Friday, March 23, 2012

Homeschooling as an Equalizer

There is a graphic that has been floating around on the internet recently and I've found it fascinating. As the homeschooling movement grows in size and multiple generations of people can now state that they are either homeschool grads or were homeschooled for a portion of their education, it's getting easier and easier to measure their achievements, academic records, and even adjustment to post college life.
According to the data, homeschoolers are more successful than their public school peers when it comes to performance on standardized tests in all subjects. They are also more likely to graduate from college and have higher post-secondary GPAs. As a disclaimer, this entry is not meant to be an indictment of those who choose to send their children to public schools. Multiple studies have also shown that students in public schools with highly involved parents are much more successful than those whose parents are not involved. I am also not going to address issues of poverty and education. I just want to talk through some of the data on this graphic.
What I find fascinating in these statistics is that homeschooling is a great equalizer. I find this so exciting and inspiring. Study after study has linked student success with family income. For students in public schools, those from lower income levels are consistently outperformed by their wealthier peers. Those whose parents are more educated also perform better. With homeschooling, disparities in family income resulted in virtually no differences in a students' success. Whether parents made under $34K per year or more than $70K per year, the students performance was much higher than their public schooled peers and only 4 percentage points separated the least and most well off homeschooled students. This trend continued despite "per student" expenditures. Home schooled students whose parents spent less than $600 per year per student only performed four percentage points lower than those who spent more than $600. Current public school spending is over $11K per student per year. Obviously, homeschooling is much less expensive (not factoring for lost income for the parent that chooses to stay at home) as you are not paying for full-time teachers, building maintenance, support staff, etc., This entry is not trying to tackle issues of public educational spending. What I am interested in at the moment, is the idea that a good education is not something you can put a specific price tag on. I think these homeschooled students are not benefiting because of what their parents spend on education each year. Instead, they are benefiting from their parents' investment of time, energy, and vision. These parents are affirming the importance of education in their student's minds and this is crucial for a child's academic success. The students are also benefiting from customized educational programs as well as time to read, explore, and create. Unstructured time, as we've seen from previous entries (here and here), is so important to a child's creative development and homeschooling allows students more freedom to pursue their own interests.

This study brings up many interesting issues and I think that homeschooling families will find it an encouraging affirmation of their efforts. The United States faces diverse issues with its educational system and I hope that homeschoolers will be a part of the discussion and effort to seek solutions. I would love to hear your thoughts on this graphic. I also wish that it included more information on people who are homeschooling on very small budgets. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. Have a great weekend! And if you've enjoyed this post, feel free to pass it on to your friends.

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  1. I really like how you commented on this information . . . I think it's a great piece I can share with my friends and family who aren't as excited by our homeschooling our children as we are :)

  2. Thank you for posting! I found it very encouraging.I've 'shared' it with friends who will also appreciate the results of the study.

  3. That is very interesting & also comforting. Thanks for sharing!