The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 22, 2007

In our view: Home schooling makes inroads

We bumped into an Associated Press story that reported a growing number of institutions, including Stanford University, attempting to woo a once-ignored segment of students: home-schoolers.

There are between 1.1 million and 2 million students being schooled at home. And, according to the AP, Regina Morin, admissions director of Columbia College, said they bring with them such attributes as independent study habits, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills. She added: “It’s one of the fastest-growing college pools in the nation and they tend to be some of the best prepared.”

The big difference between home-schooled students and their counterparts in traditional education is that those who are schooled at home don’t have transcripts. Some colleges and universities require that students have a GED high-school equivalency diploma and take subject-specific SAT exams.

One reason that home-schooled youngsters may do well is that their parents tend to have gone higher up the academic ladder. For instance, a 1999 study found that fathers of home-schooled youngsters tend to have much higher percentages of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees than the fathers whose children attend traditional schools. The same applies to mothers of home-schooled children.

A 1999 Educational Policy Analysis reported the most frequently cited reason for home schooling children was not religion or safety, but a belief that youngsters could get a better education at home.

Religious reasons came in second and poor learning environment in traditional schools was third. Others elements, not listed in order of choice, were development of character, teaching morality, special needs and failure to challenge children.

We suspect that the deadly rampage in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado and subsequent school shootings also may have raised safety concerns about children for many parents over the past few years and encouraged them to make a choice for schooling their sons and daughters in the security of the home. Furthermore, there are many informational home-schooling sites, including data on curricula, available on the Internet, making it easier to prepare the groundwork for a home school.

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