Tag Archives: Family Education

Education Next: Homeschoolers more likely than public-school peers to attend community events, visit museums, and more: New analysis of Education Department data

28 Jul

Parents and others often think of school choice in terms of public school or private school. There is another option and that is homeschooling. Homeschooling is one option in the school choice menu.  What is Homeschooling?

Family Education defines homeschooling.

Homeschooling means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, learning from the rich resources available in their community, environment, and through interactions with other families who homeschool.
Essentially, homeschooling involves a commitment by a parent or guardian to oversees their child or teen’s educational development. There are almost two million homeschoolers in this country.

There is no one federal law, which governs homeschooling. Each state regulates homeschooling, so state law must be consulted. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a summary of each state’s laws. State Homeschool Laws The American Homeschool Association (AHA) has resources such as FAQ and the history of homeschooling at AHA https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/homeschooling-is-becoming-more-mainstream/

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/homeschooling/

https://drwilda.com/tag/homeschool/

https://drwilda.com/tag/the-american-homeschool-association/

Daniel Hamlin wrote about activities of homeschoolers in the comprehensive examination of the homeschool population, Homeschool Happens Everywhere: Less formal instruction, but more family and community activities:

Homeschool families report higher rates of participation in cultural and family activities, suggesting that students have opportunities to acquire cultural capital outside of formal instructional time. Indeed, increased opportunities for hands-on learning may be a fundamental reason why some families opt to homeschool. Participation in these types of activities also may play a compensatory role, possibly offsetting what may be forfeited by not attending a traditional brick-and-mortar school. And it may offer a glimpse of the potential unique benefits to homeschooling, such as more frequent exposure to museums and art galleries and other community-based opportunities to engage with high culture.

This initial foray into the relationship between cultural capital and homeschooling underscores lines of inquiry for future research. Little is known about how homeschool parents attempt to teach art, music, and foreign languages. Furthermore, it remains uncertain whether a lack of instruction in humanities subjects among homeschool households signifies a rejection of conventional forms of instruction or is a consequence of unobserved barriers that these families face.

These findings cannot fully answer the concerns raised by Bartholet about child safety and homeschooling. Child neglect and abuse are urgent problems in some share of all families, and it is true that some children find refuge and access social-service supports through their schools. However, national survey data does not indicate that this is a concern for the majority. Critiques that homeschooled children grow up in cultural and social isolation may be overstated and mischaracterize the practice.

A richer understanding of homeschooling is especially relevant as families across the United States contemplate an uncertain return to full-time formal instruction in school buildings in the fall of 2020. Taking the activities of homeschool families as a guide, reduced classroom time or continued closures may potentially free up more time for different sorts of educational activities that parents and children can pursue at home. Even if museums and libraries remain closed, they have created rich online tours and educational programs in the wake of the pandemic, like those offered by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Louvre, NASA’s Langley Research Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Is the knowledge students gain from these sorts of activities equivalent to what they develop through experiences at school? What might be the benefits, as well as the limitations, of exploring education in this way on a broad scale? In the pandemic age, we may be about to find out.                                                                   educationnext.org/homeschool-happens-everywhere-less-formal-instructin-more-family-community-activities/

Here is the press release from Education Next:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Homeschoolers more likely than public-school peers to attend community events, visit museums, and more

New analysis of Education Department data

Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet’s recent call to ban homeschooling purported that homeschoolers are isolated and at urgent risk of harm from maltreatment, under-education, and parental abuse. But concerns that such students are in danger appear, at the very least, overblown, reports Daniel Hamlin in a new article for Education Next.

He finds that homeschooled students are more likely to attend a community event, visit a museum, and engage in family activities than their counterparts in public schools.

“Critiques that homeschooled children grow up in cultural and social isolation may be overstated and mischaracterize the practice,” Hamlin writes.

For more information, read “X.” To speak to the authors, please contact Jackie Kerstetter.

