At a young age Peter Schriemer, now an LSA senior, adapted to
the life of learning at home because his local elementary school in
Ann Arbor was overpopulated.

“I was a very active kid, so my mom decided to home school
me that year, and she loved it so much that I was home schooled up
through high school,” Schriemer said. As the oldest child,
Schriemer set a family trend: His three younger siblings were also
home schooled.

Now, as he prepares for graduation in the spring, Schriemer is
working with the Discovery Channel and PBS to develop his wildlife
special, “Beyond Your Doorstep” which won him a
People’s Choice Award from the National Religious
Broadcasters in California at the age of 17. “Homeschooling
taught me that education is life and life is education, and
that’s what inspired this special. I wanted to teach
kids,” he said.

Schreimer is one of the few students at the University who were
home schooled from kindergarten through high school.

Yet Michigan has one of the highest rates of home schooled
students per capita in the country. Nationwide, these students
rival their peers on standardized tests, according to University
admissions personnel.

In this year’s freshman class there are only four students
— all from Michigan — that were home schooled through
high school, according to the University.

Nick Cudney, a graduate student in the Dental School, was home
schooled from fifth to eighth grade because of his dyslexia.

“By the time I reached fifth grade I was three years
behind in reading and writing, and my mom decided to home school
me,” Cudney said. It only took a year of home schooling for
him to catch up with his class, Cudney said.

Cudney took his high school classes at a community college and
then went to Wheaton College, outside Chicago. Now, at the age of
20, Cudney is ahead of his peers, already in his second year of
dental school.

“If you’re disciplined enough and your parents are
willing to put in the time, then homeschooling is great. It really
helped me to work at my own pace and understand what I was
learning,” Cudney said.

There are many reasons why parents decide to home school their
kids, Cudney said. “Some people do it because of religious
beliefs, and others just find it to be a better environment
academically,” Cudney said.

Sally Lindsley, associate director of undergraduate admissions
at the University, said the few homeschooled applicants are
carefully reviewed.

“Each home schooled student is individually reviewed, but
we generally have 15 to 25 applicants a year that have had a
variety of educational experiences,” Lindsley said.

She also said she noticed a new trend in the home schooled
applicants.

“Most apply to LSA and the music school, but recently we
have had an increase in home schooled applicants to our school of
engineering,” Lindsley said.

She added that many students coming to the University after
being home schooled have already taken community college credits,
which Lindsley said admissions officers take into account in
evaluating their applications.

“If they’re bringing in community college work or
math and science classes they took at an academy, we look to see
where their strengths are. Otherwise we use the SAT II’s to
help evaluate them,” Lindsley said.

The national department of education reported that nearly 2
million students nationwide are home schooled.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of home schooled students,
perhaps because of its flexible laws regarding who is eligible to
teach their children.

While reaching high academic standards and creating strong
family ties, many of these students also learn to interact with all
different age groups, as home schooled organizations allow them to
meet students like themselves and participate in different sports
and activities.

Still, Schreimer does not advocate that the system for all, even
though he said the process worked out well for him.
“It’s not something everyone should do; it depends on
the individual and the family,” he said.

Whether they decide to attend small religious colleges or big
schools such as the University, these students said they are
determined to learn and do well. And as Schreimer said,
“There is no perfect school, and home schooling is not
perfect, but if you have the right family who is willing to
dedicate the time, it’s a great experience.”

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