Bills endangering homeschoolers

The following is an open letter to Sen. David J. Brightbill and Rep. Mauree Gingrich:

I am writing, perhaps a little late, to put a “face” on the effects of some of the bills now in the state Legislature. I would like, at the same time, to comment on the governor’s budget.

First, my family and I homeschool in the legislative district. I would like to point out that we, like most other homeschool families in the district, are a one-income family. This is a choice that we have made, and it forces us to be frugal. One way we do this is by making great use of facilities and services such as the Palmyra Public Library and libraries throughout the Pennsylvania library system. Read more…

Homeschooled fifth-grader is Minnesota Geographic Bee champ

It was about the fifth round of the Minnesota Geographic Bee finals Friday, with four students left on the stage and questions as obscure as a Balkan country’s primary cash crop coming thick and fast, when Nathan Cornelius realized he had a chance.

Then it was down to two: Nathan and Adam Kopel.

Nathan correctly identified the Cenozoic Era and placed volcanic Mount Etna on the island of Sicily and it was all over. The fifth-grader from Cottonwood was the 2003 state champ. Read more…

Florida teen plans first home school prom

A little girl’s dream of becoming a princess became reality for 18-year-old Beth Slaby Saturday night.

She wasn’t actually named princess of the prom — or queen for that matter — but she could have passed for either in her powder pink, floor-length gown and sparkling tiara, smiling and genuflecting for all her guests.

It was a Cinderella story that very well could have never happened. That’s because Beth is a home schooler — one of 619 in Collier County. Since the third grade, her mother, Sandy, has been her main teacher. And as a home schooler, one not only doesn’t participate in organized public school, but all the organized events that go along with it — including that old rite of passage, prom. Read more…

Clan constructs work, school, relationships

When Paul Nowak jumps into his work truck to head out each morning, he no longer has to leave his family behind. Instead, at least half of his 10 children and his wife load into the truck with him each day, ready to work by his side.

The Nowaks of Forest Grove have been a working family for six years, home schooling their children and working for Paul’s construction company to keep the family together as often as possible.

On a cloudy April afternoon, seven of the children joined their parents on a job site in Corvallis to help pour foundations for two homes. The youngest, Teresa, 6 months, resided in her mother Michelle’s arms most of the time, but the older children spent their day by their father’s side. The children alternate between staying at home and going to work with their parents. Read more…

Texas Home school convention to be held in April

The 3rd Annual Texas Home School Coalition State Convention and Family Conference (THSC) will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston on April 11 and 12, 2003. There will be a track of workshops for new homeschoolers, with special sessions for parents of special needs children, minority home schoolers, and single parents, along with a workshop track and session for support group leaders. In keeping with its mission to serve the home-school community, THSC will make an area available for support groups to be represented so attendees can have the opportunity to see what local and regional groups have to offer. Read more…

Homeschooled kids elude state

LANSING — A Michigan State University report released Tuesday suggests there are thousands of children being homeschooled in Michigan that state education officials don’t know about.

Parents in Michigan aren’t required to tell the state they’re teaching their children at home.

David Plank, co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State and one of the authors of the report, said the state should at least know who is being homeschooled.

The report, using census data and enrollment figures, said there are more than 200,000 students not accounted for in enrollment data. After factoring in a dropout rate, the report says there are 126,106 students unaccounted for in Michigan. Read more…

Minnesota Proposal expands online classes

Minnesota would take a big step into the world of online learning under a bill sponsored by a key, bipartisan group of lawmakers.

State rules now keep a tight lid on virtual classrooms. Fewer than 20 districts offer such courses, with fewer than 1,000 students participating.

But if the current proposal becomes law, a new vision of education could emerge. A small, rural district could offer online courses to students across the state, or suburban districts could compete for students by offering highly specialized courses, such as Latin. Read more…

Tennessee Legislator wins award from home school association

Rep. Jerome Cochran, R-Johnson City, has been named a Legislative Herold by the Tennessee Home Education Association (THEA) as part of their Capitol Hill Rally and Reception Day 2003.

“I am humbled by this honor,” said Cochran. “I appreciate the work that parents do to take such an active role in their lives and education. Read more…

Missouri Homeschool Sports Bill Delayed

Springfield Rep. B.J. Marsh has called the political equivalent of a timeout for a controversial measure that could affect the athletic programs of hundreds of Missouri school districts.

The legislation is supported by a contingent of southwest Missouri Republicans and the House leadership, and would make a number of changes in sports eligibility rules set by the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Among the highlights, it would let private and home school students play on a public school�s teams if they live within its boundaries, and do away with other restrictions preventing student-athletes from competing on amateur club teams in similar sports. The bill would also do away with a rule that elevates some private schools into higher division classifications for sports.

But under intense lobbying from school coaches and administrators, Marsh, who chairs the House Tourism and Cultural Affairs Committee where the bill is being heard, said on Tuesday he wouldn�t let the bill come up for a vote until after he�d met with the MSHSAA governing board. Read more…

Maryland House OKs weaker bill for home-schooled kids

FREDRICK, MD — A House of Delegates bill that would permit home-schooled and private school students to participate in public school extracurricular activities was watered down in an effort to keep it afloat.

