It seems like every graduation season has its stories of whiz kids. The kids who are so ambitious and so accomplished that they’re graduating from high school, and even college, before the normal time.
One of the latest is 14-year-old Matthew McKenzie from Georgia, who received his high school diploma and associate degree the same day. And like many other whiz kids, McKenzie was – you guessed it – homeschooled. Matthew’s mother, Monique McCord tells the story:
“We would pull material from different textbooks and different resources so I would pretty much custom create his curriculum.”
McCord goes on to explain that one of the most challenging things about their unique journey was getting the college to lower their age requirement to a level where Matthew could qualify for courses.
Commenting on Matthew’s success, the television anchor notes that “it helps to be smart” in order to accomplish such achievements.
That’s certainly true, but I have to wonder if that’s really the case with these overachieving homeschoolers. Are they really these brilliant geniuses who have the genetic capability to be brainiacs… or is there something more to their success? I have to believe it’s the later.
The fact is, homeschooled kids have a number of things going for them that public school kids do not. These include:
- Individualized attention
- Freedom from regimented, mass instruction
- Release from peer pressure and the distractions of friends
- Freedom from anxiety over school violence
Sure, homeschooling often requires certain sacrifices. But homeschooling mom Kathie Crouse recently explained to WVNews why she believes those sacrifices are worth it:
“‘When it comes down to it, we’re worried about our own children first and foremost,’ Crouse said. ‘As much as I’m sorry that the school system probably lost thousands because I pulled my two students out, that’s not my concern. If the school system had done a better job, I may have stayed in.’”
Increasing numbers of parents are realizing that the public school system can no longer offer the strong, high-quality education which once taught students to read, write, and reason in a logical fashion, a fact which test scores can attest. And instead of sitting around hoping that the ship will right itself, these parents are taking control of their children’s education, infusing them with a love of learning and ambition for accelerated success.
Is it time for more of us to do the same?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.