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…

Home Schooling Presents Many Challenges to Parents

Home schooling is a growing trend in America. But, families that choose the flexibility and freedom of this education option also find many challenges.

Many American families have found home schooling valuable for their children, but education authority, Mitchell Stevens, says they find there are costs as well. “One is how costly home schooling is in terms of parental time. Home schooling virtually requires the presence of a full-time parent at home, and that can be very costly both financially in terms of the lost income the parents might be earning if he or she were at work,” he says. “But, also in terms of the kind of career choices and sacrifices home school parents need to make to be home with their children.” Read more…

Home Schooling No Longer Domain of Pioneers

They are no longer pioneers embarking on a risky adventure, those men and women who homeschool their children go where many others have tread. While an estimated 15,000 young people were home schooled in the late 1970’s, now nearly two million receive their education at home.

In the early 1970’s home schooling was a novelty in the United States. Whether they were aware of it or not, people who chose to home school their children started a grassroots movement in America, one that has flourished. According to home schooling authority, Mitchell Stevens, the movement was fostered by two unlikely allies; one – conservative, deeply religious Protestants – the other – liberal educational non- conformists. “I think home schooling does grow directly out of a kind of anti-establishment sensibility of the 1970’s and that is parents increasing suspicion that bureaucratic models of schooling don’t adequately serve their children’s individual needs, that schools are organized to serve the average child but my child is not average, that schools treat children in standardized ways, but my child is an individual,” he says. Read more…

Arkansas Legislators Delay Home-Schooling Bill

LITTLE ROCK � Surrounded by dozens of home-schooled children, a legislative panel decided to punt Thursday on a measure that would have given the Department of Education broad authority over home schools.

The matter was referred for interim study, meaning it will be discussed by the House Education Committee in the months leading up to the 2005 legislative session.

Under House Bill 2518 by Rep. John Lewellen, D-Little Rock, the state Board of Education �may undertake measures to ensure that home-school students receive a quality education.�

�We don�t want any of these Arkansas residents to be left behind,� Lewellen told the House Education Committee of the state�s 12,474 home schooled students.

Lewellen said Arkansas, five other states and the District of Columbia have no subject or curriculum requirements for home school teachers. Read more…

A lesson in sharing for homeschool family

After years of wanting to volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Central of Maryland, Catonsville resident Janet Koletty finally got her chance.

Recently Koletty and her son, T.J., started volunteering with the organization, which provides hot and cold meals to homebound individuals.

On most Wednesdays, Koletty and T.J. take a break from their home school day and deliver lunches to a group of people who live in and around Catonsville. Their weekly trips begin midmorning at Christ Lutheran Church, which has hosted the program for more than 30 years. Read more…

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. CNSNews.com 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…