Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Some Thoughts on Home-Schooling...
These two questions are fine to ask so I would like to share some ideas with you in case you have an implicit desire to avoid ruining your child's life.
First, the evidence. When you look at the data on home-schooled kids it is quite impressive. These kids have among the highest average GPA's in America's colleges and universities; among the highest graduation rates and scholarship offers from the best universities in the U.S. that are pouring in at an increasing rate. Many articles in the Wall Street Journal and other sources (see the Heartland Institute for more) chronicle the deepening sense of appreciation college administrators have for the eclectic nature of home-schooling in America that has produced very well-rounded, mature critical thinkers.
Anecdotal to the macro evidence is my experience with home-schoolers for the last 20 years. Two decades ago, about 7 in 10 of these kids were very good in my classes with the other three falling into the secular stereotype of the kid who knew the New Testament like their middle name but not much else.
Today, with more than two million home-schoolers of all walks of life, I would say that 19 out of every 20 I get are not only very good but are also the stars of their class. I am talking about kids making 97's and 99's and even 100's on my exams while most other students, including private-schooled ones earn lower (much lower in many cases) grades.
Moreover, home-schooled students are very good speakers. I have learned why. It is because they are encouraged to think out loud and then talk about their thoughts. Some of my best verbal defenders of various ideas have been from students who never attended government schools.
Home-schoolers are also naturally skeptical of government's good intentions. They are much more likely to believe in free markets and understand the case for liberty because - hold on to your seats - their parents did not trust the government with their education.
With respect to the question about my expertise and that of my wife, it is pretty simple. We both have a few areas where we can more than cover what our boys need to know. The free market provides the rest. At the Florida Parent Educators Association annual meeting in Orlando there are hundreds of vendors selling thousands of curricula to home-school parents like us. I am no expert in French or Physics or electricity. However, there are profit-seeking experts in these areas that are all to willing to sell us materials we can functionally use to help our sons learn these subjects at a high level.
I would say to anyone considering home-schooling that all you need is a child, love for that child, a willingness to live within your means so one parent can stay home, a decent brain and a complete understanding of how government does nothing well and you are all set.
One more thing.....trust yourself. Your kids will thank you for it someday - and so will I if they take my class.