Academic Advantages of Homeschooling

If someone asks you-“Why do you homeschool?” What do you say? Most of us would probably give the reason we initially decided to homeschool. For me, it was simply that the Lord called me to homeschool. For you, it may be another reason.

Regardless of why you began homeschooling, chances are you have realized by now the numerous advantages homeschooling offers. If you are new to homeschooling, you may still be learning what some of them are. I have been on this homeschooling journey for over 4 years, and find something new that I love about homeschooling each year.

One advantage that is particularly promising is the academic one. Most people do not homeschool their kids due to academic concerns, but some do. And whether or not that is why people homeschool it is a huge advantage.

No, not every child who is homeschooled will be a genius. Most probably won’t be. BUT, studies have shown time, and time again that homeschoolers score higher on standardized testing than their public school peers. A recent study was conducted and published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science. This study compared the standardized test scores of 37 homeschooled students and 37 public school students. The students ranged in age from 5-10. The test found that public school students did typically test at or slightly above their grade level. The homeschooled kids performed about a half grade higher in Math and 2.2 grades higher in Reading.

Studies also show these students score above average on the SAT and ACT tests. Scores were especially higher in the areas of English, Reading, and Vocabulary. In the areas of Math and Science homeschooled students scored at or above the national average.

Colleges are taking notice to this statistics. Universities are seeking out homeschooled students for enrollment. Why? Because they perform well academically. They are used to working independently, have good study habits, are self motivated and they work hard!

Homeschoolers also graduate college at a higher rate than their public school peers and A 2010 study by Dr. Michale Cogan of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota found that compared to conventional students, college students who were homeschooled earn, on average a higher first year GPA. This trend continues on each year.

Whether or not you began homeschooling due to academic concerns, one cannot ignore the academic advantages homeschooling offers.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Homeschooling in Alabama: What You Need to Know as a Parent

Alabama is one of the best states in the United States if you’re interested in homeschooling your children. The laws regarding homeschooling in Alabama are now some of the most lenient in the country and allow you to home school your child without much governmental intervention. You can do so through three different homeschooling programs in Alabama, the first using a state certified tutor and the second through a “church school”. Through the church school program (these are also known as cover schools), your home can qualify as a church school and all you have to do is work with existing church home school groups in Alabama. However, another MAJOR option has opened up as the state has introduced a new bill this year that recognizes home schooling.

New Bill Introduced

A new Bill introduced this year clarifies this law and holds that private schools can be started by any legal entity (i.e any parent). Before this law was passed you needed to be state certified and teach public school courses to be able to enroll your child in a home school. The other options were to create a church school or hire a private tutor that is certified by the state. The law also holds that these private schools are exempt from regulation by the government, including the state education department. The main requirement is that you must ensure your child meets mandatory attendance requirements that you must track. Thus you can easily educate your child at home.   This law was passed on April 2nd, 2014, and will be in effect on July 1st, 2014.

The most critical factor of the new law change is the official recognition of “home school” by the State of Alabama. Also, the law specifically states that the state has no interest in regulating “home schools”. These changes in the new homeschool law make it clear that homeschooling should be a much EASIER compliance process for all types of homeschoolers in Alabama.

If you are worried that home schooling your child in Alabama may lead to problems getting into college, you need not worry. The latest bill ensures that two or four year state colleges cannot deny a student purely on the basis of having attended a home school or any other nonpublic school. Additionally private and church school students will no longer have to take a GED test to apply for a college.

Homeschooling Programs in Alabama

As a parent, your top priority is ensuring your child gets the best upbringing and education possible. That’s why you are homeschooling them. It’s therefore important to choose the right homeschooling program. If you are going to join a church school, be sure to research what benefits these programs offer. Some of them offer curriculum material, guidance, monthly field trips, and all kinds of other benefits. These benefits can help your child massively, and be a great help in home schooling them properly. Some of these church schools don’t require you to be an active member of their church or to even give a devotional statement. Joining a church school and home schooling your child under their structure may be an excellent choice if you want to join a community of people home schooling their children. This is also an excellent choice as it can allow your child to make new friends very easily.

Online Homeschooling in Alabama

There are also various online support groups for home schoolers in Alabama. You can join anything from a free forum for other parents home schooling children, to enrolling in complete online home schooling programs which take care of all the material for you.   If you are a busy parent an online homeschooling program may be the best program for your family. Some programs are highly advanced and include interactive exercises and tests for the child to take part in. Online Homeschooling in Alabama is an option you should consider as an exciting and interesting teaching method. Online home school groups are definitely worth looking into!

