Sunday, December 30, 2012

10 New Year Activities for Kids!

By Erin McNeill
New Year’s Eve is an exciting time for everyone; why not take the time to plan an extraordinary event for the kids in your life? Everyone in the family can be involved in the activities to help create a healthy and safe New Year for all of your family members.
  1. Create your own time capsule – Throughout the year gather clippings and other artifacts from important events that happened and put them all in a time capsule. Add in souvenirs and a few pictures from places you visited also. Store it in a safe place and decide together when you’ll open it again. It would be fun to open it each year and go through the contents and then add mementos from the previous year.
  2. Make party hats – Create your own party hats for your celebration! Decorate them before you assemble them; you can use pom-poms, glitter, sequins, glitter glue, ribbon, and anything else you fancy.
  3. Decorate cookies – Bake a bunch of sugar cookies ahead of time and have frosting ready to go for some serious cookie decorating. Make sure you have a lot of fancy decorations on hand like sprinkles and sanding sugars!
  4. Make fancy kid drinks – Have some sparkling juices and ingredients for Shirley Temple’s on hand so that the kids can feel fancy at their New Year’s Eve party. Having some fresh fruit to drop into the glasses before serving will ensure that the kids feel like the grown-ups!
  5. Play traditional party games with a New Year’s theme – Keep kids involved in the celebration (without them getting too wild and out of control!) by planning some party games. Pin the party hat on the person, musical chairs with holiday themed music, and a sequined ball piƱata are just some of the activities to choose from.
  6. Make your own sequined balls – Create your own ball just like the one they drop at midnight! All you need is a two-inch foam ball, some straight pins or craft glue, colorful sequins, and a chenille stem. Older kids can use straight pins to pin the sequins into the balls while younger kids can glue the sequins on (be sure to allow drying time). Push a chenille stem part way through the top and use the other end as a hanger. Hang up all of the balls and admire the festive atmosphere you’ve created.
  7. Learn how to say Happy New Year in many languages – Make cards that show how to say Happy New Year in different languages and practice them on each other. Be sure to include a phonetic pronunciation of each language to help your guests read the cards. If you want to be really tricky you can make your guests guess which language each card is from!
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Sunday, November 11, 2012


Please read this letter from a former student of mine. He has lost his home, business and two vehicles! Please consider donating to his fund at this site:

To my friends and family,

Thank you all for your well wishes and your prayers I deeply appreciate them. My friend Lisa has been good enough to post on here for me and today I'm in Rockville center for some Wifi, to post this.

So everyone understands, I'm appreciative of FEMA, the National Guard, and the Red Cross but the reality of the situation is that when this type of disaster happens the first responders, neighbors, and yourself are what will get you through. My day begins at 5:30 am when I get up and get myself, my son, and my dog ready. I power my cell phone on the car charger while we drive to get online for gas two towns away and fill up our gas cans and the car we are using. My car was submerged by the bay on Monday night.  My mother is letting me use her car after the cars at my parent’s house were miraculously left untouched. After an hour wait for gas we see if we can grab a guilty luxury of hot coffee somewhere and maybe a newspaper to see if anyone can tell us when the power could be back.

My father will be at city hall at 9am. His usual routine is to ask questions and be told to talk to FEMA officials. When he asks where they are no one knows. The FEMA volunteers are giving out water and food today by the schools but anyone with answers will be available at some point later. I sat outside Starbucks in Rockville center to get WiFi and filled out my FEMA application on their website for my home and my business both of which are ruined. The house I will clean out on Monday but it is 17 miles away and I don't want to drive out there until I know gas will be easier to obtain. The business will only be given a loan at 4% and only after I go through my insurance. My insurance broker has been unreachable for the business and when I drive to Rockville center tomorrow for cell service I will try the main company. At best they will look at my store in 2weeks and most likely a month, not sure when FEMA will or what either will do or what I will qualify for, it's mostly just about waiting when it comes to either of them. I stop by home depot to try and get a kerosene space heater but they are sold out. I'm bummed. I wanted to buy one for my grandmother and my friend who have no heat other than their gas stoves. I stop at ACE and they are out too but just got kerosene fuel in so I buy two gallons just in case I get heater later.

