Tag Archives: homeschool

Making Education History: Beyond the Status Quo

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC — With more than 2 million K–12 students in the U.S. currently being educated at home, the popularity of homeschooling continues to rise. Since 1999, the number of homeschooled students has increased by a staggering 75%, mostly in response to increasing dissatisfaction and frustration with the public school system.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education recently documented less than a 1% increase in enrollment of K–12 public school students nationwide, but the homeschool population increased by a whopping 7%. Almost 4% (and growing) of our nation’s school-age children are being educated at home.

Research has proven that parents are more than capable of successfully educating their children at home. Surveys of homeschoolers’ academic successes consistently reveal that they score, on average, at the 65th to 89th percentile on standardized academic achievement tests, compared to a national school average at the 50th percentile. Interestingly, according to a recent, nationwide survey of homeschoolers commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), achievement gaps that are “well-documented in public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers.”

Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.

More than ever, homeschool grads are scoring points with college recruiters. Compared to the overall population of college students, homeschool grads achieve a higher retention rate and a higher graduation rate as they pursue education beyond the training provided by their parents. Dori Staehle, in her February 2012 article, notes that schools such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and Duke are actively recruiting homeschoolers—and offering them scholarships. She cites the characteristics of homeschoolers who have gotten their attention: “These students tend to be exceptionally bright, motivated, and mature. Far from being sheltered and shy (the typical stereotypes), homeschoolers’ applications reflect students who have traveled, taken risks, and studied some pretty intense topics.”

National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) survey results confirm that homeschoolers are “engaged, at least as much as are others, in activities that predict leadership in adulthood” and are “satisfied that they were home educated.” Homeschool graduates are more civically engaged than the general public and demonstrate “healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.” Apparently homeschoolers are getting excellent grades on their report cards—both academically and socially!

Based on recent data, researchers such as Dr. Brian Ray (NHERI.org) “expect to observe a notable surge in the number of children being homeschooled in the next 5 to 10 years. The rise would be in terms of both absolute numbers and percentage of the K to 12 student population. This increase would be in part because . . . [1] a large number of those individuals who were being home educated in the 1990s may begin to homeschool their own school-age children and [2] the continued successes of home-educated students.”

Dr. Gary Knowles, a professor at the University of Michigan, conducted a survey of homeschool grads who are now successful adults. He found that “an amazing 96% said if they could do it all over again they would want to be homeschooled. Not a single one was unemployed or on welfare. That is pretty impressive.”

Homeschooling parents have chosen to educate their own kids at home for a myriad of reasons, and many say they are in it for the long haul. It’s a matter of conviction and dedication. And, judging from the current state of the public school system, the answer for thousands of parents in this country is clear and simple: homeschool them.

Are homeschoolers “making education history”? For sure. As did the homeschooling parents of individuals such as Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Andrew Wyeth, equipped with parental insight and motivation to see their children succeed academically and socially, today’s homeschooling parents are making education history.

Via EPR Network
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Education in America: Homeschooling on the Rise

The homeschooling movement continues to gain momentum as home-educated students and graduates demonstrate success academically and socially.

Gray, TN, March 7, 2011, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC — Boasting an increase of 74% since 1999 and now in its fourth decade, the modern homeschooling movement is gaining followers at an astonishing rate. Homeschool, for the most part an unfamiliar term only thirty years ago when the movement began, has become a household word. U.S. educators from both public and private school arenas are very much aware of the movement and its impact, and today popular media frequently make mention of “homeschoolers,” from characters in CBS’s #1 show, NCIS, to homeschool grads who appear as contestants on shows such as Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Homeschooling has firmly established itself as a mainstream education alternative.

Homeschoolers are here to stay, because homeschooling works:

• Homeschoolers (K–12) score an average 37 points above the national average on standardized achievement tests. (HSLDA, 2009)

• “Homeschool students possess higher ACT scores, grade point averages (GPAs) and graduation rates when compared to traditionally-educated students.” (Journal of College Admission, citing a 2010 survey of homeschoolers)

• Homeschool grads are “more likely to vote, volunteer for political campaigns, participate in boycotts or write letters to the editor. . . . Seventy-one percent of homeschool graduates participate in an ongoing community service activity compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages.” (NHERI) Homeschoolers are definitely impacting the political scene, as evidenced not only by the recent election of Jaime Herrera, formerly a homeschooler, as a U.S. Representative (R-WA) but also by the enthusiastic participation of homeschooled students in grassroots organizations such as HSLDA’s Generation Joshua.