About Education NextEducation Next is a scholarly journal committed to careful examination of evidence relating to school reform, published by the Education Next Institute and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. For more information, please visit educationnext.org.

Many of our children are “unschooled” and a far greater number are “uneducated.” One can be “unschooled” or “uneducated” no matter the setting. As a society, we should be focused on making sure that each child receives a good basic education. There are many ways to reach that goal. There is nothing scary about the fact that some parents make the choice to homeschool. The focus should not be on the particular setting or institution type. The focus should be on proper assessment of each child to ensure that child is receiving a good basic education and the foundation for later success in life.

Related:

‘Hybrid’ homeschooling is growing                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/08/16/hybrid-homeschooling-is-growing/

New book: Homeschooling, the little option that could  https://drwilda.com/2012/10/12/new-book-homeschooling-the-little-option-that-could/

Homeschooled kids make the grade for college
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/02/homeschooled-kids-make-the-grade-for-college/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Military families embracing homeschooling

26 Oct

Moi wrote about homeschools in Homeschooling is becoming more mainstream:

Parents and others often think of school choice in terms of public school or private school. There is another option and that is homeschooling. Homeschooling is one option in the school choice menu. There are fewer children being homeschooled than there are in private schools. There are fewer children in private education, which includes homeschools than in public education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the vast majority of students attend public schools. Complete statistics can be found at Fast Education Facts http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

The question, which will be discussed at the end of this comment, is: What is so scary about school choice? After all, the vast majority of children are enrolled in public school and school choice is not going to change that.

What is Homeschooling?

Family Education defines homeschooling. http://school.familyeducation.com/home-schooling/alternative-education/41106.html

Homeschooling means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, learning from the rich resources available in their community, environment, and through interactions with other families who homeschool.

Essentially, homeschooling involves a commitment by a parent or guardian to oversees their child or teen’s educational development. There are almost two million homeschoolers in this country.

There is no one federal law, which governs homeschooling. Each state regulates homeschooling, so state law must be consulted. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a summary of each state’s laws. State Homeschool Laws http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp The American Homeschool Association (AHA) has resources such as FAQ and the history of homeschooling at AHA
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/homeschooling-is-becoming-more-mainstream/

Kimberly Hefling of AP reported in the story, Military Bases Open Their Doors To Home-Schoolers:

Some military families also cite the same reasons for choosing home schooling as those in the civilian population: a desire to educate their kids in a religious environment, concern about the school environment, or to provide for a child with special needs….
Participating military families say there’s an added bonus to home schooling. It allows them to schedule school time around the rigorous deployment, training and school schedules of the military member.
“We can take time off when dad is home and work harder when he is gone so we have that flexibility,” McGhee said.
Sharon Moore, the education liaison at Andrews who helps parents with school-related matters, said at the height of the summer military moving season, she typically gets about 20 calls from families moving to the base with home schooling questions. She links them with families from the co-op and includes the home-schooled children during back-to-school events and other functions such as a trip to a planetarium.
“It comes down to they are military children and we love our military children,” said Moore, a former schoolteacher. “We recognize that they have unique needs that sometimes other children don’t have, and we want to make sure that we do our best to serve them and meet those needs because they have given so much to this country.”
This kind of support for home schooling by the military was uncommon in the 1990s, said Mike Donnelly, a former Army officer who is an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, based in Purcellville, Va. He said that changed in 2002 with military-wide memo that said home schooling can be a “legitimate alternative form of education” for military member’s children. Most military bases today are friendly toward home-schoolers, he said….
Home schooling in recent decades has grown in popularity in the general population, with the most recent government statistics estimating that about 3 percent of school kids are home-schooled in America.
Within the military population, Donnelly said his group estimates that from 5 percent to 10 percent of military kids are home-schooled. An estimate by the Military Child Education Coalition, using very limited research data, estimated that up to 9 percent of military kids could be home-schooled.
The vast majority of military kids attend local public schools, with a much smaller percentage attending Department of Defense schools and an even smaller percentage attending private schools or home schooling, the National Military Family Association estimates.
Like home schooling parents in the general population, military families at home often use online curriculum and materials to enhance instruction. Some hire tutors for areas such as advanced math or foreign languages.
Home schooling, of course, isn’t for every military family. It requires a parent who can stay at home, and it can create an extra level of stress for the parents at home if the spouse is deployed, some spouses have told researchers.
For military families and others who do opt to home-school, there’s very little scientifically rigorous research about the long-term social and academic effects, said Joseph Murphy, an education professor at Vanderbilt University who wrote a book about home schooling.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/26/military-home-schoolers_n_4166073.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