Alabama Cover Schools

A cover school refers to a church program that allows you to home school legally. The term “cover school” is simply another word for a church school which we’ve already covered before. Due to the new bill it appears there is no longer a need to join a church or Alabama cover schools after July 1st, 2014. Since the Alabama Department of Education has chosen not to regulate “home schools”, there should now be a movement towards just filing a intent to homeschool and file any annual compulsory attendance certification. We will work diligently to make sure you are up to date on the latest information and process. At the Alabama Homeschool Expo, we will discuss the new law changes and what the steps are now to homeschool in Alabama.

Don’t be Afraid to Take the Leap into Home Schooling in Alabama

If you 100 percent feel that home schooling is the right choice for your child or children, then jump right into it! Don’t let other people hold you back (and yes there will be naysayers). There’s no denying that the public school system has a huge number of flaws, and a home schooling arrangement is far better for many children.   If you feel your child could benefit from home schooling in Alabama it would be unfair to force your child into a system he doesn’t belong in.

Sources-

http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/Alabama.pdf

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/al/201404080.asp

http://northalabamahomeeducators.freeservers.com/schools.html

The Top Homeschool Statistics You Must Know

As a parent, your children’s education is one of the top priorities in your life. You want to make sure they get a balanced and excellent education that prepares them to be a mature adult who can thrive in society. If you’re on this site, you’ve already considered homeschooling your child. To make your job I’m going to go over the data surrounding homeschool statistics so you have a clear and accurate picture of the effectiveness and popularity of homeschooling.

The Popularity of Homeschooling in the United States

2 Million Children are educated through homeschooling in the United States.   According to a 2007 survey of parents by the National Center of Education Statistics, there were three major motivations behind enrolling their child in homeschooling. 88% of percents were worried about the school environment. 83% of parents had a desire to provide religious and moral instruction and home.   73% of parents said they were dissatisfied with the academic instruction provided at other schools.

Homeschooling Statistics
Homeschooling Statistics

Parents were also asked which of the above reasons were the most important.   The leading reason according to parents (36 Percent of them) was the need to provide religious or moral instruction.

The Benefits of Homeschooling-

Homeschooling also has many academic benefits. Homeschooled students typically score 30-37 percentile points better than public school students according to research by Dr. Brian Ray. That means that the average homeschooling student is in the top 13-20 percent of students.   Your home schooled children are at a massive advantage as compared to public school students. That’s an incredible and shocking advantage.

Another homeschooling study by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner shows that homeschooled children who were homeschooled for their whole education showed the highest achievement. That means the sooner you start homeschooling your child, the better their eventual performance will be!

Are you worried about the cost of home schooling?   According to Dr. Ray the average cost of homeschooling per year is only a measly $546.

Another interesting aspect of homeschooling is that the child’s race barely matters. Minority children benefit tremendously from homeschooling. Peer pressures and negative school environments in less-advantaged areas give children in those areas severe disadvantages and those children can benefit the most from homeschooling. If you have a minority child it may be worth thinking about the effects of a public school education on your child.

All in all these homeschool statistics prove the point that homeschooling is an excellent alternative to public school education. According to peer reviewed studies and research home schooled children perform far better than their public schooled counterparts.   It makes perfect sense, considering the large range of problems in the public school system, as well as the teacher to student ratio. It also makes more sense that you educate your child, as you know your child far better than any teacher can. Not to mention a teacher’s attention is divided between dozens of other children under his/her care.

Sources-

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21568763-home-schooling-growing-ever-faster-keep-it-family

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf

Dr. Brian Ray, Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America, National Home Education Research Institute, Salem, OR, 1997.

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp#ii

Image from-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Motivations_regarded_most_important_for_homeschooling.png

 

Why Attend a Homeschool Convention?

Why Attend a Homeschool Convention?

As you know, the Alabama Homeschool Expo is coming up soon! You may ask yourself, “Why should I attend a Homeschool Convention”. That is a great question! Homeschool conventions are perfect for new and seasoned homeschoolers. I am going to share just a few reasons you should make time to attend a homeschool convention this year.

Encouragement

Homeschooling is hard. Going to a convention will put you with like-minded individuals who “get” what you are going through. They offer great and encouraging speakers, and workshops that will encourage you to continue on your homeschool journey.

Conferences can also help validate your decision to homeschool. If you have had a bad year, or are second-guessing your decision, you can gain encouragement from talking to moms who have been there, and have stayed on course. Also, if you have little support from friends and family, seeing and talking so many other homeschoolers who have chosen the same path can be a huge blessing!