• Research conducted by multiple sources has found “the home educated to be developing as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally schooled children and youth.” Homeschool graduates are excelling in their occupations, contributions to their communities’ welfare, and their own families.

The U.S. economy is benefiting too. For example, homeschooling families obviously are committed to equip their students to keep abreast of technological advancements, as statistics show that the use of computer technology in their families nearly tripled that of the average U.S. family, based on national norms. As homeschoolers graduate and enter the workforce, U.S. industries who hire these well-prepared, independent thinkers are thriving.

And there are even more winners—taxpayers benefit as well, because home educators receive no government funding, thus reducing the burden on taxpayers. “If there were 2 million homeschool students in the United States in 2009 and the direct per-pupil expenditure was $10,100, then the homeschool community saved American taxpayers $20.4 billion . . . .” (Dr. Brian Ray, NHERI).

Via EPR Network
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HomeschoolBlogger.com—Largest Blogging Community for Homeschoolers—Up for Sale!

Four years into publishing The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (TOS), owners Paul and Gena Suarez recognized a need for an easy-to-use, FREE, online community where homeschool moms, dads, kids, and grandparents could interact and launched HomeschoolBlogger.com (HSB). Within the first month of its existence, HSB hosted more than 30,000 visits! By the first quarter of 2008, HSB was hosting almost 400,000 unique visitors and averaging more than 9 million page views monthly. Currently, HSB logs more than 500,000 page views per month, hosts about 11,000 new posts per month, and registers 25 new users daily. For many homeschoolers—both teachers and students—a visit to HSB has become part of their daily routine.

Obviously, TOS has identified—and met—a vital need within the homeschooling community. The success of HomeschoolBlogger.com has proven it.

So, why sell HomeschoolBlogger.com and its counterpart, HomesteadBlogger.com? “We’re narrowing our focus at The Old Schoolhouse®, and we’ve fulfilled our original goal: to provide a ‘mini blogosphere’ for homeschoolers around the world,” explained Gena Suarez. “It’s time to hand over the reins to someone else. We’ve simply decided to invest our time and resources in other opportunities that have our attention.”

The site almost exclusively uses open source code, thus effectively sidestepping most licensing fees. Last year HSB rolled out a brand-new platform on WordPress, which offers lots of bells and whistles. More than 140 themes are available, including plugins that provide both secure and feature-rich styling of any of the themes. The platform changes also enabled TOS to minimize maintenance costs and support time.

The current platform makes it possible for a new owner to easily assume control of the site on the existing server. Surprisingly, even if the new owner switched to a different server, migration should require downtime of 8 hours or less! The site could grow to power more than 8 million users before a rewrite or change in platform would be necessary.

HSB operates correctly within any current browser and operating system; therefore visitors can “come as they are” from their mobile devices, Wii, PSP, and others. Use of the Anti-Splog API automatically terminates accounts used for spamming, ensuring that the site quality remains high.

HomeschoolBlogger.com has, in essence, succeeded in creating an international virtual neighborhood of homeschooling families, a neighborhood supported entirely by advertising revenue, enabling users to enjoy the perks at no cost to them. As the billion-dollar homeschool market continues to grow, the potential for profitable expansion—for everyone—appears to be unlimited.

Interested buyers should contact the owners of HomeschoolBlogger.com, Gena and Paul Suarez, or the company’s Director of Marketing, Julie Nott, directly for more details (publisher@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com). HomesteadBlogger.com, a user-friendly, customized network for the homesteading community, is also for sale.

Via EPR Network
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Homeschooling with Heart

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC — The Old Schoolhouse® (TOS) is taking the potential of the Internet to new boundaries. Promising “tips, tricks, and tools to enhance all phases of your homeschool journey from the preschool and elementary years to high school, college, and beyond,” their Homeschooling with Heart Schoolhouse Expo will feature sessions about the high school years and provide information for entrepreneurs.

Valerie McCafferty, a recent Schoolhouse Expo attendee, summed up her experience this way: “I can’t tell you how much more convenient it was to attend online. That was the most wonderful part of all. I didn’t have to pay for a sitter, could still answer my students’ questions, … didn’t have to drive anywhere, find or pay for parking, or sit in uncomfortable chairs. … I am so looking forward to the rest of the webinars!”

The weeklong 2011 Schoolhouse Expo will feature an impressive lineup of 16 dynamic speakers: authors, teachers, business owners, and researchers, and give participants an opportunity to ask questions and chat with other guests via the live text system.

