Commentary: The Hidden Benefits of Homeschool

These days, it’s almost common knowledge that homeschooled students have a better academic education, do better in college and careers, and are regarded as “smarter” than students from public schools. Homeschooling families typically gravitate toward this educational lifestyle to avoid the public school environment, to prioritize their faith and family values, to adjust to a more flexible and forgiving lifestyle, and to offer their children a better childhood than that found in public schools. Yes to all! These are wonderful reasons to choose homeschooling and should be widely shared and celebrated.

When my parents chose to homeschool me and my siblings, though, they had no idea how deep the effects would be. Academics is only one aspect of homeschooling. The family-centric, homeschool lifestyle offered us benefits that continue to shape my adult life and the life of my own family. Everyone should know the often completely hidden perks that homeschooling provides children long after they finish their high school coursework.

Read More

Commentary: Veteran Teacher Explains What’s Wrong with Traditional Schooling

Classroom Work

For 19 years, I was a master of time. Down to the minute, I controlled time for others and used it to meet my and others’ ends, irrespective of the desires of those in front of me. In short, I was a public-school teacher, and controlling time was my talent. Although I and other adults often talked about helping students reach their potential and grow as learners, what we really did each day was control their time and force upon them ideas and subjects in which most of them had little to no interest.

What if there were a better way? A way to help each student learn the way he or she learns best, develop autonomy, explore passions, and take control of his or her own time? Thankfully, that way does exist in the form of alternative schools and learning programs that continue to increase in number each day.

Read More

Commentary: The Inspiring Front Lines of the Modern Homeschool Revolution

Home School Family

When she was a young girl, Sandra Day O’Connor began her education at home. Her early years of schooling on an Arizona ranch were sitting at the kitchen table with her mother, learning to read, and taking long nature walks.

I read this, and this scene of serenity, this future Supreme Court Justice, beginning her education at home, formed an image in my mind of what might be possible.

Read More

Commentary: The Side of Homeschooling People Don’t Talk About Enough

Mother with Child

As a veteran homeschooler, I am well aware of what a marathon this lifestyle can be. There’s no break when you live and work in the same place.

It’s time to take a deep breath and assess the situation. Burnout is a normal part of homeschooling. Everyone experiences it at one time or another, and it’s often associated with feelings of being distracted, overworked, and overwhelmed.

Read More

Commentary: Eight Resources to Get People Started in Homeschool

Homeschool

If you’re feeling unqualified to homeschool, you’re not alone. The question of what and how to teach stressed me out early on in my homeschooling journey.

I found that having a good curriculum did a great deal to reduce my fears of not being qualified to teach. I wanted to strike a balance between bookwork, memorization, and fun interactive activities. I wanted to make sure to impart to my kids the basic body of knowledge necessary for a good education, yet I didn’t want to burn them out with endless worksheets.

Read More

Commentary: Homeschooling Isn’t What I Expected It to Be

Homeschooling Child

I’ve heard it said, “I was a great parent before I had kids.” The same can be said of being a homeschooling parent.

Homeschooling circles are full of idealistic moms and dads who often have very high standards for themselves and their children. Certainly, having strong ideals can work as a guide and benchmark for navigating what can be a very challenging endeavor. However, these high standards can also backfire and leave even the best of us feeling like failures.

Read More

Commentary: Dual Enrollment Is a Homeschool Resource

Mom and daughter learning

This year marks the completion of high school for two of my children. Navigating the high school years has been both exciting and challenging. By the time our children had reached high school age, two things were apparent. First, homeschooling had allowed my kids to find and pursue their special interests—ones that had future career potential.

Second, while mastery of most subjects had been relatively easy, math and science were a bit more difficult. Despite overall higher testing outcomes within the homeschool community, there is a documented math gap for many homeschoolers. In other words, most homeschoolers score slightly lower than their non-homeschooled peers in math and science. (This is understandable, of course: I don’t know many mothers qualified to teach high-level math or science, and most of us don’t want our kitchens being turned into chemistry labs.)

Read More

Commentary: Four Things People Can Do to Change the Culture in 2024

People Praying

Maybe I am on a new year high, but as I consider the West’s cultural renewal, I sense an optimism in the air I haven’t felt for years.

