Not according to the research. Homeschoolers, on average, have more time than their public schooled peers and they utilize this time to seek employment, gain experience through internships and to volunteer in community organizations.  Others, like Kristin Braun, begin their own organizations.  Kristin will not be graduating until Spring of 2007, but already she and some friends have a vision to   regenerate our nation’s worldview away from the post-modernism holding it and back to the Christian worldview it was first built on.    She and three other teenagers are board members of Regenerate Our Culture (www.regenerateourculture.com), which seeks to achieve these goals through its online magazine.  They are planning to start several podcasts, as well.   Kristin’s goals are certainly not indicative of a sheltered teenager.

I certainly hope that the things we say and publish will have great impact on our readers to spur them toward further thought and equip them for anything the Lord may lead them to do. It’s hard to explain this, but everyone wants their efforts to impact people in great ways.  I believe that we’re being used of God . .  but we’re just a sliver of what He may have planned for our generation.  And along that path, we can be a source of challenge and encouragement for them. We’re only a side-kick . . . God will do the rest. Our current cultural trend is toward indifference. So in essence, I hope that we can be an encouragement to young people. To keep them going and pressing on in their lives. We’re hopefully a reminder that they’re not alone. And eventually they can make a difference in their homes, as parents one day, and in the world. We don’t know if any of our readers will be President one day, but most are likely to be parents.  We hope what we write will help in either case.

With over 30,000 hits to their website in their first month, they are off to a good start.

Homeschoolers in general seem eager to involve themselves in their communities.  According to Dr. Ray’s research, they are significantly more likely to belong to a community organization, including church, synagogue, union, homeschool group or professional organization (88.3% compared to 50% of the general US population).  In civic affairs, homeschool graduates have a strong and organized voice.  35% of US adults consider government too complicated to understand. This likely contributes to a great deal of the apathy we witness in political activity. Our national voting average usually hovers around the 50% mark for national and state elections, dropping off significantly for local elections. Homeschool graduates, on the other hand, are engaged and competent. Only 4.2% report feeling politics and government are too complicated to understand.  They contribute more money to campaigns and causes, are more likely to be involved in protests and boycotts, are more likely to attend public meetings, and are more than twice as likely to work for a political party, candidate or cause.  They also appear to have a greater confidence in speaking out and voicing their opinions in that they are more likely to write or telephone an editor, public official or sign a petition.  And over 90% (depending on the age group) vote in elections. Interestingly, the only factor involved in determining civic involvement in which homeschooled adults scored lower than the general US population was in their likelihood of reading a local newspaper (60.6% as compared to 82%).  With a broad selection of news sources, however, this is hardly indicative of a poorly educated voice.

[Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a 3 part series. In the next part Dana continues to address the ethics and religious views strengthened by homeschooling.]

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Dana Hanley is a homeschooling mother of three.  She holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Kansas, but feels like her true education began when she began preparing to homeschool.  You can join her on her journey and learn more about her thoughts on education and family life at her blog, Principled Discovery, at http://gottsegnet.blogspot.com.

This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct ’06 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com