Homeschool Receives an A+…Again

This is a rather long report, but it makes a very interesting read nonetheless:
J. Michael Smith, Esq.

Michael P. Farris, Esq.

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Ian Slatter
Director of Media Relations

August 10, 2009

Each year, the homeschool movement graduates at least 100,000 students. Due
to the fact that both the United States government and homeschool advocates
agree that homeschooling has been growing at around 7% per annum for the
past decade, it is not surprising that homeschooling is gaining increased
attention. Consequently, many people have been asking questions about
homeschooling, usually with a focus on either the academic or social
abilities of homeschool graduates.

As an organization advocating on behalf of homeschoolers, Home School Legal
Defense Association (HSLDA) long ago committed itself to demonstrating that
homeschooling should be viewed as a mainstream educational alternative.

We strongly believe that homeschooling is a thriving education movement
capable of producing millions of academically and socially able students who
will have a tremendously positive effect on society.

Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from
teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service
workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers
have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative.
This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which
demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler.

The last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement
was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner. Rudner, a professor at the
ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed
over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works,
discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points
higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests.

This research and several other studies supporting the claims of
homeschoolers have helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you
would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that
homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.

There is one problem, however. Rudner’s research was conducted over a decade
ago. Without another look at the level of academic achievement among
homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that research on
homeschool achievement is outdated and no longer relevant.

Recognizing this problem, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an
internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National
Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 2007-08
academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool
academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others.

Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009:
Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739
homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known
tests-California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford
Achievement Test for the 2007-08 academic year. The Progress Report is the
most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.

The Results

Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic
achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender,
parents’ education level, and family income had little bearing on the
results of homeschooled students.

National Average Percentile Scores

Public School





Social Studies



a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and
girls on core scores.

Boys-87th percentile
Girls-88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.

$34,999 or less-85th percentile
$35,000-$49,999-86th percentile
$50,000-$69,999-86th percentile
$70,000 or more-89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the
homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the
83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.

Neither parent has a college degree-83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree-86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree-90th percentile

Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.

Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)-87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)-88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.

Spent $600 or more on the student-89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student-86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the

Low state regulation-87th percentile
Medium state regulation-88th percentile
High state regulation-87th percentile

HSLDA defines the extent of government regulation this way:

States with low regulation: No state requirement for parents to initiate any
contact or State requires parental notification only.

States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send
notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student

State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or
achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other
requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification
of parents, or home visits by state officials).

The question HSLDA regularly puts before state legislatures is, “If
government regulation does not improve the results of homeschoolers why is
it necessary?”

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of
research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform
above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the
numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past
10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in
academic achievement between themselves and their public school
counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner
study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

As mentioned earlier, the achievement gaps that are well-documented in
public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and
parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers.
While it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion, it does appear
from all the existing research that homeschooling equalizes every student
upwards. Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public
schools claim are their goals-to narrow achievement gaps and to educate each
child to a high level.

Of course, an education movement which consistently shows that children can
be educated to a standard significantly above the average public school
student at a fraction of the cost-the average spent by participants in the
Progress Report was about $500 per child per year as opposed to the public
school average of nearly $10,000 per child per year-will inevitably draw
attention from the K-12 public education industry.

Answering the Critics

This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts
to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the
Rudner study was that it only drew students from one large testing service.
Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating
with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader
homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15
independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that
homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the
Progress Report.

While it is true that not every homeschooler in America was part of this
study, it is also true that the Progress Report provides clear evidence of
the success of homeschool programs.

The reason is that all social science studies are based on samples. The goal
is to make the sample as representative as possible because then more
confident conclusions can be drawn about the larger population. Those
conclusions are then validated when other studies find the same or similar

Critics tend to focus on this narrow point and maintain that they will not
be satisfied until every homeschooler is submitted to a test. This is not a
reasonable request because not all homeschoolers take standardized
achievement tests. In fact, while the majority of homeschool parents do
indeed test their children simply to track their progress and also to
provide them with the experience of test-taking, it is far from a
comprehensive and universal practice among homeschoolers.

The best researchers can do is provide a sample of homeschooling families
and compare the results of their children to those of public school
students, in order to give the most accurate picture of how homeschoolers in
general are faring academically.

The concern that the only families who chose to participate are the most
successful homeschoolers can be alleviated by the fact that the overwhelming
majority of parents did not know their children’s test results before
agreeing to participate in the study.

HSLDA believes that this study along with the several that have been done in
the past are clear evidence that homeschoolers are succeeding academically.

