February 28, 2021

New USA Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Press Release from the HSLDA:

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp

New HSLDA logo

J. Michael Smith, Esq.
President

Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Chairman

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Ian Slatter
Director of Media Relations

August 10, 2009

Each year, the homeschool movement graduates at least 100,000 students. Due to the fact that both the United States government and homeschool advocates agree that homeschooling has been growing at around 7% per annum for the past decade, it is not surprising that homeschooling is gaining increased attention. Consequently, many people have been asking questions about homeschooling, usually with a focus on either the academic or social abilities of homeschool graduates.

As an organization advocating on behalf of homeschoolers, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) long ago committed itself to demonstrating that homeschooling should be viewed as a mainstream educational alternative.

We strongly believe that homeschooling is a thriving education movement capable of producing millions of academically and socially able students who will have a tremendously positive effect on society.

Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler.

The last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner. Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests.

This research and several other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers have helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.

There is one problem, however. Rudner’s research was conducted over a decade ago. Without another look at the level of academic achievement among homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that research on homeschool achievement is outdated and no longer relevant.

Recognizing this problem, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 2007–08 academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others.

Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known tests—California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007–08 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.

The Results

Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender, parents’ education level, and family income had little bearing on the results of homeschooled students.

National Average Percentile Scores
Subtest Homeschool Public School
Reading 89 50
Language 84 50
Math 84 50
Science 86 50
Social Studies 84 50
Corea 88 50
Compositeb 86 50
a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.

Boys—87th percentile
Girls—88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.

$34,999 or less—85th percentile
$35,000–$49,999—86th percentile
$50,000–$69,999—86th percentile
$70,000 or more—89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the 83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.

Neither parent has a college degree—83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree—86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree—90th percentile

Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.

Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)—87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)—88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.

Spent $600 or more on the student—89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student—86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the results.

Low state regulation—87th percentile
Medium state regulation—88th percentile
High state regulation—87th percentile

HSLDA defines the extent of government regulation this way:

States with low regulation: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact or State requires parental notification only.

States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress.

State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials).

The question HSLDA regularly puts before state legislatures is, “If government regulation does not improve the results of homeschoolers why is it necessary?”

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in academic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

As mentioned earlier, the achievement gaps that are well-documented in public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers. While it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion, it does appear from all the existing research that homeschooling equalizes every student upwards. Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public schools claim are their goals—to narrow achievement gaps and to educate each child to a high level.

Of course, an education movement which consistently shows that children can be educated to a standard significantly above the average public school student at a fraction of the cost—the average spent by participants in the Progress Report was about $500 per child per year as opposed to the public school average of nearly $10,000 per child per year—will inevitably draw attention from the K-12 public education industry.

Answering the Critics

This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the Rudner study was that it only drew students from one large testing service. Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15 independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the Progress Report.

While it is true that not every homeschooler in America was part of this study, it is also true that the Progress Report provides clear evidence of the success of homeschool programs.

The reason is that all social science studies are based on samples. The goal is to make the sample as representative as possible because then more confident conclusions can be drawn about the larger population. Those conclusions are then validated when other studies find the same or similar results.

Critics tend to focus on this narrow point and maintain that they will not be satisfied until every homeschooler is submitted to a test. This is not a reasonable request because not all homeschoolers take standardized achievement tests. In fact, while the majority of homeschool parents do indeed test their children simply to track their progress and also to provide them with the experience of test-taking, it is far from a comprehensive and universal practice among homeschoolers.

The best researchers can do is provide a sample of homeschooling families and compare the results of their children to those of public school students, in order to give the most accurate picture of how homeschoolers in general are faring academically.

The concern that the only families who chose to participate are the most successful homeschoolers can be alleviated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents did not know their children’s test results before agreeing to participate in the study.

HSLDA believes that this study along with the several that have been done in the past are clear evidence that homeschoolers are succeeding academically.

Final Thought

Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide their children with the best education available.

Other Resources

Read the full report.

Homeschooling Sees Dramatic Rise in Popularity

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm2254.cfm#_ftn1

January 28, 2009
Homeschooling Sees Dramatic Rise in Popularity
by Lindsey Burke
WebMemo #2254
In December, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released new estimates on the number of American families homeschooling their children. The new report shows the growing popularity of homeschooling. In view of this trend, it is important that federal and state policymakers safeguard families’ right to educate their children at home.