Gena and Paul Suarez, owners of The Old Schoolhouse® and homeschooling parents of six children, are excited about the success of the Schoolhouse Expos: “We knew that online homeschool webinars would be great for our audience. They love being able to hear their favorite speakers, the Q & A sessions, chatting with other homeschoolers around the world, the discounts offered in our online vendor hall, the amazing freebie package, and of course the fun door prizes! It has been a winner for both our readers and our vendors!”

In addition to the privilege of attending approximately 20 live, hour-long sessions, all registrants will receive a one-year membership to the Homeschool Legal Advantage and a free will, valued at $65; 21 downloadable gifts worth more than $200; access to MP3 files of the sessions, for future reference; door prizes; access to a virtual vendor hall jam-packed with the market’s most outstanding vendors; and a whole lot of fun!

The Door Prize Extravaganza, in which prizes such as books, curricula, and games will be given away to guests, will be held on the final day of the Expo. The biggest prize offered will be a family vacation at one of the twelve Great Wolf Lodge locations in North America, a $450 value!

Via EPR Network
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Colleges Nationwide Recruit Homeschool Grads

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC — As the modern-day homeschool movement confidently marches forward into its fourth decade, colleges and universities are opening wide their doors to welcome its mature, prepared graduates to their ranks. Homeschoolers score an average of 37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests and typically score above average on the SAT and ACT, statistics that apparently have caught the eye of college admissions personnel. Since 1999, the number of homeschoolers in the United States has increased by 74%, and today thousands of young men and women are graduating from high school—at home.

Colleges are employing a wide variety of strategies aimed at recruiting homeschoolers, including strong representation at homeschool conventions, direct mailing campaigns, and promotions in catalogs, on their websites, and in publications such as The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the nation’s most popular print magazine for homeschoolers. Colleges sponsor “Homeschool College Days” for juniors and seniors, and at Wheaton College, where nearly 10% of the freshman class is represented by homeschool grads, applicants can even be put in touch with current Wheaton students who were homeschooled. Regent University’s website heralds the school as “the right choice for home-schooled students,” and the U.S. Air Force Academy’s website includes guidelines addressed specifically to homeschooled applicants.

A number of institutions have appointed “homeschool liaison and recruitment specialists” to serve incoming freshmen and their families. In her 2009 article titled “‘We Love Homeschoolers!’ Prominent Colleges Jump on the Recruiting Bandwagon,” author Claire Novak, herself a homeschool grad, quoted one such specialist, who said, “As the number of homeschooled students grow, colleges are finding it’s a market you can’t ignore.”

Nearly 30% of Bob Jones University’s current students were educated at home. BJU’s website reports: “As a group, our homeschooled students are among the best students in the entire university student body. They have added a fresh dimension to the body of conventionally schooled students. We consider them a real asset.” Stanford Magazine reported that “among the nation’s elite universities, Stanford has been one of the most eager to embrace them [homeschoolers]. . . .[H]omeschoolers bring a mix of unusual experiences, special motivation and intellectual independence that makes them a good bet to flourish on the Farm.” Savannah College of Art and Design“welcomes home-schooled students and recognizes the outstanding talent and achievements of this diverse group of well-rounded individuals.” And these are just a few examples of the favorable reputation that homeschooled students have earned.

Recent studies confirm the academic success of homeschoolers who attend college. Citing results of a 2010 survey, the Journal of College Admission reports that “homeschool students possess higher ACT scores, grade point averages (GPAs) and graduation rates when compared to traditionally-educated students.”

Seth Back, a homeschooler who took and passed the GED test at age 15 and is currently enrolled at Harvard, is confident that he was “better prepared for certain college situations than students who had been through the public/private school system.” During the past five years, Seth earned a juris doctor degree, passed the California Bar Exam, earned a master’s degree in church history, and studied at Oxford—all while managing his own consulting business. He credits homeschooling with fueling a love of learning and teaching him to take personal responsibility for his education, which included pursuing a wide variety of opportunities for his personal enrichment. He is but one example of the thousands of motivated, successful, visionary students who have benefited tremendously from their home education.

Colleges are looking for young people like Seth. They are excited about the exceptional potential presented by homeschool graduates and are vigorously pursuing their attention.

