What do George Washington, Thomas Edison and Theodore Roosevelt have in commonbesides fame? None of them joined school formally (Winger and Kantrowitz 6). Inrecent years, many have followed their example and started learning at home inthe United States. The number of home schooled children has greatly increasedover the past decade. Many have argued against home schooling while many otherssee no negative outcomes involved. Although homeschooling has no major benefitsover public schooling, evidence shows that parents can help children achieve alevel of education similar to other school students and that homeschooledchildren do not lack in social skills. Home schooling was previously favored byreligious people who wanted their children to conform to their own values andbeliefs, which they believed could be altered in a public school (Wingert andKantrowitz 1). Home schooling was made legal in 1993 in the United States (Wingertand Kantrowitz 1). Some states have minimum qualifications for parents andprovide supervision from the government. Today, 1.5 million, almost 1 percent ofthe total population of students are learning in their own homes (Lyman,”Not home alone” 3). Now home schooling and home schooled children aremore acceptable by the public than in earlier years. One of the oppposingarguments states that parents do not have the knowledge required by an educatorto take responsibility of teaching, therefore the children would be poorlyeducated in comparison to other students (Wingert and Kantrowitz 2). However,this is not so. Parents are not alone, as there are many facilities availabletoday to help them. To begin with, home schooling parents form groups in theircommunity to help each other out. They take turns teaching small groups ofchildren. For instance, where one parent might be good at teaching math, theother might be better at language (Wagner 5). In addition to the help they getfrom each other, there are many tools and services available that enhance andenrich children’s learning experience. For example, various on-line servicesare available on the world wide web, which include interactive classes andvirtual libraries. Also, educational CD-ROMS, workbooks, and magazines are goodsources that provide the parent with information on new educational tools (Wingertand Kantrowitz 3). Furthermore, support can be found at public schools (Hawkins1). In Des Moines, Iowa, a program was developed that allowed home schoolers touse school computers, books and teacher’s guides, and provided biweeklysupervision from a teacher that records the child’s progress and offersadvice. Parents and their children are also allowed to participate in extracurricular and group activities, as well as field trips (Wagner 2). Similarly,in Oregon, home schooled students are allowed to take different classes of theirchoice at different schools (Wingert and Kantrowitz 3). Although theseadvantages are not available in every state, parents who chose to take educationinto their own hands will work to hard to use what is available, regardless oftheir own educational degrees. This is illustrated well in a recent report fromthe Departement of Education (DOE), which states that “student achievementin a home school has little to do with the level of education of the parent…itis consistent with tutoring studies that indicate the education level of a tutorhas little to do with achievement of a tutored child.” (qtd. in Wagner 4).
Several studies have been conducted that show that homeschooled students arereaching close and sometimes higher achievement to their peers, proving thatparents are doing their job well. One example is a study that showed homeschoolers performed better than 79 percent of other students on reading on theIowa Tests of Basic Skills (Hawkins 3). Also, home schooled children score abovethe 60th percentile in math, science, and verbal skills on the StanfordAchievement Test when compared to the average of other students (Latham 2).
Another study in Washington found SAT scores of home schooled children to behigher than average (Lyman, “What’s behind” 9). In more than 65 otherstudies, the results show that home schooled children perform better or averagein comparison to traditionaly schooled children (Hawkins 2). All this scientificresearch is genuine evidence that verifies that parents can teach and help theirchildren achieve high educational levels. Another major argument against homeschooling is that confinement to a home environment where children have littleor no contact with their peers will deprive them of social skills necessary intheir development (Wingert and Kantrowitz 2). However, there are many wayshomeschooled children can get involved in social
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