Growing Homeschooling Movement

The report shows that approximately 1.5 million children (2.9 percent of school-age children) were being homeschooled in the spring of 2007, representing a 36 percent relative increase since 2003 and a 74 percent relative increase since 1999.[1] One private researcher estimates that as many as 2.5 million school-age children were educated at home during the 2007-2008 school year.[2]

The homeschooling survey also reveals the most common reasons cited by families as the basis for their decision to educate their children at home. The most frequently referenced reasons included the ability to provide moral or religious instruction (36 percent), concern about the environment at other schools (21 percent), and dissatisfaction with the academic instruction provided at other schools (17 percent).[3] The number of parents reporting the ability to provide moral or religious instruction as a rationale for homeschooling their children increased by 11 percentage points (from 72 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2007).[4]

Additional reasons parents homeschooled their children included “other” reasons (14 percent), desire for nontraditional education (7 percent), special needs (4 percent), and physical or mental health problems (2 percent).[5] There was a 12 percentage point increase in the amount of respondents choosing “other” reasons, from 20 percent in 2003 to 32 percent in 2007. This increase could indicate an expansion in the types of demographic groups homeschooling their children.[6]

Benefits of Homeschooling

The available evidence suggests that homeschooling students perform as well as their non-homeschooled counterparts. In general, homeschooled students perform as well as–and in some cases outperform–their non-homeschooled peers.[7]

Homeschooled students succeed academically regardless of family income or teacher certification of parents.[8] Top-tier colleges and universities also recognize the academic abilities of homeschooled students, with Stanford, Yale, and Harvard among the institutions with the most homeschool-friendly policies.[9]

An additional benefit of homeschooling comes in the form of savings to taxpayers and school systems. Analysts have estimated that homeschooled students save American taxpayers and public schools between $4.4 billion and $9.9 billion annually.[10] Other estimates are as high as $16 billion.[11]

Trends and Anticipated Growth

Homeschooling may be the fastest growing form of education in the U.S.,[12] rivaled only by charter schools.[13] The 74 percent increase in homeschooling since 1999 alone suggests continued future growth. The homeschooling movement has also gained traction among minority students, which represent approximately 15 percent of homeschooling families.[14]

The continued growth in homeschooling is facilitated by organizations that assist families with needs ranging from curriculum and instruction to advancing legislation that ensures the freedom to educate children in the home. These burgeoning networks demonstrate that homeschooling is becoming an increasingly viable option for families.

Homeschooling continues to broaden and grow because of the vast array of education options and flexibility it provides for families. This crucial component of education reform creates an additional alternative for parents and students. It is estimated that more than 1 million children attend charter schools or benefit from voucher programs in the United States–a figure on par with the more than 1.5 million estimated homeschooled students. Economists have found that the competitive effects of school choice programs have prompted improvement in public schools.[15] While more research is needed, the homeschooling movement could be taking part in the same trend.

Protecting Homeschooling

Legal rights to homeschooling have been established nationwide, facilitating the growth of home-based instruction. Presently, homeschooling is legal in every state. Policymakers should protect parents’ rights to homeschool their children and enact reforms that remove barriers to homeschooling. In order to provide meaningful protections to homeschooling families, Members of Congress should avoid restrictive regulations at all levels of schooling and offer tax relief to homeschoolers through education tax credits or deductions. Homeschooling families provide a valuable contribution to American education, often while incurring a significant financial burden in addition to their taxes paid toward public education. Policies should recognize the educational contribution of homeschooling and ensure that the freedom to homeschool is permanently protected and fostered.

In view of all the benefits that homeschooling provides to homeschooled children as well as society as a whole, lawmakers should enact policies that give more families the opportunity to participate in homeschooling. Federal and state policymakers should work to guarantee that families have the freedom to educate their children at home in the future.

Lindsey M. Burke is a Research Assistant in the Domestic Policy Studies Department at The Heritage Foundation.


[1]U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007,” December 2008, at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf (January 6, 2009).

[2]Brian D. Ray, “Research Facts on Homeschooling,” National Home Education Research Institute, July 2, 2008, at http://www.nheri.org/Research-Facts-on-
Homeschooling.html
(January 6, 2009).

[3]National Center for Education Statistics, “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students.”

[4]Ibid.

[5]Ibid.

[6]Janice Lloyd, “Home Schooling Grows,” USA Today, January 6, 2009, at http://www.usatoday.com
/news/education/2009-01-04-homeschooling_N.htm
(January 22, 2009).

[7]A 1998 report by Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland found that homeschooled students performed well on tests of academic achievement, typically scoring in the 70th and 80th percentiles. Lawrence M. Rudner, “Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998,” Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 7, No. 8 (March 23, 1999), at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n8/ (January 22, 2009). See Dan Lips and Evan Feinberg, “Homeschooling: A Growing Option in American Education,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2122, April 3, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/bg2122.cfm.

