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May 31, 2005

Homeschooling in Minnesota

From the Katherine Kersten at the Minnesota Star Tribune:

When Jessica Nelson of Ham Lake arrived at the University of Notre Dame in September, she had lots in common with other freshmen there: stratospheric admissions test scores, academic prizes and an application chock-full of extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

But one thing set Jessica apart: She's a home-schooler. Her parents, Deb and Brad Nelson, supervised her education from kindergarten through high school....

Minnesota is turning out more Jessica Nelsons every year. Just last week, 13-year-old Nathan Cornelius of Cottonwood took top honors at the National Geographic geography bee in Washington, D.C.

In 1990, the state had about 10,000 home-schoolers; today, there are more than 17,000.

Most of these kids do well academically. Studies show that home-schoolers, as a group, score well above average on standardized achievement tests.

It's not hard to see why home-schooling succeeds. Home-schooling parents, unlike classroom teachers, can focus on exactly what their children need.

They're also free to ignore the shifting and time-consuming educational fashions of the day. (Remember the recently deceased Profile of Learning, with its fuzzy-minded "performance packages"?)

Home-schooling parents can emphasize literary classics over contemporary children's fiction, which generally features a simplistic style and a narrow, adolescent mind-set. They can nurture their children's minds and hearts free from the alienated, heavily conformist youth culture.

Is home-schooling a luxury available only to the well-to-do? Not at all. A study released by the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2001 found that home-schooling families' average income is similar to that of other families. The study also found that 25 percent of home-schoolers are minorities.

But home-schoolers differ from their peers in important ways. For example, a 1997 study determined that, on average, they watch far less TV than other children.

The same study found that, on average, home-schooling children accomplish their academic achievements at an average cost of only $400 a year for educational materials. It's hard to imagine a better "bang for the buck."

This from a notoriously Liberal paper! Cool. (or as we say in Oklahoma “koowuhl”). I wonder what kind of flack the paper is getting from the government education industry?

Hat Tip: Captain's Quarters

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 31, 2005 09:02 AM

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