Dec 22, 2011


Tommy took the ornament out of the little box and carelessly swung it from its hanger placing it in a very convenient spot at the bottom of the tree.
“Tomas Daren Parks! You give me that ornament right this minute!” Grandma’s voice was almost frantic. Putting up her tree wasn’t Tommy’s idea of a great weekend, especially when there was a new layer of snow on the mountain just waiting for him and his snow board. Now she had to go and get picky too. Since his mother’s death a few months ago everything sucked but his snowboard, especially living with his Grandma while his dad was AWOL.
“Here you go.” He handed his Grandma the old trinket and turned to the next item. He pulled out an intricate blub wrapped carefully in tissue paper. He carefully placed it high up in a prominent spot and turned to smile at his Grandma.
The old woman did not look up. She didn’t acknowledge his carefulness with the apparently prized object. She merely sat looking at the piece in her hands with tears running down her wrinkled cheeks. For the first time Tommy really looked at what his Grandma held.
It wasn’t large or even fancy, really it looked like a school day craft. It was an angel made out of shells with what looked like a little fake pearl was glued inside. There really wasn’t anything spectacular about it. And his Grandma was even known to take angels wings off for her decorations.
“One shell for every summer he took us to the beach.”
The old woman looked up and smiled at her Grandson. “Did you know my father was a traveling sales man?”
Tommy chewed the inside of his cheek and looked out the window at the fresh powder. “Sure Grandma. What’s next?”

Grandma took the hint and placed her hand over the treasure gently and pointed to another box in the corner. “You can put those out on the counter and then we’re done.” She opened her hands and looked down again. “You don’t mind if I remaniss while you’re at it, do you?”
Tommy shook his head slicing the box open quickly. One more box, some cookies, and service project over!
“When I was a little girl my father came home about once a month. It was a wonderful time. My mother would dress up in her one nice dress and he’d take us out on the town. How we’d laugh and dance the night away. They held hands and whispered secret jokes to one another. Of course he called to say goodnight every night but when he was home we were all so happy. Then he’d leave and my mother would turn grey and empty again. She was a good mother but we were both lonely. There was one place we were always happy.
At the sea. My father took us there for summer vacation. One whole month of walking sandy shores and collecting wonderful treasures. We were so happy on those long warm days. Five summers we did this and I would keep the most perfect shell each time. See.” She held up the ornament for Tommy to see. He looked and nodded. “We were about to leave and I knew the long days of loneliness would soon consume me again. So I ran away.” Tommy stopped mid- teddy bear and looked at his Grandma.

“You ran away?”
“Wouldn’t you?”
“No, I mean at least you had parents, right?”
“I felt like I only truly had them at the beach.”
“So how’d they find you?”
“They didn’t. She did.” Grandma held up the angel beaming at it.
“Right.” Tommy once again wondered about his Grandma’s sanity.
Grandma frowned, “You are full of things to do but you do not know what you have.” She wagged an aged finger at him, “There’s more to life and being happy than sports and friends.”
Tommy wanted to chuck the ceramic bear at her but he slammed it down instead and just kept unpacking the stupid box. All his friends were back at his home, he had nothing but sports.
“If I stayed on the beach,” she finally continued in a small pleading sort of voice, “my parents would stay and then I could watch them from afar and know that they were happy. At first I headed to a cave I knew of near the shore, but the tide was up and the cave was unreachable, so I went futher down the shore. At first I thought it was my mother’s voice calling me, so I ran. But, instead of getting away from the voice, I only got closer, until coming around a rock I saw her standing on rocks bright and beautiful.
She shone like sunshine and her face looked out to sea as sad and as miserable as I felt. Just around her the night melted away into day. She called my name without looking at me and waved for me to join her. I crawled up the rock and sat down next to her feeling a comfortable warmth right next to her. ‘You shouldn’t run away.’ She said finally looking at me. She looked so much like my mother but it wasn’t her. I told her I had to. It was the only way for my parents to be happy. ‘You running away won’t make them happy, it will ruin everything.’ She reached down and dipped her hand in the water and pulled out a beautiful shell and opened it. Inside was what looked like a giant pearl. In its surface I could see my parents searching the shore and finding a cold wet body empty and devoid of life with my bow in its hair. I could see my mother and my father sitting with empty eyes and arms as they grew old without any child to fill them. ‘But,’ her voice sang out in the night air, ‘If you go home and live the life you were given,’ once again the scene in the pearl shifted and I saw my father, mother, and myself around the Christmas tree as he told us he’d gotten a job two blocks away and he wouldn’t be leaving anymore. I saw us moving to the sea shore and living happily there for many years. Then I saw children who had yet to be born gathering around myself and a handsome man I latter met and married. Then I saw you grandchildren. I even saw you and your mother the first time she took you sledding.”

Grandma sighed.

Tommy waited patiently fidgeting with the last figurine. Finally he asked, “So that’s it?”
“Almost. She told me to never give up because my life was better lived than run away from and she kissed me and told me she loved me. I went home and it all happened just as I saw. Then one Christmas I noticed my jewelry box had been ransacked and all that was missing were my shells. I asked about it and your mother handed me a small wrapped present saying she had meant to save it for Christmas. I opened it and found this.” She looked down at the angel cradled in her hands. “I had never told anyone about the angel by the sea but she had even found a little pearl and glued it in the shells.” Grandma stood painstakingly slow and walked over to Tommy. She took his hand and slowly placed the small ornament in his hand. “Did I ever tell you how much your mother looked and sounded like my mother? What a life she lived.” She closed his hand over the object. “I think she is your angel now.”

Dec 12, 2011

Idea for how to make the ending better? Ideas for names?

