While I am biased about homeschooling, back in the days when I pulled my own children out of the mainstream process, I was given a backlash of criticism from the friends and acquaintences who didn’t understand.
Now that homeschooling has grown, there is much more of a universal acceptance. The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics estimate that 1.5 million students were homeschooled in 2007. This represents a 74% increase since 1999,(more than 12 times the increase of public school enrollment over the same period). (NCES)
As a result, there are many more resources available (although back in the dark ages when I homeschooled, I found a TON of curriculum and educational style options…WAY MORE than I ever was given access to in the mainstream government system. ) Homeschooled children are involved in lots of community projects as well, not limited by the time constraints of government or school holidays. Also, the accessibility of online curriculum contributes to the ability to learn in an untraditional environment.
Many reasons are given for homeschooling, but the top 2 are dissatisfaction of the current school environment, and retention of family values. In our “good” school districts locally, parent education events are dominated by internet safety, drug and alcohol awareness, bullying trauma, etc…And during the day, the new “sensitivity”curriculum introduces concepts that most families may find crowd out the “reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic” that prepares students for a job or college.
That said, what about the academic athletic or artistic achievements of homeschoolers? Studies show that by the 8th grade, the average homeschooled student is 4 years ahead of their government school peers. (EricDigest.org) And while many homeschoolers don’t buy into standardized testing, they do test very well…on average, in the 80th percentile range of government school, and 70th percentile range of Catholic/Parochial school children. Many high achieving athletes and entertainers must homeschool because their passion for their talent dictates an alternative style of education.
So…what about college? Because homeschool students I have met tend to work well in multi-age groups, under deadlines, are self motivated, and more mature, those who want to attend college are generally more emotionally college ready. Homeschooled students must provide a lot of documentation to attend a mainstream govenernment or private college…Colleges have regional admissions staff who knows their region, and the profiles of the high schools who send students to their colleges. Homeschooled students don’t have that resource, so often, private interviews, extra ACT/SAT testing, and other vehicles are used to determine academic suitability and a good match for the student and the college.
I will talk more about this topic, as the months progress.
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