Who homeschools, and why?
Those of us who do homeschool all have our "what on earth was I thinking?!?" days, but let's look at what the National Center for Education Statistics has to say.
Many studies have been completed during the past 20 years that examine the academic achievement of the homeeducated (Ray, 2004b). Dozens of researchers have executed these studies. Examples of these studies ranged from a multiyear study in Washington state, three nationwide studies across the United States, and a nationwide study in Canada (Ray,1994, 1997, 2001c; Rudner, 1999; Wartes, 1991). In study after study, the homeschooled scored, on average, at the 65th to 80th percentile on standardized academic achievement tests in the United States and Canada, compared to the public school average of the 50th percentile."
This was found to be true irrespective of the parents' income level or level of higher learning.
Okay, so maybe they're learning. But how do they fare socially?
We've all heard the horror stories of the "unsocialized homeschooler." How do we know these kids are more than just book smart? Let's refer to the Journal of College Admission article by Dr. Ray again :
"Numerous studies, employing various psychological constructs and measures, show the homeeducated are developing at least as well, and often better than, those who attend institutional schools (Medlin, 2000; Ray, 2004b, ch. 4). No research contravenes this evidence. For example, regarding aspect of self-concept in the psychological development of children, several studies have revealed that the self-concept of homeschooled students is significantly higher than that of public school students. As another example, Shyers (1992) found the only significant childhood social interaction difference between the institutionally-schooled and homeschoolers was that the institutionally-schooled had higher problem behavior scores."
All right. I get it. But how will they ever adapt to college life without having been traditionally schooled?
I think every parent spends time worrying about the college-bound. Should homeschool parents worry more? Looking at the Journal of College Admission article once again:
“The academic performance analyses indicate that home school graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates and that they perform as well on national college assessment tests as traditional high school graduates.”
"Admission officers at Stanford University think they are seeing an unusually high occurrence of a key ingredient, which they term “intellectual vitality,” in homeschool graduates (Foster, 2000). They link it to the practice of self-teaching prevalent in these young people, as a result of their homeschool environment."
Long story short, there are actual, research-based statistics put out there by meaningful, educated people, who show that homeschooling is a viable, healthy school option for those interested in pursuing it. Is it for everyone? Of course not! But it remains one of the many healthy choices we have for our children in this country when it comes to our parental rights over their development, and we should treat that choice with respect.
|And lots of silly faces.|