Commentary: The Hidden Benefits of Homeschool

These days, it’s almost common knowledge that homeschooled students have a better academic education, do better in college and careers, and are regarded as “smarter” than students from public schools. Homeschooling families typically gravitate toward this educational lifestyle to avoid the public school environment, to prioritize their faith and family values, to adjust to a more flexible and forgiving lifestyle, and to offer their children a better childhood than that found in public schools. Yes to all! These are wonderful reasons to choose homeschooling and should be widely shared and celebrated.

When my parents chose to homeschool me and my siblings, though, they had no idea how deep the effects would be. Academics is only one aspect of homeschooling. The family-centric, homeschool lifestyle offered us benefits that continue to shape my adult life and the life of my own family. Everyone should know the often completely hidden perks that homeschooling provides children long after they finish their high school coursework.

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Commentary: The Inspiring Front Lines of the Modern Homeschool Revolution

Home School Family

When she was a young girl, Sandra Day O’Connor began her education at home. Her early years of schooling on an Arizona ranch were sitting at the kitchen table with her mother, learning to read, and taking long nature walks.

I read this, and this scene of serenity, this future Supreme Court Justice, beginning her education at home, formed an image in my mind of what might be possible.

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Commentary: Eight Resources to Get People Started in Homeschool

Homeschool

If you’re feeling unqualified to homeschool, you’re not alone. The question of what and how to teach stressed me out early on in my homeschooling journey.

I found that having a good curriculum did a great deal to reduce my fears of not being qualified to teach. I wanted to strike a balance between bookwork, memorization, and fun interactive activities. I wanted to make sure to impart to my kids the basic body of knowledge necessary for a good education, yet I didn’t want to burn them out with endless worksheets.

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State Senator Mark Pody Discusses ‘Real,’ ‘Genuine’ Concerns Homeschool Families Have with School Choice Voucher Program

Home School

Tennessee State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) addressed two concerns he has heard from families that choose to homeschool their children regarding Governor Bill Lee’s universal school choice program, which would give $7,000 education savings account scholarships to 20,000 qualifying students in the first year of its inception.

“[Homeschoolers] have real concerns and they’re genuine,” Pody said on Monday’s edition of The Michael Patrick Leahy Show. “These objections are real because there’s something that is an underlying statement: If government funds it, government runs it. So if you take government money, no matter where you are or what you are, if you don’t think there’s a string attached somewhere, you’re not looking close enough.”

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Commentary: Dual Enrollment Is a Homeschool Resource

Mom and daughter learning

This year marks the completion of high school for two of my children. Navigating the high school years has been both exciting and challenging. By the time our children had reached high school age, two things were apparent. First, homeschooling had allowed my kids to find and pursue their special interests—ones that had future career potential.

Second, while mastery of most subjects had been relatively easy, math and science were a bit more difficult. Despite overall higher testing outcomes within the homeschool community, there is a documented math gap for many homeschoolers. In other words, most homeschoolers score slightly lower than their non-homeschooled peers in math and science. (This is understandable, of course: I don’t know many mothers qualified to teach high-level math or science, and most of us don’t want our kitchens being turned into chemistry labs.)

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Commentary: Compulsory Schooling Laws Have Got to Go

When Massachusetts passed the nation’s first compulsory school attendance law in 1852, parents were mandated to send their children to school under a legal threat of force. Today, that threat remains stronger than ever.

Prior to that law, and those that followed in all other US states over the subsequent decades, cities and towns were compelled to provide schooling for those who wanted it, but parents were under no obligation to use those schools. Many didn’t, choosing instead to send their children to private schools, church or charity schools, “dame schools” in their neighbor’s kitchen, apprenticeships for older children and teens, or to homeschool.

