Monday, August 30, 2010

A Few Statistics

In a letter to the editor in my local paper, someone criticized homeschooling and wrote that although she has met some "wonderfully polite, educated, social children... most of the time it does not turn out so well." So I started looking up some statistics and here are some of interest:
  • Currently, there are somewhere between 2 million and 2.5 million home schoolers in the United States and they are growing in number by somewhere between 5% and 12% per year.
  • Home schoolers score higher on average than public school students on both the ACT and SAT tests
  • "On average, homeschool students, grades 1–4, perform one grade level above their public and private school counterparts... by 8th grade the average home school student performs four grades higher than the national average." (SADC)
  • More than 74% of home schooled adults have taken college classes as opposed to 46% of the general population. (HSLDA) Many colleges are now actively recruiting home schoolers because they have a more well-rounded education, stronger work ethic, and better study habits.
  • In a study of home educated adults, Dr. Gary Knowles of the University of Michigan found that "None were unemployed and none were on welfare..." (emphasis mine) The overwhelming majority said home education "prepared them to be independent persons", that it "helped them interact with individuals on different levels of society", and that they were glad they were home educated and planned to home school their own children.
So I would argue with the writer in my local paper that, "most of the time it does not turn out so well" might be a statement that more accurately applies to public school instead.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I've been having this conversation more and more often lately, as my 4-year-old gets closer and closer to being school age:

Random Person: "So your kid will be going to school pretty soon..."
Me: "Actually, we are going to homeschool our kids."
Random Person: "Oh... awkward silence / insert sound effect of crickets chirping... Why?"

It's such a tough question to answer, because there are so many great reasons and it's hard to sum them up in a quick, concise statement. I guess the best short answer I have come up with so far is: Because I think I can do a better job and because I firmly believe it's the very best thing for my kids.

This does NOT mean that I think I'm better than all of the schoolteachers out there - I have the very highest respect for them and I think they have an incredibly hard job. However, I do know my kids better than anyone else on the planet, and as I've been watching them grow and learn, I think I have the best insight into what will excite them and help them to learn. And I just don't think the public school system is "it". With homeschooling, I like that I'll be able to adapt the curriculum to their interests and learning styles. They will be able to learn each subject at their own pace, spending extra time where needed, or moving on quickly if they already understand a concept. It's a level of individual customization that is just not possible in a regular classroom of 30 kids.

The next inevitable question is, "But what about SOCIALIZATION!" This is something I am absolutely NOT worried about. Nowadays, homeschooling is growing more and more common, and there are TONS of groups and activities out there for homeschoolers. To be truly "socialized" one must be able to get along with other people of all ages and backgrounds, and homeschooling is actually more conducive to this. Someone asked me the other day, "But if you're going to get together with groups of other kids anyway, why not just send them to school?" A good question. The answer is, in these particular groups, I will be assured that my kids are interacting with other kids whose parents have the same high level of involvement in their kids' lives, who hold learning in the highest regard, and who want to instill strong values and morals in their children. In public school, as anyone who's ever been there or watched the news or read a newspaper knows, the type of socialization that occurs is not always of the positive type - there is a thing called "negative socialization" too, and I think a lot of that can be avoided in the homeschool environment. Besides, school should be primarily about education - it's not meant to be social hour! Homeschooling will actually allow us more free time for social activities after the formal "schooling" part of the day is done.

I don't think homeschooling is for everybody, but I really think I am suited for it. I love learning, and I know that I will be learning a lot right along with my kids... and I am so excited about that! More than anything, I want to instill a love of learning in them too.

Getting the first post out of the way...

Hello and welcome. I'm not going to write much now, as it's after 1:00am and I am once again staying up too late and fighting going to sleep. I have been wanting to start a blog, so there. I did it. In the future, I plan to write mostly about homeschooling: why we've decided to do it, how we plan to go about it, what we learn, places we go, interesting people we meet, etc. I also plan to share my thoughts and experiences with parenting in general, perhaps the occasional rant, and whatever else happens to interest me.