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Homeschooling Works — Just Ask Colleges

Homeschooling Works — Just Ask Colleges

By Jean Burk Author of
College Prep Genius:
The No Brainer Way to SAT Success

"You don't even have a college degree, how can you teach your children," my sister-in-law chided as my husband and I announced our decision to homeschool. It seemed like this was only just the beginning of the criticism that we received for our unconventional decision. That was 20 years ago, and now more than ever, I am sure we made the right choice. Both my children have enjoyed an expensive college education on incredible academic scholarships, and my critics can no longer find anything to criticize us about.

Academics may or may not be the main purpose that you have chosen to educate at home, but it seems to be everyone else's reason why you shouldn't. Even though homeschooling has become more well-known and recognizable today, it still seems like the criticism persists. For homeschooling parents like me, it is easy to see the benefits of homeschooling. Our kids have stronger family bonds and they are independent thinkers. We cherish the opportunity to be an instrumental part of their development by directing their education.

This, however, does not dissuade people from criticizing the education our children receive. All the wonderful personal and spiritual benefits of homeschooling are overlooked for merely choices of curriculum and specific teaching criteria. However, there is proof of the quality of a homeschool education, and it comes in the form of an objective test.

The Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) is proving to be the vehicle that gives accreditation to the homeschooling lifestyle. The SAT is a college entrance exam that puts all students on an equal playing field. It is the test most used by colleges to evaluate both admissions and scholarship decisions. The SAT is not about exclusive knowledge or curriculum found only at public or private schools, but is a test of reasoning and logic.

Public, private, and homeschool students are all administered the same test. In this situation where academic background is inconsequential to scoring, it seems that homeschoolers are consistently earning marks high above their public and private school peers.

In the very first year that statistics for SAT scores were released, The Wall Street Journal reported:

"On the SAT, which began its tracking last year, home-schoolers scored an average 1,083 (verbal 548, math 535), 67 points above the national average of 1,016."

Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes,
Daniel Golden, 2/11/00

In a later report released by The College Board, the organization that creates and administers the SAT, there is a significant above-average performance of homeschoolers.

"In 2002, homeschoolers averaged 1092, 72 points higher than the national average of 1020. In 2001, homeschoolers scored 1100 on the SAT, compared to the national average of 1019."

Discussion Of New Scoring System And Old

On the House Bill 2560 (home education law) before the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it was noted,

"For example, homeschool students consistently score 15 to 30 percentile points higher on academic achievement tests than do their counterparts in public schools, on average."

Statement and Testimony,
Brian D. Ray,Ph.D., June 13, 2002

More recently, The Home School Legal Defense Association newsletter raved about the higher SAT scores of homeschoolers.

Nearly 80% of homeschooled children achieved individual scores above the national average and 54.7% of the 16,000 homeschoolers achieved individual scores in the top quarter of the population, more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter.

Homeschooled Students Excel in College,
Christopher J. Klicka, September 20, 2006

Not only do homeschooled students have higher SAT scores, but also they seem to have a higher degree of college-readiness. Homeschoolers are excelling their peers as academic leaders. Colleges are finding that these students are entering their schools better prepared—with good study habits and greater maturity than many of their academic counterparts.

The SAT is more than just a test to "legitimize" a home education. It is also a doorway to many scholarship opportunities. Both my kids were fortunate enough to receive substantial scholarships from their SAT and PSAT/NMSQT scores, and they are not alone. Through only SAT scores, many homeschooled students have gained up to a full-ride scholarship to the university of their choice. Therefore, homeschoolers should regard these exams seriously. Many smart kids (from all academic backgrounds) do poorly on the SAT. Understanding what the test covers and how to take the test is important. Just like any other exam, all students should take the time to study and prepare for the SAT.

That said, homeschoolers should never feel insecure about doing poorly on this standardized test. Regardless of their SAT score, their twelve years of quality home education should be more than enough to prepare them for the academic rigors of a university and most academic institutions can look beyond a bad test.

So, maybe I wasn't able to attend college, but I don't believe this injured the education of my children. On the contrary, I was able to help afford them the opportunity of attending a university. Yes, validation of the homeschool education can be accomplished with the SAT, but we don't need test results to know that homeschooling works. Nonetheless, let the numbers speak for themselves and get ready to shut the mouths of the critics for good.

Meet Jean Burk

About Author Jean Burk

Jean Burk is the author of "College Prep Genius: The No Brainer Way to SAT Success." She has written numerous articles about the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT. She has been featured as an SAT expert on Good Day Dallas (Fox 4) and KXAS (NBC 5). She currently travels and speaks about the importance of college preparation, and teaches her "Master the SAT" Prep Class all over Texas.

Both her children received incredible scholarships because of their PSAT and SAT scores. Her teaching DVD will be released in the Spring of 2008, as well as the first edition of the brand new VocabCafé Book Series intended to help teenagers and younger children increase their knowledge of vocabulary words.

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