I’ve seen ‘em all. Every kind of low life out there has been
through this court and I’m the lucky man who gets to hustle ‘em through.
That night though, was different. I knew each of the players
Three men stood in line waiting for their cases to be
brought up. The court appointed attorney stood at his desk going over his notes
until at last the judge appeared and then finally looked up and nodded in camaraderie
toward his father. I knew this judge to be a good man with six sons the oldest
of whom sat behind the desk. On the other side of the aisle the prosecution glared.
It seemed an obvious violation of propriety to have the favorite son of the
judge as the defense, but it was even worse when you knew that the prosecution was
also the judges son, although they had had a falling out years ago and were now
estranged outside the court room. If you didn’t know them you might think
something funny was going on, but everyone knew justice would be the end
I lead the first man in and shut the door on the other two.
How I pitied the poor man. He rung his hands and wiped his sweat from his brow
with his shoulder. I could tell from his demeanor he knew neither his attorney
nor the judge. The prosecution nodded at him with a knowing smile. So the case
“Please state the offence.” The judge said matter-of-factly.
The defense attorney stood and stated sadly looking at the
client. “I have tried to get this man to come in and confer with me but I have
not seen him until this moment and I have never been give the proper authority to
defend him.” Then sitting back down he looked at the defendant expectantly and
the man shakily stood. The story was simple though difficult to understand between
‘um’s and nervous clearing of throats. He seemed to take no thought for
defending himself. He threw himself on the mercy of the court, his eyes ever
darting back to the prosecution who watched with relish the man who knew he had
been caught and only hoped for a lessened sentence. He plea closed and he fell
into his seat with much trembling. The prosecution looked at his notes and
simply nodded at the judge who then looked at his other son and sighed. The fine,
though strictly appropriate for the offence, was as lenient as possible. The
man cried out. He obviously couldn’t pay it, but there was nothing the court
could do. He was ushered out of the room and I retrieved the next offender.
How he irritated me. He wore a look of confidence and a suit
that said money. Under his arm he carried a briefcase the he immediately plopped
onto the desk next to the defense’s papers.
“Please state the offense.” The judge once again began.
Before the attorney could even say a word the defendant
stood up and smiled familiarly at the judge. I had never seen this man before
yet he seemed to feel completely comfortable here. He began his tale, a surprisingly
similar case to the man who had come before him. He looked at the defense attorney
and began to sight case where, having done his research, he had gotten men off
for similar and worse cases. He knew that his attorney would not only get him
off but he would do it without leaving a mark on the man’s record. He sat down
and looked at his attorney expectantly.
That’s when I noticed the smirk on the prosecution’s face.
He already knew the case was his. The defense stood up and merely stated, “This
man has never set foot in my office. I cannot represent this man as he has never
given me either leave or signatures to do so.” And without another word the man
sat down.
The prosecution stood and caught the attention of the defendant
for the first time. For a moment the man looked confused. Then as recognition
spread across his face, I knew where the man had gotten his slightly skewed
information on the cases the man had sighted. The two brothers looked somewhat similar
and the prosecution used the similarity to his advantage. He often brought defendants into
an office with the defences name on the door, convincing them they were working with their lawyer. They went through all the paper work and preparing a very flawed defence for their case.
The prosecution smoothly pointed out every flaw to the man’s
defense, the flaws he had carefully woven in himself, and declared the need for
a severe punishment. The proud man now lay with his head in his hands, his body
beginning to tremble. The judge shook his head and once again pronounced a fine.
It was more severe than the first but after finding out the other items the prosecution
brought out it seemed a light judgment. Still, the man declared that he could
never pay the full sum. The man was escorted from the room shaking his fists at
the prosecution and screaming the memorized cases that did not apply to his
I walked out to the last man. He sat calmly waiting his eyes
never leaving his defense attorney through the glass. “This way sir.” I
motioned and he followed.
As he approached the attorney’s desk he reached out and
accepted the hand proffered him. The attorney pulled him into an embrace and
whispered something in the man’s ears. He nodded gravely and took his seat.
“Please state the offence.” The judge said for the last
This time the defendant did not stand. The man said nothing
but the defense attorney stood and began the tale. The situation was once again
much like the two before, but it went further. “Once he had realized what had
gone wrong he came to me and began to work things out your honor. I can
personally vouch for his hard work and dedication. He has made full restitution
and has put in community time to teach others how to walk away from these
activities. He is now legally in my employ as a worker for the court.”
The defense sat down and the prosecution stood. The anger on
his face was evident but he kept himself in check. “Your honor, what the defense
claims may be true but the price for the violation still remains to be paid.
Just because you favor my opponent and his buddies does not mean justice may be
The judge nodded and declared the fine and the man looked
stricken. It was obvious from the look of him that he had no such sums. Then
the prosecution stood looked at the document with a pen poised. “I have been appointed
this man’s defense and he has worked with me to make restitution, I will pay
his fine.” And with that he crossed out the man’s name and signed his own
taking on him both the punishment and the crime onto his record. The man behind
the desk burst into tears and the prosecution lost control and shouted in his
brother’s face until he was taken from the room at the defense’s request. Then
I watched as the man embraced the prosecution and thanked the Judge. Then he
looked once more at his attorney and said “I can never repay that amount.”
“That’s alright,” The good man smiled, “You give me your
best, little brother, and it will be well worth it.”
As I locked up that night I thought about my other three
brothers, one behind each carried out in the clutches of justice and then the
other two who now stood discussing another case with our father moving forward
with a work of freedom and mercy. Just like me. I had had my day in court and
because of mercy, now I stand on the side of justice.

(PS Not sure I like the picture... does no one have a painting of Heavenly Father in Judgment with Christ as the advocate and Satan as the accuser?)

