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:
- families who want to give their children a stronger academic
background than is available in the progressivist school options in their areas
- a large group of "unschoolers" that want an even less structured
environment than that found in progressivist public schools in their areas
- 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
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
"Children who are educated at home have better social skills ...
they are happier, better adjusted
and more sociable that those at institutional schools."
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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.)
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
- 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
Call youth librarian Mary Ann Sibrava at 847-253-5675 for info.