Home Schooling: From Home to Harvard
We're all familiar with the popular images of homeschoolers in America: Extreme fundamentalist families shutting out all other points of view. These stereotypes are touted freely by the popular media and conventional schooling experts alike. But they have little to do with the realities of homeschooling for most families today, and are rarely backed by factual data. The average home-schooled student scored “81 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) than did the general population in 2000”. (Winters) At the National Spelling Bee in 2000, the top three winners were home-schooled. Studies show that, “home-schooled children also tend to score higher on basic skills testing than do public school children”. (Winters) According to the Wall Street Journal, “Evidence is mounting that homeschooling, once confined to the political and religious fringe, has achieved results not only on par with public education, but in some ways surpassing it.” (Reider) However, one subject continues to surface whenever the issue of home schooling arises. Public school administrators, teachers, and parents are all concerned about whether home schooling can be considered a good process of education. Therefore, I intend to prove that home-schooled children are properly socialized, fully educated and college admissions increasing acceptance rates of home schooled applicants prove that they’re prepared for the next level of education. Supporters of public schools maintain that public school students learn to work well with others, including those of differing backgrounds, and that they can achieve greater independence by attending public school. Negotiating the communal spaces of schoolyard, classroom, athletic field, and laboratory prepares them for “real world” experiences, they contend. Critics of home schooling believe that home-schooled children miss out on these important opportunities. Without the chance to interact with those of diverse backgrounds, critics are concerned that home-schooled students will fail to appreciate and understand one of the core values of American life: to tolerate and appreciate the differences between cultures or groups and among individuals. They fear that isolation breeds intolerance, prejudice, and even fanaticism. In response to such criticism, proponents of home schooling answer that home-schooled children have plenty of social opportunities. The National Home Education Research Institute conducted a study and found that “an average home-schooled child participates in 5.2 activities per week outside the home”. (Dr. Brian Ray) These children are involved in music, dance, drama, and art classes, visit museums and zoos, and join home-schooling groups or local churches. They form athletic teams and compete in home-school tournaments. They participate in book and foreign language clubs, scout groups, and have pen pals. In fact, home school participants believe that, because “the average time spent “in class” can often be compressed to about half a day, home-school students have more time available to them than do students in public school to pursue special interests”. (Golden) These activities may include practicing the piano, learning lines for a play, or studying ballet. Being a home-schooling student opens up many hours in a day do be able to do specific things they would not have been able to do if they had attended public school. Advocates of home schooling maintain that in the process of participating in outside activities, home-schooled children benefit by socializing with people of all ages, not just those of their peer group (Stevens 35). They note that the world does not consist of people who are all the same age and that students are at a disadvantage if they spend their day with their peers. One home-schooling researcher claims that home schooling “reduces that degree to which children find themselves constantly and obsessively being compared...
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