Monday, March 29, 2010

Homeschoolers CAN Do Well in College: Meet my Daughter, Amy Zellman

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I will never forget the moment, many years ago, when one of my sister-in-laws, a public school teacher, told me that I was "ruining" my children by schooling them at home.  If, by any chance, you are being told by your family and friends that you are "ruining" your child(ren) because you have chosen to homeschool them, don't believe them. Homeschooling is a wonderful, positive environment for learning of all sorts. I pray you find this report on my daughter's success in college an encouragement to you in your day-to-day labors with your own children.  The sky is the limit with your children's potential. 

After homeschooling for 18 years, I would say to each of you, "Reach for the stars! God has a plan for each and every child he has placed in your home. Know that your homeschooling efforts are a manifestation of a holy calling.  Our calling includes raising our children so they will want to make a difference for God during their lifetimes and in the lives of the generations that follow them." 

My daughter, just like her two brothers, was homeschooled starting at age 4 all the way through high school. (Our youngest son is still in high school.)  She did some dual enrollment during high school at our local community college and took a few classes at a private Christian school during high school. But, the rest of her school work was done primarily at home.  We used available resources outside the home only when we felt the other school could do a better job of teaching a subject than we could. 

Amy has wanted to become a medical doctor since she was a very young child.  This notion grew from a vague consideration at age four to a strong commitment by age seven. Since age seven, her determination to become a doctor has never wavered. She is presently finishing her junior year in Northern California at Simpson University, a Christian and Missionary Alliance school in Redding, CA.  She has a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.8 right now (out of 4.0). 

After applying for several possible medical or scientific research oportunities for summer of 2010, Amy was offered two prestigious possibilities:

  1. A summer internship program with stipend from the Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York. That's right! ...the Ivy League school, or
  2. A generous stipend to conduct medical research alongside Dr. Steven Goheen at the Department of Homeland Security in Richland, Washington. Because of the medical research and publication possibilities associated with the projects planned at Homeland Security, Amy has chosen to go to Homeland Security this summer and work under Dr. Goheen, her mentor for the project.
Seal of the United States Department of Homela...Amy will be taking her MCAT exams this summer. The scores on the MCAT and/or GRE exams this year determine who gets into medical school for the 2011 - 2012 school year.

She plans to apply this coming fall in hopes of finding a full ride scholarship in an MD-PhD program at a reputable school. After grauation from that phase of studies, she would be a medical doctor with the ability to practice medicine, conduct and write about both scientific and medical research, as well as teaching science, math and medical subjects at the university level.

I'm a proud Mom, but I know well that all the credit is due my daughter--not her parents.  She made this happen!  It is her good choices coupled with a lot of hard work and determination that have gotten her where she is today.     

I encourage all homeschooling parents not to fear homeschooling through high school.  For some families, this gives you the flexibility you need to prepare your teen to move into college, trade school, apprenticeships, and or go straight to work someplace.  With the tools you place under their belts, our homeschooled sons and daughters can make a real difference in the future of our nation and even around the world. 

The link below is her university's press release about her landing these two prestigious summer programs.  I believe the next generation could be transformed for the better by well-educated, talented homeschool students who are willng to work hard and dedicate their life in fields that can make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.         

Malinda Zellman

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Homeschool High School Science Curriculum Article

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Sat Mar 6, 6:57 pm ET
published in a Louisville, KY newspaper:
By DYLAN LOVAN, Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn't taken a
friend's advice and tried a textbook from a popular Christian publisher for her 10-year-old's biology lessons.
Charles DarwinMule's precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying
tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth's excitement turn to
confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Apologia
Educational Ministries, which disputed Charles Darwin's theory.
"I thought she was going to have a coronary," Mule said of her daughter, who
is now 16 and taking college courses in Houston. "She's like, 'This is not true!'"
Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market
that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most
home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth's creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."

"The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians," said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for theHome School Legal Defense Association. "Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to
their home-school program."
Those who don't, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.
Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.
"I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids," said Jerry Coyne, an ecology and evolution professor at the University of Chicago.
The textbook publishers defend their books as well-rounded lessons on
evolution and its shortcomings. One of the books doesn't attempt to mask
disdain for Darwin and evolutionary science.

"Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling," says the introduction to "Biology: Third Edition" from Bob Jones University Press. "This book was not written for them."

Bob Jones, Sr. (1883-1968)The textbook delivers a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its "History of Life" chapter that a "Christian worldview ... is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is."

When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions.

The size of the business of home-school texts isn't clear because the textbook industry is fragmented and privately held publishers don't give out sales numbers. Slatter said home-school material sales reach about $1 billion annually in the U.S.

Publishers are well aware of the market, said Jay Wile, a former chemistry
professor in Indianapolis who helped launch the Apologia curriculum in the
early 1990s.

"If I'm planning to write a curriculum, and I want to write it in a way that will appeal to home-schoolers, I'm going to at least find out what my demographic is," Wile said.

In Kentucky, Lexington home-schooler Mia Perry remembers feeling disheartened while flipping through a home-school curriculum catalog and
finding so many religious-themed textbooks.

"We're not religious home-schoolers, and there's somewhat of a feeling of
being outnumbered," said Perry, who has home-schooled three of her four
children after removing her oldest child from a public school because of a
health condition.

Perry said she cobbled together her own curriculum after some mainstream
publishers told her they would not sell directly to home-schooling parents.
Wendy Womack, another Lexington home-school mother, said the only
scientifically credible curriculum she's found is from the Maryland-based Calvert School, which has been selling study-at-home materials for more than 100 years.

Apologia and Bob Jones University Press say their science books sell well.
Apologia's "Exploring Creation" biology textbook retails for $65, while Bob
Jones' "Biology" Third Edition lists at $52.

Coyne and Virginia Tech biology professor Duncan Porter reviewed excerpts from the Apologia and Bob Jones biology textbooks, which are equivalent to
ninth- and 10th-grade biology lessons. Porter said he would give the books an F.

"If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they're being shortchanged,
both rationally and in terms of biology," Coyne said. He argued that the
books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth.

Wile countered that Coyne "feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up."

Adam Brown's parents say their 16-year-old son's belief in the Bible's creation story isn't deterring him from pursuing a career in marine biology. His parents, Ken and Polly Brown, taught him at their Cedar Grove, Ind., home using the Apologia curriculum and other science texts.

Polly Brown said her son would gladly take college courses that include evolution, and he'll be able to provide the expected answers even though he

"He probably knows it better than the kids who have been taught evolution
all through public school," Polly Brown said. "But that is in order for him
to understand both sides of that argument because he will face it throughout
his higher education."

(End of Associated Press Article) - Comments welcome... use link for comments below

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