Similar to the MTV Reality show Tiara Girls, I believe America would be interested in a reality show called Homeschooling Kids, or Home schooled adults. Unlike other reality TV shows that often features dysfunctional homeschoolers like Trading Spouses, Mom Swap, or Super Nanny, this reality TV show would focus on the stories of the everyday homeschooler instead of the extreme cases.
Everything I have seen on homeschoolers today has been the equivalent of an episode of “Cops”. Just as the TV show, “Cops” profiles the worst of humanity, shows featuring homeschoolers have repeatedly profiled the very most dysfunctional of homeschoolers. According the National Center for Education Statistics states, “Between 1999 and 2003 homeschooling rates increased for a number of groups. Homeschooling rates increased from 0.9 to 1.7 percent among students with parents who have a high school diploma or less, from 2.0 to 2.7 percent among White students, from 1.6 to 2.4 percent among students in grades 6-8; and from 0.7 to 1.4 percent among students in single-parent households where the parent was in the labor force.” In addition, “both the number and the proportion of students in the United States who were being home schooled increased between 1999 and 2003. Approximately 1.1 million students (1,096,000) were being home schooled in the United States in the spring of 2003, an increase from the estimated 850,000 students who were being home schooled in the spring of 1999 In addition, the percentage of the entire student population who were being home schooled increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003”. With homeschooling increasing at such an alarming rate, one would surmise that homeschooling is successful overall. It is time that the other side of the coin was profiled.
A typical show would start with an interview of a home schooled family. The following questions would be asked: Why do you homeschool. What is your educational background? What do you expect to accomplish through homeschooling. The cameras would follow this typical homeschooler through a normal week, where academic lessons would be taught, extracurricular activities like ballet, or chess club would be followed, and independent study would be profiled. Another show scenario would be shows on families beginning the homeschooling process, which would include visiting other homeschoolers to get ideas and information, and trying out different approached. There could also be special editions, which would profile graduating homeschooler. These home schooled kids would be finishing their homeschool high school career, receiving diplomas and other awards, going to homeschool proms, and transitioning into traditional or non-traditional college programs. I could see this reality TV show going on for years because you have the opportunity to revisit families in later years and do a “where are they now” special every so often.
Should a day in the life of a homeschooler not be exciting enough, you could mix it up a little and profile a traditionally schooled family and a home schooled family at the same time showing similarities and differences in the process and outcome. You could also put homeschoolers and their families up against each other in homeschool challenge shows giving each of them tasks to accomplish and having them compete against each other. Something to the effect of “battle of the all-star homeschoolers’. Heck, I would compete!