Homeschool students outperform peers

Covid-19 has unavoidably focused attention on homeschooling.  For better or worse, parents find themselves cast as teachers for their own children.  But what does the evidence show about homeschooling over all (“The Academic and Social Benefits of Homeschooling,” The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, May 13)?

Eleven of 14-peer reviewed studies found that homeschool students significantly outperformed conventionally schooled children academically.  A similar pattern was seen for the social, emotional and psychological development of the homeschooled.  Until now, the latter was regarded as a shortcoming.
Homeschooling is not for everyone, of course.  It’s far more demanding than it initially seems.  But for those who have the motivation, it is a viable option.

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2 Replies to “Homeschool students outperform peers”

  1. My uninformed reaction to homeschooling is that there are two largely separate homeschooling types — a) the far-out religious extremists, and b) the hyper-academic achievers. The parents in both groups will usually be way more concerned with their kids’ education (and their kids generally) than the average parent. As a result, these parents’ kids will — on average — have a lot more high-quality adult-child verbal interaction from birth through adolescence than the average kid. So, it’s not surprising — to me — that the home-schooled kids end up with higher-than-average test scores.

    The objections — at least my objections — to homeschooling are not related to the kids’ academic outcomes. In my opinion, homeschooling inevitably predisposes the kids to accepting their parents’ views re pretty much everything to a much greater extent than regular schooling does. And, that — in the long run — is bad for society. Homeschooling makes it much more likely that no one will notice or intervene where a parent is abusing or neglecting the child — these are the rare but occasionally-occurring horror stories that make it onto the evening national news. Homeschooling is very inefficient — a presumably competent adult is committing most of his/her potential work time to educating one, two or three kids. Society and the US economy would be better off if that parent instead spent that time in the regular workforce.

    Finally, it seems inevitable that homeschooling will disadvantage kids’ social and emotional development. A study that compared the social/emotional development of homeschooled kids to that of regular-schooled kids might show that the homeschooled did as well or better than the regular-schooled. But, the fair study would be to compare the social/emotional development of homeschooled kids to that of regular-schooled kids whose parents were as concerned with their kids as the parents of the homeschooled kids. Obviously, it would be difficult/impossible to identify the latter group and therefore such a study would be very hard to accomplish. But, for the concerned parent who is considering homeschooling, the parent must take into account that — as a concerned parent — his/her kid, whether homeschooled or regular-schooled, will probably have better-than-average social/emotional development due to the parent’s greater-than-average concern re the kid.

    On balance, I would not allow homeschooling — with possible exceptions for kids who have very unusual physical or mental issues.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: I’ve always believed that homeschooling shortchanges kids. Not so much academically but socially. Being exposed to others who are different is an important part of education. Nevertheless, I support the right of parents to homeschool if they wish.

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