On Monday, the measure passed the House 102�28. It now will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

If passed, the amended legislation, sponsored by Del. Joseph R. Bartlett (R-Dist. 4A) of Middletown, would create a task force to study the issue. Read more…

Homeschooling is the latest trend

The appointment last week of a parent who homeschooled her children to a post on the Vermont Board of Education highlights a growing trend in the state.

Last year, more than 1,200 families educated almost 2,000 children at home throughout the state, or about 2 percent of all students in Vermont, according to the Department of Education.

That compares with 61 families and 92 children during the 1981-82 school year. Read more…

Sitcom Portays Homeschoolers as Laking Social Skills

PURCELLVILLE, Va. – A home school advocacy group is taking issue with a new cable TV sitcom that pokes fun at children who get their education at home.

Mike Smith, president of the Homes School Legal Defense Association, told Agape Press the 30-minute WB network comedy “The O�Keefes” unfairly insinuates home schoolers lack social skills.

“What we know about home schooling is that you will be more sociable if you spend more time with people of different age groups rather than all the same age group,” Smith said. “And secondly, spending more time with adults will certainly make you more able to converse with people of different age groups – especially your own age group.” Read more…

Homeschooled Teen Strives for Stardom

Skye Parrish skips down the stairs singing a Whitney Houston song. Sounding like Mahalia Jackson. Looking like Britney Spears.

Same straight, highlighted hair; same smiling brown eyes; same dimples framing full, pouty lips. She’s wearing platform sandals, tight jeans, a red baseball shirt. A thick silver cross hangs around her neck. Silver hoops swing from both ears. She has even tucked her hair into a railroad cap, a la Britney.

But Skye doesn’t want to be Britney. Read more…

S Carolina Legislator goes to bat for home schoolers

For the second year in a row, Rep. Ralph Davenport, R-Boiling Springs, has proposed legislation that would reimburse parents who educate their children at home.

Like last year’s bill, Davenport’s proposal would have public school districts fund the cost of home schooling by returning what those parents pay in property taxes toward public education.

The bill does not address parents who pay private school tuition, but Davenport said an amendment eventually could bring them into the deal.

Last year, the plan didn’t get far in Columbia. Read more…

A laboratory in the living room

FRISCO – When the parent is also the teacher, getting students to complete long-term projects like science fair presentations can be twice the challenge.

But any headaches seemed to have paid off Friday night, as 28 homeschooled students gathered at Frisco’s County Commons for a science fair.

Parent Dawn Willis, with the help of other mothers, organized the annual show under the auspices of the Christian Home Educators of the Rockies. The organization, which counts 32 families as members, helps enrich students’ homeschooling through parent-organized activities, trips and projects. In addition to the science fair, parents organize student newspapers, trips to museums or ballet performances and Valentine’s Day exchanges. Read more…

Family pupils are homing in on college

Aidin Carey, like her peers across the country, hopes a thick envelope will land in her family’s Cambridge mailbox this week. Actually, the 18-year-old hopes that several will, from colleges such as Harvard, Barnard, New York University, Smith, and Boston University.

For Carey, home-schooled since she was 2, acceptances are more than an entrance ticket to a college classroom (she’s already taken courses and will earn a Harvard Extension School associate’s degree in June): They are evidence her schooling is as rigorous and legitimate as those earning traditional high school diplomas.

”There is always this doubt part that I won’t get in, that I’m too strange,” Carey fretted last week. ”But the reactions from colleges have been really positive.” Read more…

Georgia HSA keeps ’em homeward-bound

Say this for the Georgia High School Association and home-schoolers who want to participate in extracurricular activities: They want the same thing — to keep it simple.

The GHSA says anybody who wants to participate should be enrolled at the school. Simple enough?

Advocates for home-school students say their taxes entitle them to the same access to extracurricular activities that public school students have. Simply remove the by-law barrier, as a state Senate bill would do, and everybody should be happy.

But is it really that simple? Read more…

Homeschooler takes tops in Montana duck stamp contest

Tanna Roths, a 15-year-old home-school student from Stevensville, was named best-of-show winner in the 2003 Montana Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

Roths’ colored pencil rendition of “Wigeon at Dusk” earned top honors among more than 400 entries from Montana students in kindergarten through high school. The entries were judged by a panel of wildlife experts and artists at the Teller Wildlife Refuge on Friday.

Roths’ design will go on to compete with the winners of the contest in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The 2003 Federal Junior Duck Stamp will be created using the national winner’s artwork. Read more…

Homeschooler to serve on Vermont Board of Education

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Gov. James Douglas has appointed a homeschooler to serve on the state Board of Education.

Susan Schill of Belvidere is believed to be the first board member to educate her children at home.

”An increasing number of Vermont families are choosing home schooling,” Douglas said Friday. ”I think it would be helpful to have that perspective represented on the board. The board is responsible for the education for all Vermonters.” Read more…

Religion Still Major Force in US Home Schooling

School enrollment in the United States is at an all-time high. There are now more than 53 million students attending primary and secondary schools in this country. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number hasn’t been that high since 1970, when the youngest members of the so-called “Baby Boomer” generation were children. The overwhelming majority of American students study in community-run classrooms, a tradition that began in the 19th century, and was the norm by the turn of the 20th. But an increasing number are learning the old-fashioned way; at home with their parents as teachers. And the “separation between Church and State” that animates American law is part of the reason why. Read more…