According to an article in Time magazine, the new homeschoolers aren’t hermits. They are diverse parents who are getting results— and putting the heat on public schools. Many concerned families are worried about the quality of today’s public schools, the safety of their children, and the negative influences of other children. There is a growing movement of involved parents who want to re-establish control over teaching methods and curriculum content. Some parents are worried about providing for children’s special individual needs or preferences and most parents just want to create a more supportive environment.
For these reasons and many more it is estimated that there are close to 2 million children being homeschooled in the nation today. “Very different people are entering homeschooling than did 20 years back” says Mitchell Stevens, author of Kingdom of Children, a History of Homeschooling, published by Princeton University Press. According to the federal government, up to three quarters of the families that homeschool today say they do so primarily because they are worried about the quality of their children’s education. William Bennett. former U.S. Secretary of Education, today travels the nation to extol the virtues of homeschooling. As a matter of fact he has created his own kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum for Homeschoolers (K-12 curriculum).
Does homeschooling work? Here are some rather startling statistical facts:
- The average SAT score for homeschoolers in 2000 was 1100 compared with 1019 for the general population.
- The average homeschooler scored in the 75th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills; the 50th percentile marked the national average.
- Rice and Stanford University admit homeschoolers at rates equal to or higher than those for public schoolers.
- In 2001 the first, second and third place winners of the Scripps-Howard National Spelling bee were homeschooled.
- Twelve of fifty-five finalists in the latest National Geographic Bee were homeschooled and a ten-year old homeschooler from Michigan was the competition’s youngest winner.
- Eighty-eight percent of homeschoolers continue their education beyond high school, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
But what about socialization? Will children become social outcasts as the theorists say? Well this argument has largely been dis-proven, due in part to the fact that nearly 1 in 5 homeschoolers takes at least one class in a public or private school, according to the federal government. Homeschoolers participate in many extracurricular activities too. Most homeschooled students are busy almost every afternoon with league team practices and games, club meetings, music lessons, dance and community work.
Children learn social skills in the home, but also through other homeschool organizations, physical education clubs, volunteer activities, churches, and neighborhood organizations. Studies have shown that homeschoolers tend to be joiners that are engaged in civic activities—just the opposite of what sociologists predicted.
At Springs charter Schools we offer a wide range of resources and value-added opportunities to customize each child’s learning experience so that s/he can interact with many different children and teachers.