Next Step for Home Schooling
Ground Broken in Va. for Planned College
Plans to build the nations first college for students who have been home-schooled moved a step closer to reality yesterday, as the projects organizers held a groundbreaking ceremony on a 44-acre site in western Loudoun County.
Michael P. Farris, president of the Purcellville-based Home School Legal Defense Association, said Patrick Henry College will open in the fall of 2000 with about 100 students and expand to 600 students over the next decade. . .
This is an opportunity to take the home-schooling movement to the next level, said Farris, addressing a crowd of about 300 that included Lt. Gov. John H. Hager (R), local politicians and potential students and their parents. The home-schooling movement is coming of age. . . .
Several education analysts said the college likely will have no trouble drawing applicants from the estimated 1.5 million home-schooled students nationwide. . . .
Theyre going to prolong this cocoon existence, said Paul D. Houston, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. . . .
But Lawrence M. Rudner, director of the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation at the University of Maryland, said scholars will be drawn to Patrick Henrys approach. . . .
The concept is attractive, said Rudner . . . When you have bright kids who are capable of doing independent studies, its a good recipe for success.
. . . Joanna DePree, 16, of Midland, Mich., put the college among her top three choices.
I like the idea that its a small school and it emphasizes the values and morals of our Founding Fathers, said DePree, a home-schooler who just finished her junior year and plans to become a lawyer. But, she added, it would be kind of scary being the first college for home-schoolers, because when you graduate from Harvard everybody says, ‘Wow! because they recognize it, but [Patrick Henry] isnt widely known yet.
The name recognition issue doesnt bother Kerry Medaris, 18, of Fairfax Station, who was taught at home for 12 years. She said she may turn down a $6,000 scholarship to George Mason University and accept an offer to work for a congressman for a year and then attend Patrick Henry when it opens.
Im really excited about being able to go there, Medaris said. By us all being home-schoolers, well have that common thread that will make us like one big family.
Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, June 26, 1999