Nov 24, 2011

Top 4 Thankful

1: The plan
2: Knowledge of the plan
3: Partisipating in the plan
4: The chance to share knowledge of the plan

Nov 3, 2011

The Tartus (Backwards)

Samantha finished the last word with a flourish of her pen immensely pleased with her creation. The azure blue sky stretched on for miles with delightful seagulls passing unseen across her field of view. She smiled setting the pen and paper to her side and scanning the shore line for her husband. Two days ago he had unknowingly hurled the insult again, but now he would change his tune.
“Mark!, Oh Mark!” She almost sang it out.
Mark appeared from behind a sand dune several yards away, a look of hope on his face. Two days ago she had suddenly taken to writing non-stop and had refused to even acknowledge his presence. It was not the way he had intended to spend his all too brief vacation. “Yes dear?”
“Come, read this.” Samantha responded holding out a thick stack of papers.
With a bound and a leap he reached her side and eagerly began to read.
Samantha hugged her knees imagining the praise and astonishment he would express upon finishing her first novel. Of course it wasn’t prefect but she had always known she was more than just a short story writer no matter what others said. She frowned, with that many pages she would need to give him time. She looked over at him his eyes hastily running across the pages. She had thought it would be interesting but his eyes seemed to fly at an astonishing rate. She smiled and looked back out at the sea, it was even better than she had thought.
She stood up and dusted off the back of her dress just as he burst out in laughter. She turned excitedly wondering where he was and what he had found so funny. Only to see he was closing the last page.
“That was your best story so far Love!” He said with a grin and a chuckle.
“You’ve already finished?” She asked in horror.
He starred warily at her unsure of where her mood was turning or what he was doing to turn it. “Yes,” he said finally, “It was very good though.”
Samantha snatched the pile of papers from him. “Not even you can read a whole novel that fast.”
“A novel?” Mark grabbed the papers back before she could tighten her grip. He flipped quickly through the pages again, his frown deepening. “I’ll grant it’s longer than usual but it’s no novel. Maybe five pages.”
Samantha felt like ripping the pages up and throwing them in his face.
“I can count as well as you can and even a blind man from the top of that cliff can see that there are much more than five pages there!”
“Yes,” he acknowledged slowly looking up at his wife. She glared back and he almost didn’t dare the reply but like a seagull on attack the words slipped out carrying a grin to tug at the corners of his mouth. “But usually you don’t want me to read the parts you’ve crossed out.”

Oct 13, 2011


(Well it didn't do the pictures but you get the idea)

“It is time for bed” Mommy said.

Tori said, “Puppy!”

“How many puppies?”

“One red puppy.”

“It is time for bed,” Mommy said.

Emma said, “Puppy!”

“How many puppies?”

“Two pink puppies.”

“It is time for bed,” Mommy said.

Ryn said, “Puppy!”

“How many puppies?”

“Three brown puppies.”

“It is time for bed,” Mommy said.

Tori said, “Puppy!”

“How many puppies?”

“Four black and white puppies.”

“It is time for bed,” Mommy said.

Emma said, “Puppy!”

“How many puppies?”

“Five yellow puppies.”

“It is time for bed,” Mommy said.

Ryn said, “Puppy!”


Sep 26, 2011

My first kiss

I know sappy but here goes…
I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t kiss until I was engaged. I didn’t watch kissing on movies or anything. I was saving that part of my life for my chosen. Not that I didn’t have some request and even try to coerce me into kissing them first but it never felt right! Until one night, in cousin Carl’s basement, I was sitting with my boyfriend and I decided it felt right. I brushed my lips against his to let him know I was ready. And you know what… it was worth the wait. I never know kisses could be sweet but they can. We weren’t engaged yet so I didn’t quiet keep my goal (but he refused to propose until we had the rings which didn’t show up until a week before the wedding). But he was my chosen and his kisses have only gotten better with time.

Sep 20, 2011

Mrs. Anderson’s Welcoming Party

It’s hard to say, unless you’re one of those who can say anything, just what Tabitha meant by walking in and taking tea out from under everyone's noses but the result was something of an exaggerated mess. Mrs. Tallborn stood up immediately and walked out, sniffing as though her feelings had been so hurt that tears were already brimming. Miss. Talous, always seeking her next charity, leaned over and set her cake back on the table. “My dear, if you are in any way in need,”
But I was saved having to answer such an obserd question in a delicate way by Mrs. Smith laughing loudly, “If I had known that is all it takes to get rid of that priss, I’d have told my maid to start taking the tea out early years ago!”
Poor Mrs. Anderson, who had just moved to the area as a new bride, still sat staring blankly at her empty cup obviously unsure of what to do with it or herself.
“Now Mrs. Anderson,” Mrs. Smith called across the table as though she were on the other side of a foot ball field, what can you expect when the woman lives with her practically deaf mother? “You drink right up! No one is as well to do as Mrs. Gifford here. Not in the whole state!”
I’m afraid to say I began to blush, my husband’s wealth is something we try very hard not to broadcast, but Mrs. Smith’s husband is our accountant and a much less discreet person. I sputtered a few words trying to think of a way to go find out what Tabitha had done with the tea tray.
However that’s when Miss Talous added her sniff to the scene. “Well, I guess if you are unwilling to share with even your friends, why should you be expected to share with those who are in need?” And with that she got up and left the room. It all went back to last month when she asked for a contribution and I had only promised to discuss it with my husband.
Mrs. Smith laughed again, “Two down! Now this is company.” She looked at poor Mrs. Anderson who seemed to be perpetually mute and frozen staring at an empty tea cup. “Now don’t believe a word of it my dear. That woman wouldn’t have one of her charities if it weren't for Mrs. Gifford’s anonymous donations.”
“Mrs. Smith that is enough!” It came out of my mouth before I could catch it but REALLY she was going to lose her husband a client if this kept up.
That’s when Mrs. Smith got up. “Well, it’s the truth and I won’t be chastised for telling the truth.” She turned and slipped profanities all the way down the hall.
I turned to my last and most important guest. She was not only new to the area but also married to a man that traveled much for his work leaving her alone months at a time. I had hoped to introduce her to her neighbors and the most influential of women in the neighborhood. Now each had made something of a fool of themselves over a little bit of tea, how was she to trust them?
She still looked down at her tea cup as though it might hold the answers to the universes toughest questions. I leaned forward to touch her shoulder and make sure the scene hadn’t disturbed her too much when Mrs. Tallborn soared back into the room followed by Miss Talous and Mrs. Smith. They all stood indignantly at their tallest and Mrs. Tallborn spoke for them all, "Mrs. Anderson would you kindly move your car so that we may all depart this unhospitible home?”
I looked up trying to think of a way to sooth feelings and still wondering what had gotten into Tabitha when the aged maid sontered back into the room carrying the roast beef I had intended for dinner along with several plates. “Here you are Mam.” She smiled as though doing exactly what she had been told. I made a mental note to have her see a doctor.
The three women looked at me dumb founded and I just looked back at them, as silent as our new friend. It didn’t take Mrs. Smith long to recover. “Why Anibell, why didn’t you say this was a luncheon!” She sat right down placing her discarded napkin right back over her ample lap. “It would have saved a whole lot of fuss.”
Mrs. Tallborn took one last sniff and sat down to murmuring something that sounded a bit like ‘I’m terribly sorry.’
Miss. Talous hesitated a bit longer till I waved her with a smile back to the seat in which I had slipped, before the meeting began, a little envelope of money for her charity. She caught up the envelope and gave a wan smile of thanks.
“Ladies, I’m so,” I began only to be cut off.
“Now what must our Dear Mrs. Anderson think of us?! Here we come to show her what great friends we’ll be and instead we show ourselves to be petty little…” She paused and looked at the girl who seemed to prefer her empty tea cup to the roast beef. “My dear, can you ever forgive us?” She reached out a sympathetic hand and touched the girl’s shoulder.
The blond head jerked up with a snort. She blinked rapidly and looked slightly shocked, “I’m awake.” She looked down at the beef in confusion “Did I miss something?”