[8]Ray, “Research Facts on Homeschooling.”

[9]Home School Legal Defense Association, “Home Schoolers in Ivy League Universities,” May 3, 2000, at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000002/00000234.asp (January 22, 2009).

[10]Lips and Feinberg, “Homeschooling.”

[11]Ray, “Research Facts on Homeschooling.”

[12]Ibid.

[13]Forty states and the District of Columbia saw the introduction of 355 new charter schools during the 2008-2009 school year. Center for Education Reform, “Charter School Facts,” September 18, 2007, at http://www.edreform.com
/index.cfm?fuseAction=document&documentID=1964
(January 27, 2009).

[14]Ibid.

[15]Caroline Minter Hoxby, “Rising Tide,” Education Next, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Spring 2001), at http://www.educationnext.org/20014/68.html (November 2, 2007), quoted in Lips and Feinberg, “Homeschooling.”

Homeschooling goes boom in America

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=85408

Homeschooling goes boom in America

74 percent increase in number of families teaching own children


Posted: January 05, 2009

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A homeschooling movement is sweeping the nation – with 1.5 million children now learning at home, an increase of 75 percent since 1999.

The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported homeschooling has risen by 36 percent in just the last five years.

“There’s no reason to believe it would not keep going up,” NCES statistician Gail Mulligan told USA Today.

A 2007 survey asked parents why they choose to homeschool and allowed them to provide several reasons. The following are the most popular responses:

  • Concern about the school environment, including reasons such as safety, drugs or negative peer pressure – 88 percent
  • A desire to provide religious or moral instruction – 83 percent
  • A dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools – 73 percent
  • Nontraditional approach to children’s education – or “unschoolers” who consider typical curriculums and standardized testing as counterproductive to quality education – 65 percent
  • Other reasons, such as family time, finances, travel and distance – 32 percent
  • Child has special needs (other than physical or mental health problems) that schools cannot or will not meet – 21 percent
  • Child has a physical or mental health problem – 11 percent

(Story continues below)

Parents who report that they homeschool to provide religious or moral instruction increased from 72 percent to 83 percent from 2003 to 2007.

Above all other responses, parents cited providing religious and moral instruction as the most important factor in the decision to teach their children at home (36 percent). The second most important issue was concern about the school environment (21 percent), while the third reason was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools (17 percent).

Research has shown the positive effects of homeschooling through the years. While some critics say teaching children at home may stunt their social growth, Dr. Brian D. Ray, president of National Home Education Research Institute, reveals homeschooled students fare well or better than public and private school students in terms of social, emotional and psychological development.

Additionally, homeschoolers earn higher marks than peers who attend public schools. In Academic Leadership, and online journal, Dr. Ray and Bruce K. Eagleson also cite findings from at least three nationwide studies across the United States and two nationwide studies in Canada.

“The home educated in grades K to 12 have 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,” the report states.

Three studies also show that demographics, income and education level of homeschooling parents are generally irrelevant with regard to quality of education in a home setting. On average, homeschoolers in low-income families with less formal education still score higher than state-school averages.

Home Education in New Zealand

Vision

Loving and genuinely concerned parents are the best qualified of all to teach their own children. Who else is more motivated to invest the time, the money, the blood, sweat, toil and tears required for the child’s best interests than the parents? Who knows and understands the child better than the parents? Who is more motivated for the child’s success than the parents? A homeschooling parent has the vast advantage of a tutoring situation: one parent/teacher to one or two pupils, recognised worldwide as the most effective teaching method. Because of the logistical and political and practical difficulties associated with the conventional classroom, the average parent involved in home education routinely possesses advantages that outweigh even the most gifted of teachers in the most expensively equipped classroom. Two hours of quality one-on-one time with a parent can easily accomplish what a conventional classroom would take two weeks to do. Whatever they may lack in the area of formal educational qualifications, the home educating parent will usually more than compensate for in motivation and the advantages of one-to-one teaching.

Learning the three r’s, or teaching them, is no big mystery. Children learn most in those first 3-4 years when they are like little fact-sponges and are taught to speak and understand a totally foreign language by Mum with no curriculum. Home education is basically an extension to that. Children are natural learners with their own scope and sequence: the constant questions “Why?” and “How?” Simply answering these questions will cover all and probably a lot more than the Nation Curriculum Guidelines.

