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    For some parents and children, homeschooling might be the most rewarding and beneficial option of all.

Flavors of Homeschooling

    Note that there are many different styles and strategies used in homeschooling. There may be as many different reasons for homeschooling and as many different definitions of "homeschooling" as there are families.

    Speaking broadly, we note at least three very distinct flavors of homeschooling:

    1. families who want to give their children a stronger academic background than is available in the progressivist school options in their areas

    2. a large group of "unschoolers" that want an even less structured environment than that found in progressivist public schools in their areas

    3. families who want to emphasize religious beliefs far more extensively than is done in schools, even private schools

Articles and Info

  • Breaking Out of the Education "Box" and Finding Freedom by Eileen Spatz. Excerpts: "The idea of children going to a local government-owned building to spend their days away from their families has not been around all that long in America -- barely a century. ... as I became more immersed in the educating of my children, [my] preconceptions fell away. I began to see outside 'the box.' ... Once leaving the school system, just having the space to think and the freedom to create new ways of teaching naturally leads to a questioning of the status quo."

  • First Wave of Homeschoolers Comes of Age by Robin Wallace, April 05, 2002

  • Homeschooling Comes of Age by Jennifer Sutton, Brown Alumni Magazine. "Teaching children at home is no longer just the choice of religious and political iconoclasts. Now ... a new generation of homeschoolers is arriving -- and thriving -- on campus."

  • The Home Schooling Juggernaut by David W. Kirkpatrick, Sept. 14, 2001. "If the various significant education reforms -- vouchers, charter schools, tax credits, etc. -- were corporations on the stock exchange, the one you would want to buy would be home schooling, which is the most rapidly growing segment of education for students at the K-12 level. Estimated to include about 15,000 students in 1970, and perhaps a quarter of a million by the mid-1980s, the total now may be two million ...\ the trend continues to grow by more than 10% a year."

  • The World's Most Unselfish Act by Karen De Coster

  • Learning Without School: Who Homeschools and Why? (cover story) American School Board Journal, August 2001

  • Can a Feminist Homeschool Her Child? by Wendy McElroy.

Homeschoolers and Academics

  • Home schoolers No. 1 on college-entrance test by Andrea Billups, The Washington Times, August 22, 2000. "Home-schooled students have scored higher than their traditionally educated peers on the ACT, one of the nation's two major college-entrance exams, for the third consecutive year ... yet another academic benchmark that has given the movement increasing credibility and attention."

  • Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes, Ace SAT Test by Daniel Golden Staff, the Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2000

  • "Seceding From School", Time Magazine (cover story), August 27, 2001. "The average home schooler's SAT score is 1100, 80 points higher than the average score for the general population The new home schoolers aren't hermits. They are diverse parents who are getting results -- and putting the heat on public schools."

  • The strongest argument for homeschooling is the education that takes place in the public schools, or rather, the lack thereof."
    -- Nathanael Blake

Socialization and Peer Orientation


    Used with the permission of the author, Bruce Tinsley. Thanks, Bruce!

  • Study sees no harm in home schooling, by Alan J. Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "[There is] no evidence that the growing trend is harmful academically or socially, says a study by an educational consultant. ... on the contrary, the academic benefits of home schooling are becoming more accepted."

  • "Children who are educated at home have better social skills ... they are happier, better adjusted and more sociable that those at institutional schools."
    Children Schooled at Home Have Better Social Skills by Julie Smyth, National Post (Canada), October 15, 2001" "Children who are educated at home have better social skills and achieve higher grades on standardized tests than students in private or public schools, according to a new report. Contrary to the popular belief that children educated at home are disadvantaged because of a lack of peers, the study ... shows they are happier, better adjusted and more sociable that those at institutional schools." (Article is also available here.)

  • Home-Schooled Students, Well-Adjusted Kids by Stephanie Graham. "I have been researching home-schooling since before my oldest child was born, and can report unequivocally the socialization issue as a positive reason to home school."

  • Home Schooling and Socialization of Children, by Nola Kortner Aiex, ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English and Communication. "It would appear that the concerns expressed by teachers, administrators, and legislators about socialization and home schooling might be unfounded. Indeed, [one study] contends that it is in the formal educational system's setting that children first experience negative socialization, conformity, and peer pressure."

  • The Home-Schooling Revolution by Daniel Pink. "'School is like starting life with a 12-year jail sentence in which bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned.' Those are the words of John Taylor Gatto, who was named New York state's Teacher of the Year in 1991. Today he is one of the most forceful voices for one of the most powerful movements in American education -- homeschooling. ... And it's about to break through the surface of our national life."

