We’ve heard all the stories. Homeschoolers consistently get higher ACT scores than public school students. Homeschoolers score above average on standardized tests. Homeschoolers have “higher quality friendships and better relationships with their parents and other adults.”

With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that homeschooling saw an increase of over 60% in the last decade.

But have you ever wondered what might be driving the stellar outcomes that homeschoolers achieve? If so, a letter from a homeschool high school student to the New York Times might shed some light on that subject.

In her letter, Kathryn Rosnau details how she has used the New York Times and its news items as a supplementary curriculum for her high school education:

“I began to read the paper every weekend. Not just bits and pieces, but pretty much the entire paper every weekend.

Sometimes I’d save the most interesting articles and go through them, pencil in hand, to highlight stuff I’d like to research more, share with other people or write about. It became sort of a treasure hunt for me; I found and learned about fascinating aspects of topics that I wasn’t normally interested in. Prior to that, I hadn’t really paid any attention to news in, say, the business world, but now I find myself engrossed in reading about it.”

By using the New York Times as a supplementary curriculum, Kathryn explains how she has been free to expand her interests in everything from philosophy and politics, to journalism and geology. 

In essence, homeschooling provided her with the opportunities to become a self-directed and self-motivated learner, free to develop her curiosity.

Today’s public school system is too often the opposite. It processes children through a factory model of education and then wonders why they have no interest in learning.

If we want to help children develop into adults who are eager to investigate and make a difference in the world, is it time we rethink our current system of education?

Image Credit: Lily Monster bit.ly/1eBd9Ks