There are many, many things I find dubious about the practice of parents homeschooling their children. I wonder how a mother or father who has not been educated as a teacher, who in many cases has not even been to college her/himself, can possibly provide their child with as good an education as students receive in our much-maligned public schools. And I can´t help but think that these homeschool students, of whom there are several million in the United States, are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers.
I assure Mr. Shives that homeschoolers receive an education equal to or better then any public school student. Consider the 2007 ACT High School Profile Report.
Check out this National Data! For the graduating class of 2007, 10,072 students who list themselves as homeschooled took the test, and their average Composite score was 22.3. [1,300,599 students took the test in all, averaging 21.1.] [0.77% homeschoolers] from Jim Sconing, Director, Statistical Research Department, Research, 319/337-1709.
Mr Shives is also wrong in his belief that Homeschoolers "are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers."
Dr. Shyers measured the self-esteem of the homeschooled group of 70 children in his study and compared it with that of the traditionally schooled group, also 70 children between the ages of eight and ten. On the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, a widely used measure of self-esteem, no difference was found between the two groups. (That finding by the way, stands as a failure to replicate the earlier thesis research of John Wesley Taylor in 1986, in which a small sample of home-schooled children scored significantly higher than classroom-schooled children on the Piers-Harris scale. Taylor's thesis, Self-Concept in Home-Schooling Children, is also available from UMI, order number DA8624219.) Thus it goes beyond the available evidence to say that homeschooled children have higher self-esteem than other children. In fact, more studies (and especially more studies with large sample sizes, and more recent studies) have confirmed Shyers's result than have confirmed Taylor's. There appears to be no significant difference in self-esteem between the overall population of homeschooled children and the overall population of children attending classroom school.Mr Shives seems unaware that homeschoolers are a diverse group and have many opportunities to interact with each other as well as their public school peers. Homeschoolers join recreational sports team, scouts, robotics teams and many other groups which provide them with ample opportunities to socialize.
Mr Shives maintains that Fundamentalist Christians make up the majority of homeschoolers. In my opinion they are just the ones who get the most attention while Secular Homeschoolers are often ignored or marginalized. Also people like Steve Shives with their hostility to homeschoolers, drive many Moderate Christian Homeschoolers into HSLDA (or other religious groups like Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association that Mr. Shives references), clutches as they offer protection from the intolerant and bigoted people who wish to curtail our homeschooling freedoms.
He also maintains that homeschoolers who are taught creationism/intelligent design should not receive a diploma. This smacks of hypocrisy as a vast number of public school students are still taught intelligent design. Does Mr. Shives also believe that these public school students shouldn't receive a diploma?
Echoing similar comments from President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools alongside evolution.
Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula:A Legal Guidebook
President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about "intelligent design," a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity.
Parents have the right to decide what educational choice is best for their children be it public school, private school or homeschooling.