Aug 25, 2011

LEt's see if this works.

Aug 6, 2011

And then it finally Happens!

Our little Wren arrived after a month of being told "any minute". Yes, we were told she would probably come early... Nope. But she was worth the wait. She came out screaming but once the nurses handed her over she had nothing but beautiful smiles for us.
Big sisters got to hold her on the second day even though they were both sick. But they were so happy to see little Wren and hold her. (We knew it was a bacterial infection for both of them and not contagious.)

I have to share this picture. With each of our babies Yrgysh has held them on his chest like this early on. He decided that new borns were his little tree frogs so he had me make a froggy hat. So this is Daddy and his little tree frog.

Jul 8, 2011

An Expectant Mother's Rant

Have you ever noticed
1) that when your due date aproches every little action is measured as to how it will encourage or discourage labor? (Not helpful)
2) that relaxation becomes esentail yet unatainable? (What's up with that? I'm seriously considering tylonol PM)
3) That the baby starts to try to get out on their own... unfortunatly it's though your rib cage? (I need to make a light and stick it down there to lead the way out... then she can enter and exit this existence by going down a tunnel toward a bright light.)
4) That it feels like someone has the gag button pressed? ("Labor's starting... no itisn't HA!" An hour later "This could be it... NOPE! I can't believe you fell for it again!")
5) That waiting for labor seems like a great test of your santity? (You must pass this if you're going to be worthy of raising this child.)
6) And finally... that while waiting your brain can come up with some of the stupidest things to do to 'prepare'? (Like chop your hair off, buy lots of stuff, watch old movies you can't stand anymore, watch bad humor in an effort to make yourself laugh, go on hikes, jump on trampolines (no I have not nor will ever jump on a trampoline while pregnant), clean the whole house.... again, and one of my favorites... allow some Dr. to stick their hands up inside of you to tell you how far along you are (not that it will change how long you have to wait) and possibly "help the processes along"? Are you nuts?! You want to do WHAT to my WHAT?!
I hope you've laughed. :)

May 24, 2011

Homeschooling Results: A view of Parental Involvement


This paper investigates the success rates of homeschooling as compared to public schooling. Many aspects are looked at such as academics, social and emotional skills, as well as adult outcomes in these and other areas. It then draws on the assumption that parent involvement is different in the two systems and looks at beliefs (e.g. motivation, knowledge, empowerment, and confidence) that would nurture or dissuade that involvement. By comparing public and home schooling, the paper attempts to demonstrate how parents within the public school system may become confused as to their responsibility and role. Conversely, the paper asserts that homeschooling, taken on for the right reasons, empowers parents with an awareness of their role and confidence within it. The paper then argues that if any parent takes the first step of accepting primary responsibility and explores their resources and options, they will then be empowered to work confidently within any educational system.

Keywords: Home school, homeschooling, public school, parental involvement, adult outcomes

Homeschooling Results: A View of Parental Involvement

It may seem strange to begin a paper on Homeschooling results with a statement about computers; but computer software is much like public schooling, homeschooling, and any other schooling choice. When purchasing a new computer, most consumers use the software immediately available, or the default software, with little or no thought as to the appropriateness of that application to their needs. And, while for the most part it works, there can be moments of frustration when the software doesn't provide the frame work for the needed task. In this country the educational default is the public school system. Anything outside of this framework is often viewed with suspicion or hostility. However, in order to understand if it is working well, the outputs must be compared to the outputs of other systems, and then examined again through differences to discover the "whys" behind those results.

In comparing the outputs of different educational options, I found that there were two extremes: public schooling and homeschooling. Private schooling outputs most frequently fell in between public and home schooling when included in a study. In this paper, I will discuss only the two extremes, leaving out the other options because comparing two extremes can demonstrate what is needed to succeed within any framework. Just as with software, if you understand the capabilities of the system and are aware of how it works, work within the one that is available with greater success simply or choose one that better fits your desired outputs.