Schools and teachers only control the access to “schooling”….lecturing, pre-digested notes, certain classrooms and labs and paper qualifications. They do not control “education”. An education is available to all and is virtually free of charge: it is not in short supply, it does not diminish as more people get it. Schooling in schools and other institutions is in a limited, finite supply, and it is this which people like to control for they can make money out of it. Once a person learns to read, write, do numbers plus some research skills, they can teach themselves virtually anything….that is, a true education is out there to be acquired by anyone with the initiative to dig it up for themselves.

Parents’ biggest concern is that they are unqualified or unable to do this. Not so! Parents already know from lifes experiences what facts and skills their children really do need to know and which politically correct lessons can safely be dropped. If they are not themselves in mastery of the 3R skills (Reading wRiting and aRithmetic), they can learn along with their children, perhaps engaging a private tutor now and again. A parent’s enthusiasm and excitement for learning is contageous and will motivate the chidlren like few things else. In addition, we all know that the most important lessons of life each of us learned were not learned in the classroom. These lessons the home educating parent can teach without the bullying and drugs on the school campus.

Socialisation

This is usually the first objection people raise about home education, even before worrying about academic success. Home educators themselves and researchers both in NZ and overseas, regard “socialisation” as a non-issue among home educated children. They consistently demonstrate superior social skills. Children do not need other children to teach them how to be children. They need warm, responsive adults to teach and model proper social graces. Home educated youngsters generally fit in comfortably with a wider age range and are not dependent upon nor intimidated by their peer group.

Curriculum & Resources

Finding resources is not a problem: there is a vast variety available everywhere you look! There are many packaged programmes available, and many parents simply make up their own. One of the best resources is the public library. Friends, neighbours, relations, local support groups, the internet all have expertise in many areas, just waiting for you to tap into it all!

Costs in Time and Money

It can be as expensive or as economical as you like, and time commitment is extremely flexible. First of all, dispel the picture of a mini-school established in your home: many start that way but few ever carry on that way, for schools are designed to deal with logistical problems completely absent from the home. At home you are in a tutoring/mentoring situation, the most superior setting for academic excellence, social training, physical self-discipline, character development and spiritual growth ever devised. Education is not limited to certain activities in a certain place during certain hours of the day: education and learning are taking place all the time, and parents with their children at home are in the unique position to pretty well organise what they learn, to what depth, in what manner and for what purposes.

Legal Issues

Your child does not need to be enrolled in any school until s/he turns six. A couple of months before this, in order to legally home educate, you need to contact the Ministry of Education to obtain a “Certificate of Exemption”. This takes several hours of work writing out what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and how you’ll know you’re making progress. It is like a statement of intent, rather than a contract, for both the Ministry of Education and the ERO recognise that good parent/teachers will be constntly changing and upgrading their programme.

Getting into University or Employment

Universities have various discretionary schemes whereby one who is under 20 can enrol without paper school-leaving qualifications if the admissions officer is satisfied (usually after an interview) that s/he is able to do the work. Many also offer full-time courses designed to bridge the gap between high school level and university for theose who have no paper qualifications. Sixteen-year-olds can sign up for classes at the NZ Correspondence School at around $80 per paper, take four in a single year at NCEA Level 3 (one does not need to work through Levels 1 and 2 before tackling Level 3), including the right maths and English papers, and end up with a University Entrance Qalification. Or wait until age 20: all kiwis of this age have right of entry to NZ Universities. All you need then is the enrolment fee.

Employers do not necessarily need qualifications but are certainly looking for character traits such as Reliability, Motivation, Honesty, etc. These are best taught at home. Seek creative ways to introduce yourself, showing the strengths you want the employer to see. Get work and character references from short-term, part-time and volunteer jobs. Really positive references such as these are worth their weight in gold.

Conclusion

Every piece of research has shown that home schooling produces children who are superior both academically and socially. Your family can also experience other wonderful benefits: function as a unit with children being thought of and trained up as vital parts of the family corporation, rather than thought of and treated like expensive freeloaders waiting to leave home. Many home educators experience no teen rebellion or generation gap. Kick the public school habit: be done forever with uniforms, peer pressure, school fees, bullying, drugs, and the bad attitudes and language and finger signs and head lice brought home from school. You’ll be glad you did.

For Reference:

http://www.nheri.org/ –National Home Education Research Institute

http://www.hslda.org — Home School Legal Defence Association(These first two contain many research articles and results.)

www.hef.org.nz — NZ’s Home Education Foundation http://www.home.school.nz/ — More about home education in NZ

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