We drop newspapers and gas off to my parents and then meet the kids who work for me at my store to clean up the place. They are great kids. They know I can't pay them for awhile and they still show up, to say I'm thankful would be an understatement, and their parents should be proud of the kind of kids they raised. My store is ruined. The floor and roof caved in the back and the floor is sinking in the front. The water rose past any barriers and flooded out the store, destroying

all the inventory including the early inventory we brought for Christmas. The florist case is destroyed and the flowers are rotting in the case. Every plant in my greenhouse was flooded with salt water, every bag of soil, and fertilizer is ruined. We put a forklift and Gerard's motorcycle in here for protection and both appear to be dead. The front of the greenhouse was smashed when the rising water brought pallets of soils from the back of the store to front, crashing them in to the benches that then pushed in the front wall of the greenhouse. The heating systems were destroyed and the pickup was flooded as well. Today we will work cleaning out the store till 3. I speak to my friend who owns the repair shop across the street. He asks me if he could buy some fire wood but I refuse his money and tell him to take what he needs. He lost everything in his shop. All his tools and equipment are gone. He got in touch with his insurance broker who told him he is covered for hazard but not flood. He doesn't want a loan to get back in business so he will take his own savings to reopen. He is a good man and I'm sorry for him. We had some people come in to buy firewood even after I warned them it needed days to dry out from the salt water and wet sand covering it. They didn't care. It broke my heart to turn one guy away when he didn't have cash, but there is no power for credit and we are down to three chords of wood. If I knew I could get more wood I would have given it to him but I can't get a hold of my wood guy. We finish cleaning and as we head out, I thank everyone.

While there is still light out I walk Nula through the town. The pictures I saw in the paper don't do it justice and they don’t describe the smell of oil and gasoline that had been everywhere. There is a 12' section of the boardwalk on top of a red Nissan a half of a mile from where the boardwalk used to be. It’s quiet too, with just the sounds of generators or clean-up crews breaking the silence, but the liveliness that was this town is gone. The bull dozers have been pushing the beach out of the streets round the clock for two days now and the west end of long beach is obliterated. All the apartment buildings have been vacated except for the supers who are pumping water out. I bump into my uncle who is back from the rockaways and tells me they are worse. His neighbor’s house in belle harbor is missing the front. He tells me the Hess in Island Park opened one pump an hour ago and the gas line is 2miles long already. He told me state troopers are there to keep it in order. My beautiful beachside town I grew up in and love has its sidewalks lined with the contents of people's homes, all just ruined. There are so many abandoned cars that they have been slapped with stickers so the tow companies know which to get later. I walk by my friend Carlos's clothing store. It's boarded up but I already know he must have lost everything there. I remember reading that Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen are doing a benefit concert for the devastated areas. I think it's kinda funny that they think they will help anyone when they really need it. If they didn't do the concert and sent some generators here that might be of help, but I'm not a fan of either so I'm just a little jaded. I have to get home before curfew starts. The National Guard will arrest anyone on the street after 7pm.  5 days of this and I'm exhausted, I just have to hold out till it’s back to normal.