  • Ruled By Their Peers by Karen Gram, Calgary (Canada) Herald, July, 1997:
    "Inside the kindergarten classroom of an elementary school, the children gather at the door ready to go home. Some wait quietly for the teacher to dismiss them. They wave to parents from the threshold and hold up artwork, eager to show what they have made. Others ignore the adults. They play and push each other into the hall. They chase each other in circles, oblivious to admonishments of teacher and parents. The second group demonstrates perfectly the early stages of what a Vancouver-based clinic and developmental psychologist fears is a trend destroying the psychological health of an ever-growing number of people. Dr. Gordon Neufeld calls it peer orientation. It is rampant among juvenile delinquents, but it is evident in every school and on every playground."

  • Peer Orientation:
    This is the from the website of Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., a developmental and clinical psychologist who has developed an enthusiastic following among many parents, especially homeschooling parents. What he has to say about kids and socialization is compelling, especially regarding his concept of peer orientation. Here are some excerpts:

    • "The term peer orientation refers to getting one's bearings by using peers as one's compass point as well as to taking one's cues for what to do and how to be from one's peers instead of one's parents, one's teachers, the adults in charge or one's self."
    • "To orient by one's peers is to identify with them, to locate oneself in relationship to them, to use them as home base, to evaluate oneself in comparison to them, to define oneself by referring to them, and to perceive one's worth as in their eyes. Peer-oriented children take their cues for what is good, how to look, what to wear, how to talk and what to do from their peers."
    • "When children resist proximity with parents in order to pursue proximity with their peers, there are devastating consequences for parenting and development. Likewise in school, when peers are selected over teachers as the working compass point of the student, learning and behaviour will be adversely affected."
    • "Peer-orientation is an explanation for much that is happening in our society, including why teaching is getting harder, parenting is getting more difficult, aggression among children is increasing, children are less deferring and bullying is increasing. It is a dynamic that touches everyone, whether involved with children or not."

  • "There has never in the history of the civilized world been a cohort of kids that is so little affected by adult guidance and so attuned to a peer world. We have removed grown-up wisdom and allowed them to drift into a self-constructed, highly relativistic world of friendship and peers."
    -- William Damon, Stanford University Center on Adolescence

Part-Time Homeschooling

    Is your child struggling, or not being challenged, by some particular program at your school? Or, are you generally content with what your school offers, perhaps with the exception of math, or reading instruction? Illinois parents have an option that is almost unknown: part-time homeschooling.

    Illinois state law permits parents to withdraw their children from specific classes, with that subject's material to be covered through homeschooling instead. In some cases, the student leaves the school during those times; in other cases, this becomes an extra study period.

    Part-time homeschooling is covered by this section of Illinois' school code. (Note that the phrase "nonpublic school" includes homeschools.)

    (105 ILCS 5/10-20.24)
        Sec. 10-20.24. Part-time Attendance. To accept in part-time attendance in the regular education program of the district pupils enrolled in nonpublic schools if there is sufficient space in the public school desired to be attended. Request for attendance in the following school year must be submitted by the nonpublic school principal to the public school before May 1. Request may be made only to those public schools located in the district where the child attending the nonpublic school resides.
        To accept, pursuant to the provisions of Section 14-6.01, in part-time attendance resident pupils of the types described in Sections 14-1.02 through 14-1.07 who are enrolled in nonpublic schools.
    (Source: P.A. 80-1509.)
    The key part of that paragraph is that you must file your request prior to May 1st, stating that you will be part-time homeschooling the following year. In some cases, schools may be very agreeable and helpful, but in other cases you may have to doggedly pursue your rights. It is likely that many school administrators are not even aware that this option exists. One suburban Chicago couple hired a lawyer to come with them to a school meeting about their request for part-time homeschooling. Eventually, their request was granted. But subsequently, after the school understood the law in these matters and this precedent was established, a similar request from another couple was approved without fuss.

  • Part-Time Attendance and the Home-Schooled Student, Illinois H.O.U.S.E.

  • Best of Both Worlds? New education model allows parents to choose a blend of home and private school, by Leah Driggers and Lynn Vincent, World Magazine (cover story), Sept. 8, 2001.
    "Add to the three dueling educational models -- public, private, home schools -- a fourth: the campus/home school hybrid. ... Administrators say the model is right for parents who don't want to homeschool full-time, parents who don't feel comfortable teaching advanced subjects, and parents who can't afford full-time private tuition."

  • When Home Schoolers Go to School: A Partnership Between Families and Schools by Patricia M. Lines, Peabody Journal of Education, October 1, 2000.


Organizations - General Homeschooling

Organizations - Religious-Oriented Homeschooling

Local Libraries

  • The Mount Prospect Public Library offers extensive support services for homeschoolers in the area. Families using the library come from Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Palatine and other towns. Call youth librarian Mary Ann Sibrava at 847-253-5675 for info.

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