Via EPR Network
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Largest Homeschool Blogging Community Upgrades to a Whole New Way of Blogging Life

Recently HomeschoolBlogger.com (HSB)—the world’s largest and free homeschool blog site—got a clean, fresh, look with exciting new features, by implementing an important software upgrade.

According to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine® publisher/owner Gena Suarez, “The plan behind the change is to link great blogging with the ever-expanding homeschool community to usher back in the ‘blogging craze’ that hit when HomeschoolBlogger was launched in 2005. It was a lot of work, we pushed forward, and now we’re doing it. This is a major upgrade, using the popular WordPress platform and will mean a whole new way of blogging life for our members at HomeschoolBlogger.com.”

During August ALONE, HomeschoolBlogger.com received thirteen million page views! One of the draws to HSB is the ease in discovering new blogs and connecting with those of similar homeschool and family interests. This online community has a safety-net feel unlike other blog sites, where using a random blog button could reveal undesirable content.

HomeschoolBlogger’s Senior Editor, Kristen Hamilton, oversees the site. She and other authors contribute homeschool-related posts. She assists members and keeps an eye on new blogs to identify inappropriate content.

Kristen states: “HomeschoolBlogger is comprised of a large group of bloggers who make HSB their home base. This is the largest upgrade in our five-year history and makes the community even stronger with its exciting new features.” Here’s a look at some new HomeschoolBlogger.com features:
• Intuitive user interface—A “What You See Is What You Get” editor works seamlessly with the HTML editor. Also advanced image uploading and in-browser image editing.
• Widgits—Add tools like search bars or calendars by clicking and dragging.
• Backups—Click a button to create backups with instant saving capacity.
• Spam protection—Integrated blacklist and open proxy checker to manage and eliminate comment spam.
• Pages—Manage non-blog content easily.
• Themes—Effortlessly format and create blog designs. Select multiple themes with different looks, even switch designs daily.
• Password protected posts—Hide individual posts from public view by assigning passwords.

There’s even more exciting news to share: HomeschoolBlogger.com FREE classes with vibrant topics designed for homeschoolers. Over 3,500 people have signed up for these classes since the launch in July. Recent classes included “Think Biblically, Live Godly, and Serve Practically,” “Ten Stumbling Blocks to Writing,” and “Solving Your Science Struggles”; additional topics will be announced soon! Participants may sign up for classes at HomeschoolBlogger.com FREE Classes.

Via EPR Network
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Homeschooling: The Fastest-Growing Form of Education in the U.S.

It appears that in the U.S., homeschooling is the fastest-growing form of education, according to independent research conducted by organizations ranging from the National Home Education Research Institute (www.nheri.org), a nonprofit research and educational organization, to the federally funded National Center for Education Statistics (www.nces.ed.gov).

Let’s take a look at some of the evidence:
• “Homeschooling grew from 1.7% of the school age population in 1999 to 2.9% in 2007, a 74% relative increase over 8 years,” states Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
• A 2008 study found that “an estimated 2.0 to 2.5 million K–12 children were home educated in the U.S. during mid-2008,” statistics that were also confirmed by NCES.
• Last week, in their local news coverage, Chattanooga’s News Channel 9 reported: “In the last decade, the number of homeschoolers has far more than doubled, according to the Department of Education” (WTVC-TV, August 13, 2010).

The increasing popularity of homeschooling should not come as a surprise. Homeschooling, a term referring to “parent-led, home-based education,” is now bordering on “mainstream” in the United States. In a 2008 article, SaveMoneyHomeschooling.com stated: “If homeschooling continues to grow at 7–12% per year for the next 5 years, we could see the percent of homeschooling students increase to 5 million, which is about 10% of the total children in K–12 education.” “Homeschooling high school is no longer uncharted territory . . . . There are a multitude of homeschooled graduates who are bearing fruit in the workplace, in the military, in their families, and in colleges across the country,” 9 states the Home-School Legal Defense Association, an organization whose purpose is to “defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children.”

Gena Suarez, publisher of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, is not at all surprised by the increased popularity of homeschooling: “During the past thirty years, homeschooling families have proven that parents can do a better job than the public school—socially and academically. Homeschooling works; everybody wins.”

As the homeschooling movement continues to expand, and as graduates from among their ranks assume positions of leadership and responsibility in the United States, our nation will be watching. Most citizens would agree that our nation is in desperate need of wise, well-educated leaders: men and women of integrity, curiosity, strength, and courage. The fact that homeschooling is the fastest-growing form of education in our country may just offer our nation that hope we’re looking for.

Via EPR Network
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