Patricia M. Lines
year when school begins, a growing number of school-aged children
do not head off to a classroom. Instead, they learn at home with
their families or with other children in their communities. Homeschooling
takes many forms, from a daily routine following a scheduled curriculum
to child-led learning in which parents supervise and help. Choosing
to homeschool or to traditionally educate a child is often a difficult
and confusing decision for parents and guardians. To help them make
the best choice possible, this article answers basic questions about
homeschooling and suggests other useful sources of information.
Families Have a Right to School Their Children at Home?
states allow homeschooling. (depending on if you come from America,
Australia or another country check with the education authority
in your area)
a state's statutes, through a court ruling, an attorney general
opinion, or a regulation that interprets a school attendance law
to include homeschooling, consider homeschooling a legitimate option
for meeting compulsory education requirements. Because each state
regulates homeschooling differently, parents should examine local
laws and consult with other homeschoolers before proceeding.
every state, parents must, at a minimum, notify a state or local
education agency of their intent to educate their children at home
and identify the children involved. Several states require the submission
of proposed curricula and tests or have educational requirements
for parents. A few even test parents. Only Michigan requires certified
teachers to be involved in homeschooling programs, but the state
allows parents to choose a program's teacher and does not specify
a minimum level of teacher supervision. (Michigan courts have excused
parents from the certification requirement if they have religious
objections.) Again, we would like to stress that you should check
it out depending on where you live in the world with your education
authority. Some states for example here in Australia have no or
little requirement for registration of home schooler's.
U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled explicitly on homeschooling, but
it did rule against compulsory school requirements in Wisconsin
v. Yoder (1972). The Supreme Court has also upheld the right, subject
to reasonable state requirements, of parents to direct the education
of their children.
Does the Federal Government Do for Homeschoolers?
regulation and support of home schooling is carried out primarily
at the state level. However, the federal government also plays an
important role by disseminating research-based information on homeschooling
to policy makers and others and by supporting research on a broad
range of issues affecting teaching and learning.
federal support for education is dedicated to programs for children
who have special needs, such as low-achieving children, children
with limited English proficiency, and children with disabilities.
Generally, local districts have the option of offering services
under these programs to homeschoolers who meet the districts' criteria
Do Educators and Policy Makers View Homeschooling?
is controversial. The National Parent Teacher Association opposes
the practice, as do the National Education Association and the National
Association of Elementary School Principals. Other groups such as
the American Civil Liberties Union maintain that parents have a
constitutional right to school their children at home. Though they
don't necessarily approve of homeschooling, a majority of Americans
responding to the 1988 Phi Delta Kappa Gallup poll believed that
parents have a right to try it. State legislatures agree, and over
the past 20 years they have responded favorably to homeschoolers
seeking more flexible compulsory education laws.
Well Do Homeschooled Children Do?
educators, and parents hotly contest Homeschooling's academic worth.
It is difficult to obtain a representative sample of homeschooled
children, and researchers cannot say for certain whether these children
would do better or worse in a public or private school. Scores of
homeschoolers who have taken state-mandated tests or who have provided
their results to researchers indicate that while some homeschoolers
test below average, a larger number test above that mark.
and opponents also disagree on how well adjusted homeschooled children
are. Although it appears to be true that children who are homeschooled
spend less time with same-age children and more time with adults
and children of different ages, research has not found that homeschooling
harms children's social or psychological development. On the contrary,
these children often demonstrate better social adjustment than their
traditionally schooled peers.
argue that homeschooling is harmful to children because it isolates
them from other children in their community. However, homeschooling
is rarely conducted in total isolation. Many families participate
in homeschool support groups, scouting, church and recreational
activities, and other associations.
these activities, homeschooled children share experiences with people
outside their immediate families. Although some homeschoolers and
their associations emphasize affiliations only with people who share
their religious beliefs, many actively seek religious, cultural,
and racial diversity. In fact, one national magazine, The Drinking
Gourd, is devoted to multicultural homeschooling.
About College Admissions?
teenagers should contact the colleges and universities they would
like to attend and ask about their admission policies. In a 1994
telephone poll conducted by the author of this article, a select
group of admissions officers from large universities and colleges
indicated willingness to consider applications from homeschooled
students. In addition, all of the officers said that they accept
standardized admission test scores-along with other material showing
experience in learning and collaborating with others-in the absence
of a regular high school transcript. Although admissions officers
do not monitor this practice, some estimated that they admit a handful
of undergraduates each year without a transcript.
has now changed because of the over whelming numbers of home schooled
students seeking placement over the years. The Universities literally
fight over Home schooled students as past experience has shown that
they are more self motivated and disciplined in comparison to their
teenagers should ask their local homeschool association for the
names of college students who were homeschooled and would not mind
offering advice about the college application process.
Resources Are Available to Homeschoolers?
get started, most homeschooling families join local support groups.
Families often find these groups by word of mouth or through public
or private schools, religious groups, or state or national associations.
At least one homeschooling association is active in every state.
These groups offer advice and information and hold conferences at
which families who school at home discuss legal, philosophical,
and teaching issues.
can also find guidance in books, magazines, and newsletters. There
is also a large range of information available on the Internet as
well. We suggest you do a search on home schooling and have a look
at the various information provided such as, support, unit studies,
books for sale, curriculum materials and free software available
to assist you.
school districts have established centers at which families may
enroll in classes or obtain resources and instructional support.
Such arrangements are called shared schooling, dual enrollment,
or assisted homeschooling. Some districts also allow homeschoolers
to attend public school part-time. Many private schools, some public
schools, and the state of Alaska provide homeschoolers with texts,
materials, and support. Homeschoolers also rely on libraries, museums,
parks department programs, churches, civic associations, and other
Can I Get More Information?
are many sources of information and resources available to homeschoolers,
including libraries, local public schools and other educational
institutions, government agencies, nonprofit institutions, and other
more information contact the organisations listed on the links page
here at Mission Islam. If you have any particular concerns or inquiries
please email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org