Federal Relations

Bright Spots in Home Schooling

August 9, 2002  

Home Schooled High Schooler Finishes Select College Program

Science is often considered a challenging area for home schooled students, but a 14-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio is proving just how adept home schoolers can be.

Meghan Everage just returned from an intensive three-week course of study at Northwestern University in Chicago, as part of that school's Center for Talent Development. Meghan plans to study biology at an Ivy League school, and saw the summer course on ecology as good preparation for that.

As part of her application for entry into the select program, Meghan, touted, rather than apologized for, her home schooling status.

"Being home schooled has not handicapped my learning, as shown by my ACT assessment scores," she wrote to the admission board. "In fact, I believe that my home schooling is the key to my participation in the Midwestern Talent Search. My parents' training has offered many challenging courses such as, Physical Anthropology, Biology, Geometry, and Algebra I, which I feel helped prepare me to do well on the ACT assessment test."

Meghan notes her mother, Alice, has helped her to realize potential in the study of science.

"My mom has always put me a grade or two above in the sciences to challenge me. I feel it is getting me ready," Meghan said. "She is a pharmaceutical chemist and so she knows a lot. Home schooling is getting me prepared for these programs and makes us able to center the courses around what I want to major in. Public school students have a lot of mandatory courses. There are those for me too, but I can also take electives that are centered around what I want to do."

While some would say Alice Everage's science background gives her an advantage other home school teachers don't have, Alice downplays that.

"I don't think my degree helped me at all with my first year in home schooling," Alice said. "I know chemistry, but not earth science or space science. I'm just now getting to teach chemistry after four years."

Alice went on to say that every home school teacher has the potential to teach high levels of science well.

" The home school community is so resourceful," she said. "A lot of the kids I have met (from the area home schooled community) are so well versed. I don't think not having that background needs to be a deterrent."

Meghan said the program at Northwestern involved 5 hours of schoolwork during the week, as well as evening social activities and mandatory study sessions.

"It was almost like college," she said. "I learned a lot and it was a good test to see what I will like to study in the future."

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