Capstone/Dissertation Title

How do home-based education programs prepare high school students academically and socially for their adult lives?

Term

2006

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAEd

Abstract

I chose the topic of home-based education programs as a result of my teaching experiences the past seven years. As a teacher in a satellite school I am often asked if these programs will adequately prepare students to be successful adults. Despite the fact that home-based education programs are not new many people are unfamiliar with them. I, also, questioned if there was more I could be doing to help my students achieve their highest potential. Each time I was asked this question by a parent, student or interested party I would give an answer based on the limited information I knew. With the encouragement of co-workers, parents, and students I embarked on this journey to answer the question of how do home-based education programs prepare high school students academically and socially for their adult lives. Current literature seems to answer this questions with a resounding "Yes." I was not able to find a single study that showed otherwise. Research shows us that 98 percent of students were involved in two or more extra-curricular activities throughout high school. Academically, students in home-based education programs do exceptionally well when compared with the nationwide average on academic tests. One in four students are completing school work one or more grades above their age level with only 1.5 percent doing work below their grade level. For my research I chose to survey adults with a written survey who had completed some or all of high school within a home-based education program. I asked participants questions such as the reason for choosing a home-based education program, in which areas did they feel the weakest and the strongest academically and socially, types of extra-curricular activities they were involved in, what they wish had been included in their program, and advice to parents and students who were considering a home-based education program. The research has shown me areas that I need to ensure are addressed for each student. The first is that I must be sure to challenge each student academically and ensure they are ready for college (regardless of current plans). Another is that extra-curricular activities are important. It did not seem to matter what type of activity students were involved in; most found the activity at least somewhat helpful in preparing them to be a successful adult. I will increase my encouragement to students and parents to become involved.

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