In 2023, we saw a growing public awareness about the dangers and futility of transgender surgery. Alongside that, many woke up to the hypocrisy of the climate alarmists. And building on the success of Roe v. Wade’s demise, many states have now passed heartbeat bills, providing robust protections for many of the nation’s unborn. Surprisingly, pollsters even picked up on a decline in support for same-sex relationships.

Read More

Commentary: ‘To Have and to Hold’: Marrying Young and Making It Last

Marriage

Kate Z. works in childcare and as a part-time barista in my local coffee shop. She’s the oldest of 10 children, with seven brothers and two sisters. Home-educated during elementary school, Kate then entered Padre Pio Academy here in Front Royal, Virginia, a hybrid school which combines homeschooling with three days a week in the classroom. She graduated in 2021 and currently lives in an apartment.

Jesse R. is adopted and the youngest of three siblings. For the most part, he was homeschooled before entering Padre Pio. He also graduated in 2021 and works as a chef de partie in the restaurant of a retirement community. He shares a house with a friend.

Read More

Commentary: As Education Decentralizes, Those Who Like Control Are Nervous

As more parents gain the opportunity to abandon a compulsory schooling assignment for other options, including homeschooling and microschooling, it’s no surprise that those who favor top-down control of education feel anxious about this bottom-up education transformation. This nervousness is occurring on both ends of the political spectrum.

On the political left, The Washington Post did some pearl-clutching last week around the possibility that “no government official will ever check on what, or how well, [homeschoolers] are being taught.” On the political right, the Fordham Institute expressed similar concerns about hybrid homeschoolers and microschoolers: “To ensure that those children receive the education they deserve, it will require policymakers to craft smart laws to govern these new institutions….”

Read More

Expert: Florida Needs Only a Few Changes for a Perfect Education Freedom Score

According to a recent report, Florida is the nation’s best for education freedom, but one expert says only minor changes are needed for a perfect score.

The American Legislative Exchange Council recently put Florida at the top of its 2023 ALEC Index of State Education Freedom: A 50-State Guide to Parental Empowerment rankings.

Read More

Commentary: Students and Teachers Are Ditching Public Schools in Droves

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released a report titled, “A Nation at Risk,” which was an important point in the history of American education. The document used dire language, asserting that “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

The report also stated: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

Read More

Commentary: The Question of Socialization in Homeschooling

Questions about the socialization of homeschooled children are by far the most frequently asked of a homeschooling parent. The misconception is that without the traditional school experience to provide social training, homeschooled children will grow up having no idea how to function and fit into society.

My own children have been peppered with questions about their socialization training, or lack thereof, by complete strangers while the adult doing the questioning ignores all social cues and boundaries about the appropriateness of such an inquisition of a child. I myself have also been questioned, sometimes quite aggressively, about the issue of socialization as it relates to my homeschooled children.

Read More

Commentary: The Things Students Are Learning After They Left Public Schools During Pandemic

The education disruption caused by mass school closures and prolonged remote instruction beginning three years ago this month led many families to seek other learning options beyond an assigned district school. Emerging research reveals just how significant and sustained that shift was.

In a new report, “Where the Kids Went: Nonpublic Schooling and Demographic Change during the Pandemic Exodus from Public Schools,” Stanford economist Thomas Dee reveals that more than 1.2 million students left district schools during the pandemic response. That exodus endured throughout the 2021/2022 academic year, as families continued to opt for private schools and homeschooling even though most district schools reopened. 

Read More

Dr. Mark McDonald Tells Parents What They Need to Do to Save Their Children from Government Schools

Los Angeles-based psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald said “America’s schools are broken” beyond repair and have now become “dangerous” centers of leftist indoctrination – a problem parents must solve by changing their lifestyles, if necessary, to save their children.

Read More

Government School Districts Plan K-12 Closures as Student Enrollment Plunges

Some of the largest public school districts in the nation are planning to close K-12 schools as they face plummeting student enrollment rates. “Nationwide, public school enrollment fell by more than 1.4 million students to 49.4 million between fall 2019 and fall 2020—a decline of roughly 3%, according to data from the U.S. Education Department,” reported the Wall Street Journal in January. “The following school year, enrollment failed to return to prepandemic levels and remained roughly flat.”