I would like to say I talk to my parents but I'm so mentally tired I just nod a lot and tell them I don't know. I try not to speak because I want to keep level headed and focus on what I can do. When I think of what I can't control I start to lose it. I tell my parents LIPA might have the power on by November 10 or 11th by what the paper said but I don't think we will have before Thanksgiving because of a nor'easter that might hit next Wednesday. They say we might have water by Monday or Tuesday and we shouldn't use the tap to even wash. My son brings firewood in and I am thankful for him. He has been my right arm since he moved in with me and I try to keep strong for him. I don't know where we will live when the power comes back. The house I have I had just rented out was destroyed, and the apartment that I was renting most likely will be condemned. The foundation shifted in the flood and until they get a structural engineer they can't pump the water out of the basement for fear it might collapse. Apartments will be hard to find because there won't be that many livable ones available and most of my savings will be used up just living without any income coming in from my store. I spend my night watching my son play with my nephew. My nephew runs through the house laughing the way only toddlers can. It has become my greatest joy watching them and spending time with my parents, my sisters and my nephew. God can show you how important the little things you take for granted are. I try not to let everything else worry me and just dwell on these things, letting them become my most important memories. I thank the Lord that so far everyone I know is ok. I thank him that my parent’s home was ok and they have heat and room for my son and I. I am fortunate compared to most. I hope I can find some heaters for my grandmother and my friend. It’s going to be chilly at night now and they could get sick. I know my uncles will take care of my grandmother but they are in the Rockaways and if thats worse then here then I have to help them. We might get assistance by the end of the month but I can't think that far ahead. I just need to get through tonight and get ready for tomorrow, where I will get up at 5:30am and start over again. Keep us in your prayers and if you choose to help someone find out what they need and fed ex/ups it. They will get it from you before any government assistance will get there, and it will go directly to them. I love you all, God Bless you.

Sean Newman Long Beach, NY

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

10 iPhone Apps for Preschoolers That Reinforce Letter Recognition

Learning the alphabet and memorizing the shapes and sounds that each letter makes is a big job for preschoolers, and is one that requires plenty of practice and a method of teaching that keeps kids engaged and excited to learn. The power that Apple’s wildly popular iPhone has to grasp kids’ attention and help them learn new skills through interactive apps and games make it a very valuable tool in any parent’s teaching repertoire. These 10 apps can help your child learn the letters of the alphabet, and provide an entertaining refresher course any time he’s in need.

  1. LetterRecognition – This $1.99 app focuses on helping your children learn to name random letters of the alphabet accurately and in a timely manner. The letters appear in both upper- and lower-case form, and in or out of alphabetical order to ensure that your little one is learning how to recognize each of them independently.
  2. Bogga Alphabet – Pre-reading preschoolers will love this interactive, virtual version of the same brightly-colored magnetized letters they already know and love. In addition to reinforcing kids’ ability to recognize letters, Bogga Alphabet also lets kids listen to audio pronunciations and practice their skills as a budding spelling bee champion by lining letters up to form short words.
  3. Little Writer – The Tracing App for Kids – By tracing the lines of each letter in the alphabet, kids are able to commit those shapes to memory and boost their ability to recognize those letters. This free app is customizable in order to suit a variety of skill levels and offers a reward system based upon correct responses. As an added bonus, you can record audio yourself so that every lesson your child learns is in your familiar voice.
  4. Alphabet Zoo – Designed by educators as an effective method of helping kids learn letter-sound association, this $0.99 app is a valuable tool in your arsenal when it comes to helping your child learn to recognize letters and build the skills he’ll need when he begins to read. Built around concepts that are embraced by the US Common Core curriculum standards for phonics and word recognition, this app is well worth the small investment it requires.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

30 Blogs That Focus on Kindergarten Readiness

Moving into kindergarten is a big step, whether your little one is coming from a public preschool, a private one or a home-based preschool program. As you make the transition to kindergarten, there are some basic skills that you’ll need to work on together before the big day arrives, along with some things you’ll need to consider as a parent. These 30 blogs are all about helping children master those skills before school starts, and helping you make the right decisions for him when the time rolls around.

Reading Fundamentals

By the time your child is ready to begin kindergarten, he should be able to recite the alphabet with few problems and be able to recognize letters independently. These skills make up the foundation of reading and writing, and are emphasized heavily in most curricula. In these five blog posts, you’ll find information on promoting these fundamental skills, along with tips and tricks to help your child master them.