Final Thought

Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents
across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents
exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide
their children with the best education available.

Other Resources

Read the full  <> report.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 22:16  Comments (9)  

Swine Flu

The latest government theory on how swine flu spreads…

Published in: on May 3, 2009 at 22:58  Leave a Comment  
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March 31st is Red Envelope Day

You are invited!

We will mail the envelopes out March 31st, 2009.


A red envelope (You can buy them at Kinkos, or at party supply stores)


On the front, address it to

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message.

This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion.
It is empty because the life that was taken is unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins at conception!

Forward this event to every one of your friends who you think would send one too. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every child who died [in the U.S.] before having a chance to live.

It may seem that those who believe abortion is wrong are in a minority. It may seem like we have no voice and it’s shameful to even bring it up. Let us show our President and the world that the voices of those of us who do not believe abortion is acceptable are not silent and must be heard.

Together we can change the heart of The President and save the lives of millions of children.

“All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10 (NIV)

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 23:52  Leave a Comment  

Jungle success

Well, our time in the jungle is over, but my students really seemed to enjoy our foray into a warmer climate.  Our classroom walls had palm trees, snakes hung from the ceiling, shells and sea creatures covered our library shelves, leaves framed some windows while others looked out to sea.  We cracked open a coconut and devoured fresh pineapple.  Nim’s Island was the film of the day and we sang the Boa Constrictor song along with Shel Silverstein.  All in all it was a great success and a lot of fun!  Check it out:

Welcome to the jungle!

Welcome to the jungle!

Ocean view

Ocean view

Hammer+coconut+first graders=fun!

Hammer+coconut+first graders=fun!

Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 17:31  Comments (1)  


This article was posted on the Chicago Tribune’s web site today and I think it deserves to be passed on.  Praise the Lord for the brave men and women who so thanklessly and selflessly give their energy, time, and even lives to protect our country.
‘If it costs me my life to protect our land and people then that is a small thing…’
Sgt. Scott Stream

Sgt. Scott Stream, of Mattoon, Ill., second from left, is one of 2 members of the Illinois Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team who were killed by an improvised explosive device Feb. 24, 2009, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Family photo / February 26, 2009)

As President Obama and military officials plan for a marked escalation in the number of American troops in Afghanistan, the powerful words of a fallen soldier show how much the mission continues to mean to the women and men on the ground.

Illinois National Guard Sgt. Scott Stream, 39, of Mattoon, Ill., was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan. Below is a letter he wrote to a friend on New Year’s Eve. The Tribune received a copy of the letter from Stream’s mother.

When I think about what surrounds me, the institutional corruption, the random violence, the fear and desperation. I feel the reasons why I am here more and more sharply. As we grow in our soldiers skills, surviving by finding the hidden dangers, seeing the secret motives and the shifting politics… we grow a set of skills that is unique and powerful in this situation.

We also see what you cannot see in the States, you are surrounded by the love of Christ and faith in freedom and humanity, like a fish you think water is ‘a puff of air’ because it is always there, you do not notice it… we who are out of the water look back and see the world we love surrounded by enemies, poison and envy that wants to fall on you like a storm of ruin.

We who joined with vague notions of protecting our country see how desperate the peril, how hungry the enemy and how frail the security we have is. So the more I love you all the more I feel I must keep fighting for you. The more I love and long for home the more right I feel here on the front line standing between you and the seething madness that wants to suck the life and love out of our land.

Does that mean I cannot go home? I hope not, because I want this just to be the postponement of the joy of life, not the sacrifice of mine. If it costs me my life to protect our land and people then that is a small thing, I just hope that fate lets me return to the promise land and remind people just how great our land is.

War is a young mans game, and I am getting an old mans head… it is a strange thing. I just hope that I am not changed so that I cannot take joy in the land inside the wire when I make it home. I want to be with you all again and let my gun sit in the rack and float on my back in a tube down a lazy river…

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 22:35  Leave a Comment  

Drifting Snow…Sunny Sands

I’m sitting in my room watching snow drift outside my window and wishing for warm weather.  A friend of mine at church told me just today that her young son (5 years old) cried when he saw the new snow on the ground this weekend.  I understand.  I am ready for sunny skies and shortsleeves.   Until that day arrives, however, I plan to add a little warmth to my classroom.