Read More

Commentary: With States Hands-Off, Homeschooling Takes Off

South Dakota epitomizes the rapid growth of homeschooling in America. Guided by the principle that parents, not the government, have the right to determine what and how their kids are taught, homeschooling families have overturned existing rules and batted down attempts over the last decade to impose new ones in many states, including South Dakota. 

What’s left in much of the United States today is essentially an honor system in which parents are expected to do a good job without much input or oversight. The rollback of regulations, coupled with the  ill effects of remote learning during the pandemic, have boosted the number of families opting out of public schools in favor of educating their kids at home.  

Read More

Data Expert Predicts ‘Homeschool Boom’ After CDC Committee Votes to Add COVID Shot to Children’s Routine Immunizations

Data journalist and pollster Rich Baris posted to social media he predicts a “homeschool boom” following the news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine advisory committee unanimously voted to add the COVID shot to the children and adolescent immunization schedule, a move that will likely lead many states to require COVID shots for school attendance.

Baris, also known as “The People’s Pundit,” tweeted Wednesday, “Parents will flip the F–k out, with good reason. Homeschool boom.”

Read More

Survey: 61 Percent of Americans Say Public Education on Wrong Track

EdChoice’s annual Schooling in America survey found 61 percent of Americans believe government-run education is headed in the wrong direction, while 76% of the public back parental choice programs such as education savings accounts (ESAs).

In 2022, the poll’s tenth anniversary, the survey found 61 percent of Americans and 52 percent of school parents say public schools are on the wrong track, while 34 percent of Americans and 48 percent of school parents state government-led education is headed in the right direction.

Read More

Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Blames Abysmal U.S. Student National Test Scores on Trump

The Biden education department announced Thursday that U.S. students’ plummeting scores in reading and math during the COVID-19 pandemic is all due to former President Donald Trump.

“Today’s data confirm the significant impact the prior Administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic has had on our children’s progress and academic wellbeing,” said Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Thursday, following the report that U.S. students showed their steepest decline in decades in math and reading scores during the COVID school shutdowns.

Read More

School Choice Gaining Favor over Teachers’ Unions and Socialist Bureaucrats

“School choice is good for everybody but unions, socialist bureaucrats and the tired education establishment,” libertarian John Stossel wrote Wednesday at the New York Post.

The author and journalist observed the “silver lining” of the COVID pandemic is that parents discovered alternatives to public schools and, as the statistics are telling us, they continue to act on that discovery by removing their children from them – in droves.

Read More

Michael Bloomberg Blames Teachers’ Unions for Keeping Money Flowing to Traditional Government Schools and Away from Charter Schools

Former Democrat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says teachers’ unions were responsible for keeping schools locked down during the pandemic, a move that has enabled a mass exodus of students from traditional government schools throughout the country.

Given the generally poor academic achievement of America’s students, the steep drop in enrollment means states are now paying more to educate fewer children, and, “paying more for failure,” he asserts.

Read More

MSNBC: Homeschooling a Racist ‘Evangelical War’ to Undermine Integration Policies

An opinion author at MSNBC has condemned homeschooling as a racist tool of evangelical Christians seeking to undermine public schools and policies that promote integration.

“It should come as no surprise that evangelicals, fundamentalists and other religious conservatives have fought against public education since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education,” Anthea Butler wrote at MSNBC in a column published Thursday.

Read More

Kirk Cameron Presents ‘The Homeschool Awakening’: ‘The Public School System Has Become Public Enemy No. 1’

A new documentary presented by actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron urges American parents to embark on the journey of homeschooling in order to regain control of their children’s education and protect the future of America.

Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), CAMFAM Studios, and Fathom Events announced on Monday the debut of Kirk Cameron Presents: The Homeschool Awakening, which will be in theaters for two nights only, on June 13 and 14, at 7:00 p.m. local time.

Read More

Surge in Homeschooling Families Continues after Schools Reopen

The number of families homeschooling in the United States has remained significantly above pre-pandemic levels even though government schools have reopened.

The number of homeschooling students increased by 63% during the 2020-2021 school year in 18 states that shared data, AP reported. That percentage then dropped by only 17% in the next academic year.

