Four Home Schoolers Named Among 2023 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Recently the National Merit Scholarships named 169 high school students from Arkansas as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists.

Of those students, four were home schoolers:

  • John S. Sooter of Bentonville
  • Sophia A. Wright of Hot Springs
  • Alison K. Giggleman of Roland
  • Kyla L. Cross of Springdale

To be named as a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist is a tremendous honor.

Semifinalists move on to compete for approximately 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth $28 million to be offered next year.

Students vying for the National Merit Scholarships apply by taking the PSAT exam in the fall of their junior year.

The Arkansas Department of Education has taken steps this year to increase home schoolers’ access to the PSAT.

Please join us in congratulating these students on their achievement!

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Arkansas Home Schoolers Receive National Merit Scholarships

On Thursday the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that 2022 graduating home schooler Christian Daniel Wilson of Sherwood earned a National Merit Scholarship in July.

National Merit Scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

The newspaper reports Wilson is studying mechanical engineering at Harding University in Searcy.

In May home schooler Margaret M. Stiritz of Russellville was named one of 22 Arkansas graduates to win National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.

Home schoolers in Arkansas have a legacy of academic excellence.

In 2009, Arkansas’ home schoolers performed better on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills than 61% – 80% of the students who took that test, nationwide.

According to the 2013-2014 Home School Report from the Arkansas Department of Education, in 2014 home schoolers in grades 3 – 9 scored anywhere from the 51st percentile to the 65th percentile on that same test.

Because home schoolers excelled academically for so many years, the Arkansas Legislature actually ended state-mandated home school testing in 2015.

Over the past two years, Arkansas has seen an increase in the number of families home schooling their children.

Research shows parental involvement generally is tied to better educational outcomes for children. That’s true no matter how families choose to educate their children.

But home schooling is particularly good for many families, because it lets them choose the education that’s best for them.

For 24 years Family Council’s home school division, the Education Alliance, has supported home schooling in Arkansas, because it gives families the flexibility to provide the education that’s right for their children.

It’s good to see home schoolers carrying on that tradition of academic excellence in Arkansas.