While most people are acquainted with public school outputs as the "National Averages" most are unaware of what homeschooling outputs and averages are. Therefore, I will go into some detail as to the origins of homeschooling, how the students themselves are performing both in K-12 and afterward as they enter the "real world" as compared to their public schooled counter parts. Working under the assumption that parental involvement is the number one factor predicting schooling success, I will then look at beliefs (e.g. motivation, knowledge, empowerment, confidence) that would nurture or dissuade parental involvement within public and homeschooling. Last I will look at how this information can support the parent in making educated choices about their child's education and be involved at appropriate levels with the system chosen.

A Brief History

Although brief histories of homeschooling are given in most studies on the topic, Ed Collom (2005) gives the most succinct account in his paper "The Ins and Outs of Homeschooling." The following information is shown in Figure 1 (Ray, 2009). Collom points out, by the 1960s public school not only dominated the education scene but was also mandatory. In the late 1960s a small fringe movement began by a political left who believed in a different pedagogy than the traditional schooling system. In the 1980s an unprecedented boom shifted the demographics of this group to the right as Christians began spontaneously homeschooling in large numbers. As popularity grew and peer pressure subsided in the 1990s and 2000s, the movement went from fringe to main stream, growing from 300,000 families in 1990 to well over one million by 2005 (pp. 308-309). Current estimates put the number at almost two million (Ray, 2009).

Growth of Homeschooling in United States Over the Past 5 Decades

Figure 1. Homeschooling went from fringe movement to nearing two million in a little less than three decades. (Ray, 2009, p. 2)

No longer far left or far right the demographics of homeschooling are continuing to diversify including growing populations of minorities and religious groups across the board (Ray, 2009). In figure 2, we can see that the ethnic demographic are becoming more similar in proportion to the general student population.

Ethnicity of Homeschooled vs. All Students

Figure 2: The chart on the left represents the composition of the homeschooling community while the chart on the right represents all U.S. Students per Department of Education 2007 (Ray, 2009).

Along with growing numbers of homeschoolers came an increasing number of studies to determine effectiveness and reasoning for homeschooling. However, because homeschooling isn't institutionalized, it is very difficult to conduct generalizable studies. As Richard Medlin (2000) points out, there are many studies that are well planned, however a good number run into problems, like low response rates, which make it hard to generalize results of just one study. The one redeeming aspect is the sheer number of studies that have been conducted, each looking at different populations at similar questions and coming to similar conclusions. So while they can't be individually generalized as more studies present similar findings with different strengths it becomes more plausible. In the following section I will address several areas of homeschooling outcomes that have been more thoroughly covered.

Comparison of Home and Public Schooling

Academic Performance

K-12. One of the first areas of concern is the effects of homeschooling on academic achievement. At the grade-school level many tests have been performed in order to assess whether or not these students are getting the basics in academics. Although many doubt the ability of a non-trained mother or father to teach her children, there seems to be no connection between mother's who have been trained as teachers and the child's academic performance (Collom, 2005). Michael Apple (2007) suggests the reason for untrained parents' success is the widening range of resources available both on and off the internet. However, some difference has been found between the mother's and especially the father's educational level and the academic outcome (Collum, 2005) Even with higher achievement associated with parental education levels, homeschoolers as an entire group seem to be doing better academically. According to one study done by The National Center for Home Education Press, cited by Klicka (2006)

Nearly 80% of homeschooled children achieved individual scores above the national average and 54.7% of the 16,000 homeschoolers achieved individual scores in the top quarter of the population, more than double the number of conventional school students who score in the top quarter (p. 1).

Others studies have produced the range of results from 15 to 30 percentiles higher than public schools as shown in figure 2.(Ray, 2009). Even the study producing the lowest scores places homeschooled students about fifteen percentiles above the national average, making it clear that homeschoolers are having a greater level of academic success.

Summary of Several Studies on Homeschooling Academic Achievement

Figure 3.
High reports place homeschooling averages at 80th percentile; low reports place them at the 65th percentile; public school sets the average and is thus the 50th percentile. (Ray, 2009, p. 2)

Perhaps even more significant than the level of academic achievement is the lack of racial and monetary bias in the academic success of homeschoolers. As shown earlier, the number of various ethnic groups choosing to home school is growing more proportionally equivalent to the national ratios. As shown by Collom (2005), within the homeschooling world the two major academic predictors (race and economic status) do not have a statistical impact (p. 329), showing that race and socioeconomic status are not factors in homeschooling achievement.

College Level. Another place to test academic achievement is in the college setting. Many ask how homeschooled students perform when outside of their home environment. Several different records show that homeschooled students scored higher than their counter parts on their college entrance exams (Klicka, 2006, p. 4). In a paper written to make suggestions about college admissions policies, Molly Duggan (2009) found that, at her University, students who had been previously homeschooled performed at one or two grade levels higher than their private and public schooled peers and were much more likely to have "A" averages than either their public or private schooled peers. Klicka (2006) cites studies and comments from several different colleges and Universities who have done studies on their own students stating that homeschoolers perform at or above the level of their peers. Thus indicating that the earlier academic success continues into the higher education levels.

Social and Emotional Skills

Social Skills. Besides academic skills, homeschoolers' social and emotional skills often come under scrutiny. Although many believe that public school can offer better socialization opportunities than homeschooling can (Medlin, 2000), research has found no evidence for such claims. Two results are typical for studies involving the social and emotional skills of homeschooled children as compared to public schooled children. As Medlin (2000) shows in his review of the literature covering homeschooled children's social skills, there are two typical results. One of the typical results finds no difference in social skills of homeschooled children. The other typical result finds that homeschoolers are likely to have better social skills than their peers. L.E. Shyers conducted one of the best designed studies on the social behaviors of homeschooled children in 1992. She concluded that homeschooled children compared to their public schooled peers of identical demographics showed similar self-confidence and assertiveness but were less likely to have behavioral problems, (as cited in Medlin, 2000 & Ray, 2004b). These results seem to indicate that homeschooling at the very least does not harm a child's socialization and at best gives them a social advantage.