School Choice is Good for the Education Process

Homeschooling is not a conspiracy, it is simply a choice. There is a difference between “education” and “schooling.” “Schooling” is defined as:

• the act of teaching at school
• school: the process of being formally educated at a school; “what will you do when you finish school?”
• the training of an animal (especially the training of a horse for dressage)

wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

“Education” is a much broader concept. It is the process of continually being curious. Eric Hoffer aptly distinguishes the difference between “schooling” and “education.”

The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together.

Many of our children are “unschooled” and a far greater number are “uneducated.” One can be “unschooled” or “uneducated” no matter the setting. As a society, we should be focused on making sure that each child receives a good basic education. There are many ways to reach that goal. There is nothing scary about the fact that some parents make the choice to homeschool. The focus should not be on the particular setting or institution type. The focus should be on proper assessment of each child to ensure that child is receiving a good basic education and the foundation for later success in life.

Related:

‘Hybrid’ homeschooling is growing
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/16/hybrid-homeschooling-is-growing/

New book: Homeschooling, the little option that could
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/12/new-book-homeschooling-the-little-option-that-could/

Homeschooled kids make the grade for college https://drwilda.com/2012/07/02/homeschooled-kids-make-the-grade-for-college/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Tips for parent and teacher conferences

7 Nov

Preparation for the parent and teacher conference begins long before the actual meeting with the teacher. It begins with the selection of the school and asking the right questions about the school. The key question to ask is how is the school going to communicate with you about your child’s progress? How regular is the communication?

How to Prepare for a Parent and Teacher Conference

BabyCenter.Com has an excellent checklist for parent and teacher conference and they provide 14 basic questions to ask.

14 great questions to ask the teacher

1. Is my child working up to his ability?

2. Is there anything we can do at home to reinforce the skills that you’re working on in the classroom?

3. How much time should my child be spending on his homework?

4. Do you grade homework assignments?

5. What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?

6. What can we do to help develop our child’s weak areas?

7. What are my child’s academic talents?

8. How are grades determined — are tests weighted the same as homework and in-class assignments?

9. What is my child like in class?

10. What is my child’s learning style?

11. How does my child interact with the other kids?

12. Is there anything that I can share with you about my child and what he’s like at home?

13. What skills will my child be expected to master this year in key subjects like math, English, science, and history?

14. Which, if any, standardized tests will be administered this year?

Family Education has a number of printable forms including one on Parent and Teacher Conferences They begin their checklist with a discussion with your child and they also have some questions parents may want to ask. You must register to access their materials, but registration is free.

Here are some general hints on how to have a successful conference:

· Ask your child if there is anything that he would like you to discuss with the teacher.

· Jot down everything that you want to talk about at the conference.

· Arrive promptly or a few minutes early.

· Begin with positive comments about the teacher or classroom.

· Avoid lengthy discussions of topics that are not related to the purpose of the conference.

· Be open to suggestions from the teacher.

· Keep your emotions under control.

· Take notes about what has been discussed and share them with your child.

· Express appreciation for the conference.

· Do not stay beyond your allotted time.

