Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Harassment of Homeschoolers Continues At The American Chronicle

Mr Shives post, Homeschoolers Who Don´t Learn Science Shouldn´t Receive a Diploma is intolerant claptrap.

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.


  1. I have to say, I agree with him on the diploma matter. If homeschoolers are going to want diplomas from the state then they had better meet state standards. If they don't intend to, then stay away from state diplomas.

  2. I doubt they are getting state diplomas they are getting a diploma issued by a homeschool group. Just like private school students get a diploma issued by the private school they attend.

    Private schools are not required to meet state standards in order to issue diplomas, therefore homeschoolers should not be required to meet state standards in order to issue their own diploma.

  3. In fact he says
    "One such diploma-granting homeschool organization is the Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association (MDHSA), headquartered in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, not far from where I live."

    So the diploma he is in a snit about is issued by MDHSA not by the state of Pennsylvania. Just like a private school would issue a diploma from such and such private school.

  4. I forgot to add that more then likely they do meet state standards as the standards are vague. Usually they just require x number of credits in Science, Math, Language Arts and other subjects. They do NOT specify what is to be taught in the classes.

  5. "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 find statements like this nauseating. Force kids to interact? What does that mean, exactly? And how does PS provide a beneficially 'formative' experience? Inquiring minds want to know.

    As for Christian HSers, most are taught MORE about evolution than the average PS kid, IMHO, even if it is in an effort to refute it with creationism or intelligent design. As adults we have the power to influence and affect our kids, but we can't force a child to believe anything.

    Teachers are made of the same stuff as parents, and it is disingenuous to suggest that teachers will impart knowledge without bias, as if school is an idealogically sterile environment.

    You're right, Alasandra- pure claptrap.

  6. Unless things have changed drastically since I was in public school there was very little interaction between the different "groups" of people. We all tended to stick with our group.

  7. If it's a privately operated school (traditional or home-based), why is it anybody's business whether or not evolution is taught?

    If a college is concerned about whether students have the prerequisite knowledge for a biology course, it can require students to take a placement exam. However, it should be an across-the-board requirement. It would be unfair to require only certain students to take the placement exam simply because they were homeschooled or attended a private religious school. Plenty of graduates of government-run schools lack a solid understanding of the principles of evolution!

  8. There are plenty of public schools in the South that still teach creationism/intelligent design as fact, so you are absolutely right Crimson Wife. If a placement exam is required it should be required for everyone. I bet more homeschoolers would pass it then public school kids would.

  9. There is some good news where it counts. In response to the CA Appelate Court outlawing homeschooling, I contacted Senator Jim Battlin and I asked him co-sponsor Assemblyman Joel Anderson's resolution ACR 115.

    (Passage of resolution ACR 115 would mean the CA Legislature formally called on the California Supreme Court to reverse the Appellate Court's opinion.)

    Well, I got a nicely worded, personal and supportive response from Kim Glassman, Senator Battlin's Chief of Staff.

    Ms. Glassman made it clear that Sen. Battlin is a firm supporter of homeschooling and is proud to be a co-sponsor of ACR 115.

    Just thought you would want to know.


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