a division of Home School Legal Defense Association
November 3, 1999

Home School Success Stories

Home Schooled Student Hits SAT Maximum

Dan Skelly is good. In fact, he’s real good.

The Palm Coast teen was notified last week that he earned the highest possible score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test he took in early June.

Spokesman Jeffrey Penn of the College Board, which administers the scholastic test seven times throughout the year, said it’s a rare feat to get the top score.

Of the 1,172,779 college-bound seniors who took the three-hour test in 1998, just 673 students scored a 1,600. This year’s figures, which would include Dan Skelly have not yet been released.

Dan Skelly was home-schooled since second grade.

(Excerpted from “Right at home,” by Sandra Frederick, Flagler/Palm Coast News-Tribune, July 24, 1999.)

US Naval Academy Welcomes Home Schoolers

Some educators and parents may question whether homeschooled students excel at the same rate as their counterparts trained in traditional classrooms. Midn. 2/C Ryan T. Easterday of 7th Company believes they do. Easterday credits his success to his mother, Susan Lords, who provided a homeschooled elementary-level education.

He feels his homeschooling background was an excellent preparation for the academic demands at USNA. In fact, the Naval Academy welcomes homeschooled students, and the admissions staff considers them as strong academically as their counterparts from traditional schools.

“We’ve got a number of homeschooled students,” says retired Capt. Edward C. Wallace, former Naval Academy director of admissions, “and we anticipate getting more of them.”

(Excerpted from “Homeschooled midshipmen strut their stuff at academy,” by JO2 Eva D.Janzen and JOC(SW) Chris Price, Trident, August 13, 1999, p. 3.)

Home Schoolers Score Above Average on ACT

Home-schooled students scored well above their traditionally educated peers on a national assessment test used by colleges for admission.

Home schoolers posted an average score of 22.7 out of a possible 36, tying with students in Rhode Island, who had the highest American College Testing (ACT) marks of teens in any state.

The national average for the more than 1 million other high school students who took the ACT exam this year remained steady at 21 for the second consecutive year.

(Excerpted form “Students schooled at home ace ACT,” by Andrea Billups, Washington Times, August 18, 1999.)

14-Year-Old Home Schooler Accepted at Auburn

When it comes to school, Brittany Benefield just won't act her age.

That’s why she'll be a freshman in college when most kids her age will be mere high-school frosh.

The 14-year-old Childersburg girl has been accepted to Auburn University, where she plans to major in journalism this fall.

Brittany completed studies for 8th through 12th grade through a home schooling program this year. She wore the traditional cap and gown when she received her high school diploma in June at Gateway, a Christian school in Montgomery that served as the umbrella organization for her program.

Brittany took the ACT, the national college admission exam, on Feb. 6, a week before her birthday. She scored 23, well above the national average of 21 for graduating seniors.

(Excerpted from “Home-schooled 14-year-old accepted as Auburn freshman,” by Val Walton, Birmingham News, August 29, 1999.)

Home Schooled Chess Wiz Attends MIT

Janesville native Josh Manion is three semesters away from his bachelor’s degree at one of the top universities in the world.

His summer internship at Fidelity Investments in Boston can only boost his chances for success.

His experiences as a professional chess player and his running of summer camps for aspiring chess players won’t hurt, either.

But just a few years ago, Josh couldn't convince the University of Illinois to admit him as an undergraduate.

The 23-year-old doesn’t have a high school diploma. His mother, Ruth Manion, home-schooled him.

A career move for his graduating wife sent Josh looking for a different school. He settled on the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Among the five admissions essays he wrote was one based on his experience at Illinois. In it, he compared himself, as a homeschooler, to an extraterrestrial life form trying to gain admission to an Earth college.

MIT admitted him, and the chess wiz from Hanesville is keeping his sights set on finding an idea to turn into the next big thing in computer software or the Internet.

(Excerpted from “They’re on common ground,” by Frank Shultz, Janesville Gazette, September 14, 1999.)

Home Schooler National Merit Semifinalist

John Bethencourt knows nothing of lockers, yearbooks or cafeteria food. The 17-year-old has never had to catch a school bus or cast a ballot for student council president.

But Bethencourt, home-schooled since the age of 5 by his mother Jeanette, knows quite a lot about physics, calculus, Spanish and computer programming.

And last week he demonstrated his mastery of algebra, geometry, English usage and sentence structure by being named one of Wisconsin’s 374 National Merit semifinalists…

John Bethencourt was the state’s only home-schooled semifinalist this year. Last year there were five, said Gloria Ladendorf, public information assistant director for the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

In addition to the National Merit recognition, the Mount Horeb teen recently scored a 34 on his ACT and a 1,480 on his SAT. He plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison next fall and ultimately hopes to transfer to the California Institute of Technology to earn a master’s degree in computer programming.

(Excerpted from “Home-schooled teenager earns national merit,” by Karen Saemann, Madison Capital Times, September 22, 1999.)