The goal of the parent and teacher conference is to get an accurate assessment of where your child is at a particular point in their academic career. Is your child making progress toward achieving academic goals? If not, what is the plan to have the child meet academic goals? If the child is meeting academic goals, are they sufficiently challenged by their work and in the proper placement? The goal is to make the teacher an ally in the education process.

Preparation for Teachers and Administrators

Beginning teachers are often apprehensive about parent conferences. Cathy Pearl offers some sage advice at Tips for Teachers

Tip #1: Make sure you are approachable. Greet every parent at the door with a smile and a handshake. No matter how you feel about their child, a parent should be greeted with respect.

Tip #2: Don’t sit in a position of power. It is not appropriate for the teacher to sit behind the desk during a conference. Arrange chairs in a circle, or sit kitty-corner to each other at a table.

Tip #3: Always start with the positive at a conference. Starting with the positive aspects about a child sets the tone for the entire meeting. No matter how difficult a child is, there is always something that they do well. Find it and use that as a starting point for the rest of the meeting.

Tip #4: When you are discussing a child, bring work samples to illustrate your points. This goes for things a child does well, and areas you may be working on with that child. If a child is showing improvement, bring before and after samples. Parents want to know how their child is developing his or her skills and work samples show this better than words.

Tip #5: At some point, a parent will ask a question that you don’t know the answer to. Don’t make up an answer to cover your lack of knowledge about a subject. Admit that you don’t know the answer and offer to find it for them. Parents will have more respect for you if you give them the correct answer, even if it is a day or two later, versus an incorrect one.

Tip #6: Start and end meetings on time. If you or the parents need more time, offer to meet again at another time. Their time is just as valuable as yours.

Tip #7: No matter how upset a parent gets, as a teacher you must remain calm. A teacher is often on the receiving end of anger and frustration. If you are concerned the meeting will be uncomfortable, ask another teacher to sit in with you. If nothing is being accomplished, offer to meet at another time when everyone involved is calmer.

Tip #8: It is very important to follow through on what was discussed at the meeting. Implement any changes discussed and be sure to call parents within two days with the answers to any questions you did not have at the meeting.

The Washoe County School District in Nevada has a comprehensive planning memo which addresses many of the issues presented by parent involvement.

Tips for Teachers and Administrators Parent Teacher Conferences

Research has shown that parental involvement is essential to a student’s success in school. One of the most important contacts between home and school is the Parent Teacher Conference. Learn how to make the most of the opportunity!

Administrators

Awareness

Announce dates and times repeatedly – at family learning nights, back to school night, open houses, sporting events and assemblies.

Publish the schedule in newsletters, on a bulletin board or on the school web site.

Create a bulletin board in the school devoted to conferences with tips for parents.

Provide conference information in a language that parents can understand.

Discuss or include information on the goals of a parent teacher conference and the reasons parent attendance is essential.

Accessibility for Every Parent

Allow flexible schedules that include early morning, late afternoon and evening conference times.

Consider longer conference times such as 20 to 30 minute sessions.

Arrange for school counselors, office staff or parent volunteers to telephone parents, reminding them of their appointments and encouraging them to attend.

Talk to your Partners in Education or your parent organization (PTA, PTO, PFO) about providing childcare, transportation, and refreshments.

Provide interpretation.

Let parents know what services will be provided to help them overcome their barriers to attendance.

Many parents face challenges because of employment and other circumstances. To the extent possible, to goal should be to accommodate their involvement. 

Kelsey Sheehy of U.S. News provides the following tips for parents of high school students in the article, What High School Teachers Wish Parents Asked at Conferences:

As high school students inch closer and closer to college, parents can help ensure their student is on the right path by participating in teacher conferences. If a student is headed in the wrong direction, teachers can use the time to advise parents on how to help their teen change course.

While showing up at parent-teacher conferences is an important first step, asking the right questions will help both parties have a productive meeting. Here are some questions teachers say they wish parents would ask:

1. Is my student giving his or her best effort?

Conferences are typically a time for teachers to walk parents through their student’s grades, progress, and areas for growth. But grades don’t always tell the full story….

