When the modern home school movement began in the early 1980s, the chief criticism leveled against home education was not limited socialization. It was inadequate teaching qualifications. Home schoolers had to overcome the mistaken belief that parents were not qualified or capable of teaching their own children.
In fact, many states asserted that parents had to be certified teachers in order to teach their own children. Home School Legal Defense Association consistently argued that parents have the fundamental right to teach their own children. And we maintained it could not be demonstrated that teacher certification was an essential qualification for teaching.
In recent years, test scores have conclusively shown that on average home schoolers perform significantly better than students in conventional schools. Efforts to discredit home schoolers achievement have failed. Intrigued by high test scores, the media has increased coverage of home schooling and that coverage has become more positive.
Home schoolers outstanding test results have blown away the myth that parents must be certified teachers. Over 30 state legislatures have recognized home schooling as a valid educational option since 1983.
Encouraged by home schoolers impressive test results, many parents, who would not have started otherwise, have gained the confidence to begin home schooling. Additionally, such test results score points with concerned grandparents, in-laws and friends.
The ACT, formerly known as the American College Testing Program, is not an aptitude or IQ test. Rather, it consists of questions directly related to high school curriculum. On this years ACT, home schooled students earned a national composite score of 22.8 on a scale of 1 to 36. Traditionally schooled students achieved a national composite score of 21.
The number of home schoolers taking the ACT increased more than 40 percent-from 3,200 last year to over 4,600 this year. This increase indicates two things. First, more students are being educated at home. Second, more parents are gaining the confidence to teach their children through high school.
On the 2000 Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), home schooled students achieved an average score of 1100, 81 points above the national average of 1019. About 5700 home schoolers took the SAT this year. The SAT is scored on a scale of 400 to 1600.
Home schoolers exceed the national average on standardized achievement tests by approximately 30 percentile points, These students have exceeded the national average on the ACT for three years running and for 10 years on standardized achievement tests.
There are some very sound practical reasons why home education tends to produce superior results. Education officials, both public and private, indicate that there are four basic elements that are crucial to a good education.
- Small class size;
- Personal attention;
- Disciplined learning environment; and
- Parental involvement.
If you want to score a 100% on all four-home school!
In addition, the fundamental building block for learning, and ultimately self-education, is reading. Home schoolers tend to score high in reading and language arts. Why? I believe there are two basic reasons. First, most home school parents are interested in education and reading themselves. Therefore, they read very early to their children. Secondly, home school parents predominately teach reading through phonics. Because of this strong emphasis on reading, home schooled students have an advantage over the traditionally educated student.
These are answers from a human perspective. However, before we pat ourselves on the back too hard, we need to recognize there is spiritual perspective in operation as well. The Bible says in II Chronicles 16:9, The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. I believe that God has blessed the home school movement in general and specifically by assisting our children to attain these high test scores.
We at HSLDA thank you moms and dads for your conscientious and diligent instruction of your children. All of us in the home school movement should thank God for multiplying our efforts and confirming the academic benefits for our children.