|Back to Sept. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 224||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||SEPTEMBER 2004|
Homeschooling Continues to Grow, Reflecting |
Parents' Dissatisfaction with Public Education
In surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, parents offered three main reasons for educating their children at home:
Homeschooled students now account for 2.2% of the U.S. school-age population. The government numbers may underestimate the true number: The National Center for Home Education asserts there are 2 million homeschoolers.
"There's potential for massive growth," center spokesman Ian Slatter told the Associated Press (8-3-04). "Homeschooling is just getting started."
The federal government counts as homeschoolers students who spend at least part of their education at home and no more than 25 hours a week in public or private schools. More than 4 out of 5 homeschooled students spend no time at traditional schools.
Pennsylvania's homeschooling regulations require parents to submit notarized affidavits at the start of each school year for children 8 years and older about what they plan to teach. The parents must keep a log and chart their children's progress in preparation for an end-of-year report signed off by a third party that must be submitted to school superintendents. Parents also are required to submit medical information about their children and attest that they have never been convicted of crimes. (Associated Press, 8-2-04)
The course includes background on classic epics such as Beowulf, The Iliad and Arthurian romances but focuses on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy trilogy. Amelia Harper designed the $125 620-page textbook and teacher's edition for homeschooled students, including her own son, and has also used it in pilot courses taught in public schools in Kentucky and Colorado. (Washington Times, 7-19-25-04)
"Why do Sarasota County public school leaders insist on choosing one of the most divisive, politically extreme organizations in the country to come into the schools and teach classes on sexual relations and birth control?" asks columnist Rod Thomson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (7-16-04).
U.S. homeschoolers still have it better than their counterparts north of the border. In British Columbia, homeschooling parents "are fuming after the B.C. Education Ministry ordered thousands of them to stop using faith-based materials or any other 'unofficial' resource when teaching their children at home," according to the Vancouver Sun (4-22-04).