2. What could my teen do that he or she is not already doing?

Almost every student has room for improvement, and in an increasingly competitive college admissions landscape, each grade or activity could count.

Whether it’s taking advantage of internship or extra credit opportunities, filling out college applications, or simply turning assignments in on time, teachers can tell parents what their student needs to do to take his or her academic performance to the next level.

3. What can I do to make your job easier?

Parents and teachers should be on the same team–the student’s team….

“Place the responsibility for ‘doing well’ and turning in work on time right on the person who has the most control over making that happen–the student themselves,” Mango said via E-mail.

[Learn why students perform better with engaged parents.]

4. How are you doing?

Teaching can be a thankless task. Many teachers are managing dozens of students on a daily basis, and take on responsibilities that extend far beyond classroom instruction.

“I’m a teacher, a psychologist, a security guard, a babysitter, a bank, a chef, and countless other jobs. And it’s not like I’m doing it all for one child; no, I’m doing it for 70,” says Vin Testa, a math teacher at Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C.

http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-teachers-wish-parents-asked-conferences-155245643.html;_ylt=ArsHGTgJH7dELCtAX6_oB0pPXs8F;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0czBza25nBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBVU1NGIEVkdWNhdGlvblNTRgRwa2cDNDFiODAwMzktZDAwMy0zNTA2LWIyMmQtNmVjZWIxZmE3NzIxBHBvcwM0BHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzA2NzA0YzMwLTI3NjEtMTFlMi1iYmRiLTU4N2ZlYzczYmQ2Mg–;_ylg=X3oDMTFzcXM5ajBmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfGVkdWNhdGlvbgRwdANzZWN0aW9ucw–;_ylv=3

Remember, the conference you will be attending is like a snapshot of a point in time. School is a process of learning and getting through the system of education. Go to the conference prepared and ask questions. If your child has challenges, formulate a plan to address those challenges. If it is necessary to take some corrective action to get your child on the proper course, ask for benchmarks of where your child should be at particular points during the school year and into the next grade. Ask how you will be informed. Constantly monitor what is going on at your child’s school and in their classroom. Hopefully, at the end of the conference you and your child’s teacher will be allies in the academic success of your child.

It is important that your child’s teacher understands that you are a concerned parent who is interested in working with them to ensure your child’s success.

Resources:

Iowa Parents. Org Information about how to be an involved parent

Education World Parent and Teacher Conference Resources

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                           http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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New book: Homeschooling, the little option that could

12 Oct

Moi wrote about homeschools in Homeschooling is becoming more mainstream:

Parents and others often think of school choice in terms of public school or private school. There is another option and that is homeschooling. Homeschooling is one option in the school choice menu. There are fewer children being homeschooled than there are in private schools. There are fewer children in private education, which includes homeschools than in public education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the vast majority of students attend public schools. Complete statistics can be found at Fast Education Facts

The question, which will be discussed at the end of this comment, is: What is so scary about school choice? After all, the vast majority of children are enrolled in public school and school choice is not going to change that.

What is Homeschooling?

Family Education defines homeschooling. 

Homeschooling means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, learning from the rich resources available in their community, environment, and through interactions with other families who homeschool.

Essentially, homeschooling involves a commitment by a parent or guardian to oversees their child or teen’s educational development. There are almost two million homeschoolers in this country.

There is no one federal law, which governs homeschooling. Each state regulates homeschooling, so state law must be consulted. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a summary of each state’s laws. State Homeschool Laws The American Homeschool Association (AHA) has resources such as FAQ and the history of homeschooling at AHA  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/homeschooling-is-becoming-more-mainstream/

Jay Mathews has written an interesting Washington Post article, Hidden rival to charter schools:

So it is good to see Vanderbilt University scholar Joseph Murphy’s new book, “Homeschooling in America: Capturing and Assessing the Movement,” the best work so far on this phenomenon. He begins with a refreshing confession of ignorance. “There is not an overabundance of solid empirical work on homeschooling,” he says. “Much of the literature in this area comprises testimonials and pieces that explain how to successfully start and conduct a homeschool.