Emotional Traits. Perhaps even more important than social skills, emotional skills are an essential part of growing up that many believe can best be developed through traditional schooling as children learn to cope with adverse situations. Although there are many aspects to emotional skills, I will only look at those that have been tested more frequently. Self-concept is one measure of emotional maturity that has been examined in several studies. According to Brian Ray (2004b) many of these studies have found that homeschoolers have a much better self-concept than do students from other systems. Other areas like self-esteem and confidence in their individuality are at least as good, and in some studies, higher than their peers' (Ray 2004b; Medilin 2000).

Adult Social Activity. Most of the aforementioned studies were done on children K-12 and leave the question of "How do these students integrate into society after leaving home?" In the few studies which have been conducted post-secondary, homeschoolers are found not only moving on with their lives in positive manners (e.g. careers, schooling etc.), but, as seen in table 1, more of them see themselves as happy in their lives than the general population of the same age group (Ray, 2004a).

Happy with Life Scale

Home Educated n=5250

U.S. * n=522

Very Happy



Pretty Happy



Not too Happy



Table 1.
Answers for two studies (one for home school graduates and the other for the general US population) compared indicating that homeschooled adults are happier with their life in general than the average population. (Ray, 2004a, p. 56)

Perhaps part of this "happiness" comes from the emotional stability discussed earlier and their social needs being met. Christopher J. Klicka (2006) cites several college administrators who report that homeschoolers are very active in their college community. Galloway conducted a study comparing home, private, and public schooled students at her college in 1998. She found that the homeschoolers were the leaders of the campus scoring substantially higher in four of her five chosen categories (academic, social, spiritual, psychomotor, and cognitive) except psychomotor (team sports) (as cited in Medlin, 2000).

Tolerance Attitudes. While it has been shown that homeschoolers function well within a given setting, there is still a concern that prejudice will result from receiving only skewed parental input. However, studies conducted at the college level, e.i. Marzluf (2009), have found that home school students are not only lacking in prejudice but also open to other ideas and people of different backgrounds, ideas, and opinions. Other studies agree with these findings (Ray, 2004b). Medlin (2000) suggests that perhaps this is the case because, in home schooling, the extracurricular activities are more varied than those of public school. While students going to school mostly have interactions with their peers, homeschooled students have interactions with every age group and many different ethnicities (Duggan, 2009; Medlin, 2000).

Civic Involvement

Community Service and Involvement. Most studies on social development looked at what activities these children were participating in, in order to determine their type and quality. They found that not only were these students getting in more extracurricular activities but these activities were also more varied (Medlin, 2000, pp. 111-112). The variation and scope of these activities results in the child's being exposed to a variety of ways to be involved with the community at a young age. It also exposes them to a variety of people. For example, Medlin (1998) conducted a study in which the homeschoolers kept track of the type of people they had contact with and closeness of those relationships. He found that they had moderately close relationships with people of differing age levels (the very elderly to the very young), ethnicities, and socioeconomic status (As cited in Medlin, 2000, p. 112).

As homeschoolers grow up they continue this involvement with the community. In figure 3 we can see two different measures of community involvement, ongoing community service and organization membership. When compared to the general population, home school graduates are substantially more involved (Ray,2009).

Community Service and Activity

Figure 4. Percent of involvment of homeschooled versus general adult population of simular age group. (Ray, 2009, p.6)

Political Involvement. Perhaps the most surprising part of community involvement is homeschoolers' involvement in the political process. Because the homeschooling movement has been forced into the political arena by its controversial nature, homeschooling families tend to be very politically active. Cooper and Sureau (2007) go so far as to compare the grassroots homeschooling movement to movements such as civil rights and trade Unions (p. 112) As shown in Figure 4, the children of these families continue to be active in the political process as adults, not only voting more consistently than the general population of the same age but also participating in various other ways and having a positive view of the political process (Ray, 2009 & Ray, 2004a). These findings support the idea that homeschooling does a better job at overcoming political apathy than traditional schooling.

Political Activity of Homeschooled vs. General Population

Figure 5. Left grouping shows activities such as writing, telephoning representatives, and other political actives. The right grouping shows voting. (Ray, 2009, p. 6)

Continuing Education

Percentages Advancing to Higher Education. Although we have looked at how homeschooled students perform in different areas in postsecondary schooling, we will now look at how many are actually taking advantage of it. In his state of the Union address, President Obama (2011) stated that almost half of the upcoming job in the next ten years will require some level of higher education. Therefore, the ability for an educational system to prepare and send its students on to post-secondary schooling is an important aspect of the nation's competitive edge, not to mention the individuals' ability to support themselves in a changing economy. In Table 2, Ray (2004a) shows that homeschooled students, ages 18-24, are more likely to have moved onto higher education than the general population of the same age. It should be noted here that 49% of the respondents of this study were currently full time students. If these students complete the degrees they are currently working on the percentage of degreed students would actually be higher.

Educational Attainment of Homeschooled and General Population ages 18-24.

Education Level

Home Schooled (%) n=4129

U.S. General (%)** n=27,312,000

Some college but no degree



Associate's degree



Bachelor's degree



Graduate or professional but no degree



Master's degree



Doctorate degree (e.g., PhD, EdD)



Professional degree (e.g., M.D., JD)






Table 2. More previously homeschooled students were continuing on to higher education.

* 49% of these respondents were currently full time students.

**Source: United States Census Bureau, 2003a.
*** Other = That is, less than high school, high school graduate, voc/tech program but no degree, and voc/tech diploma after high school. (Ray, 2009, p. 37).

