Homeschooling is an increasingly popular option for Oregon parents who want to participate directly in their children’s education.
More than 22,000 Oregon children, out of an estimated 578,947 total children, are registered as homeschoolers, an August 24 news story by KATU.com reporter Jackie Labreque reports. The total number of homeschooled children is likely higher because not all parents comply with the state Department of Education’s reporting requirements.
Oregon parents who want to educate their children at home are required to file paperwork with the local government school education service district (ESD) within ten days of the child’s withdrawal from a government or private school.
Sweet Water, Oregon resident Dana Morehead homeschooled her two children for a total of 16 years. Morehead says the benefits of homeschooling were well worth the time and expense.
“It was a full-time job, but I loved it,” Morehead said. “It allowed me to individualize their education, to focus on what they were weak on and what they were strong in, and encourage them to develop their skills to the best of their abilities.”
Brian Ray, president and cofounder of the National Home Education Research Institute, says the ability to personalize curricula to meet children’s individual needs is a significant advantage home education holds over other choices available to parents.
“When you homeschool, you can customize, or individualize, the curriculum,” Ray said. “If a child has some challenges in schooling, what do you do? You give him an individualized education plan, or IEP. Well, that’s kind of like homeschooling. If you want it to be, home education can be one year-long IEP, and you don’t have to pay anybody to do it. The taxpayer doesn’t have to pay anybody to do it.”
‘Concerned for Their Kids’
Morehead says homeschooling gave her the ability to ensure her children were receiving the skills they needed to succeed.
“I have a lot of parents talk to me and ask me questions about homeschooling and how to get started,” Morehead said. “They’re concerned for their kids, whether it be the quality of education their kids are receiving, or the environment that the kids are having to be in in the schools. If a child is struggling in school, they’re not getting the help they need in the public school.”
Studies show the educational outcomes of home education are comparable, if not superior, to those of children in government schools, Ray says.
“Research shows that homeschool kids are at least as good academically as public school kids,” Ray said, “The public schools have all government-certified teachers, and they spend $11,000 per year on each child. The homeschoolers do it with non-government-certified teachers and no tax dollars.
“The research shows, in study after study after study for 35 years now, homeschool kids do better academically than kids in public schools,” Ray said. “It’s not an attack on public schools.”
Ray says it’s clear why homeschooling works well for children.
“If you only have two or three kids in your classroom, nobody’s offering them drugs, nobody’s trying to get them to watch pornography, nobody’s trying to get them to join a gang,” Ray said. “Why wouldn’t they do better?”