Thursday, November 4, 2010


When I think about the various types of education, homeschooling is by far the most interesting one to me. Just like the growth of charter schools, homeschooling is also experiencing significant growth. According to data from the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program, the increase in the homeschooling rate (from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003 to 2.9 percent in 2007) represents a 74 percent relative increase over the 8-year period and a 36 percent relative increase since 2003.1 Not surprising this relative increase is similar here in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where we rank second to last in achievement in the state and there continues to be a growing number of families dissatisfied with the school system’s ability to provide their children with a quality educational experience.

Even with the largest number of students taught through homeschooling in the state of Maryland—3,7592—homeschooling seems to still largely exist under the radar in Prince George's County. Although I met several parents committed to providing their children with the very best education via homeschooling communities, just getting one parent to participate in this interview was a challenging task. It was also difficult finding any research specific to homeschooling families in the county. Several calls and emails to the Prince George’s County Public School System’s Homeschooling Office, unfortunately, yielded no additional information.

While I understand why a family may choose to explore homeschooling as an approach to educate their children, I have often wondered why anyone, especially someone who may not be trained to do so, would embrace such a massive undertaking. Below is one woman’s experience. Hats off to everyone homeschooling!

A special thank you to Michelle Dunn, executive director of MYGIFT,, for connecting me to the absolute best person for "the interview."

Visit for resources and to download the accompanying informational brief, SnapShot.

1 “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007” National Center for Education Statistics Issue Brief, December 2008
2 “Maryland Homeschooling Statistics.” The More Child. Blog Post: October 8, 2008.
The Interview: Homeschooling—
Is It For Your Child?
An interview with Crystal Taylor, home school parent

“[Homeschooling is] a choice a parent makes for their child.”

1. How long have you been homeschooling your children and how many are you currently home schooling?

I have homeschooled my four children for almost 11 years—a daughter age 18 who has two more classes and is the only one currently being homeschooled, a son 19 years old, a daughter 20 years old and a son 27 years old. My oldest son was in eleventh grade and my other children were in early elementary grades when I started.

2. What led you to this decision?

My sister has always homeschooled her children. When my eldest son, who was in eleventh grade at the time, was attending a public school in Washington DC, I noticed that he was being pushed through. He was an athlete and I remember asking one of his teachers how my son got a “C” in his class and the teacher could not show me any recorded grades except that one “C”. From that point on, I considered homeschooling.

At first, I was very skeptical because I was raised to go to school but my son was not getting what he needed. He did not know how to do basic math and was reading below grade level.

3. How has the experience been?

It was a transition pulling my children out of public school especially for the eleventh grader. I had to make sure the socializing piece still existed. I got involved in homeschool events, and worked with different homeschooling parents to plan. My kids were able to dissect a frog, and there were other groups such as a gym class, art and other curriculums you can use with other homeschoolers. Six Flags (a theme park in Prince George’s County) even offers a homeschooling day.

As a Christian, reading and studying [the Bible] helped guide and encourage my decision. This also helped with practicing patience. When you home school, your children will be home with you all day and you have to be able to enjoy this experience.

One huge advantage that this experience has afforded me is to be able to raise my children in the admonition of the Lord and being able to teach my children what I want them to learn in order to deal with the world based on my family’s beliefs.

4. Have you connected with any local organizations for assistance/guidance? If so, which ones and in what ways have they been helpful?

There was not a lot of red tape to get started. It is very important to figure out how your child learns and then to identify the appropriate curriculum. I have used the Christian Light Education Curriculum. There are many choices depending on where your child is.

If you go through a correspondence school such as the Citizens’ High School, you can receive all books, credentials, transcripts, diplomas and testing materials. I paid a fee and utilized Citizens’ for assistance.

Also, many churches serve as umbrella organizations for the home schooling community. There are people in the faith-based sector that will help you administratively. Most homeschool communities have the normal events (field trips, proms, dances, art classes, music, gym) that a public school setting would offer.

5. For parents who may be considering homeschooling, what are your top 3 – 5 recommendations?
  • Prayer— you have to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
  • Make sure your home is going to be happy with this decision—discuss the pros and cons with all family members that will be included and affected.
  • Ask what activities children can get involved in at other schools.
  • Find an umbrella group so that you can get advice from someone experienced.
  • Do your research to make sure you find the best curriculum for your child’s learning ability, know your child’s way of learning and their work ethic. Make sure you dot all “T’s” and “I’s”.
Resources are out there, many through faith-based organizations. In order for your child to have a variety of experiences, you have to join events. You have to do your research. Parents have to be involved regardless of the type of system, home or public, in teaching their child.

6. How can the Prince George’s County Public School System and the county, in general, better support parents who are taking on this huge and amazing responsibility?

Make additional resources available! We have no resources from the Prince George’s County Public School system. Homeschooling parents have to pay for everything! If a child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or needs a speech therapist, a parent has to pay unlike in the school system (public or private), where those types of specialized services are provided at no cost.

Visit to download and read the accompanying informational brief, SnapShot.