Attitudes and Policies of College Admissions. Because homeschoolers are now applying for colleges in sufficient number to catch the attention of administrators they are actively affecting the admissions policies (Duggan, 2009; Klicka, 2006; Ray, 2004b). Duggan (2009) found that homeschooled students had "higher levels of intent to persist, or had expressed intentions to return and continue, than either public or private schooled community college students, making them more attractive in retention rates as well as in overall performance. They are also more likely to have a bachelor's degree at a younger age than their peers and advance in their chosen fields more swiftly (Ray, 2004a; Ray, 2004b). Over the past decade many administrators and professors have changed their attitudes from highly negative to highly complimentary toward homeschoolers as they have come into contact with them, such as Marzluf (2009, see also Klicka, 2006). These attitudes reflect a growing awareness of students who are doing better at some level than mainstream students.

Although these are obviously not homeschooled super students, these children on average are doing better than their counter parts; so the question becomes, not "is homeschooling succeeding" but, as Medlin (2000) put it, "Why?" (p. 119). While the answer to this question is probably too complex to be treated in one paper, I will look at the one factor identified as the greatest predictor of schooling success across the board: parental involvement (Oyserman, Brickman, & Rhodes, 2007). Although the effects of parental involvement is generally understood, school systems have had little or no success in raising the amount of parental involvement (Oyserman et al., 2007, p. 480).

Parental Involvement

Green and Hoover-Dempsey (2007) compared public school parents who were considered to have high beliefs in parental involvement to homeschooling parents. She found the public school group to have much lower parental involvement beliefs than the home school group. Showing that not only are less parents likely to be involved in public school but those who are involved are likely to believe that less involvement is necessary than homeschooling parents. Thus, it would appear that there are under lying beliefs that affect the level of parental involvement. In the next section we will compare how the two options might affect parental involvement.


Responsible Parties. While it is generally accepted that parents should be involved in their child's education, parents can receive conflicting messages as to who has which responsibility and how they, the parent, should help. One reading tutor with 25 year of experience stated that the biggest problem she had with getting parents involved was the perception that it wasn't their responsibility and thus "never had time" (personal communication, 2011, April 9) In many different areas the government and the school's responsibility for children's education is placed before the parent's. One area where the schools' and government's responsibility is projected over the parent's role is political policy. While comparing Individuals with Disabilities Act and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Ramanathan (2008) demonstrates how programs and laws created to benefit children in public schools frequently become a debate over authority and control. This debate implies that the quality and the success of children's education is the responsibility of either the federal or state governments. The NCLB act also gives power of enforcement to several levels of government agencies but none to the parent (Ramanathan, 2008, p. 300). There are also teachers and administrators who come into blame if a school system is not doing well. As homeschooling results remain statistically equal throughout the states in spite of differing levels of government oversight and regulation (Ray, 2009, p. 4), it becomes apparent that the government does not have the effect on education that a parent would, and yet it is often the government that is depicted as making the decisions that count (Obamah, 2011; Bush, 2007; Clinton, 1997). This atmosphere seems to communicate to parents that someone other than themselves is responsible for the child's relative success or failure in various areas. When parents loose that sense of responsibility, they may never find the motivation to become involved.

Parental Responsibility. It could be said that parents who choose to homeschool are taking their responsibilities to the highest degree. However, Green and Hoover-Dempsey (2007) found there were two beliefs that motivated homeschooling: parent based, those who believe they are the best teachers for their children and capable of doing so; and partner based, those who are homeschooling because of a negative experience with public school but do not feel they are capable of being the best teachers and thus seek out help from other sources. In their comparison they found that parent based homeschoolers have more positive experiences with homeschooling than partner based homeschoolers. Those who believe they are responsible and capable of teaching their child are empowered and take the requirements with a better attitude, showing that parents who understand and embrace their responsibility are more likely to be involved at higher, more positive levels. This contrast, of parent versus partner based education, shows that when partner based attitudes prevail the parental involvement suffers, whether through inaction or through negative attitudes. Unfortunately, anything other than homeschooling is necessarily partner based and requires extra effort from the parent to maintain a parent based attitude.


Requirements on Parents. Once parents understand their responsibility they must still understand how to fulfill those obligations. Without understanding what is required of them, parents cannot act. According to Walker, Shenker, and Hoover- Dempsey (2010), parents in the public school system are most likely to participate after being invited by either a child or teacher, showing that even a parent who wants to act will not until they know exactly how. However, school systems can only ask and not require parents to act. One area this becomes evident is the research now being conducted to understand how parents have such a profoundly good effect so that the schools may provide that support for those who do not receive it at home (Walker, 2008; Oyserman et al., 2007). The school system, in an effort to take care of the children who need help, provides help for all the children. Or rather, because they cannot expect any support from some parents they cannot require it from any parent. And although these programs will likely help those who would not receive this help otherwise, there is a middle group who seeing the program will assume that it is the schools responsibility to provide that support and fail to understand their part. When teachers do send out requests for help, it often entails volunteering at school events. This may confuse the parents' obligation to child and obligation to the school until the parent believes that all that is required to be involved is to volunteer within the school community and make sure their child's home work is turned in on time. And while passive involvement is better than no involvement, it is not the best (Walker et al. 2010); however, it is often the clearest means of involvement.

Personal Investment. In contrast, within the homeschooling world requirements on all levels become clear as a parent must inform themselves and choose programs, activities, etc. As previously mentioned there are now many different materials available to homeschoolers (Apple, 2007), as well as many different types of homeschooling methods to choose from (Kjerstin, 2011). As one homeschooler put it, "The first two years were a huge learning curb." (personal communication, April 1, 2011). These parents often invest many hours researching and most understand that more is required of them than the typical parent (e.g. time, career advancement, extra income, etc. (Apple, 2007; Green and Hoover-Dempsey, 2007, p 266)). However, most do not see these requirements as sacrifices. For example, in discussing the difficulty of creating social opportunities for their children, Medlin (2000) points to several sources where parents have shown they don't find the exertion a burden (p. 4). Perhaps because they understand what is required they are able to fulfill with greater levels of confidence.


