Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 5/9

08 May

Parents are a vital element of a child and teen’s education. Parents must be involved even if the children are attending public or private schools.

Teachers cannot do it all.

Students must read daily at home, do classwork, homework, and study for tests.  The job of a parent is to make sure the student does that work.  If a student fails a class while attending school, the main reason is he or she was not doing the work or studying while in class or at home and the parent failed in his or her job.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are about 64 million students in primary through secondary schools in America, while It has been estimated that 1.5 million students were homeschooled in the United States in 2007 (with a confidence interval of 1.3 to 1.7 million), constituting 2.9% of students.

It’s obvious that if a parent is teaching his or her children at home, the family is spending quality time together instead of watching too much TV, playing video games, sending text messages, or social networking on the Internet (see Recognizing Good Parenting – Part 2 for the average breakdown of time for each activity).

Instead, home taught students talk several hours a day with parents, and it pays off.

Academic statistics for home-taught students is impressive.

In 1997, a study of 5,402 home school students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America. The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.

This was confirmed in another study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of 20,760 homeschooled students, which found the homeschoolers who have been home taught their entire mandatory school years had the highest academic achievement.

Another important finding of Strengths of Their Own was that the race of the student does not make any difference. There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. For example, in grades K-12, both white and minority students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile.

The motivations for home schooling are based on a concern about the school environment (85% of parents that teach at home); a desire to provide religious or moral instruction (72% of parents); and a dissatisfaction with academic instruction at schools 68%.

There are other reasons but these three areas make up the majority.

In addition, reports, “For the third consecutive year, ACT college admissions test scores are higher for homeschoolers than for other students. Homeschoolers’ average composite score was 22.8, compared to the national average of 21, out of a possible 36. On the SAT, homeschoolers, who comprise less than 1 percent of test takers, earned 568 verbal and 532 in math. The national average…was 505 verbal and 514 math.”

A few more facts from Home School Resources may clarify the picture more.

– 71% of homeschoolers actively participate in the community. Traditionally schooled students averaged only 37%.

– 76% of homeschoolers were more likely to be involved in civic affairs, compared to only 36% of their public-schooled counterparts.

– 58.9% of the homeschoolers surveyed reported they were “very happy” with life, in contrast to 27.6% of traditional students.

If you are a parent that is home teaching your children, breathe a sigh of relief, because the odds are that you do not fit the definition of the American “average” or “norm” for a parent.

Another factor that plays an important role in being a parent is peer pressure among teens, which I will deal with in Part 6.

Continued on May 9, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 6 or return to Part 4


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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