Column: Homeschoolers study too

By Gus Bode

Autumn is upon us. Green, summer leaves are quickly changing into brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow. The wind blows, swirling the leaves to the ground. They jump across the road as we drive by. Wouldn’t it be fun to rake up a pile and jump into it?

Those ideas quickly vanish as the reality of papers due, tests to study for and appointments to attend set in. But I know a group of kids who will be playing in the leaves no matter what the time of day. They don’t have to wait until public school gets out because they don’t attend public school. These kids are homeschooled. I know first-hand because I am a homeschool graduate.

While it’s true that homeschoolers often have a more flexible schedule than traditional students, there are some misconceptions about this form of education that I would like to address.


First, homeschooling is not an inferior form of education. Having a parent as the teacher does not mean the education is lacking. My mom chose to stay at home and educate me rather than have someone else do it. Homeschooling allowed me to take my time on more difficult subjects and go ahead on others. Homeschoolers believe there is no cookie-cutter way to teach children. Every student learns differently and tackles subjects differently. For example, math was not my favorite subject, but it was for my younger brother. We studied it at different paces, which was perfectly fine.

Second, homeschooling does offer social connections. There are at least five homeschool support groups in southern Illinois alone.

My family has been involved in the Association of Marion Area Christian Home Educators, or AMACHE, for as long as I can remember. Together with the families in the support group, we go on field trips, meet for organized P.E. five times a month, get together for “teen nights,” and participate in other activities together. We have been skiing and gone on camping trips as a group. AMACHE also hosts monthly meetings for families to socialize and discuss or learn more about homeschooling.

Finally, homeschooling does prepare students for college. I know many homeschool graduates currently enrolled at Rend Lake College, John A. Logan College, Shawnee College and SIUC. These students have a wide range of majors. One homeschool graduate, Bryan Norbut, was awarded the Presidential Scholarship for 2005 here at SIUC. Norbut was also able to test out of several courses.

Some homeschoolers choose to take dual credit courses at junior colleges. Dual credit allowed me to graduate from college the same year I graduated from high school. My brother, at 15, is currently enrolled in classes. There are also at least five other homeschoolers taking advantage of this option because of the flexible schedule homeschooling offers.

It would be nice to take you into a day in the life of a homeschooler, but that would take more words than I am allotted. Suffice it to say, homeschooling does offer many different options for students, and their education is in no way inferior to that of public schoolers. However, many people are not familiar with the benefits of homeschooling.

In recent years, homeschooling has come under attack. Even though it is the oldest form of education, it has undergone recent controversy. Early last month, the Regional Office of Education for Franklin and Williamson counties decided to overstep its bounds and pursue homeschoolers as a possible target. This act was unfounded and in defiance of standing laws. The claim was that any homeschooling home may be invaded and the family questioned about their homeschooling methods. Because homeschools are, by law, private schools, the regional office has no authority over them, much less the authority to search private homes.


Eventually, critics of homeschooling will discover scare tactics do not work with families committed to education. In fact, more and more people are turning to homeschooling as their choice for educating their children. Homeschool graduates, such as me, often want to carry the tradition of homeschooling on to the next generation.

I don’t think we will be seeing the last of the homeschoolers.

Lindsay is a senior studying journalism.