TITLE: Jon's Homeschool Resource Page

ACCESS: http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/index.html

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 1% of the school-aged population is home schooled (half-a-million students) while various home schooling organizations give estimates two to three times higher. Whether for reasons of quality, morality, family togetherness, or attempts to control social interactions, all agree that the numbers are growing at a swift rate.

Since the Internet has joined the public library as a great resource for parents who choose to educate their children at home, home schooler Jon Shemitz (jon@midnightbeach.com) has aggregated Internet resources that support parents who choose to home school their children.

The most valuable resource on his site is the list of local support groups for 45 U.S. states taken from the magazines Growing Without Schooling (http://www.HoltGWS.com/) and Home Education Magazine (http://home-ed-magazine.com ) and another home schooler named RuthAnn Biel. Those support groups which have web sites tend to outline the rights and responsibilities of parents, provide curricular materials, and give a philosophical foundation for home schooling. The list also includes resources for nine foreign countries and seven religious groups.

Many of Shemitz's support pages also point to state laws. While some merely point to compilations of all state laws, others summarize relevant laws, including state standards for certification, required hours, school attendance, standardized tests, health and immunizations, and eligibility for extracurricular activities. Since not all pages point to legal information, it is a shame that the link to a summary of each state's home schooling law leads to a site that has moved or no longer exists.

Another key resource is the list of web sites for home schooling pages and national organizations. In addition to other sites which aggregate home schooling resources, Shemitz lists pages which discuss the philosophy of home schooling and provide curricular materials, lesson plans, activities, field trips, and information about college admissions. His list of individual and family home pages

would be more useful if he did something more to distinguish one home page from another than separating them into families, students, and graduates.

Other sections include a file of FAQs, lists of discussion groups, a pointer to a site which lists conferences, links to general education and parenting resources, and a very limited list of "offline" resources. Shemitz only includes vendors who choose to pay to appear on his site.

Jon's Homeschool Resource Page does not link directly to curricular resources, but it is one of the most comprehensive and best organized of the ideologically "neutral" (i.e., no particular religious viewpoint) aggregator sites. It should serve the needs of parents who are exploring the idea of home schooling or already teaching their children at home.

Mark Emmons
Head, Research Education Program & Assistant Head, Education Services
University of New Mexico July 1998

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