His analysis exposes an odd difference in the way we talk about charters and home-schooling. We think home-schooling is about the parents — their motives, their skills, their strengths and weaknesses. The charter movement is also a story of parents, but we don’t talk about it that way. The charter schools are the heroes if we like the charter movement. The charter schools are the villains if we don’t. We rarely praise or blame parents for what charters have done.

This gets at the heart of why home-schooling has blossomed. “The hallmark issue in the home-schooling movement is control,” Murphy says. “As power and influence were passed from parents and communities to government agents and professional experts throughout the 20th century, real costs were experienced by parents, costs calculated in terms of loss of control over the schooling of their children.”

Commentary on home-schooling often examines the religious motives of parents. They want God to be more a part of their children’s educations than modern public schools allow. But research shows, Murphy says, that in the growth of home-schooling “ideological rationales in general and religious-based motivations in particular, although still quite significant, are becoming less important.”

Scholars say parents are more likely to switch to home-schooling if they see the academic quality of their local schools decline or the number of low-income students in those schools increase.

The average incomes of home-schooling families are above the public school average. Like most such parents, their children’s achievement scores are better than the national average. “Greater wealth is positively associated with additional home-schooling, most likely because higher income provides the opportunity for one parent to stay at home,” Murphy says. “But past some point on the continuum, home-schooling turns downward as costs of forgone income by keeping one parent out of the labor force rise to unacceptable levels.” Such families, the research indicates, then look for private schools.

Most of us public school people wonder if home-schooling stifles children’s social development. What little data is available says no. “At a minimum this concept is likely overblown and more likely is without foundation,” Murphy says.

So home-schooling grows with the same surprising speed and volume as charter schools. Our debate about charters is rooted in some useful data. By contrast, we still don’t know much about home-schooling. Nor does there seem to be much effort to close that information gap. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/hidden-rival-to-charter-schools/2012/10/07/b07bc498-0f24-11e2-bd1a-b868e65d57eb_blog.html

See, Homeschooling Research Notes http://gaither.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/a-new-book-that-surveys-almost-all-extant-homeschooling-research/

Many of our children are “unschooled” and a far greater number are “uneducated.” One can be “unschooled” or “uneducated” no matter the setting. As a society, we should be focused on making sure that each child receives a good basic education. There are many ways to reach that goal. There is nothing scary about the fact that some parents make the choice to homeschool. The focus should not be on the particular setting or institution type. The focus should be on proper assessment of each child to ensure that child is receiving a good basic education and the foundation for later success in life.

Related:

Hybrid’ homeschooling is growing                                        https://drwilda.com/2012/08/16/hybrid-homeschooling-is-growing/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                           http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                     https://drwilda.com/

Homeschooled kids make the grade for college

2 Jul

In Homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, moi said:

Parents and others often think of school choice in terms of public school or private school. There is another option and that is homeschooling.Homeschooling is one option in the school choice menu. There are fewer children being homeschooled than there are in private schools. There are fewer children in private education, which includes homeschools than in public education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the vast majority of students attend public schools. Complete statistics can be found at Fast Education Facts

The question, which will be discussed at the end of this comment, is: What is so scary about school choice? After all, the vast majority of children are enrolled in public school and school choice is not going to change that.

What is Homeschooling?

Family Education defines homeschooling. 

Homeschooling means learning outside of the public or private school environment. The word “home” is not really accurate, and neither is “school.” For most families, their “schooling” involves being out and about each day, learning from the rich resources available in their community, environment, and through interactions with other families who homeschool.

Essentially, homeschooling involves a commitment by a parent or guardian to oversees their child or teen’s educational development. There are almost two million homeschoolers in this country.

