Arkansas bill opens academic contests to home-schoolers

It would be illegal for public schools to take part in academic competitions that exclude home-school students if the Legislature enacts a bill considered in the House Education Committee on Tuesday.

Rep. Mike Kenney, R-Siloam Springs, said House Bill 2860 is necessary because the Arkansas Activities Association won’t let schools take part in academic competitions that include nonmembers. So groups that host such competitions exclude home-school students so that public school students are able to participate, he said.

Jimmy Coates, administrator of the association, said a longstanding rule has been enforced since last year, when a parent complained that a home-school student beat a public-school student in a competition. Read more…

Homeschoolers are dominant in annual reading competition

The team of homeschooled students who won the annual Battle of the Books contest last year came in second this year, bested by another team of homeschooled students they practiced with.

Since November, the teams of eight students each from grades 4 to 6 have been reading 20 books supplied by the Washington County Free Library. Twenty teams competed in a written competition in early March, with eight teams advancing to Saturday’s oral competition.

Last year, the Patriots won the contest, in which teams are asked questions about the 20 books. Members of that team returned this year as Patriots Return. Read more…

Homeschooled teen wins title after intense spell

The students blazed through “exultant” and “babushka.” Things got a little rockier around “miasma,” “sacrosanct” and “pugilist.”

But it took words that would send spell-check into conniptions to really trip up the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade champion spellers yesterday.

How would you do against “obstreperous” (to stubbornly resist control) or “adumbrate” (to outline broadly, omitting details), not only spelling these tongue-twisters out loud, but with bright stage lights reflecting off your braces, your voice cracking from tension — or possibly hormones — as you demonstrate your verbal prowess before more than 100 strangers? Read more…

Home schoolers get out of the house

NEW YORK — The Holiday Inn banquet hall was packed with teens clad in tuxedos and taffeta. They danced the macarena, sipped lemonade, and cast interested sidelong glances at one another. The Orlando, Fla., event had all the trappings of a standard high school prom, with one exception: There were no high schoolers present.

All the teens at the Orlando prom were home schoolers.

There are approximately 2 million home schoolers in the United States, a figure that has increased 15 percent in the last 20 years, according to the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Ore. As home schooling enters the mainstream, the adults who promote it have sought more ways of getting home schoolers out of the house, to broaden their social circles, and help them acquire the leadership credentials needed for college applications. Read more…

Bill would let home school students play

A new bid is under way to let students educated at home join public school football teams, bands and other extracurricular activities.

Rep. Rick Farrar, D-Pineville, says parents of children who learn at home pay taxes just like those who attend public schools and are entitled to similar privileges.

Farrar also says the change would help home-schooled children get around one of the pitfalls of staying home — social isolation.

“If education is truly for children I don’t know of a better way to do it,” he said. Read more…

Home schoolers want a shot at sports

Nathan Meade, 14, can pitch, play third base and hit for a little power. And he’d like to play for his local high school baseball team in Coweta County.

But Meade is home schooled and is essentially forbidden from playing on public school teams.

“He needs coaching and he needs the [high] level of competition to improve,” said Nathan’s father, David Meade. “We think that home schoolers are being discriminated against by not allowing them access to resources which our taxes pay for.” Read more…

Home Schooling Meets Big Brother

(Editor’s Note: The following is the 10th of 100 stories regarding government regulation from the book Shattered Dreams, written by the National Center for Public Policy Research. will publish an additional story each day.)

After moving to Lynn, Mass., in 1993, Michael and Virginia Brunnelle decided not to enroll their five children in public schools, opting instead to educate them at home.

The Brunnelles’ credentials for home schooling are impeccable. Virginia is a certified elementary school teacher, while Michael has a Master’s Degree in Christian education.

Although Lynn Public School officials approved the Brunnelles’ qualifications as teachers, the contents of the curricula and the instructional materials, they still would not allow the Brunnelles to home school their children unless school officials were allowed to conduct periodic inspections of the Brunnelle home “to verify that the home instruction plan is being implemented.” Read more…

Tennessee Democrats reject equalizing scholarships for Homeschoolers

NASHVILLE – A Senate committee rejected more attempts Wednesday to equalize lottery scholarships between public- and private-college students and to standardize the academic requirements for regular and home-schooled students to receive the scholarships.

The Senate Education Committee voted 5-4, along party lines, to endorse the earlier recommendations of a lottery-scholarship task force giving students attending state universities a $4,000 annual grant and $2,000 to those attending private institutions. Read more…

Feeling right at home

Home schooling has been almost all the four Gubernick teenagers have ever known. They say it works for them and they haven’t missed a thing.

They are part of a growing number of Tucsonans who are forgoing tradition classrooms for a different type of education.

In 1992, 450 home-schoolers were registered in Pima County. By 1995, there were 1,401. This year, there are 2,906 – a rise of about 545 percent in a decade.

But home-schooling mom Debbie Gubernick thinks that’s misleading. She doesn’t know anyone who home-schooled children in 1992 who registered them in what she said was a cumbersome process. Read more…

Book clubs help children, parents bond

After Wendy Ogden read “The Mother-Daughter Book Club,” she decided to start her own.

“I sped-read the book, and I was intrigued by what the author said about not knowing her own mother as a pal or a peer. The author started a book club to help her and her daughter learn more about one another and get beyond just a mother-daughter relationship,” Ogden said of the book by Shireen Dodson.

Ogden, of West Des Moines, and her daughter, Rachel, started a monthly mother-daughter book club and invited several of Rachel’s friends and their mothers to join. The 5-year-old club is made up of eighth-grade girls and their moms. They meet monthly. Read more…

Book: Parents Arrested for Legally Home-Schooling

(Editor’s Note: The following is the sixth of 100 stories regarding government regulation from the book Shattered Dreams, written by the National Center for Public Policy Research. will publish an additional story each day.)

