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Is Home Education Enough?

Is home education enough?

Parents, certified teachers, neighbors, and even home educated students often ask this question, "Is home education enough?"


I struggled with this notion quite often, even after being educated at home for many years. It took some profound experiences to finally convince me to hang up the phone and never listen to those voices again.

 

Why did I worry about my education?

My mom and dad grew up in the public education system and both earned master’s degrees. Due to their own experiences and beliefs, they decided not to place my siblings and me in a traditional school. They chose to homeschool us instead.


At first, I viewed homeschooling as empowering and freeing because I had time to focus on subjects I enjoyed. Since I had been homeschooled my whole life, (with very little of my education taking place inside public classrooms), I knew very little about what a traditional education or a standard classroom looked like. As I got older, I began considering life outside of our homeschool and doubt crept in with thoughts like:


What if I’m not learning everything I should be?  
What if my education is sub-par?
What if my homeschool education prevents me from getting into college?  

This led me to the horrible misconception that my education was somehow inferior to my peer’s education and that I would be heading into my adult life with an extreme disadvantage. My lack of any real basis for comparison with traditionally schooled students made it nearly impossible for me to shake this feeling of inadequacy.


Despite all this, I decided to keep moving forward with homeschooling. I began to seek out opportunities to assess the quality of my education.


Putting my Homeschool Education to the Test

Starting the fall semester in 2016, I joined Homeschool Science Colorado and began competing in Science Olympiad, a nationwide competition in which teams of students compete in events covering multiple areas of science. I proceeded to have a lackluster competition season due, in part, to my apathetic attitude and general lack of motivation. This frame of mind was caused by my doubt in being able to succeed as a homeschooled student.


However, as I observed my homeschooled teammates successfully compete against students from traditional schools, I began to realize the method of education does not define a student’s potential. I realized that success was found through a good attitude characterized by a willingness to learn and determination to work hard to overcome difficult scientific challenges. I went into the 2017 Science Olympiad season with this new mindset and proceeded to win four regional medals and four state medals. I sequentially progressed through seven years of competing in Science Olympiad, winning over fifty medals.

Notwithstanding my continual success in winning medals in Science Olympiad Competitions, I still struggled with a feeling that my nontraditional education was inadequate.


Then I started studying for the SAT. The SAT is designed to test the quality of a student’s education in the key subjects of math and English. While studying for the SAT, I discovered I knew almost all the material presented. In addition, I was equipped to use my reasoning skills to answer the few questions I didn’t fully understand. Mastering test-taking techniques and learning good strategies for taking the SAT were all that stood between me and a good SAT score. This became the focus of my study throughout the summer of 2021. Once I felt confident enough, I took the SAT and proceeded to get a composite score of 1470. Any doubt that my education was sub-par disappeared.

 

Confidently Running Ahead

The main thing I learned through this journey from doubt to confidence in the quality of my homeschool training is that being homeschooled forced me to learn semi-independently and helped me develop invaluable critical thinking skills. I am now confident in my abilities to maintain motivation and reason through problems. I am confident the same skills which helped me succeed in Science Olympiad and score high on the SAT will continue to help me excel in my university studies and my pursuit of a promising career in Aerospace Engineering.

 

In Conclusion

If you are considering homeschooling your children or if you are a student who is homeschooled, don’t ever think for a moment that your education is sub-par. The time you spend learning, developing critical thinking skills, delving into interests, and managing time at home will prove invaluable as you continue pursuing your interests. Contrary to what people believe, universities nationwide seek out home educated students. To put it simply, "Students who were homeschooled achieved a higher retention rate (88.6 percent) compared to the overall college population (87.6 percent). And college students who were home educated achieved a higher graduation rate (66.7 percent) when compared to the overall population (57.5 percent)." (National Home Education Research Institute, 2010)


To answer your question, “Is home education enough?”

I say, “Absolutely! Your home education is more than enough!”


-Hudson Puhek


(Hudson has competed with the team during the 2017-2023 seasons and has served as team captain for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.)



References

Home-educated doing well at college: Research by Michael Cogan. National Home Education Research Institute. (2010, August 7). https://www.nheri.org/home-educated-doing-well-at-college-research-by-michael-cogan


Hudson Puhek

Hudson Puhek competed with Homeschool Science Colorado for seven years, serving as team captain for the past two seasons. Competing in every category of science and engineering from optics and astronomy to genetics and ornithology, Hudson has earned more than 50 regional, state, and national level medals. After graduating from homeschool in 2023, he will study aerospace engineering in college.





Learn more about Science Olympiad or creating a homeschool team in your area by visiting https://www.soinc.org/.


If you reside in Douglas or El Paso County in Colorado, we would love to have your students join our team! Please visit us at https://www.homeschoolsciencecolorado.com/.


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