Sunday, May 22, 2005

Over one million U.S. kids home-schooled-Says Who?

That same article started with this number of homeschoolers and I want to focus on that here. I get apprehensive now when I see numbers regarding # of homeschoolers such as
The number of children opting out of traditional school environments jumped 30 percent between 1999 and 2003

The Federal Department of Education estimates that 1.1 million children were homeschooled in 2002-03, but experts at the pro-homeschooling National Home Education Research Institute say it may be closer to 2.2 million, depending on how states define "homeschool."

There you go....between 1.1 and 2.2 million with 2 studies. My kids know the difference between 1.1 and 2.2 donuts. And they know there's a bit of a discrepency when those 2 numbers are followed by million.

Why the studies? Why the research when it's obviously soooo inaccurate? What data do they get when they're trying to do these studies? And has anyone noticed that they always say it needs to be researched further? Data collecting and tracking is irresistible.

The same NCES (primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data..related to education in the US...) study uses this definition of homeschoolers as kids
who are considered to be homeschooled if their parents reported them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education and if their part time enrollment in public or private schools did not exceed 25 hours/week

Let's work those numbers. And don't forget that several states, including Illinois, don't require homeschoolers to register or report so all of those states' 'numbers' aren't even on this radar, thank goodness.

Now here's the bizarre part. If my kids were living this definition of part time enrollment up to 25 hours/week, when would we have time to homeschool? That amount of time in brick and mortar would mean 5 hours/day in the classroom which often means that the public school would receive funding for that student....hmmm...funny that coincidence. It seems ludicrous to include those "enrolled in school part-time" students in the homeschooling category when there is public funding to the schools for them.

If this was in our school district here, the kids would be in school from
8:20 until 1:20 every day (excluding lunch time). 1 hour and 40
minutes left to in the school day. If that works for families who choose that way to educate their kids, great! But let's hold these researchers feet to the fire in their definition accuracy of a homeschooler.

Some 30 percent of families involved in home-based education did so to provide their children with religious or moral instruction.

Another 31 percent cited concerns over "school environment," a broad euphemism that encompasses everything from violence and drugs to discipline - too stifling or too lax.

Sez who? Why wasn't this stated more accurately? In this study, this percentage (a sample survey in some states)appears to use home-based education because blah, blah, blah? There is such a thing as cultural differences across the country and just a state, for that matter.

Larry and Susan Kaseman wrote an article concerning P Lines monograph. They addressed some key points concerning her writings:
Lines presents misleading statistics and information about homeschoolers...
Lines makes bold statements about homeschooling that she does not support with evidence, statements that, in fact, are contradicted by readily available data.
Lines misrepresents key points of education and homeschooling law...
Is Homeschooling Being Used as Part of a Larger Agenda?

Definitely food for thought.

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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