A Virginia couple was arrested for legally home-schooling their child. Gerald and Angela Balderson were arrested on March 17, 2000 after truancy charges were filed against them by a local public school administrator. The Baldersons, however, point out that they followed proper procedures to have their son, Brett, legally schooled at home, and therefore were not in violation of truancy laws.

Virginia law requires home schoolers to notify the local public school superintendent of intent to home school. The Baldersons had submitted the proper notice on February 25, 2000. Read more…

League for schooling at home flourishing

FREMONT, CA — Imagine a school you attend but a few times a month. You study at your own pace. You concentrate on your favorite subjects. You eat whenever you want.

And if you’ve finished your work on a sunny day, your teacher might make you a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and give you the day off.

The catch: Your teacher is your mom or dad, and your desk could double as the kitchen table. Read more…

Home-schooler wins regional spelling bee

Not only did they equal the girls in numbers in the final rounds of the Mid-Missouri Regional Spelling Bee contest yesterday afternoon in Launer Auditorium at Columbia College, but also it was two boys who got to smile at the end.

Coyt Westfall, a Columbia home school student, snagged first prize when he spelled “funambulist,” which describes an acrobat who performs feats on a high wire.

His final-round opponent, Nathan Kohl of Vandalia, correctly spelled “votary” but stumbled on “accretionary,” missing a “c.” Read more…

Kyle Williams: Socialization of homeschoolers

On nearly a daily basis, I am asked about the socialization of homeschoolers. That poor horse has been beaten dead from both sides. We know who continues to address the “problem,” and it has been dismissed. Yet, what I, at least, have failed to address is why socialization is not only a non-issue for homeschoolers, but socialization is better done at home.

We can point to the successes of homeschoolers, their accomplishments and their abilities, but aside from that, why should socialization be done at home? First and foremost, God commanded that parents should teach their children, in Deuteronomy 11: 18-19: Read more…

Readers: Parents should pay for cyber school

Readers who responded to this week’s poll question overwhelmingly said they feel parents who send their children to cyber schools should foot the bill for their education.

The question was: “Do you feel local school districts should have to pay tuition for cyber school students?”

A large majority, or 83 percent of the 133 readers who responded, answered “no.”

In this state, public school districts are required to reimburse cyber schools for the cost of tuition for students from their geographical area who opt for online learning. Read more…

‘Crunchy cons’ defy traditional religious & political labels

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (RNS)–They’re called “crunchy cons.”

That’s “crunchy,” as in crunchy granola. There’s a whiff of the New Age movement about them.

They eat organic food and oppose suburban sprawl. They rarely watch TV and question consumerism, value the arts and read authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, media critics like Neil Postman and eco-urban planners like James Howard Kunstler.

But they’re also “cons,” as in conservative. They’re religious, in an orthodox way, and oppose abortion, euthanasia and same-sex blessings.

They’re suspicious of big government. They value family and have big ones.

To protect their kids from salacious mass culture, they tend to home-school.

Crunchy conservatives are carving out a place for themselves as a North American subculture. Read more…

Maryland Home-School Participation Bill Defeated

A bill that would have allowed home-schooled students in Maryland to participate in public school athletics and extracurricular activities has been defeated in committee.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday issued an unfavorable report on the bill, which was opposed by officials from the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the governing body for sports at the state’s public high schools.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee were unavailable to comment yesterday, as was the bill’s sponsor, Del. George C. Edwards, a Republican from Western Maryland. Read more…

Homeschool tourney tips off

The nation’s largest homeschool basketball tournament tipped off Wednesday in Oklahoma City with 2,200 competitors and 202 teams from 35 states, tournament chairman Tim Flatt said.

Including parents and other fans, 5,000 to 6,000 people are expected to register for the tournament, which includes a family conference in the mornings.

In its first appearance in Oklahoma City last year, the tournament drew 158 teams.

“This is not only the premier homeschool tournament, it’s the premier event for homeschool sports,” Flatt said. “The next closest tournament has about 50 teams.” Read more…

Homeschool families, teams often similar

Although Tim Terry owns his own business — putting stone on the front of houses, fireplaces and interior walls — he’s quick to point out that he doesn’t make much money.

But he and his wife, Terri, are OK with that. With the flexibility of owning their own business, they can teach their children at home in Georgia.

It also allows the family time for their passion — basketball. Tim coaches his sons’ basketball team, the Atlanta Barons, which is playing in the National Christian Homeschool tournament this week in Wichita, while his wife, Terri, keeps score. Their daughter, Katie, plays for the Atlanta girls team.

“My wife and I chose a number of years ago to do this,” Tim Terry said. “My wife said, ‘Tim, you might not make a lot of money or have a 401(k), but what we will have is we will spend our life on our kids and have no regrets. Read more…

Homeschoolers should play ball

Traditionally, homeschooling families have rejected the entire public school package and exclusively provided their children’s educational needs. That trend may be changing. As the number of homeschooled children rises, so does the variety of interests, talents and skills they encompass.

As some of them enter their high school years, community-based recreational and extracurricular activities may pale in comparison to what is offered through the public school districts. Take sports, for instance — recreational teams and tournaments, along with larger organizations such as Little League, fill the bill for most kids regardless of how they are educated. But at the high school level, there’s just nothing like the competition and rivalries between public school teams, and homeschooled kids may feel left out.

Legislation now being considered in Annapolis would, if passed, allow homeschooled children to participate in school-sponsored athletics. Read more…