HomeschoolingThe definition of homeschooling is to instruct a pupil in an educational program outside of established schools (www.Dictionary.com). Homeschooling is a good alternative to public schools because of certain religious issues, standardized test success, and variety of options for homeschool students, but in some states homeschoolers are having trouble with the school system.Homeschooling has been on the rise in the United States and its popularity continues to grow among American families. According to the U.S Department of Education, in 2003 there were 1.1 million children in grades K thru 12 being homeschooled . The 3 most popular reasons for homeschooling are concerns about the environment of other schools, desire for religious or moral instruction, and dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools (2003 National Household Education Survey). Many parents have resorted to homeschooling their children because of certain religious issues and beliefs that these families see as not being taught in the public school systems. Many parents choose this method because most public schools do not participate in religious activities and parents want their children to be taught religion also, aside form everyday studies. Religion is also a big factor because the beliefs of these families and things they value and some believe that their child being in a public school environment will tamper with these beliefs and values. Some public schools around the country do still teach good values to their students and do believe in praying before school. There are a lot of religious organizations around the country encouraging parents to make a sacrifice for their children and teach them at home. Some believe that it is a good way to bond with their children and it is part of their Christian duty to do what is best for their children. Some of the problems with public schools are that children who go there with certain beliefs and customs that they participate in at home that they cannot do at school. Many citizens in states such as Pennsylvania are having issues with school systems making regulations on homeschooling that are not allowed (Doherty, Brian). One of the main arguments that parents are using deals with the Religious Freedom Protection act. This act states that state agencies may not compel conduct or expression which violates a specific tenet of a person’s religious faith. It also argues that nowhere in religious scripture is authority for education given over to government. Not only are parents saying that the Bible directly calls them out to educate their own children, but that it is the choice of the parents. Although there are many people choosing this method of education because of religious reasons, many parents who are not religious are choosing homeschooling because of the opportunities it opens up for their children and them. Many parents choose it because they believe that personal learning will be better for their children and there are so many products on the market today that it has been simple to be homeschooled (Kiesling, Angie).Homeschooling is also advantageous to students is because of the variety of options that are available. One of these options deals with the curriculums that are available. Unlike public schools, where the curriculums are set and students have no choice, homeschoolers and their parents have the right to choose based on what the child wants to learn and the parent wants to teach. This is good for the student because they are able to expand their learning and not just be trapped with the same set of standards as everyone else. This gives the students a chance to learn specific areas that they wouldn’t have learned in public school that can help them when going into college settings. Other options for homeschoolers include the amount of resources they have such as education based software, online classes with video, web based learning, and variety of textbooks (Kiesling, Angie). Many of these can be applied to high school or college level learning, depending on the ability of the child. Many of the products needed for homeschooling can be accessed from Appalachian Distributor’s 250 homeschool stores (Tyler, Zan). Parents can buy anything they want from curriculums to books for their children at Appalachian homeschool stores. They have all of the stuff that you could need if you are a beginner at homeschooling or been doing it for a few years. With the growth of homeschooling being between 7 and 15% annually, the market for this type of schooling is growing at a steady rate and is worth about $850 million in curriculum and resources (Kiesling, Angie). With all of the options of learning available and the endless amount of possibilities, it is easy to see why many parents are deciding to choose this method of education. With homeschooling, parents are able to focus on the subjects of education that are the most beneficial to their children in helping them do good on standardized tests and getting them into good colleges with the knowledge needed to be successful. For many years now, reports have shown that homeschool students have averaged higher scores on standardized tests than public school students. In 2002 the average SAT score was a 1020 for public school students and homeschoolers averaged a 1092(Beato, Greg). In 2003 there were 248 homeschooled students who achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship program with 109 winning awards (Beato, Greg). Other tests such as the ACT, homeschoolers averaged a 22.6 where public school students averaged a 20.9(Beato, Greg). These statistics are just averages and do not mean that all homeschoolers do good on these standardized tests. Just like public schools, some do better than others, but the average is just a little bit higher for homeschool based learning. Some of the success on these tests is due to the fact that parents tend to focus more closely on subjects that will most likely appear on the tests whereas some public schools just go quickly through some subjects without some of the students getting a thorough understanding. Other reasons for homeschool success is the fact that the students are in a environment free of drugs, violence, where kids can focus on learning which in turn will yield them higher academic success (Wichers, Michelle). With parents spending much of their time and energy into educating their child, the result is a quality education rather than an education in a public school setting where teachers based learning on how much was covered and not how much the students actually learned. Students who are in a personal learning environment where it is one on one rather than one on 30 also helps in the educational success of homeschooling (Wichers, Michelle).As homeschooling grows popular by the year, its effect on some public school systems in some states is starting to show. One instance is in Arizona where a school had loss 2/3 of its students due to influences of religious leaders, and a school with fewer students equals less funding for that school (Gewertz, Katherine). Due to lack of funding that particular school had to make pay cuts and fire some employees. This shows how powerful the influence of religion is in society today when it comes to children getting the best education. While most people envision homeschooling as a child kept in the home and is secluded from the rest of the world, it has become just the opposite of that (Teicher, Stacy). Homeschoolers experience most of the opportunities and are as much involved in the world as public school students (Teicher, Stacy). While most students are crammed in rows of desks, homeschooled students get individual attention and do not have to go through being packed in the classic class room. As more people start to realize the pros of homeschooling, they will soon recognize that there is an alternative to public and private schooling where education is not the best for public and private costs a lot of money. Homeschooling will be the third option for parents who want their children to experience a good education and succeed in college, without taking out a second mortgage to pay for private school or waste time in public school. With more and more students graduating high school illiterate and not by any means ready for the real world, it is no surprise that homeschooling seems like a good idea to most parents. While some think homeschooling is heading into the future of education, some believe it is a jump back to the future which is a good thing (Lyman,Isabel). It goes back to the old times when kids were taught in their homes and would actually learn something during a day of school. Many people choose homeschooling because they believe that public schools have lost the meaning of what a school should be for children and why they are put in society. Schools were setup to educate people who are not educated and help students to their best ability in order to prepare them for the outside world (Lyman,Isabel). With most schools just passing kids through school instead of taking the time to actually teach them, they are not doing society a favor because these kids have no skills to bring to society to better it. Homeschooliing provides the personal With the ever growing population of kids being homeschooled it is no surprise that more people are starting to realize the benefits of homeschooling and seeing it as an positive alternative to public schools. Some states are having problems with regulations, but most are doing just fine with the adjustment. Homeschooling is a good idea because of religious issues, its success on standardized tests, and the options open to kids who are homeschooled.