Families find benefits in home schooling
Luke Sunderland, who will be 14 on Sept. 16, has been home schooled his whole life. Making friends is "a little bit more challenging," he says. "I socialize but not as much as someone going to public school." | J.Geil—For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2012 1:29AM
OAK BROOK — Superintendent Sandra Martin of District 53 said she was not aware of any families living in the district who have home schooled their children over the past 10 years.
But statistics show the number of students who are home school is woefully under reported, with very few regulations requiring formal notification.
Principal Nina McCabe from Brook Forest School in Oak Brook said she received a letter about 4-5 years ago from a family wanting to notify her that they were home schooling.
“The letter was only to let us know; they weren’t asking to use any of our services,” McCabe said.
In some cases, children being home schooled do take advantage of some services offered by the school that serves the area in which they live.
Martin said she believes the quality of Brook Forest and Butler Junior High likely is the major reason there are few children home schooled in District 53.
“A great number of families move specifically to Oak Brook so their children can attend our terrific schools,” said Superintendent Sandra Martin of District 53.
Martin said unique circumstances might prompt parents to choose home schooling.
“For example, if a child is an elite athlete, homeschooling may be the only option for a child’s schedule,” she said. “With the advent of online sites, parents have more resources within easy reach. Yet, the social interaction and the access to high quality teachers who can provide customized feedback to students still make traditional schooling the most compelling option of all.”
But many parents disagree.
For Debra Sunderland, the decision to home school had nothing to do with the value of education in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181.
No matter how good a school district is, it will not be able to provide individualized instruction to meet each child’s abilities and interests, Sunderland said.
Her son, Luke, who will turn 14 on Sept. 16, has been home schooled his entire life by his mother.
Her friends’ children who were home schooled convinced Sunderland to home school Luke and his 9-year-old sister, Isabel.
“The kids I met were able to engage with me, with their siblings and with people of all different ages. They were really bright and creative,” Sunderland said.
Sunderland also wanted their religious faith to be part of their education.
“I wanted them to be where it was okay to talk about God, to have a Christmas pageant. I wanted to give them a good foundation,” she said.