Monday, December 08, 2008

The Success of Homeschooling

Nearly ten years ago, I participated in a radio debate with a Michigan legislator regarding legislation he proposed which would have required homeschoolers to be tested every year. The legislator's primary argument was that testing would help insure that parents were providing an adequate education similar to those enrolled in the public schools.

After he eloquently made his case, the talk show host turned to me and asked, "What proof do you have that homeschooling works?"

Rather flippantly I replied, "Because there have been no shootings in my home-school."

The host laughed out loud and the legislator groaned, but they both quickly understood that there are other factors in determining educational success. Testing is one measure; but inevitably test scores becomes the standard because all other factors are more subjective and difficult to quantify.

Homeschoolers do routinely score well on standardized tests, but is empirical data something we want to promote as the reason homeschooling is successful? Is it even necessary or wise for homeschoolers to promote our own success?

Consider the recent headline from the Washington Times, Home-schooling: testing proves success of grads. According to a study commissioned by HSLDA, the "best" homeschoolers "systematically outperform" their non-home-schooled counterparts. Wonderful, but does this mean that the grads are more successful? I suppose the answer would be "yes" if, like the Michigan legislator, the definition of success is determined by a test score. But that's not my definition of success.

A well-educated child is one who knows and loves the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength; and loves their neighbor as themselves. That's not proven by a standardized test score, but demonstrated daily in a life lived in obedience and service to Him.

No comments: