There are a number of misconceptions about homeschooling in Arizona. Here are 10 MYTHS you might have heard and the truth about each.
MYTH #1: Homeschoolers aren’t regulated in Arizona
TRUTH: Homeschooling parents are legally obligated to provide a good-faith education to their children in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, science, and social studies, which is the same core-subject requirement for public and private schools.
MYTH #2: Arizona homeschool law has no teeth
TRUTH: Homeschooling parents who don’t obey the law can be taken to court like any other parents for child neglect or criminal charges.
MYTH #3: Homeschooled students in Arizona would do better if there were more regulation
TRUTH: Research demonstrates that children homeschooled in states with heavy regulations do no better than students in states with a low regulation burden. There is no empirical support for increasing regulation. Arizona homeschool law emphasizes substance, not unnecessary red tape. Many states like Arizona treat parents as responsible citizens and do not require them file pointless paperwork or jump through burdensome hoops. Other low regulation states include Idaho, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Alaska, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Iowa.
MYTH #4: Arizona needs to beef up its homeschool law
TRUTH: With virtually no exceptions, every state that has modified its homeschool law during the past 35 years has reduced the level of red tape and regulation for homeschoolers.
MYTH #5: Homeschooled children will fall through the cracks without mandated annual testing
TRUTH: Fewer than half of the states require standardized testing for homeschoolers. Several states that previously had such requirements have abolished them, including Arizona. There is normal variation among the academic scores of homeschooled students just like there is among public school students. Research demonstrates that homeschooled students score on average 15 to 30 percentile points above public school students on standardized academic achievement tests. Public schools themselves have not found a way to prevent their own students from falling through the cracks.
MYTH #6: We don’t know that homeschool families are obeying the law unless we make them demonstrate that they are
TRUTH: Under our form of government, which starts with the principle of liberty, once a law is enacted we presume every person is innocent of breaking the law until proven guilty. We do not compel innocent people to prove their innocence. The weight of the law comes down on those where there is evidence of a violation, not on those where there is no evidence of guilt.
MYTH #7: Homeschooling leaves students at a dead end with their education after high school
TRUTH: According to a study by Dr. Brian Ray, NHERI, Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us, 74% of homeschool graduates go on to college versus 46% of the general population.
MYTH #8: Homeschool graduates can’t get scholarships at Arizona state colleges
TRUTH: In 1999, Bethany’s Law, written by 17-year-old homeschooled student Bethany Lewis, was passed in the Arizona State Legislature guaranteeing homeschooled students would have the same access to scholarships at the three state universities as public and private school students.
MYTH #9: Homeschooled children are ill-equipped for the real world of adulthood
TRUTH: According to research by Dr. Brian Ray, NHERI, adults who were homeschooled pursue post-secondary education, develop careers, enter the military, marry, and have children. They are more than twice as likely to vote, nearly twice as likely to participate in ongoing community service, and more likely to work for a cause or candidate than the general population.
MYTH #10: Arizona Homeschool students lack opportunities for socialization and academic enrichment
TRUTH: Arizona has a thriving, vibrant homeschool community with a wide range of opportunities including homeschool support groups, co-ops, sports teams, P.E. classes, music lessons, choirs, robotics and LEGO clubs, spelling and geography bees, history and science fairs, speech and debate clubs, chess clubs, and much more. According to researcher Dr. Susan McDowell, socialization is not an issue for homeschooled kids.
The truth is that homeschooling works
We encourage parents to carefully consider embracing parent-led, privately funded homeschooling. It is a method through which children can receive unequaled results both academically and socially.
National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) is an excellent source of research about homeschooling. nheri.org