Both Tammy and Google brought this article to my attention. I wonder where the writer of that first headline has been all this time because the ‘oh my!’ factor when hearing about homeschoolers who are religious is, like, so yesterday. Also, the typicality of faith-centered homeschooling — which usually reads as coming from conservative Christian denominations — doesn’t represent everyone, but oh, well.
The article covers most of the basics about homeschooling, so it does have some useful information.
Tammy gives a local opinion (both she and the articles are in California).
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Ontario, California, 7 January 2006, A new chapter for homeschooling
San Bernardino Sun, San Bernardino, California, 7 January 2006, Home’s where class is
The rise of homeschooling corresponded with the growing influence of the Christian right in the late 1970s and 1980s, a response to the secular counterculture movement of the prior decade. It was a time when evangelical groups registered millions of new voters to support Ronald Reagan for president.
Yes, but …
The rise of conservative Christian homeschooling in the late 1970s and 1980s also had a lot to do with the loss of tax-exempt status for some “Christian” schools for reasons of racial segregation. (see also, Bob Jones University vs. U.S.) After the loss of the tax-exempt status, some of those private schools were required to pay taxes, which probably meant raising tuition, and they subsequently went out of business. The families who had used them were faced with the choice of either finding another private school, using the public schools, or homeschooling. Many of them appear to have chosen homeschooling.
Another bit of a fudging in the article is:
The homeschool movement’s religious roots are still apparent today. Like Andaln, 72 percent of parents homeschooling in 2003 cited religion or morals as a reason for keeping their kids at home.
Yeah, that was the number, but it isn’t given its context.
National Center for Education Statistics, Homeschooling in the United States: 2003, Table 4
Reasons for homeschooling
(1st number “applicable;” 2nd number “most important;” order as at website)
Concern about environment of other schools
Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools
To provide religious or moral instruction
Child has a physical or mental health problem
Child has other special needs
The “applicable” numbers add up to a lot more than 100%. This was clarified at the survey website: “Percentages do not sum to 100 percent because respondents could choose more than one reason.”
In this case, 72% of the parents cite religion as one of the factors in their choice to homeschool. It’s hard to know where that 72% overlaps the other reasons, although 72% is an impressive number of … Jews? Episcopalians? Buddhists? Muslims? Hindus? Asatru (Old Norse)? Wiccans? Shintoists? Baha’is? Voudoun (aka ‘voodoo’)? or Assemblies of God? Many categories shelter under the umbrella of “religion.”
Another quibble is with:
“Ten years ago, it was actually quite difficult for homeschoolers to enter college without a lot of bureaucratic back-and-forth,” Slatter said.
Hmmmm. Our kids got in — one into a private college and two into state universities — without any onerous bureaucratic back and forth, but that was eight and seven years ago respectively. A lot must have changed in the two or three years before our kids applied. Granted our kids had Clonlara diplomas, but those unschoolish transcripts sure didn’t look ‘average’ and we were up front with the schools about the kids’ homeschooling.
I do sympathize with homeschooling parents and kids who have to jump through hoops designed for standardized bureaucratic education. We did have to do a little of that in reference to fewer credit/clock hours than usual. One daughter was rejected by letter. We replied to the university that our daughter did have fewer hours than institutionally schooled applicants because she was able to work faster at her studies than students in a group classroom. We also addressed other issues, but all it took was one letter to clear up the confusion, and she was in.
It is true that homeschooling families often have to put in a little extra work to make themselves, and their situation, understood. There is ‘work’ involved no matter which educational path you take. If we step outside the norm, we can expect to have to educate people about it at some point.
Homeschooling parents are ‘saved’ from doing X-amount of work during our children’s homeschooling years by not having to deal with the fallout from school attendance and we seem to have to ‘make up’ that ‘lost’ work in other ways, though, such as making sure university officials understand our children’s transcripts. With kids, one way or the other there is work involved. Still, something worth doing is worth doing well.
Homeschooled kids, on average, do better on standardized tests than other students, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.
Well, maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. Even within the homeschooling community there has been advice not to emphasize our wondrous mental prowess as much as we do because it all leaves us open to ugly accusations such as those from the infamous Akron Beacon Journal series, a portion of which the Arizona State University has seen fit to host at ASU’s website.
Cautions are against some homeschool hubris are:
- dangers of self-selection: NHEN discussion, Homeschool Surveys: Do They Help or Hurt?
- nutshell collection of reasons from non-homeschool discussion board: Debatepolitics.com — Homeschooling
posted by Valerie