Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | August 16, 2009

Results Of Massive Homeschool Study Just In

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If you teach your children academics at home, you’ve most likely encountered resistance at least once along the way. Maybe you are faced with it quite often. There are several areas of this actually oldest, tried and true through the centuries, method of education that rub some the wrong way. Some concerns may be valid, but the one that really makes me scratch my head is when you are accused of not giving your child a proper education.

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Are you certified to teach?

How do you know you are covering everything?

Aren’t you afraid they won’t be able to keep up with other children?

The schools can offer them so much.

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If you are like me, the slightest intimation that maybe, perhaps you are not doing a good enough job with your children sends an ungodly, untrusting shiver down your spine and for a few moments you start group-thinking yourself. It is very relieving to remember the truth, unpopular and suppressed as it may be. It really does set you free.

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has released the results of a massive study on just how well homeschooled students fared in comparison to their public schooled counterparts. You can read the full report here.

Breathe easier parents. You are doing a great job!

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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
Subtest Homeschool Public School
Reading 89 50
Language 84 50
Math 84 50
Science 86 50
Social Studies 84 50
Corea 88 50
Compositeb 86 50
a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.

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 results.

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 progress.

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.

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Get excited again, Mom and Dad!  Be confident that the Lord has equipped you to be the best teachers your children can have!

Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | February 16, 2009

Lofty Aspiration!

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In training my daughters to be home keepers, it is nice to get some fresh vision for how great of a career it really is.  I found this neat list in Nancy Cambell’s The Power of Motherhood and wanted to share it with you!

Here are just some of the skills that a homemaker needs to develop:

Accountant, arbitrator, art appreciator, arrow polisher, ambassador for the King of Kings

Builder-you are building a Godly Generation, book keeper, bulk buyer

Counselor, career consultant, chauffer, children’s pastor, childhood psychologist, creative designer, customer service representative, coach, child development specialist, cheer leader, cultivator of “olive plants”

Dietitian, disciplinarian, director of home affairs

Encourager, entrepreneur, entertainer, educator

First lady of the home, fashion consultant

Gardener

Hostess, Hygienist, historian, hairdresser

Interior designer, investigator, intercessor

Janitor, judge

Lapidary (polisher of precious stones), librarian, launderer

Mentor, master story teller, movie critic

Nurse, nutritionist, nurturer, nation changer

Professional chef, professional baker, professional cleaner, pediatrician, purchasing agent, photographer, personnel manager, protector

Referee, recreation director, repairer of the breach

Switchboard operator, speech therapist, sculptor, security guard, seamstress, social coordinator, safety instructor, shepherd- shepherding your flock

Teacher, time management expert, taxi driver

Visionary

Walking encyclopedia

Oh, my.  Motivation, anyone?


Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | November 28, 2008

Layer upon layer

I don’t really have enough time to make this a well- worded, cohesive piece of work.  Like I ever really do that anyway!  I’m just bursting at the seams with all the thoughts and revelations rolling around in my head and I just had to get them down before I forget.

As you know, I’ve really been battling my materialism.  How much mindless, useless junk I fill my life with.  I’ve been filling up more bags by the week.  I so want to be controlled by the love of Christ, not by what I can get next, then blow up at my children because they can’t keep it all picked up.  It’s a terrific, challenging, liberating struggle with my flesh!

Now, I’m really dealing with how this affects my children.  I’ve been delighted with how easy it has been to get rid of so many toys, but there are other areas that are much more difficult.

Books.  Oh, boy.  I would rather not deal with this issue, but the Lord is forcing my hand.  I have always longed to build a humongous library for my children.  While this sounds like a worthy goal, I’m finding myself in doubt now.  I’ve always had a passion for buying them books.  If I hear of a great one, I must have it.  I’d been reasoning to myself that this is how they will be educated.  Pour in as much knowledge as I can.  The more well-read they are, the better off they will be.  Well, guess what.  They will NEVER be able to read everything out there!  And here is the main point I’ve been trying to get to:

MY KIDS ONLY HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF BRAIN SPACE!

Why do I think I must keep it full all the time?  Is meditating, memorizing, and living the word of God really going to be that attractive if they are always in another world?  Sure, books can teach them a whole lot, but are they missing out on the real world in the meantime?  No, I’m not just talking about fiction.  I know they do need well-chosen books to learn from, but do they really need 15 books on butterflies and 33 books about the solar system?  Sheesh, talk about information and sensory overload.

And do they even appreciate what they have?  When I was a little girl, I had a limited library.  I would have drooled over the  one my children have.  But you know what?  I still remember those books.  I have memories of reading certain books with my mother.  My children have no idea what they have and they frequently walk on their books when they walk through the room.  I have cheapened what should be precious possesions by supplying them with more than they can possibly appreciate.  I have robbed my children of the joy of books by giving them too many books! How come this has taken me so long to see?  Thank you, Lord for showing me this.

