellishments and vintage ephemera images. Some day maybe I'll find time to use them for my own photos, lol.

Sounds like we have similar interests, and I'd coin myself a Renaissance woman also...we should get together some day and craft. Have you tried polymer sculpting yet?

Oops, I'm getting off topic, lol. You can email me at homeschooltrend@aol.com if you like. Thanks!

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Sun, Jan 17, 2010, at 3:10 AM

Homeschooling is a choice as most things in the U.S. One can find research to valid most anything so the research stated holds very little. Because I have research to state the exact opposite. However, I judge no one. I think is it wonderful that people are thinking of what is best for their children. I am certain parents who homeschool had to sacrifice many things in order to homeschool. Well worth it I am sure. But the article seems defensive to me. Do get a lot of negativity from others when they find out you homeschool?

-- Posted by scookie1 on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 1:25 PM

Scookie1--

Thank you for your comment. I apologize that this blog has taken a defensive slant. It was not my original intent, but instead simply to make others aware of our reasons for choosing to homeschool.

Unfortunately we have come under a lot of negativity in the past for our decision to homeschool, even with family members. However, once they learn that we do not isolate our children or shelter them from anything more than the outcome of peer pressure and mischief that stems from a group of 1,200+ hormone driven class mates, they usually agree that it was a good decision.

I used to cite overcrowding, etc. as my primary issue with public schools, but ironically my older children (who are now grown) attended public school in northern California in a city much larger than Shelbyville. Yet it wasn't until they attended a smaller Bedford county school that they learned about sex, including things I hadn't heard until I was grown and married for several years, and bi-love (which is the new rave running through public schools these days...it's cool to be bi-sexual and/or lesbian).

I attended a very large, overcrowded public high school in southern California (L.A. county) and it wasn't until I transferred to a high school in a small town in Arkansas during my sophmore year that I learned all about drugs, sex, etc. So demographics/geographical location plays a major role in the equation.

Granted, when I went to high school in California during the late 80s, things were not quite like they are now. My old high school now has a metal detector and a bomb went off in one of the lockers a few years ago, so I wouldn't reccommend it to anyone these days. There are pros and cons to both sides, as stated in many of my previous comments. However, as schools continue to become more violent the trend will proceed toward online schooling from home, as many universities now provide.

A six year old in Flint, MI shot and killed his fellow six year old classmate; a 3rd grader shot and wounded a 7 year old in Germantown, MD...those are just two examples from the thousands of cases of violence. That is what we shield our children from...I trust my parenting skills, but I am not willing to put that trust into those of complete stangers.

But again, those same parents who would raise a child to shoot a classmate, bomb a school, rape a student should not be homeschooling either...so what's the answer?*

*(please note, the parents are not always at fault or to blame for cases like these, but in many instances it can be linked to home life and/or upbringing/neglect, etc.)

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 12:56 PM

Homeschooling is a choice as most things in the U.S. One can find research to valid most anything so the research stated holds very little. Because I have research to state the exact opposite.

-- Posted by scookie1 on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 1:25 PM

As someone considering homeschooling, I would like to see the research stating the opposite. Could you please post it? This kind of info would be helpful in making an informed decision.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 9:38 PM

Liveforlight--

I just want to offer a little advice/tips since you are considering home education.

* Make sure you or your spouse have time to devote to your child's education (board of education requires a minimum 4 hours per day for studies). Make a commitment to your children, and yourselves.

* Make sure you have patience (I can't stress this one enough, lol).

* Make sure you use the best tools/resources for each child's particular learning needs. Example, I have one child who does better with video/dvd lessons and online gaming (visual and auditory learner). While my older child does better with text books, online interactive games and hands-on demonstration (visual and kinesthetic learner). This is one of the most important things to determine before you begin or when you first start your educational journey.

Because you can adapt class work and educational materials to meet your child's individual needs-- learning styles and pace of work--your child has a better chance to excel than if they are taught one way, at one pace and shuffled through in a classroom of 25+ students to one teacher.

I'm not trying to influence your decision by any means...the choice to home educate has to be made for the right reasons--the betterment of your child's future. Think about what you've learned in this blog (from both points of view) and the advice I've given you, and then decide what is truly in the best interest of your child.

Whether it be for religious & moral benefit, academic benefit, safety and well-being, the choice to home school cannot be made lightly, nor overnight. Educate yourself to the pros and cons (as you seem to be doing), including those within your own household...will you have the time, patience, work space, money for materials, etc.

One last thing, if you do choose to home educate your child(ren), please make an effort to keep them socially involved with their peers...church youth groups, home school co-ops, sports activities, dance classes, art classes, etc. Do not cut your child(dren) off from the world entirely or he/she will not have the tools needed to adapt in society when grown.

I wish you the very best, and feel free to contact me anytime for assistance if you do decide to home school, or for more information while you're still deciding. You can email me at sales@altered-d-zines.com or homeschooltrend@aol.com and I will send you my phone number. Good luck!

-- Posted by shawna.jones on Sat, Jan 23, 2010, at 12:31 PM


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A once self-proclaimed entrepreneur with a strong background in photography, computer assembly, and digital arts/graphic design, Shawna is a dual-major graduate who was forced to leave a middle-management position after a serious accident and illness left her unable to work. As a mother of six and former teacher, she is now homeschooling her two youngest children and volunteers her time as an educator for the Bedford County Enrichment Homeschool Program.