Way back in September my students and I embarked on a reading adventure.  We began writing the names of the books we read on small paper birds and flying them around the ceiling of our classroom.  The birds have nearly made it all the way around and it is time to celebrate.  I am very excited about our coming celebration: Jungle Day!  Next Monday when my students come to class, our room will be a jungle instead of a classroom. There will be vines and snakes draped from the ceiling, blue ocean waves out the window, jungle leaves covering the walls, jungle creatures peeking out from behind their cover.  We will have the sounds of the jungle to give the room ambiance and we will celebrate by wearing jungle/beach clothes (our jungle fringes the beach), watching Nim’s Island, and eating popcorn.  I am very excited about adding a little bit of summer to our classroom.

Pictures to come…

Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 17:33  Leave a Comment  

What Do Teachers Make?

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite company.

“I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor,” he says.
“Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and [butt]-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you get a drink of water?
Because you’re not thirsty, you’re bored, that’s why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the [hand]).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a [] difference! What about you?

By Taylor Mali

[edits at the discretion of the blog master]

Thanks to Justin Snider for drawing my attention to the original version of this poem which you now see as opposed to the “story” that was sent to me via email which was previously posted on this site.

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 00:51  Comments (1)  

Reader’s Theater

I was browsing the Internet in hopes of discovering that someone had done the work for me…

My students and I are reading through the Monarch Award books for 2009 and getting ready to vote for our favorites.  One of the books (Once upon a cool motorcycle dude by Kevin O’Malley) just asks to be read as a Reader’s Theater.  I asked two of my top readers if they would be willing to “read” the book to the class and they agreed.  The only problem is that reading both parts while showing the rest of the class the illustrations (which, by the way, cannot be missed!) is extremely difficult.  So there I was, looking around on the Internet to see if someone had already done the work of typing the story in a Reader’s Theater format.  Imagine my pleasure when I found something even better.

I stumbled across another teacher’s blog which not only included a script for the book I desired, but scripts for a couple other books as well!  These scripts are not designed for Reader’s Theater per say.  They are, in fact, made for the stage.  It was easy to adapt it for Reader’s Theater, but I intend to save the play version as well in case I ever want to do a play with my students.

Check these out and see if they are of any use to your classroom.







Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 23:53  Comments (1)  

Take It From Him

Here’s some wisdom from Dr. Seuss and a little translation into Personal Growth Speak (PGS).

  1. Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. In PGS: Be your authentic self.
  2. I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! In PGS: Overcoming challenges and difficulties are opportunities for personal growth.
  3. Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. In PGS: Take a positive attitude and live in the moment. And practice your positive affirmations.
  4. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. In PGS: Accept personal responsibility in choosing your directions in life. Make your choices consciously.
  5. From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. In PGS: Be aware of your surroundings and see the humour in everything. Laughter is relaxing and can be enlightening.
  6. And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed. In PGS: Believe in your success. Having goals, purpose and dreams will focus your attention and change the condition of your life.
  7. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try! In PGS: Use lateral thinking to tap into your creativity.
  8. If you want to catch beasts you don’t see everyday, You have to out-of-the-way, You have to go places no others can get to. You have to get cold, and you have to get wet, too. In PGS: Get out of your comfort zone.
  9. The more you read, the more you’ll know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. Develop your skills and enrich your mind by buying good books on personal development. Don’t forget the workshops.
  10. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. In PGS: Connectedness to other people, other species and the earth rounds us in our lives.
  11. If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good. In PGS: Get out of your comfort zone
  12. A person’s a person, no matter how small. In PGS: Love yourself and respect others. Umm, size doesn’t matter?

Number nine is my personal favorite:

” The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. – Dr.Seuss

I would like to know from my readers what they are reading (for fun) right now. No fair listing textbooks! Currently I am working my way through The Bobbsey Twins and the mystery at Snow Lodge by Laural Lee Hope (reading club material for my first graders) and Kiss by Ted Dekker.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 00:25  Comments (1)  
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Those Darned New Year’s Resolutions

The time has arrived once again to make some sort of New Year’s resolution that I will, inevitably, break in as little as one week.  I don’t know if I have ever followed through completely on a resolution of this sort mostly because they seem so forced.  I don’t really even remember what I have tried to do since I have just skipped the whole process for the last few years.

This year, however, I have found a resolution that I think may work for me.  I always try to journal about my life but usually write far too much, fall behind, and give up in perfectionist-related disgust.  I think I may have found a solution.  I just recently read Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary (one of my favorite children’s authors) and in this story Amy writes one thing on her calendar every day.  Just one thing that happened or that she felt.  I think that this is an attainable goal and I am going to give it a shot.  I am going to buy myself a fun calendar and start writing.

How about you, dear readers?  What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Published in: on January 1, 2009 at 20:34  Comments (3)