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Monday, August 17, 2009

We went. We saw. We still have questions.

I recently mentioned that hubby and I were planning to attend the Chicago Homeschool Expo. The expo was helpful, in that it we left feeling more knowledgeable about the legal rights in the state of Illinois regarding homeschool, which was one of our goals. However, we still have questions.

From a Christian perspective, we absolutely see the spiritual benefits to homeschooling. However, from the academic perspective, we are still leery about how we can ensure that our children are excelling academically in a way that will enable them to be competitive in the job market and/or when it comes to college admissions.

Don't get me wrong. Their salvation and love for God is our highest priority. Nevertheless, we see nothing in scripture that is against educational excellence and we believe it can actually allow a person to be a greater blessing in the kingdom of God.

We have been wondering:

How do homeschooled children do in comparison to their non-homeschooled peers on standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT?

Are the homeschooled children who excel academically excelling because "homeschooling works" or because they are just bright and would succeed in any setting?

How do you go about ensuring that your homeschooled children are academically comparable to the rest of the population?

Are these concerns that anyone else has had? What are your thoughts?


  1. The thing with schooling in a classroom setting, is that the teacher and curriculum must cater to the lowest common denominator. That's just the way it is.

    Therefore, a child that is gifted may find himself/herself bored and unchallenged in a classroom.

    Homeschooling is ideal in allowing a child to progress at their own pace and reach their highest potential. For example, if your child adores science and wants to devour the entire year's text book in a couple months he can do that! If your child is a budding artist with lots of natural talent, you can cater her curriculum to include lots of expression and practice on the canvas!

    In addition, what I love about homeschooling is the complete freedom I have to supplement my children's education. I control the curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Homeschooling doesn't have to mean you stay at home! You can go to forest to study nature and let your kids get dirty hunting bugs. You can hire a teacher for a foreign language you'd like them to learn but the public school does not offer (Latin, sign-language, Mongolian *smile*). You can have the kids volunteering at your political party headquarters instead of just reading about civics from a book. There's so much good stuff out there for which a public school student doesn't have time! It boggles the mind!

    I think a homeschooled student's education can be so rich and full that the learning enviroment of the public (and most private) schools look pitiful in comparison.

  2. I agree with the above comment.

    Also, whatever you and your husband want to achieve as far as goals in your homeschool, I feel you can achieve that. I would first, though, take that list of goals/priorities straight to God. Ask Him if the ones you come up with are in the right order, according to Him. Remember that you are merely stewards of His children, and He knows all about what they need, their bent, their futures.

    God may surprise you by re-arranging or changing some of the goals you have for your children. I remember spending the whole summer making my plans, and then a friend my age suddenly died. I realized that my time could be cut off unexpectedly also, and my whole school schedule became more "eternal".

    As an older mom with several grown up children, I also must have a certain time frame to do all you can, and a lot of that is time on your knees. After that, they may just surprise you and go a completely different way. In light of that, you can't go too wrong with eternal goals, family time and loving communication.
    ..thanks for stopping on my blog page. God bless.

  3. Daja,

    That helps. I checked out some of your post on homeschooling and they present some reasoning that I have never heard before.

    I can also see and lean toward homeschooling for the reason you mentioned in regards to "controlling curriculum" and being able to supplement however we wish.

    Thank you!

  4. Thanks for your insight as a mom who has older children Pam. I think I understand what you mean and I believe that God is dealing with me about having an "eternal" perspective when I approach things, especially regarding the children. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  5. I just stumbled across this report and thought, "Aha! This is what she needs to read!" :-)

  6. Here's my two-cents a bit late. Although I can't cite any formalized studies about how homeschooled students comapre to public schooled students, I have read ABOUT the results of them and homeschooled students consistently outscore public schooled students. But, like you, I have wondered if the results are a bit flawed. A typical sample of public schooled students includes high-achieving students who would do well no matter how they were schooled, medium-ability students, students of lesser ability, and students with parents who are neglectful abusive, and don't motivate their children to succeed. A typical sample of homeschooled children, however, is more likely to include students of parents who care greatly about their children's success and would be highly involved in their children's academic lives no matter what method they chose. Those students always do better no matter what their inherent abilities.

    That said, I can only give you our experience with homeschooling as a mom whose boys were in public school until just last year. My middle son, Josh, was in the gifted program at our public school, but his classroom work did not show anywhere near his potential. I knew without a doubt that when he was older, his grades would suffer because he just didn't care about his work. But when we brought him home, he flourished. He started producing the quality of work I had always known he was capable of producing. He is also much happier now that the negative peer pressure had been removed. My oldest two sons also did two years worth of math last year, so now they are ahead of their peers. By the end of this year, I anticipate they will all be at least a year ahead of their peers in all subject areas.

    I still don't think homeschooling is for everyone, but the decision must be made with much prayer. If God leads you in that direction, trust the academics to God. He has made you so that you know your child better than anyone else.

  7. Thanks for the Daja! A friend sent me the same link. I'm going to post something about this.


Your ideas, questions, and comments are welcome!