Read More

Kerry McDonald: Parents’ Demand for More Education Options Has Been Met with Greater Innovation in Providing Alternatives to Public Schools

Kerry McDonald

Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Kerry McDonald told The Star News Network the time is ripe in America for greater innovation and entrepreneurship in providing new education models for parents exiting the government school system.

Many parents got an up-close look at what their children are learning in public schools for the first time during the pandemic school closures and subsequent remote learning, leading them to consider education alternatives.

Read More

Commentary: Failing Public Schools Motivate More Black Families to Home-School

As the United States observes Black History Month, African-American families are making history by leaving failing public schools and home-schooling their children in record numbers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, parents, and especially black parents, found public schools incapable of handling the crisis. Even prior to the pandemic, public schools were failing to improve learning among African-American children.

Read More

Commentary: Four Education Trends That Will Continue in 2022

There is a lot to be frustrated about as 2021 concludes. Some places are back in lockdown over rising coronavirus cases, while others are re-imposing previous restrictions and introducing new ones—including my city.

But at this joyful time of the year, I choose to be optimistic and focus on all the good things happening right now, particularly in the world of education.

Read More

Orlando-Area High School Launching Magnet Culinary School

As the political left continues to advocate against parents who want a say in their children’s education, alternative options to traditional public schools are exploding, including a new culinary magnet program at an Orlando area high school. 

“Our operational mission is for Culinary Arts students to successfully run an internal restaurant, create, prepare, and market unique products, explore food science, as well as cater on- and off-campus banquets and special events,” says Wekiva Culinary’s website. 

Read More

Commentary: Dear Policymakers, Homeschooling Is Here to Stay

Homeschooling is here to stay and the time has come for policymakers to acknowledge that fact. After years of increasing at a rate of about 3 percent a year, the number of parents choosing to homeschool their children has spiked, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the portion of children being homeschooled doubled from 5.4 percent during the 2019-20 school year to 11 percent in 2020-21. Among Black families, homeschooling jumped nearly five-fold during that time, from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent.

Read More

Commentary: Homeschooling Numbers Are Skyrocketing in Some Parts of the Country

The numbers are startling. More parents are pulling their children out of school for homeschooling this fall, prompted in large part by school mask policies and ongoing virus concerns.

The homeschooling rate in the US doubled in 2020, and tripled from its pre-pandemic level, as parents sought other options when confronted with prolonged school closures.

Read More

Commentary: Homeschooling Is an Option for Parents Who Don’t Like Back-to-School Mask Mandates

School districts across the country are beginning to impose mask mandates for all students and staff this fall. Officials in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC declared last week that everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

These school districts are going beyond current CDC guidelines, which recommend masking for unvaccinated students and staff only. Instead, they seem to be embracing the masking stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics which announced last week that all students over age two, as well as staff, should wear masks at school even if they are vaccinated.

Read More

Commentary: Four Signs Parents Won’t Be Sending Their Kids Back to Public School This Fall

Student working on school work at home.

As disruptive as the 2020/2021 academic year was, it led to many positive educational changes that will be transformative and long-lasting. Most notably, parents have been re-empowered to take back the reins of their children’s education from government bureaucrats and teachers unions. Frustrated by school closures and district “Zoom schooling,” families fled public schools in droves over the past year, and there are several signs that these families won’t be returning this fall.

According to an analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, public school enrollment fell by an average of 2.6 percent across 41 states last fall, with states such as Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Mississippi dropping by more than 4 percent. These enrollment declines far exceeded any anticipated demographic changes that might typically alter public school enrollment.

How many of these students will be back in a public school classroom next year? Not as many as public school officials hoped.

Read More

Commentary: New Census Data Show Homeschooling Tripled During the Pandemic—And One Key Group Is Driving the Surge

My daughter had a friend over this week whose parents just took her out of public school for homeschooling, and my neighbor recently unenrolled her child from public school to homeschool for the rest of the academic year. These families are much more than local anecdotes—they are representative of a national trend.

New Census Bureau data show that 11.1 percent of K-12 students are now being independently homeschooled. This is a large uptick from 5.4 percent at the start of the school shutdowns last spring, and 3.3 percent in the years preceding the pandemic.

Read More