Parental Effort Efficacy

Before participating in any activity most people need confidence that there is a point and that they can accomplish what they set out to do. Parents are less likely to become involved when they lack confidence in their efficacy (Green and Hoover-Dempsey, 2007, p. 266). One area parents are lead to lack confidence in their abilities is in the discussion of teacher certification. Apple (2007) gives voice to the fear of the untrained parent teaching their children. However, as stated earlier, homeschooling success shows no statistical difference for those who have teacher training and those who have none (Ray, 2009). And, although there has been shown a difference in homeschooling academic achievement for those children whose parents have lower educational levels (i.e. 88th percentile with both parents having college degree down to 66th percentile without either having degrees) those children are still performing better than the average school child (Ray, 2009, p. 3; Collom, 2005), and thus probably much better than children in the school system of similar demographics. Still, parents who believe that they would be less than helpful to their child have less confidence and thus fail to act simply because they feel there would be no point. This is perhaps most clear in the drop off of parent involvement in the teen years as subjects become less basic (as cited in Oyerserman et al, 2007, p. 480) showing that the more complex the issue the fewer parents, or children, believe in the parent's usefulness.

Empowerment through Choice In contrast to the parent who feels helpless to assist their child, the parent who chooses to home school does so because they believe in the system and, more importantly, themselves (Green and Hoover-Dempsey, 2007). This belief empowers the parent. One of the areas we discussed earlier is the homeschooling graduates' lack of apathy. This is may come from the culture which homeschooling creates. Instead of feeling relatively powerless in a convoluted system, homeschooling families impact legislation (Cooper and Sureau, 2007) and make choices within their familial circle without any red tape. Apple (2007) points out how mothers of homeschoolers feel empowered by this practice and their primary role in it. This feeling of empowerment is then communicated to the child who takes it into his or her life and helps them feel less apathetic and more confident in both his training and his ability to influence the world around them.


Belief in Public School System. In the US, not only are individual parent's teaching efficacy brought into doubt but confidence in the public school system itself is in doubt across the nation. In spite of reports such as The National Center for Education Statistics "Outcomes of Learning" which demonstrated that the United States is at least average in comparison to other countries (2001), most of the media and political rubric insinuates or blatantly calls the public school system a failure (Obama, 2011; Rice, 2011; Bush, 2007; Clinton, 1997). As Ramanathan (2008) points out, this rubric also creates a political climate that stifles the effects of the programs themselves; instead of communicating progress, they foster the feeling that nothing is working. It then becomes difficult to work in system that neither the parent, nor the child, nor even the teacher believes in. It also becomes difficult for the student to have confidence in themselves when the means by which they were educated are reported to be substandard.

Two-Way Involvement. As opposed to confidence in a large system, homeschoolers need only have confidence in the child and the parents. A certain amount of confidence is gained as the parent involves themselves in the most recognized form of effective teaching, the one-on-one model. When admitting to the success of homeschooling, many point to fact that homeschooled students get one-on-one attention (Klicka, 2006). In most homeschooled families this effect is doubled as both parents become involved (Ray, 2004a). Although proper teaching is important and increases the parent's confidence, it is not the most important part of parental involvement. According to Walker, et al. (2010) the parent's most effective role isn't in the teaching it is in the example. Thus, parental involvement takes on many shapes, not because the parent is helping with the homework in more effective ways, but because the child sees priorities, skills, and education in action through their parents. Homeschooling provides more consistent opportunities for that modeling to take place. Hence parents who are politically involved produce children who are politically involved because the children are involved in the parent's life as well. This two-way involvement creates belief and confidence in each other.

The Choice of Education

As stated before, this paper is not intended to prove that homeschooling is the only way to have successful children. However, homeschooling does show that parental involvement can have improved efficacy. Every parent must make the choice as to the right educational option for their child. Most make this choice simply by default, setting themselves up for less active participation even before their child's education beings. Home schooled parents have shown that with proper motivation parents can gain the necessary knowledge to empower themselves. As they become empowered with this knowledge they will gain confidence leading to greater and more effective involvement in their child's education. Homeschooling is a choice that clears away the blurred line of who has what responsibility in educating the child, thus making research and gaining knowledge necessary to the parent. As this knowledge is gained the parent is then enabled to give the intricate support that the child needs to be successful in all areas of life. However, there are those who cannot make this decision for various reasons. These parents must look at other options. This is the first step to better involvement. As the parent actually looks at what is involved both on their part and the school's, they can better work within the system to give their child needed support. Because they made a conscious choice, their confidence in their power to make a difference will increase. Because they have done the research they will know what is required of them and if there are ways for them to go above and beyond that. Finally because their motives are based n their own responsibility, they will be the best teachers the child has no matter the system.


Now that homeschooling has been around long enough and in great enough numbers there is a growing set of data to look at concerning the outcomes of that system. Many of these studies have found that positive results come from this practice that are not being achieved to the same degree in our public schools. In areas such as academics, social skills, and community involvement, homeschooled children seem to have an advantage. Using the assumption that parental involvement is the best indicator of educational success, it becomes apparent that how to be involved as a parent is clearer in one system than the other. By looking at the rhetoric surrounding the public school system, I showed how parents can easily become confused as to their role or lose confidence in their ability to be involved in their child's education. On the other hand, homeschooling parents motivated by their sense of responsibility toward their child take the necessary first step by choosing to inform themselves. This then empowers the parents from the moment the choice is taken under consideration and gives them confidence as they discover what their role entails and how they can fulfill it. Therefore, just as a program is more useful to someone who knows how to use it, an educational system is more useful to those who know how to interact with it. Simply going with the default is not an option for the parent who wishes to provide their child with the best possible opportunities for success. Every parent needs to make a choice that will allow them the greatest amount of involvement and then continue to give it. As one mother said, "'It is my responsibility to see that they grow up to be conscientious, responsible and intelligent people. This is too important a job to be given to someone I don't even know' (Mayberry et al., 1995, p. 39)."(as cited in Medlin, 2000)


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