There is a huge trend in education that has many parents pulling their kids out of public schools and beginning a home school routine. That trend is higher ACT scores and Spa’s for home schooled children. Since 1999 there has been a 75% increase in the number of children home schooled, bringing the new estimate to over 2. 04 million. (Burgess, 2013) When asked why they chose to home school their children, the majority of parents said that it was due to the current conditions in our public schools.
This should be a major concern to the general public because the future of our nation depends on well-educated and productive members of society. When assessing the pros and cons of public and home schools it is easy to see that many public school students underperformed when compared to home schooled students. In this paper you will find information on the most common methods of home schooling, student performance, college preparation and performance, and solicitation. First, I would like to introduce the main five methods of home schooling. The Traditional Method, also known as the Classroom Method, is very similar to public school.
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It uses text and work books along with tests to track student progress. Some home school parents even create a classroom that is used for “school hours” in their home. It is suggested that you investigate other forms before settling on this method as it is the most restrictive. The classical method, also called the Socratic Method, teaches children based on phases of development (concrete, analytical, and abstract thinking). This method teaches the links between different areas of study. For example, the link from Math to Science. Another is the Charlotte Mason Method.
It is based on the fact that children should be respected and should be taught first hand tit real life situations, not with text books. (Sanders, 2010) “The Charlotte Mason philosophy is intent on educating the whole child, not Just the mind of the child; she designated the need for some form of physical activity each day’. (Sanders, 2010) The Unit Study Method is the most common in kindergarten through sixth grade. This method takes a topic that the child is interested in and allows them to learn as much as possible about that topic, while including different subjects with it, such as hand writing and spelling.
Finally, there is the Unclogging Method, also known as Child Led Learning or Interest Led Learning. In this method there is no set curriculum and no formal learning plan. “Unschooled are encouraged to follow their interests, learning as their curiosity is piqued through daily life experiences and interactions”. (Sanders, 2010) I believe that this method could stunt the education of a child that is not naturally extremely curious. The way that we know home schooling is better for our children is because study after study shows results supporting this fact.
In 2008, a study was performed by Brian Ray of 11,739 home schooled students that proved mom schooling is teaching our children better than public schools. This study provided results showing that home schooled children are scoring “34 – 39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests”. (Ray, 2009) What this shows is that no matter what type of home schooling approach parents are using, they are teaching their children better than their public school counterparts. Another interesting point that Ray made was “that whether or not the parents were teacher-certified had no impact on these highs scores”. Ray, 2009) There are many arenas that have chosen to home school their children but have no more than a high school diploma. The results of Rays study proves that it is not necessary for a parent to be teacher-certified. Some might argue that the types of surveys and studies that are being taken of the home school population should not be counted as dependable due to “the fact that the home schooling community is relatively ill defined [which] renders random sampling of this population a near impossibility’. Martin-Change, Gould, and Muse, 2011). A study similar to that done by Ray was completed by Sandra Martin-Change, Dotted Gould and Range Muse. The results were very similar to those found by Ray, however, they placed emphasis on the fact that the best results for home schooled children are coming from structured curriculums. They fear that the parents most likely to respond to the surveys are those that feel their children are doing well and not those that may be struggling.
Even though they felt that there may be a problem with the fact that the test group may not have been random, they go on to say that some of the advantages that home schooled children have are “smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, or ore academic time spent on core subjects”. (Martin-Change, Gould, and Muse, 2011) What this shows is that even though there may be a discrepancy in the test group, they still believe that their findings are solid enough to continue to believe that home schooling offers more academic benefits than public schools.
Another point on this topic that the public should be concerned about is how the children that are home schooled are faring in the college atmosphere. In an article written by Lynn Gaucheness’s, research was completed by Michael Conga, showing that home schooled children score an average of 26. On the ACT while public school children average a score of 25. Proving that home schooled children are more ready for college than the average public school student. Not only do they have higher ACT scores but they also carry a higher GAP their freshman year in college with 3. 7 GAP versus 3. 08 GAP for public schooled students. This increase carries through to their senior year with an average of 3. 46 GAP versus 3. 16 GAP. Conga also found that home schooled students were 9. 2% more likely to graduate from college than public schooled students. It’s hard to deny what these numbers show us. However, in an article written by Jennifer Preys, there is reference to a study completed in 2010 by Erik Jones with the National Home Education Research Institute. Jones studied how home schooled students transitioned to a college environment. Preys, 2011) What she found was that a group of 28 college students that had scored high on the ACT and maintained high Spa’s “scored low on confidence with writing term papers, delivering speeches and choosing not to engage in class discussion as frequently’. (Preys, 2011) What this means is that they “scored low on confidence” (Preys, 2011) to that they scored low in on these assignments or areas. I have to agree that this information does not bode well for the solicitation argument but I also have to say that I was not home schooled and tend to shy away from giving speeches and jumping into class discussions.
Some of this issue may simply be a character trait. This being said, we need to consider what the school environment is currently like. There is an extreme amount of bullying that goes on in the elementary schools especially. I believe that if a child were to be bullied, this would also affect their confidence. So as a parent I have to decide if I want my child’s confidence hurt due to bullying or due to the fact that they had been home schooled. I believe that I would choose home schooling as would many parents today. This leads us to more of a discussion about the most commonly disputed topic for home schooled students.
Solicitation. This is one of the most debated topics in the home school sector. It has long been said that to home school a child hurts their social development. Some believe that a child’s confidence can be hurt and that their dependency on their parents grows. However, in an article written by Bruce Short, there is a reference to a 2001 study completed by Greg Seize, associate professor of educational research at the University of North Carolina, stating that “if anything, research shows that because parents are so sensitive to the charge, they expose them [their children] to so many activities”. Seize, 2001) Short goes on to say that “a study of 7,000 homesteaded adults found, among other things, much higher levels of civic involvement, participation in higher education, and life satisfaction among them than adults who were not homesteaded”. Short, 2010) In a related study completed by Conga, it was found that “students who had been home schooled… Were more likely to have earned college credit, participated in community service, and voted in the past five years when compared to the general population in the United States”. Conga, 2010) What this proves is that the statement that home schooled children are stunted socially is totally unfounded and unproven. If a parent that was not active in the outside community began home schooling their children, of course it would cause problems for the child’s development in this area alone. That is why in a home schooling situation it is vital that the parents maintain a strong connection to the outside world for their children. Keeping them involved in sports teams, clubs, and even classes at a local museum can help to eliminate the concern of isolation.
As parents of school aged children we have a responsibility to educate our children in the best manner possible for them. For some, that may not necessarily be the public school system that we are led to believe is the better alternative. You have been given information that proves the home schooling option is best if you are looking for increased scores on standardized tests and higher Spa’s as well as a higher college graduation rate. There are many organizations available to help the home schooling parent so there is much support out there.