Group Essay, Research Paper

In addition to the help

they get from each other, there are many tools and services available that enhance and

enrich children’s learning experience. For example, various on-line services are available

on the world wide web, which include interactive classes and virtual libraries. Also,

educational CD-ROMS, workbooks, and magazines are good sources that provide the

parent with information on new educational tools (Wingert and Kantrowitz 3).

Furthermore, support can be found at public schools (Hawkins 1). In Des Moines,

Iowa, a program was developed that allowed home schoolers to use school computers,

books and teacher’s guides, and provided biweekly supervision from a teacher that

records the child’s progress and offers advice. Parents and their children are also

allowed to participate in extra curricular and group activities, as well as field trips

(Wagner 2). Similarly, in Oregon, home schooled students are allowed to take different

classes of their choice at different schools (Wingert and Kantrowitz 3). Although these

advantages are not available in every state, parents who chose to take education into

their own hands will work to hard to use what is available, regardless of their own

educational degrees. This is illustrated well in a recent report from the Departement of

Education (DOE), which states that “student achievement in a home school has little to

do with the level of education of the parent…it is consistent with tutoring studies that

indicate the education level of a tutor has little to do with achievement of a tutored child.”

(qtd. in Wagner 4). Several studies have been conducted that show that homeschooled

students are reaching close and sometimes higher achievement to their peers, proving

that parents are doing their job well. One example is a study that showed home

schoolers performed better than 79 percent of other students on reading on the Iowa

Tests of Basic Skills (Hawkins 3). Also, home schooled children score above the 60th

percentile in math, science, and verbal skills on the Stanford Achievement Test when

compared to the average of other students (Latham 2). Another study in Washington

found SAT scores of home schooled children to be higher than average (Lyman, “What’s

behind” 9). In more than 65 other studies, the results show that home schooled children

perform better or average in comparison to traditionaly schooled children (Hawkins 2).

All this scientific research is genuine evidence that verifies that parents can teach and help

their children achieve high educational levels. Another major argument against home

schooling is that confinement to a home environment where children have little or no

contact with their peers will deprive them of social skills necessary in their development

(Wingert and Kantrowitz 2). However, there are many ways homeschooled children can

get involved in social activities. For example, home schooled children that join support

groups engage in sports matches, field trips, scouting trips, church or part-time

employment (Lyman, “What’s behind” 7). Also, those who take classes and join extrra

circular activities in public schools and other learning centres interact with peers (Wingert

and Kantrowitz 3). Even if some children do not have contact with people of the same

age because of the small size of a suport group, they are still gaining a lot of social skills.

For example, the oldest learns leadership when speaking to or guiding younger children.

The youngest learns to respect elders. This offers the same or even more self-esteem and

social understanding than a traditional school environment would provide (Wagner 2).

Scientific research also supports the fact that homeschooled children are not socially

deprived. One study at the University of Florida was conducted in which eight to ten

year old children, some of them home schooled, were taped on video while playing.

Professional counselors, who were unaware of which children were home schooled,

watched the video and found no difference between the home schooled children and the

others. Social development tests showed that the children rated closely in self-concept

and assertion (Lyman, “What’s behind” 7). Another test showed that home schooled

children scored higher on self-concept than public school students (Latham 1). To study

long term effects of home schooling on socialization, a different study was conducted

with 53 adults of the first generation of home schoolers. The researcher, Gary J.

Knowles of the University of Michigan, states that he has “found no evidence that these

adults were even moderately disadvantaged…Two-thirds of them were married, the

norm for adults their age, and none were unemployed or any on any form of welfare

assistance. More than three-quarters felt that being taught at home had actually helped

them to interact with people from different levels of society.” (Lyman, “What’s behind”

9). The studies and research so far shows that home schooling is not disadvantageous in

comparison to normal schooling. I believe that there is still no strong evidence that

verifies that home schooling is more beneficial to children than public schooling. Perhaps

the new generation of homeschoolers will reveal that this is not so, but that remains to be

found. In the meantime, as long as parents have the time and patience, can provide their

children with social exposure, and have access to educational tools, there is no reason

why they cannot home school their children. However, this is where the government

comes in. If home schooling is legalized, then there should be services and schools to

support home schoolers. Parents can teach their children efficiently, it they have other

homeschoolers to help them and if services are available. Research on test scores proves

that parents are succeeding. Support groups, public schools and other services help

children acquire social skills, and research again confirms that they do not lack in social

skills. Home schooling rates closely to public schooling in the overall educational and

social experience of the child. And yet it is still quite a surprise that a parent can raise a

child to be president. Perhaps it is the opportunity home schooling gives youngsters to

follow their interests, beliefs, and dreams that may be pulled away in school years before

they are even discovered. Or perhaps it is the bond created between the mother when

for the first time she watches her child write his name. Whatever the case may be, things

would have probably been reallly different if Washington, Roosevelt, and Edison were

watched over by the high school principal, instead of their parents.

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