There is no one federal law, which governs homeschooling. Each state regulates homeschooling, so state law must be consulted. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a summary of each state’s laws. State Homeschool Laws The American Homeschool Association (AHA) has resources such as FAQ and the history of homeschooling at AHA

Kelsey Sheehy writes in the U.S. News article, Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College:

But parents and students from the home-schooling community say the nontraditional method yields teens that are more independent and therefore better prepared for college life.

More than 2 million U.S. students in grades K-12 were home-schooled in 2010, accounting for nearly 4 percent of all school-aged children, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. Studies suggest that those who go on to college will outperform their peers.

Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers­—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.

They’re also better socialized than most high school students, says Joe Kelly, an author and parenting expert who home-schooled his twin daughters….http://www.usnews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2012/06/01/home-schooled-teens-ripe-for-college

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/homeschooling-is-becoming-more-mainstream/

Melissa Venable, Ph.D. has a great article at Online College.Org. about homeschooled kids and college.

In the article, 15 Key Facts About Homeschooled Kids in College, Dr. Venable writes:

Homeschoolers often enter college with more credit

Homeschooled students are able to work at their own pace, and as a result, students have the freedom to move significantly faster than those in a traditional classroom. Michael Cogan, a researcher at the University of St. Thomas, discovered that homeschool students typically earn more college credits before their freshman year than traditional students, with 14.7 credits for homeschoolers, and 6.0 for traditional students. Earning college credit before freshman year can save thousands of dollars and shave time off of a degree. The 14.7 average credits for homeschoolers represent a full semester of freshman year, which is typically 12-15 credit hours.

Homeschool students do better on the SAT and ACT

Perhaps benefiting from personalized test prep, homeschool students typically score higher on standardized college admissions tests. The homeschool average for the ACT was 22.5 in 2003, compared with the national average of 20.8. The SAT was no different, with a homeschool average of 1092 in 2002, and a national average of 1020. ACT and SAT scores are very important for college admissions and even financial aid, so doing well on these tests is vital to a great college experience.

Homeschool GPAs are consistently higher

As a homeschooled student, you work on a flexible schedule. Young children may rely greatly on their parents for scheduling and instruction, but high schoolers typically become more autonomous in their studies, learning key skills for success as independent students in college. Research indicates that this time spent learning how to study independently pays off, as homeschoolers typically have higher GPAs than the rest of their class. Homeschool freshmen have higher GPAs in their first semester at college, with 3.37 GPAs for homeschoolers, and 3.08 for the rest. This trend continues with an overall freshman GPA of 3.41 vs. 3.12, and senior GPAs of 3.46 vs. 3.16, indicating that homeschoolers are better prepared for college.

Homeschooled students are more likely to attend college

Homeschooled students seem to be more likely to participate in college-level education. As reported by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, more than 74% of home educated adults between 18-24 have taken college level courses. This rate is much higher than the general US population, which comes in at 46% for the same age range.

Homeschoolers are everywhere

Patrick Henry College is one college that specifically caters to the homeschool population, but homeschoolers are increasingly accepted in a wide variety of colleges and universities. In fact, homeschoolers are now in over 900 different colleges and universities, many of them with rigorous admissions. Some of these colleges include Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Rice University.

Homeschooled students are more likely to graduate

Making it to college is one thing, but actually sticking around and graduating is another. Students who have homeschooled will typically do better than other students, with a slightly higher retention rate, at 88.6% vs 87.6% for traditional students. Graduation rates show a higher disparity between homeschoolers and the national average, with 66.7% of homeschooled students graduating, compared to 57.5%.

Some colleges actively recruit homeschool students

Homeschool students have proven themselves to be so outstanding that several colleges have begun to actively recruit them. Boston University, Nyack College, and Dartmouth are among them, with a Dartmouth College admissions officer recognizing, “The applications [from homeschoolers] I’ve come across are outstanding. Homeschoolers have a distinct advantage because of the individualized instruction they have received.”

