July 14, 2012

We're Homeschooling!

I am so excited that we will be homeschooling next year.  It is something I have been thinking about for a long time, but never thought I would be able to do it (for a variety of reasons).  During the last 6 months to a year I have really been thinking more and more about and praying about it a lot.  I got to the point that I was sold on it, but Sam really wasn't sure about it.  We have finally gotten to a place where we are in agreement to go for it.  I am so excited about all that we will learn and get to do...hands on learning and a less hectic schedule, which will allow for us to do more extracurricular activities.  Here are some excerpts from various studies I put together to help Sam feel more comfortable with it:

Homeschool Trends & Reasons

Across the county, an estimated 1.5 million children are home schooled and that number's growing. In the span of eight years, home schooling has grown nationally by almost 75 percent.

In 2007, the most common reason parents gave as the most important was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction (36 percent of students). This reason was followed by a concern about the school environment (such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure) (21 percent), dissatisfaction with academic instruction (17 percent), and "other reasons" including family time, finances, travel, and distance (14 percent). Parents of about 7 percent of homeschooled students cited the desire to provide their child with a nontraditional approach to education as the most important reason for homeschooling, and the parents of another 6 percent of students cited a child's health problems or special needs.

Home schooling, once dismissed as a fringe activity practiced by head-in-the-sand reactionaries and off-the-grid hippies, is now widely considered an integral part of the mainstream education system. Growing more common every year, the practice has gained attention due to home-schooled students sweeping up scholastic and athletic honors at national competitions and high-profile politicians opting to teach their own children at home (Lyman, 2007).

Some think that boys’ energetic natures and tendency to physical expression can more easily be accommodated in home-based education.

There is much evidence via multiple studies that shows the benefits of homeschooling across many dimensions and there is no empirical evidence that homeschooling causes negative things compared to institutional schooling.

Excerpts from various studies and articles…

Standardized Tests
·         Studies showed homeschoolers typically academically outperformed children receiving a public education on standardized tests by approximately 30 to 35 percentile points in all subject areas.
·         Drawing data for the 2007-2008 school year from multiple standardized testing services, the national average percentile scores were higher in all subject areas by at least 34 percentile points, and as high as 39 percentile points.
·         Homeschooled kids score above the national average on college admissions tests.
·         Mean scores on every subtest on standardized academic achievement far surpass those scores of publicly schooled students.
·         The mean of subtest scores were at least in the 80th percentile for homeschooled students.
·         Homeschool students tend to score above the national percentile on standardized achievement tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
·         Homeschoolers are scoring higher on SATs and ACTs than non-homeschooled students.


·         Homeschool students go to college and to fine colleges in disproportionately high numbers.
·         children from home education programs had higher first semester, first year, and last year grade point averages than their peers
·         Colleges are starting to actively recruit homeschoolers.

Studies have shown that home-educated children are more mature and better socialized than are those sent to school.

Recent research is changing opinions about how well-socialized homeschooled children are. While there is a common misconception that homeschooled children may be more poorly socialized than their publicly educated peers, this may not be the case. In a meta analysis of 24 studies about homeschoolers and socialization, Dr. Susan McDowell concluded socialization was a "non-issue."

Another often-cited study is a survey conducted by Dr. Gary Knowles, a University of Michigan Assistant Professor of Education. For the study, Dr. Knowles surveyed more than 50 adults who had been homeschooled as children. In the study, Knowles found that more than 75 percent felt homeschooling had helped them learn to interact with others as an adult.

In 2000, Dr. Patricia Lines of the Discovery Institute studied the socialization of homeschooled children. She found that homeschoolers were well-adjusted, and experts were unable to distinguish homeschooled kids from children receiving a public education. In fact, homeschooled children also demonstrated fewer behavioral issues than their public school peers.

Additional studies have shown that homeschooled children participate in many activities outside of the home, which allows them positive interaction with not only their peers, but a variety of age groups.

·         The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.
·         Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work
As the "socially challenged" homeschool kids are out and about interacting in real life situations, the government students are "socializing" under a controlled environment, behind four walls with a controlled group of people (also known as their peer group).
People like to assume that if a child attends a traditional school, he or she will automatically have awesome social skills and never be lonely/an outcast/"weird"/anti-social, etc, but I think we all know that's not really the case. Are there socially challenged homeschoolers? Of course there are. But for everyone one of them you should me, I can find you at LEAST one traditionally-schooled child who is equally socially challenged (and probably more than one, simply because there are more kids in traditional schools than in homeschools). Homeschooling doesn't magically result in lack of socialization any more that traditional school magically results in great social skills
I don't think we're isolating our kids,” Jennifer said. “We're giving them a very strong foundation so that when they go out in the world they're able to be a strong model in the face of negative influences rather than being influenced by those negative things.”

Homeschool students have shown themselves to be more creative.

As Adults
The research based on adults who were home educated is growing; thus far it indicates that they:
·         participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,
·         vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population, and
·         go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population.
·         Internalize the values and beliefs of their parents at a very high rate.

Another study found that 94% of homeschoolers keep the faith and 93% continue to attend church after the high school years. But a shocking 75% to 85% of Christian children sent to public school drop out of church, and do not hold a Christian worldview after high school graduation.

Transitioning Back to School
Most home-schooled children who switch to regular school do so successfully, he said, fitting in academically as well as socially. The key to a smooth transition, he said, is preparation.

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