Homeschooling: What the Research Shows
There are a lot of reasons for public school parents to be disappointed in their schools. The lack of an in-person option last school year, strict COVID mandates, and more have caused a growing number of parents to consider alternatives to public school education. Whatever the reason, more and more parents are considering homeschooling their children.
Many parents have basic questions about homeschooling: Will their children be prepared to go to college compared to students who attend public or private schools? Will they be competitive academically with their public school friends? How will they behave in a more isolated homeschool environment instead of being in a traditional school?
Of course, every homeschooling experience will be different depending on who is teaching, the personality of the student, the curriculum they are learning, how structured it is, etc. A brief overview of research comparing homeschooled students to traditional school students should answer some preliminary questions for parents thinking about homeschooling.
Academic Achievement and Preparedness for College
If you are worried that student achievement will drop once your child leaves the classroom to be homeschooled, those worries can be left behind. One comprehensive survey did a deep dive into homeschooling research to find whether there are any advantages or disadvantages for choosing homeschooling. They found that academically, homeschoolers were prepared. One of the studies it notes featuring Illinois homeschoolers found that, controlling for background variables, homeschoolers did better than average in almost all subjects. Another study found that homeschoolers have similar critical thinking abilities when compared to public school students and those who attend private Christian schools.
Will they be able to transition to college? Absolutely. One study found that when taking the SAT, homeschoolers do better on the verbal section, but slightly worse on the math section when compared to traditional students. And a study from Ball State and UWGB found that there was no significant difference in homeschoolers’ transition to college compared to traditionally educated students. Further, a University of St. Thomas study found that homeschool students have similar GPAs and retention rates to other students.
Some parents are also curious about how homeschool students’ social behavior differs from students in traditional public schools. In fact, research shows that homeschooled students demonstrate some very desirable behavioral outcomes. One paper from Saint Louis University and University of Texas found that homeschooled children are less likely to use tobacco and alcohol than students in traditional schools. Additionally, a Baylor University study found that homeschool students are less likely to take part in underage drinking.
Every parent, every child, and every homeschool experience will be different. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that it allows families to choose curricula, learning environments, and teaching tools that are best-suited to a child’s unique needs, interests, and talents. Parents can rest assured that research shows homeschooled students are well-prepared academically for college, and often do better at avoiding the peer pressure and behavioral issues that are prevalent in traditionally taught schools. If you are considering homeschooling your children, take a look HERE for some homeschooling options that you can consider.