Color Recognition

Having a basic understanding of shapes and colors is one of the primary building blocks of cognitive development, which is one of the reasons why most preschool and kindergarten programs emphasize it so heavily. The activities, ideas and advice offered in these five blog posts can put your little one on the fast track to memorizing the names and being able to recognize his colors.

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Qualities that Make You a Good Teacher

Click here to read my article on Helium. It's 1/52 right now.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm a Finalist for the 2012 Literary Classics Book Awards!!

I'm thrilled to announce that "Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep" is a finalist in the 2012 Literary Classics Book awards. The winners will be announced on October 15th.To see the complete list of finalists for picture books and young adult books click

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

30 Blogs About Kindergarten Readiness

One of childhood’s major milestones is starting kindergarten. If you opted to forgo formal preschool in the interest of keeping your child at home for one last year, then his first year of school will also be his first year of experience with leaving home, a classroom environment and interacting with large groups of his peers. Thanks to the plethora of parenting and childcare blogs on the Internet, figuring out how to prepare your little one for his foray into the world of “big kid” school is as simple as clicking the mouse.

Entry Requirements
While the particular entry requirements of each kindergarten will vary from state to state and even from one school district to the next, there are some things that are so common as to be considered almost universal. These five blogs cover the typical entry requirements, and how you can make sure that you’re on the right track.
Theories that vaccines cause everything from autism to asthma have spurred a growing number of new parents to eschew vaccines altogether. While this trendy new practice is gathering steam, many of these parents find themselves in an unforeseen pickle when their child’s kindergarten requires vaccination records. These five blogs handle the subject of vaccinations and kindergarten enrollment.
Fort the rest of this article go here.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

My English Author Cousin Inspires Art in Wirral Children

My cousin Carl Leckey has published 8 books. His latest children's book is about to hit the market with a cover created by a local student. check out the article:

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

K is for Keys of the Kingdom Movement Exploration

Movement education activities are a perfect way to foster creativity and develop both fine and gross motor skills in young children. It builds self esteem as well because there are no wrong responses. In this activity we feature the letter K. It's a super way to introduce or reinforce phonics in the home or at school. Why not follow up with some kicking games?

Movements are indicated in BOLD. Put on some Regal sounding trumpet music and read the story slowly. Remember to give time between sentences for children to explore their movements.

Kevin the king was a kindergarten kid with nothing to do. He kept a key hidden in his kilt. What would the key unlock?

Use the key to unlock this big box. There’s kelp to eat. There's a kettle of tea to drink.  Kerplunk!  A klutzy kitten falls out of the box and cries.  Kiss the kitten and tell him, “It’s alright.”

Let’s use our key to open the door to the zoo! A kooky kangaroo is kickboxing. Let’s kick high. Now kick to the side. The kind koala bear is playing the kazoo. Keep in line and play with him.  Jump into the kayak and paddle down the river.

The key opens the kitchen door too! Karl, my kin, is making kebob. Yum!  Let’s put some ketchup on our kebob.  Eat it all up. Now turn on the karaoke machine and sing and dance with me!

It’s time to turn our key in the playground gate.  Let’s play kickball. Kick the ball far and run around the bases.  King Kevin sees a king snake in the outfield.” Run and hide. It can kill you,” he says.  “Just kidding. It won’t hurt you.”

Use the key to open the kite kit. Let’s make a kite! Tie the sticks together and glue the paper on.  Add the string. Run and let the wind carry the kite up into the sky. Let’s make believe we are kites. Float on the wind.  Dip down and make a circle.  Duck down. Watch out for that kiwi vine.  Now soar up high!

There’s a kazillion things to do in the king’s kingdom!

Kathy Stemke's websites:
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Monday, June 25, 2012

The 50 Best Blogs for Future Teachers

Jumping into the teaching profession certainly poses quite the potential for intimidation. After all, the very fate of future generations does hang in the balance and all. But no novice educator has to ride off into the career-tinted sunset alone after graduation. Plenty of seasoned professionals, administrators, and parents have beaucoup advice and experience to offer. Open up a little and listen to what they have to say; not all of it will necessarily stick, but learning experiences lurk in each little snippet. Supplement conversations with mentors and peers with the following blogs, or, if you’re especially brave, reach out and ask some of the writers for the best resources and approaches for helping your students shine.