Just books?  Uh, no.  There are so many other areas.  Movies, games, art supplies, you name it.  I’ve got so much work and retraining to do.  They must learn to be content with less. I must learn to be content with less FOR them.  They need to learn to play with each other even more.  And to contribute to the running of the household MORE than they play!  Have I been training them to constantly indulge their flesh instead of dying to it and finding joy in serving others?  I am more conformed to this world than I ever thought possible.

Thank God for his mercy!

Does this make sense?

Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | October 9, 2008

When you just don’t have time to “teach”:

Whew! Has it been busy around here! With all of our food preservation, plans for upcoming trips, guests, holidays, and life in general with young children, there are times where I just don’t have all the time I’d like to sit down and focus on learning with the children.

The funny thing is, the more I seem to take my hands off the situation, the more creative they get! In a day when learning is so compartmentalized and institutionalized, it’s amazing to observe the fact that children are little sponges that have been created to learn! Just as a little baby is so determined to figure out how to pull up to stand, then to walk, then to talk, children are naturally curious about the world around them. Yes, without textbooks they will learn. Without the latest, flashiest curriculum they will learn. Even if we don’t have an entire room in our home that looks exactly like a classroom they will learn. Despite us and our inadequacies, they will learn.

So what should our part be? ENCOURAGEMENT! Give them access to great books. Give them time to think their own, original thoughts. Get rid of distractions so you can guard their brain space. Let them mess up the house with their projects (tough one for this Mama!). Be always available to answer questions, even if you’re canning pickles. Perhaps most importantly, let them see your curiosity and eagerness to learn. Let them know that learning is what a magnificent God created their minds to do throughout a lifetime, not when they sit down at a desk in an accredited establishment.

No, I’m not saying that you should just give them free reign all of the time and never direct their studies. Children need direction. Foolishness is bound up in their hearts. There are times that they need to be encouraged in having the discipline to stick something out, and there are times that we need to let them explore on their own. We definitely need the Holy Spirit to help us discern when to tighten up, and when to let go.

In our busiest times, however, we can give minimal direction and watch with wonder as those little minds come up with the neatest ideas! And leave the “I can never get it all done” guilt behind!

Yesterday, when I was up to my elbows in bread and butter pickles and had no time to “teach” the girls, Ashlynne and Rachel decided to design their own newspapers. They used our free, yard sale encyclopedias to find topics for their articles. The topics were quite diverse, but for some reason all started with the same letter!

Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | October 6, 2008

Loving Copywork!

I’m totally addicted to copywork. No, not doing it myself—for the kids!

Why copywork? It’s certainly not something I ever did as a child in the public school system. I think I was first introduced to the exercise by the Bluedorns in their excellent book Teaching the Trivium:

Copywork is a good way to practice handwriting skills, reinforce phonics instruction, introduce grammar and proper sentence structure, and lay a foundation for creative writing.

And might I add, it’s a good way to accomplish all of the above without a lot of supervision. I can set the girls to the task and leave them to it while I do something else. They know that it will be checked for neatness when they are finished. I simply circle with a pencil anything that may need to be corrected.

It has amazed me how well Ashlynne (almost ten) and Rachel(almost eight) have picked up spelling and sentence structure without any formal study of the subjects. I attribute this to copywork and extensive reading. This is our first year doing any formal grammar study and I have been quite pleased so far. Though they need to learn the names of the parts of speech, they seem to have a good understanding of what they are and how they fit together. I didn’t waste years trying to cram abstract terms into their immature brains. It makes sense to them now.

There are so many great copywork books out there for reasonable prices. However, having multiple children, I try to steer clear of consumables. You certainly don’t need to buy anything. All you need is pencil, paper, and whatever inspires you. Holy Writ, however, is by far the best thing to put into those little minds! I also have used poetry, classic literature, and famous quotes. Often I will just write it out neatly for them to copy. (Sure has improved my handwriting!) Right now we are printing out our copywork from this site.

Lauren (age 5) is learning to print right now. When she is more comfortable with letter formation I will start her with the process, as well. One has to start small and work your way up very slowly to avoid discouragement and frustration.

Hope this is encouraging!

Kim

Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | October 1, 2008

That awkward first post….

How do you start a blog? What profound words of wisdom should you impart? Do you have any profound words of wisdom?

I began this blog mainly because posting education related topics seemed a little out of place on our family blog. I wanted a forum to discuss some of the things that have worked for us and a place to ask for help when nothing seems to be working for us! This is also the place to keep my thoughts and plans organized, to share a child’s excitement in their projects and tasks, and maybe even for the children to do a few written narrations and short stories.

I’m sure this blog will be a bit like us: Ever changing according to the needs of the family. Some days I may post quite a lot, others not at all. It may seem like a hodge-podge at first, but I’ll try to get it more organized and cohesive over time. Be patient. I really don’t have time for blogging, but neither do I have time to be unorganized and wander aimlessly through this great adventure of teaching and learning with my dear ones. I’m hoping this will help!

Please feel free to comment on any topic you like. I welcome all the advice I can get, and while I do not like criticism initially, I certainly do grow and learn by it, so give it if you’ve got it! (in the right spirit, of course!)

Thanks for stopping in!

In His Service,

Kim

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