It’sÂ nice that so many local newspapers publish articles about homeschooling.Â It would be nicer if all the articles were more accurate.
The News Review, Roseburg, Oregon, 10 September 2006, Home lessons: County home-schoolers head back to their domestic classroomsÂ (Bug Me Not)
Oregon has fewer regulations than many states. The registration form is simple, Huckaby said. It asks for the childâ€™s name, age, date of birth and previous school district. Home schoolers are required to take standardized tests in certain grades, and the ESD can request the scores. The state requires that students score in at least the 15th percentile on the test, which means they have scored better than 15 percent of the students who took the test.
I suppose it’s human nature to say that one’s state is the ‘best’ for whatever the category in question is.Â In Jane Healy’s book, Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It, she cites a survey by Dr. John Cannell where the education offices of all fifty states reported that school children in their state scored above the national averageÂ (Lake Woebegone and Fraudulent Testing).
I’ve nothing against Oregon (it looked beautiful when we drove through), but it isn’t one of the states with ‘fewer’ regulations, which is the implication in the sentence, “Oregon has fewer regulations than many states.”Â It’s no Pennsylvania or New York, but it also isn’t an Alaska, Texas or Oklahoma either, or even a North Carolina where testing is required, but results are not reported.
Home schooling is a relatively recent phenomenon, and there isnâ€™t much research available, [Dave Conley, an education professor at University of Oregon] said. During his sonâ€™s college search, Conley found research that home school students can have problems working in study groups because theyâ€™re used to being independent.
Point 1:Â Homeschooling isn’t a relatively recent phenomenon.Â In the greater scheme of things, compulsory mass-schooling is the newcomer.
Point 2:Â In the experience of one of my daughters, she found that her classmates in college had problems with freedom and self-discipline.Â She not only escaped the “freshman 15,” but also graduated in four years, while her publicly-schooled friends often used the “five-year-plan” or even stretched their college career to six years.
What you see often depends on where you’re standing.
The family vignettes in the article are nice, and they provided a pleasant counterpoint to the seemingly obligatory regulatory rhetoric, and a swipe about socialization.
Amy Coughlin wanted her 11-year-old son, Drew, to get a tailored education. Drew is accelerated in most subjects. This year heâ€™s taking high school geometry. Amy doesnâ€™t think her son is smarter than other kids, but he has had the benefit of education designed for him.
[Gabrielle Randallâ€™s] son was reading so well at 4 years old that it seemed silly to send him to kindergarten, so she stuck with it, and taught her younger son, as well. Theyâ€™re 12 and 14 now.
[Julieanne] Miller incorporates music and movement, and she teaches history chronologically using copies of original historical documents. She uses video for math lessons, and her husband, Elmer, helps the girls with building models.
Caleb also directs his own education. He produces a magazine, The Adventurer, every two months. He researches topics that interest him and writes stories about them, and he hires other kids as reporters. He has about 30 subscribers, and heâ€™s starting to make subscriptions available online at www.adventureronline.com. Heâ€™s interested in journalism, as well as layout, Web design, and computer programming.