Homeschooled students are very likely to succeed in college

Research and probability indicates that homeschooled students typically do very well in college, not just academically, but socially as well. Skills learned in homeschooling translate very well to the college campus, with strong self-discipline and motivation. Colleges recognize this advantage, including Brown University representative Joyce Reed, who shares, “These kids are the epitome of Brown students.” She believes they make a good fit with the university because “they’ve learned to be self-directed, they take risks, they face challenges with total fervor, and they don’t back off.”

High school transcripts are often not required for college admissions

Although traditional students will typically be expected to submit their high school transcript, homeschooled students usually do not need one, submitting other information instead. Sixty-eight percent of US universities will accept parent-prepared transcripts. Others will take portfolios, with letters of recommendation, ACT or SAT test scores, essays, and more, allowing homeschooled applicants flexibility in admissions.

Homeschoolers can play college sports

As long as they meet standardized guidelines, homeschooled athletes can be awarded freshman eligibility to participate in college level sports. The number of homeschooled students participating in sports is growing as well, with up to 10 each year in 1988-1993, and as many as 75 students in the late 90s. Homeschool waiver applicants are typically approved, and in the 1998-1999 school year all applicants in Divisions I and II were approved, indicating not only an increased interest in college sports from homeschoolers, but an excellent openness in participation.

Many homeschoolers are National Merit Scholars

The National Merit Scholar program is an academic competition offering prestige and cold hard scholarship cash for high achieving students. The number of homeschool National Merit Scholars is increasing at a high rate: in 1995, there were 21 homeschool finalists, compared with 129 in 2003, a 500% increase. Homeschoolers are clearly doing well in their studies, and as a result, are reaping the rewards in scholarship money to use in school.

Homeschooled students may have higher college acceptance rates

Colleges and universities often recognize that homeschooled students tend to be exceptional in their academic performance, and combined with advanced studies and extracurricular activities, make great candidates for admission. In addition to actively seeking out homeschooled applicants, colleges may also be accepting more of them. In the fall of 1999, Stanford University accepted 27% of homeschooled applicants. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s an incredible number when you consider that this rate is twice the acceptance rate experienced by public and private school students admitted in the same semester.

Homeschool students are often in honors programs

High achieving homeschool students can benefit from advanced curriculum in college, which is why so many of them end up in honors programs once they go on to study at universities. At Ball State University, most homeschooled freshmen were admitted at a higher level than regular students. Eighty percent of homeschool students were admitted to “upper levels of admission,” and 67% were in the Honors College.

Homeschooled students may receive federal financial aid

Due to some confusion in the past, homeschooled students may have had to obtain a GED in order to qualify for financial aid. But the Homeschool Legal Defense Association indicates that laws have changed, and as long as students have completed their education “in a homeschool setting that is treated as a homeschool or a private school under state law,” they are eligible for federal financial aid without a GED.

Many scholarships are available to homeschooled students

Traditional scholarships are often open to homeschooled students, but there are also some created specifically for the homeschool crowd. In an effort to attract stellar homeschooled students for admission, colleges are developing homeschool scholarships. Belhaven offers $1,000 per year, College of the Southwest awards up to $3,150 each year, and Nyack College will give up to $12,000. With the high cost of a college education, these scholarships can really pay off for homeschoolers.

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/09/13/15-key-facts-about-homeschooled-kids-in-college/

Many of our children are “unschooled” and a far greater number are “uneducated.” One can be “unschooled” or “uneducated” no matter the setting. As a society, we should be focused on making sure that each child receives a good basic education. There are many ways to reach that goal. There is nothing scary about the fact that some parents make the choice to homeschool. The focus should not be on the particular setting or institution type. The focus should be on proper assessment of each child to ensure that child is receiving a good basic education and the foundation for later success in life.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©