When we stop to look at the “why” home school students outrank public school students in the SAT scores it causes me to evaluate the basic concept behind that test. Is the test set up to evaluate what they have learned? Is it to show how successful they will be as adults? Or is it set up to show how successful they are at taking tests and following instructions?
I have worked in the public sector for many years and been in contact with numerous people helping them to improve their lives. One of the things that I found fascinating was that many of them, who were high school graduates, could not read and fill out simple forms. They could not comprehend the simple instructions on these forms. If they can not read I shudder to think what their SAT scores would show. How did they graduate from high school without this basic skill and what barriers does this set up in their lives as adults? In most public schools children are advanced on a grade level system this increases student failure. Teachers are overwhelmed with class sizes and performance evaluations that cause them to increase the amount of students who are pushed forward into levels they are not ready for. This is a basic flaw in the public school system!
As homeschool parents one of our basic goals is to teach our children how to read and comprehend what they are reading. We encourage reading of a variety of subjects therefore enhancing those skills so that the student can learn. When they are forced to take an SAT test they are better able to comprehend the questions and have a broader understanding of many different subjects. This shows part of the reasons behind the variance in homeschool vs public school statistics and why home school students continue to outrank their counterparts.
I question the very concept of the SAT and grade levels for students. There is a great need to teach our students at their ability level. By teaching at the ability level we are allowing the student to feel a pride in accomplishing goals and knocking down barriers to learning. By encouraging them to tackle hard concepts we are showing them that life is not always easy but the rewards for succeeding are wonderful! Our homeschool children are removed from the peer pressure of the grade level standards which can be devaluing to a student. When a child is consistently shown that they do not measure up to other children then they begin to feel that it is useless to try and student failure is a conclusion to the downward spiral.
A better way to evaluate the student and teaching environmental achievements might be to look at what happens in their adult lives. Do they go on to be doctors,scientists and business owners or do they become drug dealers and criminals? What do you think? Let’s discuss this!