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My name is Hannah Zimmers and I am a 17-year-old home-schooled student. On Jan. 7, an article was published in your paper entitled “Restoration of Faith in Public Schools.” In this article, the author interviewed multiple members of the Wilson County Board of Education. They were discussing the new possibility of offering online versions of public school classes for homeschoolers.
I appreciate the passion they have about making public school materials more accessible to my community, but I do not agree with a comment from board member Debora Powell. “I know a lot of times when students attend home school, they don’t have enough credits to actually receive their degree, so that is a choice right there,” she said.
I would like to know where she received this “statistic” from, or if she just assumed that information about home-schoolers. According to the North Carolina Department of Non-Public Education, the amount of credits home-schoolers need to graduate high school is not specified or limited in any way. However, most home school parents — like any other parent — want their child to be successful and will ensure they have the credits needed to get into college, if that is their child’s choice. When applying for college, the classes and credits required do not differ from home-schooled students to public school students.
A common assumption about homeschoolers is that they receive an education that is less than adequate, or that we are somehow “deprived” because we do not attend a typical school. In a study performed by the University of St. Thomas, it was actually found that home-schooled students graduated from college at a higher rate —66.7 percent, compared to their peers at 57.5 percent.
I didn’t write this letter in order to call out Ms. Powell specifically, I wrote it in order to clarify a stigma about the home-schooled community. Yes, I’m home-schooled, but I’m also active in my community and taking college classes online with Liberty University through its dual enrollment program.
Of course there are people who take shortcuts in their education when home-schooling, but the same thing can be said about people in the public school system. Assumptions about a group as a whole can’t be made based on poor choices made by a few individuals.