  1. School Counselor Blog: Danielle Schultz and her crew talk about the issues and strategies involved with counseling kindergarteners through 12th graders on both academic and personal matters.
  2. The Principal Blog: Here, an elementary school principal opens up about the day-to-day elements of her job and shares resources and ideas that have helped her through different dilemmas.
  3. Superintendent’s Blog: While it understandably doesn’t update as frequently as some of the other blogs listed here, this Bedford, Mass.-based read sheds quite a bit of light on what running an entire school district involves.
  4. A Principal’s Reflections: Considered one of the best administrator bloggers on the Internet, New Milford High School’s Eric Sheninger is an award-winning, Google-certified instructor with amazing insight into the education industry.
  5. School Counseling Matters: Aimed at parents and teachers, School Counseling Matters offers up some incredibly valuable resources about what all the eponymous career path entails.
  6. Blogs at American Association of School Administrators: All the reads hosted here cover a wide range of administration positions, and therefore perspectives, so hop on over and learn a thing or two about what all goes into keeping a whole school chugging along as smoothly as possible.
  7. Michael Smith’s Principals Page: Stop here for exceptionally detailed musings about everything principalia, which expands upon content from the surrounding website.
  8. School Library Monthly: Libraries are essential to a successful academic institution, so teachers new and old should pay close attention to how they work and what they offer students, faculty, and staff alike.
  9. The Principal of Change: George Couros is eager to forge progressive classroom strategies that enrich and engage students, teachers, and parents so everyone grows and learns something.
  10. AASL Blog: The American Association of School Libraries keeps readers constantly updated about the latest news and views hailing from … well … exactly what its name implies.

For the remaining sites go to

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Homeschooler’s Guide to Getting Into College

There's a common misconception that homeschoolers have difficulty when it comes to getting into college. This may have been true 20 years ago, but these days, colleges are making the process of admissions for homeschoolers simple and fair. In fact, many colleges are now seeking out homeschoolers themselves, as homeschooled students tend to be excellent college students. Here, we've gathered several facts, tips, and helpful resources that you can put to work to ensure that your college admissions process as a homeschooler is smooth and successful.

Did you know that Harvard recruits homeschoolers, and that most homeschoolers have a higher GPA than regular students? Read on for these facts and more.

Top schools including Harvard, MIT, Duke, Yale, and Stanford are all actively recruiting homeschoolers. These schools don't just grudgingly accept homeschooled students, they do everything they can to get them in the door, recognizing that homeschoolers are often better prepared for college than their brick-and-mortar schooled peers.

Some homeschoolers may remember a day when it was difficult to get into college as a homeschooler, but these days, colleges are increasingly adjusting their admissions policies to be more homeschool-friendly. Many accept portfolios of work instead of transcripts, and offer a more flexible admissions procedure.

In highly competitive admissions situations, it can be hard for students to differentiate themselves from the rest of small army of applicants all vying for the same spots. Students with homeschooled experience have an advantage here, as they're different, in a good way.

A rumor has been floating around that if homeschoolers want to be eligible for federal student aid, they'll need to get a GED. This is not true: homeschooled students are specifically exempt from this requirement. But be careful, some colleges and universities believe this myth to be true.

University of St. Thomas researcher Michael Cogan has found that often, homeschool students earn more college credits before their freshman year of college than other students. On average, homeschoolers had 14.7 college credits, versus 6.0 credits for traditional school students.

Throughout their college careers, students from a homeschooled background tend to do better than traditional students. Homeschool freshmen in their first semester at college average a 3.37 GPA to the 3.08 of other freshmen, and continue to keep their advantage even into senior year with 3.46 versus 3.16.

