I wanted to follow-up on last week’s article about Education Secretary John King’s remarks about homeschooling. In his comments he made some assertions.
- Homeschooling is not school.
- Students who are homeschooled, by an large are not getting the “rapid instructional experience” they would get in public school.
- He also then brings up socialization concerns.
The National Home Education Research Institute is a great resource. Brian D. Ray, PhD. compiled a fact sheet on homeschooling from various studies and articles. I wanted to highlight some of what complied here.
First what people need to understand is that homeschooling is taxpayer friendly:
- Families engaged in home-based education are not dependent on public, tax-funded resources for their children’s education. The finances associated with their homeschooling likely represent over $27 billion that American taxpayers do not have to spend, annually, since these children are not in public schools
- Taxpayers spend an average of $11,732 per pupil in public schools, plus capital expenditures. Taxpayers spend nothing on most homeschool students and homeschool families spend an average of $600 per student for their education.
What about their academic performance? As a group they do very well.
- The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).
- Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
- Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
- Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
- Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
- Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.
Socialization, what about that socialization? While there are a few exceptions, over all homeschooling provides more socialization than Dr. King and critics think.
- The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.
- Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.
I like to put it this way, I think the socialization that occurs within most homeschooling families is more real world than what kids tend to have at school. In what other time in their lives will students be segregated with people their own age? They won’t. Being stuck in a class of fourth graders may teach students to be a better fourth grader, but it is of little value when I want to teach them to become an adult.
Ray notes that the research base on adults who have been homeschooled is growing, but this is what they have found.
- participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,
- vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population
- go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population
- by adulthood, internalize the values and beliefs of their parents at a high rate
If only we saw average results like this from public school students. Ray did provide a word of caution, “the research designs to date do not conclusively “prove” that homeschooling causes these things. At the same time, there is no empirical evidence that homeschooling causes negative things compared to institutional schooling.”
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