Education

Professional teachers have some sort of continuing education requirement right? You are a professional too! A homeschool convention is a great way to continue your education. Not sure what to teach, or why? Not sure what your child’s learning style is? Not sure what Homeschool method to use? Have a child with special needs, and need some help? Most conventions will offer workshops on all of these areas and speaking topics can range from getting started, to graduating your homeschooler, and everything in between. Conventions are a great place for moms to be educated!

Friendship

Local homeschool conventions are a great opportunity to fellowship with friends, old and new! Many times, we moms get to busy to visit during the school year. A homeschool convention is a great excuse to make time for friendship. Invite a friend or two, and spend the day catching up and learning from the speakers, and gleaning encouragement.

Curriculum

One of the biggest reasons to attend a homeschool convention is the vendor hall. This is where numerous vendors will be set up with their curriculum, all ready for you to look at, feel, and of course-buy! Conventions will have a variety of homeschool curriculum spanning all styles, methods, and subjects. You can take your time, browse, and chat with others who have used the curriculum, and in some cases, even the people who have written it!

For these reasons and many more, make sure you make the time to attend a homeschool convention this year. Whether you choose to attend the Alabama Homeschool Expo, or another convention near you, attending one will be an experience you will not likely forget!

Graduation Rates

Have you ever had to defend your choice to homeschool?  Or at least felt like folks were questioning the wisdom of a decision to home educate your children?  Most of us have had that experience.  Recently I heard a statistic regarding high school graduation rates that set me to searching the internet.  It may be an exercise you would find interesting as well.  In a nutshell, graduation rate reports changed last year for public schools.  In theory, states across the nation now report the same data—alternative diplomas, drop-outs and transfers are consistently accounted for in the reports.  Most states saw their graduation rates drop by double-digit figures with the more stringent reporting.   While I had always assumed the question in American high schools was “Who will go to college?” I see now that the more appropriate question is “Who will graduate.”

I was appalled to learn that the best rates never reached 90% and some states have a 50% graduation rate.  How can it be that an institution as well-respected as public education can have such a dismal success rate?  I encourage you to dig and learn about your public school’s 2012 record —not to disparage the public schools but to encourage yourself in your own efforts.  I am a ‘positive’ person and prefer to explain my decision to home educate with the emphasis on the amazing opportunity it is for a family to grow and learn together.  But I admit, the poor performance of the public option is an added affirmation to our decision.  It is also motivation for me to encourage more homeschooling families—and to work toward enhancing public education options in my own community.  A love of learning is a great thing to pass on…true education is completed when that happens.

-Billie Jo

Homeschool Statistics

The “numbers” surrounding homeschooling may surprise you.   Would you have guessed that over two million youth are currently learning in a home school setting?!  This represents a 75% increase since 1999.

It would seem that the ‘proof is in the pudding’ when it comes to homeschool results.  Homeschooled students outperform public educated students in every nationally norm referenced test.    College GPA rates are another consistent statistic for home educated students, and college graduation rates for homeschoolers exceed those of public school students.

The fear that homeschooling is creating a population of outcasts has been allayed as well.  In studies of interpersonal skills, maturity levels, communication and daily living skills, homeschooled students ‘outperform’ their publicly educated peers.  Criticisms of ‘elitism’ also are disproved by the statistics.  External factors such as household income, parent ‘certification’ and cost per student do not seem to impact success rates.

While over 70% of the families who choose to educate at home are dis-satisfied with the public schools, the other reasons for the choice are extremely diverse.   Freedom to pursue learning that matches a child’s personality, learning style and interests is one strong motivation.   Keeping family life at the center of activities is another.  Time stewardship, instruction in morals and faith and freedom to travel are other factors motivating home education.

Whatever the motivation, homeschooling well is a continual learning process.  Have you made your reservation for the Homeschool Expo yet?  What are you waiting for?  Great classes for new (or aspiring) homeschoolers, workshops for seasoned educators and a vast array of curriculum providers will make your homeschool adventure better than ever!

Statistics obtained through National Home Education Research Institute and CollegeatHome.com.

Need Some Help And Encouragement?

So Many Workshops – So Little Time!  Choose from Educating the Gifted Child, Homeschooling Special Needs, Making Learning Fun with Hands-On Activities, Homeschooling Dads Panel Discussion, and more! The Alabama Homeschool Expo is committed to bringing you the most enjoyable and informative homeschool and parenting workshops ever – all under one roof!

And after you have attended the workshops you can visit the large exhibitor hall for a hands on look at curriculum and books.