01/06/2013 “Home Schooling”

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Ann Lutz,  8:06pm to 9:00pm
Website: annlutz.net

Ann Lutz is a wife, a mother, an artist and now an author, who feels blessed to have family, friends and her faith.  Creating her art puts a smile in her heart. The whole world goes quiet as she paints. Ann shares how writing her book, “Painting Rachael,” was like painting a painting with words and a pencil, instead of paint and brushes. She sees the world as a canvas and hopes that sharing all of their families “colors” can make it even brighter

Related Links courtesy of MedlinePlus:

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Christine Shuck,  9:06pm  to 10pm
Website: Homeschooladvocates.com

Christine is a writer, homeschooling mother of two, community educator and self-confessed auto-didact (life long learner). She blogs about her homeschool experiences on The Homeschool Advocate, which focuses on a multitude of homeschool challenges, deciding on a curriculum (or not), and shares the joys of day-to-day homeschooling.

Talking Points:

  • How did you get started homeschooling?
  • What made you decide to start your blog, The Homeschool Advocate?
  • What about socialization?
  • How do you know your child is learning everything they need to know?
  • What is a typical homeschool day like?
  • What kind of curriculum/formal learning system do you use?
  • You have mentioned “unschooling” – what is it? How does it work?
  • What resources do you use when homeschooling?
  • How does a parent handle homeschooling through the middle school and high school years?

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T.J. Schmidt, Esq. 9:06pm to 10:00pm
Associated Websites:  see below

T.J. Schmidt is a staff attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). He assists families all across the country to understand their legal rights to be able teach their children at home. HSLDA intervenes in hundreds of cases each year when homeschooling families face difficulties or even harassment for homeschooling. Both Tj and his wife were taught at home most of their lives and are homeschooling their five children.

Questions (and Answers):

What is homeschooling?

Well, no two homeschool programs are identical but homeschooling is generally defined as the parent(s) privately educating their child(ren) in home. Within each homeschool program there are a variety of means and methods that parents use to teach their children at home. Some use more traditional curriculum from a national provider; others create their own curriculum using books, library, and online resources. Some parents supplement instruction at home with homeschool co-op classes where groups of parents might hire a local teacher or college professor to come and teach Biology, Spanish, Latin, etc. Many homeschool high school students dual enroll in their local community college to take classes, some even earning their AA by the time they graduate from high school. (Follow up questions may arise)

What are the benefits of homeschooling?

We could probably talk about the benefits of homeschooling for the rest of the hour but I want to highlight 2 or 3 of the most important benefits. At least in my opinion.

First, homeschooling is flexible. It is flexible to your individual family and to each individual child. When you teach your children at home you can teach them in the manner that they learn best (i.e. visual, hands on, independent study, one-on-one instruction, etc.) You can also use their interest to help focus and motivate your student in your homeschool program. Parents have the flexibility to use a highly structured educational program or have a more child driven educational program (i.e. unschooling).

Second, homeschooling works. Dozens of studies have been done on homeschooling. All of them show that homeschooling children perform as well or better than their public school counterparts. Academic studies on how homeschool students perform on standardized achievement tests consistently show homeschoolers performing 25-35 percentile points above their public school peers. Studies have also been done on homeschool graduates. On average more homeschoolers go to college, they score higher on the ACT/SAT, and they have higher GPAs in college than public school students. Homeschooling also tends to be the greatest equalizer. Minorities who are homeschooled do far better than minorities in public schools and have comparative scores as white homeschoolers. Similar results are seen when evaluating homeschool students by economic factors or the educational background of the parent(s). In both cases homeschool students far surpass their public school counterparts of similar backgrounds.

Homeschooling provide a stable environment for education and for parents to pass on things that important to them (i.e. heritage, culture, and religious beliefs). Many parents that I speak to have begun homeschooling because their child was bullied in school, getting involved in negative peer pressure, or had some unique health/medical needs.

What about socialization?

I mean if you are teaching your children in your own home how do you expect them to make friends and fit into society?

Well, the socialization myth has been around for a long time. Sure there are some homeschoolers who are shy or introverted. But you have these children in the public school as well. Research has shown that homeschoolers on average are more involved in their community and participate in more activities than their public school peers. Homeschoolers also tend to be able to communicate outside of their peer group because they aren’t only isolated with children their same age the majority of their day. Because homeschoolers are such an eclectic group they even tend to reach out to those are often seen as “outcasts.” A study was done with a group of public school students and then a group of homeschoolers. The public school students separated into the normal “clicks” with some loaners. The homeschoolers formed a large circle and talked together. While there were a couple of loaners, some in the circle broke off and were able to involve these kids in the circle.

What are some of the difficulties homeschoolers face?

Well, I would categorize the difficulties as coming for two main reasons. One is and misunderstanding on what state law actually requires or the other would be that a particular family shouldn’t be homeschooling. Both can come from school officials, other governmental officials, extended family members, or neighbors. I’ve had school officials tell families that they can’t pull their children out in the middle of the school year to begin homeschooling. I’ve seen neighbors report homeschooling families because the kids were playing outside during normal school hours. I guess the neighbor thought the kids couldn’t have a recess or had to teach the exact same hours as the local public school. I’ve had social services come to investigate homeschooling families because the school district lost paperwork that was previously submitted. In a couple of situations the families were brought into court. One family was investigated because of a local newspaper report stated that they were “unschoolers.” Local school officials and the prosecuting attorney didn’t know what that term meant and incorrectly assumed it indicated that the children weren’t educated at all. HSLDA has had families arrested and charged with a crime because paperwork wasn’t submitted on time (this is not educational neglect or child endangerment). We have had minor students walking onto a college campus to re-register for classes arrested for not being in school and violating the local daytime curfew ordinance. We have even had social services allege that simply because the homeschool children weren’t seen by a teacher every day that they needed to investigate the family for abuse or neglect. (Many other examples but these are just a few).

Related Links:  Excellent List of Resources

Indiana Association of Home Educators – Additional Resources
Excellent List of Resources

Indiana Association of Home Educators – Articles

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Mark Thornton
Dr. Stan Frager Show
Producer

Tony Safina  (Media Research) tony@iglou.com

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