Monday, June 07, 2004

Opting Out

Home schooling used to be viewed as a curious, freaky solution to the problem of a combination of lousy public schools and a desire to avoid paying for private schooling while providing a child with the best education possible. No more. 97 home schooled students participated in graduation ceremonies Saturday at the Convention Center. Indy Star story.

97 may not seem like a huge number, but what is significant is that the numbers are sharply on the rise. While just over 7,000 kids were learning at home in 1984, more than 21,000 are today. These "graduating classes" will only increase in size in years to come.

We used to hear from teachers that these kids would be under-educated if not taught by professionals. The string of spelling bees won by home schoolers helped dash this. Then again, we were hearing this from the teachers union, who would rather not lose customers to rank amateurs, such as parents. While K-12 teachers won't endorse them, college professors do.

At colleges like IUPUI, home-educated students have a proven track record.

"Home schoolers that have come here have done extremely well," said Michael Donahue, director of admissions at IUPUI. "The best way to describe our experience with home schoolers is they are self-motivated, self-directed and the faculty likes them as students."

Studies at IUPUI, where more than 100 home-schooled students enroll each year, show that they perform at almost a full letter grade above the general student body, according to the university.

We used to hear that these kids were destined to become social retards as a result of not being socialized with other kids. In fact, the opposite is true. Because homeschoolers aren't socialized with the kids who are being werehoused and don't give a crap about being educated, or caught up in pointless fashion fads, or the cliques that are so destructive to self-esteem and instead are actually focused on learning, they are better socialized. For instance, they can effectively express themselves and hold a conversation with an adult!

Joel was "the class clown," in elementary school and wasn't being challenged enough to keep him motivated, she said. Andrew was in a less than ideal setting and was afraid of going to the bathroom because kids smoked marijuana there.

Sounds like my experiences with school, and I went to private schools!

This is just another example of an area of life where people are voting with their feet, giving the greatest anti-endorsement possible.

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