Home schooling offers hope for our country

 By Tom Quiner

As many as 2 million children are being home schooled with amazing results

I love teachers.

My mom was a teacher. So were my aunt and uncle. So is my daughter-in-law. So is my niece.

I was blessed with many exceptional teachers growing up in the public school system.

Today, I am witnessing amazing passion amongst home schoolers. I received an e-mail today from a home-schooler that prompted this post. She showed me how she is using the election as a great teaching opportunity for her three children, whom she home schools.

Look at the map and chart above she created for her three children, her students. Is there any doubt that the two seven year olds and the 11 year old in the class are going to have a pretty clear understanding on how our electoral system works?

With a three-to-one student to teacher ratio, they receive concentrated instruction with lots of opportunity for interaction to accelerate their learning curve.

I have noticed something interesting about home schoolers: they are not just bright, they are amazingly well-behaved. I know a lot of home schoolers, here in Des Moines and elsewhere. They interact with adults amazingly well. They get along with their siblings amazingly well.

I sat behind three sisters at Mass one Sunday. I knew their parents and was acquainted with the girls. I watched how they interacted. It was clear that they really like each other. Their affection was obvious.

I talked with them about being home schooled, and the oldest girl, who is about 16, said, “they were the happiest days of my life!”

The kids I know who are being home schooled are going to be leaders in communities some day.

Home schooling was illegal in thirty states as recently as 1980. It wasn’t until 1993 that it became legal in all fifty states.

Something big is going on. About 950,000 kids were home schooled in 1999.

By 2009, it was up to 1.5 million.

Today, experts guess it is approaching 2 million.

Why this boom?

Some home school for religious reasons. Increasingly, more are doing it because the learning environment in public schools has declined. How many public school teachers have you heard complain that they wish they had more time for teaching, that they didn’t want to spend so much time on discipline and paperwork?

More parents are pulling their kids out of public schools to avoid violence, peer pressure, and poor academic quality.

A national study from 2007 broke it down this way:

36 percent home school so they can emphasize religious or moral instruction;

21 percent home school out of concern for their child’s learning environment;

17 percent home school out of dissatisfaction with the local academic institutions.

How does the quality of home schooling compare to public schools? Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute conducted a study of  11,739 homeschooling students and their families from all 50 states through 15 independent testing services.

The report is called the Homeschool Progress Report 2009: Academic Achievement and Demographics. It is the most comprehensive study of home schooling to date. Here is what they found:

“The results support the large existing body of research on homeschool academic achievement and show home schoolers, on average, scoring 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests. The study also found that the achievement gaps common to public schools were practically insignificant in the homeschool community.”

A common concern voiced by some parents and educators is that students may lack sufficient socialization in the home school environment. The home schoolers I know overcome that concern by scheduling both classroom and social events with other home schoolers. The kids I know being home schooled are exceptional without exception.

Public schools have become bastions of political correctness, self-esteem mania, and the official religion of the Democratic Party, Secular Humanism. All of this comes at the detriment of our nation as evidenced by declining test scores and ignorance among our youth of American exceptionalism.

The future strength of America will be in direct proportion of the number of parents who decide to home school their children.


  1. rapsheetblog on November 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I was educated in public schools as was my wife. However, we have been homeschooling our children and plan to continue to do so. Part of it are the factors you mention. Ironically, part of it is a concern for how kids are socialized in school (i.e., by their peers). It has not been my experience that public school children are better able to get along with adults and with children their own age, and in many cases their behavior is worse. The difference is striking when public school kids happen to be on a field trip at the same place as a homeschool group. More often it is the public school kids who are loud, impolite, not paying attention, and bullying or disparaging their peers.

    • quinersdiner on November 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Good input. Here is a simple metric: at what age do kids learn the “f” word in public schools? At what age for the home-schooled? I would venture a guess there is a significant difference.

      • Shawn Pavlik on November 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

        As a teacher, I must admit some frustration with the lack of respect that the current students show to their teachers, their classmates, and people in general. I hear the f word on a daily basis (I teach high school) and just shake my head at their behavior. I think public schools are TRYING to do the right thing in most cases. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be a public school teacher. Comparing public school students and home school students is apples and oranges, though. Public schools take pretty much everybody, while home schools obviously can be selective about who they educate. In general, class sizes are much smaller in home schools. And depending on the situation, you are teaching your own child, and you know what works and what doesn’t. For many of our worst performing and worst behaved students, their home life is awful. I know of at least 3 or 4 students in my classes who are homeless. Many others are in one parent homes or being raised by grandparents or uncles. Many of THEIR parents do not have a college degree themselves, and do not see the value of a college degree. So I ask you to keep these things in mind when comparing the two.

        • quinersdiner on November 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

          I know it’s a different game in the public schools today than when I was in school. Thanks for your input. I hear these kind of comments from teachers all the time.

      • vwboyaf1 on November 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

        I realize that this comment only illustrates one reason you prefer homeschooling, but I would argue that I would rather have my kid exposed to this type of stuff, and then have rational discussions about what they experience when they get home. I would rather her hear obscenities now, get over the shock and offense, and move on with her life. Otherwise, she will be constantly shocked and appalled by her colleagues in the “real world” as she matures. Am I a terrible parent?

        • quinersdiner on November 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

          My parenting prowress was at a peak prior to actually having children. Once you have you own, you learn each child is unique and sometimes one parenting technique that works with one child doesn’t work so well with others. I was properly humbled. Suffice it to say, I am not about to judge your parenting. (For the record, my kids turned out very well in spite of me. Thank goodness for their Mom!) I once might have agreed with your premise, but I no longer do. I have seen first hand the remarkable contrast between kids being home schooled vs. those who aren’t. They make the case by their example for protecting our kids from obscenities, vulgarity, terrible values, and violence for as long as possible. I thank for you writing and hope you come again. I’d like to hear more from you.

  2. Sue Snith on November 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    My children attend Catholic schools and yet there are days I look at homeschooling very hard. Well written, Tom. Could not agree more! Go homeschoolers! Save us from ourselves!

    • quinersdiner on November 6, 2012 at 9:05 am

      I hear you, Sue. All of my kids went through Catholic School through at least 8th grade, and one went on to Dowling. We were pleased in many respects. If we were doing it again, though, we would think long and hard which way to go: Catholic vs. home schooling.