Follow these tips to make your college admissions process easy as a homeschooler.

Colleges will expect to see that you've met certain criteria, so be sure that you know ahead of time what you need to complete in your high school years. Keep careful records and be ready to share what you've learned in a transcript so that colleges can better understand what you've been working on.

Find out when you'll need to take the SAT, submit your application, and work out your financial aid well in advance. Add all of these important dates to your calendar and don't let them slip.

You don't have to be in college to get college credit these days. High schoolers, including homeschooled ones, can earn college credit while in high school, taking advantage of duel enrollment, CLEP tests, distance learning, and AP courses.

Most homeschoolers do a great job of this already, but it's important enough to point out, even if it's just a reminder: extracurricular activities, community groups, and taking extra initiative to do things will really help you shine. Remember to keep a record of each of these activities so you don't forget to mention them when applying.

Experts report that even schools that typically don't read every essay will almost always read essays from homeschoolers. Why? Most admissions officers presume a bias in transcripts and give special attention to other documentation. That means that you'll really have to deliver when it comes to your essay, letters of recommendation, and test scores.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Banks County Schools Author Visit

I had a fantastic time with 120 first graders at the Primary School of Banks County. Working with two classes at a time, I read my two books, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep and Trouble on Earth Day. Afterwards, we did a jumping game with consonant blends and a craft project invovlving recycled objects.

We sure had fun!!
To schedule an author visit for your school just email me at dancekam1 at yahoo dot com.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

10 Telling Studies Done on Homeschooling

Homeschooling often gets an undeserved bad rap, largely through a whole host of myths and stereotypes about the practice that aren't really founded in reality. The truth is that homeschooled children get an education that's just as high in quality as their public and private schooled peers, sometimes even more so, and enjoy a whole host of outside extracurricular activities. Many, if not most, go on to success in college and in their careers. There's plenty of research to back those statements up, too, as studies over the past few decades have proven that homeschooling can actually have some pretty great benefits for students. Here, we highlight some of the most striking findings from those studies, showcasing some stats that will help dispel any lingering myths about the socialization and effectiveness aspects of homeschooling.

  1. A study of homeschooled students showed that they scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized tests

    Homeschooled students seem to have an edge when it comes to taking standardized tests. Dr. Brian Ray studied results from 15 independent testing centers and compiled them in a larger report in 2009. The results were striking. Homeschooled students in multiple states showed significantly higher scores than their public school peers, doing the best in reading (89 vs. 50) and science (86 vs. 50), a difference of almost 40 percentile points.
  2. More money spent on homeschool education doesn't correlate with better outcomes.

    While many public figures believe the solution to poor results in public education is to throw more money at schools, homeschools may just prove that that isn't necessary (or wise). Dr. Ray's study also showed that household income had little impact on the test results of homeschooled children, with only a 4% difference between the highest and lowest income groups. What's more, when parental spending on education was analyzed, families spending less money actually had slightly better scores than those spending more (an average of 89th percentile in families spending $600 or less versus an average of 86th percentile for families spending more than $600 a year).
  3. States with more stringent homeschool regulations do not have better test scores

    Many states have extremely strict regulations when it comes to homeschooling, with the idea that it helps to improve student outcomes and ensure that all kids get a good education, no matter where they go to school. While there's no harm in that and the regulations no doubt help protect students, the reality is that even in states without strict regulations many parents tend to do a pretty good job of pushing themselves to give their kids the best education possible. Studies found no difference in test scores between homeschooled students in states with high regulation versus states with low regulation. In both, students scored on average in the 87th percentile, high above public school averages.
  4. Most homeschooled students are socially well-adjusted

