It is no longer the fringe few who are embarking on home education. No more is it the secretive and hush-hush clandestine entity it was in the 80’s and 90’s. With homeschooling being legal in all 50 states after long battles by our forerunner for this right, more and more parents are making the choice to pursue a home education with their children in lieu of the traditional brick and mortar schools run by our government.
It appears to be a compilation of lowered parental dissatisfaction with our public education system in the sense that personal safety, class sizes, personal attention, school budget cuts, and moral value failings all coming together to make many parents question the decision to let the state educate their children.
There are also more offerings now than ever before for parents making the decision to homeschool. There are countless Christian and secular publishers catering to the homeschooling market, there are new virtual schools emerging constantly as markets are beginning to realize the value of catering to home educators.
What does all of this mean for our public school systems? According to CNSnews.com,
“In the ten-year period from 2003 to 2012, the number of American children 5 through 17 years old who were being homeschooled by their parents climbed by 61.8 percent, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Education.”
It means that public schools are losing funding. Public schools no longer get their per student stipend from the government when these children begin the homeschooling journey. It is no wonder that some of the most vocal opponents to public education happen to be public educators. However, an interesting fact is the increasing number of certified teachers who, after teaching in public schools, have made the decision to homeschool their own children.
There are even two extremely powerful attorney led advocacy groups here and here just for homeschooling rights making sure that parents who opt for this choice have all the protection and provisions allowed to them by law.
What about test scores and college admissions for homeschooled students? There is no need to have any concern here. Homeschoolers outperform their public school counterparts regardless of their parent’s level of higher education or the amount of money their parents spent on curriculum. The study “Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics,” one of the most comprehensive studies done of late found:
“In the core studies (reading, language and math), the average home-schooler scored at the 88th percentile. The average public school student taking these standardized tests scored at the 50th percentile in each subject area.”
Those numbers speak for themselves. No worries over whether these homeschooled children are getting an appropriate education at home.
There is the concern about college though. Many a well meaning person will ask homeschooling parents about this one, “how will your student get into college?” Here is a fantastic answer,
“Many colleges and universities are actively recruiting home-schooled students. Yale, Harvard, MIT, Duke, and Stanford are included in the top American institutions of higher learning that are recruiting and offering homeschoolers scholarships (Staehle, 2012). According to Staehle (2012), a former recruiter, homeschoolers are likely to be motivated, well-traveled, and well-educated. Many home-educated students also have a well-rounded education including the arts, volunteer work, and sports. Some homeschoolers enroll in community college courses, so their SAT or ACT scores are often above average (Staehle, 2012).”
Pretty conclusive too, wouldn’t you agree? Yale, Harvard, MIT, Duke and Stanford are leading the way in recognizing the outstanding education of homeschoolers. Surely with Ivy League schools jumping on the bandwagon, the rest of the institutions will be in hot pursuit as well.
Lastly, there is the dreaded “Socialization” question. Won’t homeschooled students be socially awkward, backward and have a difficult time adjusting to society as a whole? Won’t they also have fewer friends and be isolated? The resounding answer is “no.”
Defining socialization appropriately is the key in answering this question. Parents want children who are well rounded, able to add meaningful contributions to society, able to make and have friends, and able to function independently of their parents in social and peer situations. It is not required of a child to be segregated into a room full of same age children for 12 years in order for this feat to be accomplished.
Homeschooled students are often found to be more socially responsible and have more lasting and meaningful friendships than their public school counterparts. These children are also able, with ease, to form friendships and relationships with persons of all ages rather than the select few that may be in Mrs. Smith’s 4th-grade class with them. Need hard core facts? There has been research in this area as well.
In 2003, a study conducted by the Home School Legal Defense Association found that homeschoolers were either equally or more involved in community activities, voting, and employment than their public school counterparts. A study from the Canadian Centre for Home Education followed homeschooled children from age 15 to 34. They found that these adults were more socially engaged than adults who were not homeschooled. They were also happier.
With all of this information, it is no wonder that homeschooling began its re-emergence in the 1970s and has been growing stronger than ever since that time. The nation is anxiously awaiting the new US census reports to be released as the last cold hard statistics available on homeschooling were released in 2013. With the numbers we have already seen, it would be surprising if the new census statistics didn’t even offer a more enlightened view of the sheer volumes that we underestimate when it comes to the amount of families choosing the option to homeschool.
Dawn is a homeschooling mom living out her dream of a simple life on a small farm with her husband and 5 children. She is an avid gardener, a lover of simplicity, and blogger of natural living at Incidental Farmgirl.