Homeschooling Provides a Bonus Education for Your Child

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

More and more parents are homeschooling their children in the United States. Most of the reasons that parents decide to homeschool has to do with giving their child a better education at home. In 2007-2008, the Federal Government reported taxpayers paid $10,297 per student    (   but unfortunately U.S. students continue to perform very poorly globally no matter how much money is put into education. (In addition to the $10, 297, this report said 55% of the students are bused nationally at $854/student which adds to the cost per student).

Children Love Homeschooling Because of its Flexibility

Last year when my husband took me to Alaska for my 60th birthday, we met a family who was traveling on the Alaska Railroad from Denali back to Anchorage. Their trip was a homeschool educational trip. They were hiking, camping, learning how to survive in the wilderness and learning about Alaska up front and in person. The boy was 15.  The girl was 12.  The mother, not a college educated teacher, has consistently homeschooled her children.  The family lived in South Carolina.  The father was a pilot for an airline and retired from the Air Force.  The mother said her children were both excelling at 2 – 3 years above all their education levels based on the required testing.  Each played and excelled in sports as well according to their parents. Both children said they loved homeschooling because they experienced a lot of educational ideas that weren’t boring and they could both learn at their own pace.  The mother said she planned the day as if she had a regular job. Their educational journey started early in the day and the kids were often free in the afternoon for educational discovery trips. The mother said all the education requirements could be completed in three hours.  The curriculum was purchased from  Because homeschooling is very popular in South Carolina, the mom said there is a large group of families, called homeschool coops, that work together on teaching different subjects as needed and also traveling together for homeschool educational outings.

Public Education Has Failed Some Children Locally

It’s no secret, the Courier-Journal has consistently reported that Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) are at the bottom of the rung when it comes to education in Kentucky.  And, furthermore, Kentucky is at the bottom when it comes to education nationally. When you look at how many of the schools in the Jefferson County Public Schools are low performing, it obvious why parents are looking for options.

In many cases, both parents work in Louisville so that their children can attend a private school of their choice rather than going to an underperforming public school.  In addition, many parents in Louisville do not want their children to be bused from one side of the county to the other side.

In fact, In January, I went to a breakfast meeting sponsored by Business First where a panel discussed, What steps should Jefferson County Public Schools take to improve student performance? (I actually have written a summary of this discussion in January on this website as well). The concerns of the panel stemmed from the recruitment of professionals to Louisville.  According to the panel discussion, the reality is engaged parents want to move to a city where they can be assured that their children will receive a good education.  In Louisville, the alternative to JCPS is private, Catholic or Christian schools but they are very costly some as high as $10,000 per year per child.  As a result, according to the panel, some businesses may be required to increase the salary allowance so they can enroll their children in private schools in an effort to entice professionals to move to Louisville.

Home School Is Affordable & Effective

With the downturn in the economy, parents may want take a look at another option: homeschool.

Today there are many resources available for homeschooling: from unit studies to online sources to all-in-one curricula.   But the best news is that homeschooling is actually based on student-paced learning. Students can progress at their own pace and not be penalized for students who are very slow learners or need repeated discipline which often occurs in a large classroom setting.

Homeschoolers can also take advantage of local educational opportunities at museums, community centers, after-school programs, churches, science preserves, parks and other community resources.  The homeschooler can go to educational organizations at off times because of the flexibility in their curriculums.

In addition, some states, like Maine, Florida and New Mexico, have laws which permit homeschooling families to utilize public school resources such as members of sports teams, school bands, and even speech therapy classes. Keep in mind, homeschooling families pay taxes for these services.

Homeschool Students Excel on Standardized Tests

The National Education Research Institute conducted a comparative study regarding homeschooled students and their public schools peers on standardized tests. The results indicated that homeschooled students outperform their peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects.

One of the members of my bible study homeschooled all of her 4 children. She reported that three of her children received full scholarships to the University of Dayton. The youngest child had not graduated from high school yet. The mother was NOT a college educated teacher but just a mother who wanted to be involved in her children’s education process.  Don’t let the fact that you are not a college educated teacher hold you back. In Louisville, there are a number of homeschool coops.

You can find a lot of information on the internet regarding homeschooling.   For more information about homeschooling in Kentucky go to

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Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian ( who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years. Check out Barbara’s new healthy lifestyles website: