This year, homeschooled students have again won academic recognition all out of proportion to their numbers.
On May 25, the National Geographic Bee — a competition involving five million United States students — was won by 13-year-old homeschooler Nathan Cornelius. Nathan, from Cottonwood, Minnesota, says his interests include photography, piano, and classical guitar, but “I think geography is my favorite subject.”
On June 2, another young homeschooler, 11-year-old Samir Patel of Colleyville, Texas, tied for second place in the 78th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.
And on April 9-10, two robot-building teams made up of homeschooled students won first and third place in the prestigious international 12th Annual Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest.
Such success for homeschoolers is hardly unusual. In 2000, for example, homeschoolers took first, second and third place in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
As a recent study by the conservative Heritage Foundation points out:
“Home schooling is the fastest-growing form of school choice. From 1994 to 2003, the number of home-schooled students tripled, from 345,000 to 1,100,000.
“On average, home school students have higher academic achievement than students in public or private schools.
“Home-schooled elementary school students tend to perform one grade level higher than their peers in traditional schools. By high school, they are four grade levels above the national average.
“Nearly all home-schooled students participate in at least two extracurricular activities such as dance, sports, music, and volunteerism. In fact, the average home school student participates in five such activities.”
Congratulations to these homeschool champs! Their success helps publicize the idea that government schools aren’t necessary for quality education. And that’s a lesson many more people need to learn.
(Sources: Home School Legal Defense Association:
Heritage Foundation “Choices in Education: 2005 Progress Report”: