MPBN Maine Calling

Homeschooling is on the rise. The Maine Department of Education tracks the numbers of homeschoolers who send in Letters of Intent (not those enrolled in RAPPS or option 2 private schools).

  • 2004-2005= 4,094
  • 2005-2006= 4,721
  • 2006-2007= 4,571
  • 2007-2008= 4,897
  • 2008-2009= 4,998
  • 2009-2010= 4,927
  • 2010-2011= 5,099
  • 2011-2012 = 4,730
  • 2012-2013 = 4,991

Maine Public Broadcasting has taken notice. A few days ago they hosted two homeschooling moms and a 16-year-old homeschooling boy for a discussion on home education. Unfortunately, I missed the program, but was able to listen to it on their podcast link.

I was pleasantly surprised by the program. Although, I suppose I really shouldn’t have been. Both homeschooling mothers were well spoken and had thoughtful responses to the questions asked of them. I was most impressed by the 16-year-old homeschooled boy, Desmond. It wasn’t until the end of the program that I learned he was part of a debate team. He was extremely articulate and helped to show homeschooling in a very positive light.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a discussion about homeschooling unless someone asked about socialization. One of the homeschooling moms, Belinda Ray, used to be a public school teacher. She talked about how students in that environment “socialize” during three minute breaks between classes or 20 minute recess. On the other hand, homeschooling children often have two hours or more to play during “social” outings. It also typically becomes more of an inter-generational social setting since homeschooled children go with their whole families. They interact (or socialize) with adults, infants, younger children, and older children. I have found this to be very true in our experience.

She also shared how when she was a public school English teacher her class had 30 students in it. It would take her four days to have two minute consults with each student about research papers. This meant the rest of the class would be doing busy work for four days while this occurred. Obviously, there is more one-on-one time when you homeschool. Depending on how many students you have at home, it’s either more of a tutoring type situation (1-2 students) or a one-room-classroom situation (3+ students). I would venture to say that there is rarely (if ever) a day when one would have their home educated student doing busy work – at all! Every moment is used to its fullest to educate the child at home.

I highly recommend taking the time to listen. Both mothers share some wonderful information about homeschooling. I felt it was very encouraging to me and found myself nodding along in agreement often.

With so much negative in the news about homeschooling, it was a breath of fresh air to see some positive light being shed on home education. This article states that homeschooling has grown by 75% since 1999. My favorite statement was this: “…the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year.”

This is why I’m so passionate about supporting everyone who opts to educate their children at home. More and more people are making the decision every day to homeschool their children, as such, I’ll be here to help them on that journey.

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