Home sweet home

Most students rush around in the morning trying to make it to their classroom before the bells rings.

For high school junior Brandon Simpkins, 15, of Winslow Township, the school bell never rings, and the “classroom” where he learns is his dining room table. Brandon is one of more than 2 million students in the United States who are home schooled.

Parents home school their children for religious, academic, social and philosophical reasons, but Kathy Simpkins, Brandon’s mom, simply said she wanted to be the one to guide her six children through their education. Read more…

Put off by public schools, more Muslims home-teach

Ibrahim Imam, 9, starts his school day at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Like other fourth graders, he studies math, science, reading and cursive writing. He also practices Arabic and recites the Koran.

And, like a small but growing number of Muslim pupils nationwide, he learns each subject in his living room seated across a desk from his mother.

Seema Imam started home-schooling her son two years ago, after she decided that Ibrahim was doomed to the margins of public school life in Hickory Hills, Ill., and in danger of internalizing negative ideas about his religion. Read more…

There’s no place like home schooling

Janey Phillips, a home educator for 18 years, was doing some last-minute shopping in the mall when one of her sons wandered over to a showcase filled with what Phillips called “pretty things.” The boy, who had been reading Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” stared at the items and quoted the line, “rings and things and fine array …”

For homeschooled students, nearly everything is a lesson. Parents who homeschool say it’s a lifestyle that takes a big commitment, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Kids get excited to hear references to things they’ve studied,” Phillips said. “Children learn best when they are interested in what they’re learning, not just fed facts.” Read more…

Home-schooling parents face questions over methods

California’s outgoing education chief is attempting to crack down on parents who home school their children on their own by exploiting a loophole in the state’s education code.

Under California law, students who do not attend public schools can only be educated three ways: by enrolling in a private school, learning at home from parents guided by a credentialed teacher, or being taught by a credentialed tutor.

Many home-schooling families, however, have found a way around those requirements. Knowing that private schools do not require their teachers to be credentialed, some parents have declared their homes to be private schools. Read more…

HSLDA Urges MPA to Reconsider Sports Policy

The Home School Legal Defense Association has written a letter to the Maine Prinicipals Association saying it would go to court to seek a preliminary injunction if the association does not reconsider its policy.

The Maine Principals’ Association is coming under fire from a national home-school rights advocacy group for banning home-schooled students from playing sports at private schools. Maine law allows home-schoolers to participate in academic and athletic activities at their local public school. A flap erupted last month after MPA Director Richard Durost sent a clarification letter to schools pointing out that home-schooled students may play on teams in MPA-sponsored sports only at their local schools, not private schools. Maine has about 4,400 home-schooled students. Read more…

Love: What Christmas is all about

Six years ago, Jay and Lisa Ward took a step that changed their lives forever. They adopted a family of five brothers from Russia. And with that one decision, they brought into their lives more love and happiness than they could have ever imagined. “Everyone, all our friends and family members thought we were crazy,” said Jay. “But, it didn’t take us long to make up our minds. We were going to adopt those five boys. Even though everyone was shocked, they’ve been very supportive.” Read more…

Court rules against parents in home-schooling case

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a former Scotts Bluff County couple was remiss in schooling their children at home.

The couple, identified only as “Tim and Rhonda T.,” failed to meet state standards in schooling five of their eight children at home, the court ruled. Read more…

Favorite Teacher

Not all of the best teachers are in public or private schools. Some are at home.. And eight Iowa kids are blessed with a teacher who is at the top of her class. She’s this week’s winner of a My Favorite Teacher award.

Terri Camp teaches a class of eight students in a farm house in Palmer. They’re her sons and daughters and her good friend and home school protege Jeff Hauser wrote a letter about her excellence. Hauser wrote “Can you imagine the challenge of teaching ABC’s, 1, 2, 3’s and trigonometry all in the same hour? well not only does Terri do this, but she has also written four books. Her books help others in the home education community to challenge their children to have a passion to learn.” Read more…

Homeschooling At the Ranch – A Friendly Environment

As I was putting together my thoughts for the next article I opened my e-mail and I found the website address for a test from 1895 staring me in the face. I thought to myself, “who would want a test from 1895?” So being the snoop that I am, I typed in the URL, I pushed enter, and low and behold this exam appears on the screen. I started to read the test with a slight interest and it didn’t take long for me to see that I was looking at no ordinary test. Halfway though it, I realized that the level of the academic maturity of that time was far beyond what we see in our so-called modern times.

I didn’t know what to think, but my gut reaction was one of extreme anger. I went through twelve grueling years of elementary and high school trying to learn as much as possible and then I see this. At that moment I realized that the home schooling movement is the catalyst that will put this country back on solid ground, and for the people that can’t home school, it will give them access to material that will supplement their child’s learning and social development. Read more…

Home-educated pupil ineligible for school team

SPRING LAKE — Megan Gepp doesn’t think her 11-year-old daughter should be barred from playing on the public school basketball team simply because the girl is taught at home.

For Kelly Rose Gepp, being a star on a Recreation Department basketball team is not enough. She wants something more competitive. So, her mother petitioned the Spring Lake school board last month to allow Kelly Rose on the team at H.W. Mountz Elementary School. On Monday, the district said no.