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Commentary: Homesteading in Modern Day America

Six years ago my husband and I moved our family of 10 to a five-acre hobby farm and a new lifestyle. Prior to this, we’d been living in an 1,100-square-foot brick home built in the 1940s near the boundary of St. Louis. I loved that house. It had a breakfast nook and an enclosed sunporch we referred to as the “Three Season Room.” When we bought it, I was five months pregnant with our first child. Over the next 11 years, we had a total of eight children­—four of them in that very home as I was attended by a midwife. By the time our youngest kids, a set of identical twins, were born, it was clear we could no longer live in that house. We’d outgrown it.

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Walz Officials Pull Homeschool Reporting Requirement After Minnesota Parents Speak Out

More than 100 homeschool advocates filled an overflow room during a Minnesota House of Representatives committee hearing this week on Gov. Tim Walz’s education policy bill.

Students and their parent educators were in attendance seeking answers as to why the bill, HF1269, included a provision that would require homeschool providers to submit their students’ standardized test scores to local school districts.

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Commentary: The Other Back to School Story

Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.

But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.

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University of Tennessee, Knoxville to Require SAT, ACT Scores For Home-Schoolers, But Not For Public School Students Through Fall 2025

Person filling in exam answers

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) will be test-optional until fall 2025 for all applicants – unless you were home-schooled. UTK will prohibit home-schoolers from capitalizing on their test-optional policy, as well as those students from schools that didn’t use alpha or numerical grading systems. UTK said their decision reflected a commitment to equity in a press release issued on Thursday.

The test-optional policy doesn’t mean that eligible applicants get a free pass entirely from admissions. According to the UTK admissions page, applicants that don’t submit their ACT or SAT scores will be considered a “test-optional applicant” and must submit an additional essay. However, the essay has less to do with academics and more to do with character – the current prompt this year asks applicants to recount an example of their leadership in a personal essay.

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Liberty University Student Launching Canary Academy Offering Homeschooling Classes and Consultation

When her mom began working full-time, Chesterfield homeschool student Nasiyah Isra-ul started developing personalized home school plans for her younger brother, while she was still 15. Her plans took off — she began developing plans for other families in their homeschool group. Now, three years later and a college sophomore, she’s launching Canary Academy to bring her programs to families across the U.S., thanks to a $10,000 grant

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Reps Tom Emmer and Tim Walberg Secure Survivors Benefits for Homeschoolers After Social Security Originally Denied Them Because of Their School Choice

Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN-06), alongside Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI-07), secured survivors benefits for homeschooled children. Prior to this, Minnesota and Michigan blocked homeschoolers over 17 and 18 respectively from attaining benefits.
According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), both states were cutting off Social Security Administration (SSA) survivors benefits to homeschoolers due to “lack of proof” of their status as full-time students. In both states’ eyes, the students didn’t meet state compulsory education laws. 

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Commentary: Enemies of Homeschooling Are Scared – and They Should Be

Nearly every family with kids has gotten a taste of homeschooling over the past two months. In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, at least 124,000 schools have closed for over 55 million children in the U.S. At the same time, opponents of homeschooling launched several unfounded attacks on the practice. For example, The Washington Post ran an opinion piece claiming “homeschooling during the coronavirus will set back a generation of children,” and a Salon article said that “homeschooling as a result of the pandemic will likely worsen education for students and pose serious problems to the economy and nation’s social well-being.”

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Commentary: We Are All Homeschoolers Now

What does education look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic?

At the K-12 level, you’ve got problems. At the collegiate level, you’ve got existential problems.

School is out for the year in most locales. More innovative districts are retooling like crazy and trying to do online classes. Parents are looking for cheap or free resources to do the job and keep their kids occupied during our enforced isolation.

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Commentary: Coronavirus May Lead to ‘Mass Homeschooling’

As fears of coronavirus mount around the globe, cities and countries are taking action to prevent the new respiratory virus strain from spreading. While the virus has not yet hit hard in the United States, government officials and health agencies have enacted response plans, corporations are halting travel abroad, and education leaders are grappling with what a widespread domestic outbreak of the virus could mean for schoolchildren.

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