    One of the biggest concerns many have about homeschooled children is that they are missing out on interacting with other children and fully developing social skills. While there are undoubtedly some children to which this applies, generally speaking, studies have shown quite the opposite. In a study by John Wesley Taylor that set out to measure levels of "self-concept," a key factor in determining self-esteem, it was found that 50% of homeschooled children scored above the 90th percentile. Only 10.3% of homeschooled children scored below the national average. In another study, when homeschooled children were compared with private school children, no significant differences were found in psycho-social development.
  5. Racial and socioeconomic differences are far less impactful in homeschooled children

    One of the biggest issues with public schools in America is a huge gap in achievement between minority and economically disadvantaged students and their peers. Because students in a homeschool environment get such focused attention and numerous opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, these differences disappear. In a study of more than 20,000 homeschooled students, Dr. Lawrence Rudner found that the race of the student made little difference in achievement. In math, white homeschooled students scored in the 82nd percentile while minority students scored in the 77th percentile (though overall both groups were equal in their achievement at the 87th percentile). In public schools, this gap is much larger, with white students scoring in the 58th percentile in math and minority students in the 24th percentile. Similarly, studies found almost no difference between the scores of wealthy and poor families who were homeschooling children.
  6. Homeschoolers tend to score above the national average on both their SAT and ACT scores

    Being homeschooled could be an advantage when it comes to getting great scores on college entrance exams as well. Statistics from ACT show that homeschooled students get an average of 22.8 on the ACT versus a 21 for the average American student. When it comes to the SAT, homeschoolers score an average of 72 points higher than their peers. It is important to note, however, that critics point out that the numbers may be skewed due to a number of demographic factors, which could be pushing homeschool scores higher than that of public or private schooled students.
  7. Homeschooled students generally fare very well in college

    Those higher college entrance exam scores might just be paying off for homeschooled students who choose to go on to college. Research by Michael Cogan at the University of St. Thomas found that homeschooled students earned a better GPA on average throughout their college careers and that homeschooled students were more likely to graduate than their peers (66.7% versus 57.5%) And homeschoolers might have another advantage. The same study found that homeschool students often enter college with more credit than their peers, having 8.7 more credit hours before their freshman year than traditional students. Some colleges, like Boston University and Dartmouth, actively recruit homeschooled students.
  8. Homeschooled children are, on average, almost one grade level ahead of their peers

    While grade levels mean less in a homeschool environment than they do in public and private schools, students who are homeschooled often outperform their peers. One study found that on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, 92% of homeschool students were above grade level in math and 93% were at or above level in reading. In a 1986 study by Lauri Scogin, it was found that 72% of homeschooled children scored a year above their grade level in reading, with almost 50% scoring a year above or more in math. Other state-specific studies, like one done in Arizona, also found similar results.
  9. More homeschooled children participate in community activities

    Homeschool children aren't stuck at home, like many stereotypes would have you believe. Research has found that homeschooled children are actually much more likely to participate in community service than their traditionally schooled peers. They're also much more likely to keep up this involvement as they age, with 71% of homeschool graduates participating in an ongoing community service activity, compared with just 37% of similarly selected adults from traditional educational backgrounds. Homeschooled adults are also more likely to vote, at a rate of 76% versus 29% of the corresponding U.S. population.
  10. Structure and education play a big role in homeschool outcomes

    Not all homeschool experiences are created equal. Studies have shown that students coming from homeschools where one or both parents have a college degree scored significantly better on standardized tests than those who were being educated by parents without college degrees. Education wasn't the only factor needed for success, however. One Canadian study found that students who were homeschooled in a structured way had much better educational outcomes across the board when compared to public school students. Those in unstructured environments, sometimes called "unschooling," underperformed their public school peers. While this study had an extremely small sample size and may not be applicable across the board, it's important to note that not all homeschool experiences can be lumped together in terms of methods and long-term success.
While these studies certainly show homeschooling in a positive light, it's important to note that they aren't meant to demonstrate that homeschooling is a superior educational method or that public and private schools aren't offering students a high-quality education. What they do show, however, is that homeschool students do quite well in their given educational environments, and that many stereotypes and misconceptions about homeschooling are baseless.

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