In New Jersey, it’s up to local school boards to decide whether home-schooled children can participate in extracurricular activities. Home-school advocates and state education officials say that rule has rarely been questioned. Read more

Home-school parents weigh pros, cons of honor society

Matthew Brooks, 14, sits in front of his computer preparing himself for college entrance exams.

He wants to be an architect, so college is a necessity. That means he has to test well and look good on paper to impress college admissions officers ? especially since he has never attended school a day in his life.

Matthew, a freshman, and his three sisters are home-schooled.

And that means they’re barred from membership in the National Honor Society, which adds a layer of distinction to a high-schooler’s transcript. Read more…

Fighting for the Freedom to Learn

Five-year-old Leilani and seven-year-old Mikayla Gilmore attend Dunmore Academy. Deanna Gilmore is nine and working on fourth and fifth grade material at Dunmore. Their brothers Adrian and Terence just turned thirteen. Adrian is writing and reading at the level of an 8th or 9th grader while Terence, is working on math problems common for high schoolers. Aaron Gilmore, 16, is already looking beyond Dunmore Academy to the stars. He wants to be an aerospace engineer.

Where is Dunmore Academy? Right in Gray and nowhere at the same time. Dunmore Academy is the name of the non-approved private school that was set up by ten Gray families this past September in an effort to avoid the ever-growing regulations placed on homeschooling families by the State of Maine Department of Education and the Gray-New Gloucester School District. Read more…

The real reason the state opposes homeschooling


It’s called “soft dictatorship” � government’s attempt to control every aspect of American life for your own good or for the good of the children. The ultimate issue is power.

This week’s example: government’s assault (at all levels) on the homeschool movement, which now includes threats to send homeschool parents to jail. Government’s great fear in this matter is not that the kids are being short-changed or abused � it’s that they might be getting a better education than the government-educrat de facto monopoly can provide and that the word might get out. Read more…

Learning a lesson in fairness

To public-school stalwarts crusading to hunt down and browbeat homeschool parents, I’m firmly in your corner – with one concession:

Equal grilling time for homeschoolers…

…Never mind that hordes of public-school students fail to reach minimum acceptable marks on standard tests. Probe the state’s 20,000 home schools to make sure each is “commensurate” to public schools. Read more…

Districts seek kids schooled at home

Arkansas – The number of children taught at home school has more than doubled in the past six years, prompting public school educators to find ways to lure children back.

One school district is creating more neighborhood schools, and the state has established an online public school. In both cases, public school educators hope to draw a similar group of students ? home-schoolers.

But the new initiatives face some resistance.

Home-school advocacy groups are encouraging people who teach their children to keep them at home. Most say they are going to do whatever they think is right for their children.

Debra Holt, who homeschools, said she thinks some home-schoolers will go back to public schools because of new or different course offerings.

But many will stick to their own curriculums, she said. “Our decision to home school was made because we want to be responsible for our children?s educations,” Holt said. “If there was a wonderful elementary school built right next door and my children were invited to attend, we would still choose to teach them at home.” Read more…

House provides home for kids of inmates

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — The refuge run by Pete and Angie Spackman is made of brick, but it’s built on hope.

The Spackmans operate Adullum, a home for children whose parents are imprisoned. Named for the biblical cave where David sought refuge, the one-story house offers a stable life away from crime and poverty…

The couple provide three square meals a day, operate an onsite home school and help the children visit their parent regularly in prison. The Spackmans operate the home and a home-schooling program on their 18-acre lot. Read more…

U.S. Muslims opt for home schooling

Sharifa Abukar teaches at a public school in San Diego, but she says she wanted more for her four children. I wanted to go beyond the curriculum taught in public schools and teach my children character building, too, says Abukar, who like many Muslim parents believes that home schooling provides a shield from a permissive culture and a haven in a sometimes hostile post-Sept. 11 America.

HOME SCHOOLING makes it easier for us to introduce our religious values into the curriculum and protect our children from undesirable peer pressure in public schools, while ensuring that they receive a quality education, says Abukar, whose children are well settled in their careers today. Read more…

The sacrifices and rewards of home schooling

When Kimberly Owen first suggested to her husband that they home school their five children, he balked.

The couple had a successful business, Owen & Owen Photographers, and he didn’t know how they would survive financially. He also wondered if they were qualified for the task.

“My first reaction was that we cannot educate our kids,” recalled Owen. “We both have college degrees, but we didn’t major in education. Our background is photography.”

His parents adamantly opposed the idea. “My mother told us, ‘You have to send them to school. How are they going to make friends? How are they going to socialize?'” Read more…

Home-schooling chief accused of abuse

VANCOUVER — The head of the Battle Ground School District’s home-school program will be arraigned Friday on child molestation charges unconnected with his position.

Larry Ladean Pierson, assistant principal for Homelink and Character, Academics and Marketplace, the district’s alternative high school program, will be charged with one count of first-degree child molestation and two counts of second-degree child molestation. Read more…

Home is a class place for some youngsters

SPECIAL REPORT: Home-schooling is becoming more mainstream and less mysterious, advocates say

For Brett and Hunter Wojtkowski, ages 9 and 5, respectively, the school day doesn’t start out like that of their peers.

There’s no mad rush to be out the door by 6:30 a.m. No need to make a lunch or catch the bus.

The two East Windsor brothers spend no time in a classroom, aren’t confined to a desk and could even spend all day in their pajamas if they wanted to.

Like more than 2,900 other children in the state, Brett and Hunter are home-schooled. Read more…