Monday, July 12, 2010

Homeschoolers in the News

I stumbled across a recent article about homeschooling on Sonora

Home-schooling: Rising statistics

In 2008 more than 2 million U.S. students were home-schooled. This most recent poll, provided by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) proves that since 2003 the number of home-schooled students has more than doubled. The National Household Education Surveys, NHES, says 850,000 students were home-schooled in 2003. In fact, home-schooling is steadily increasing at a rate of 15 percent per year.

Here's a noteworthy tidbit from the article:

For the fall of 2009, Michael Cornelius, the Director of Advisement at Scottsdale Community College, found that the average freshman GPA was 2.54 while the average GPA for home-schooled students enrolled was 3.46.

While community college GPA is not necessarily the reason we homeschool, it is nice to see homeschoolers doing well in the academic arena.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

13 comments: said...

look I am writing a blog series on education choices in regards to my family. I have one problem with stats .....can we accurately compare home school with public school for example?

89% of kids go to public school nation wide.

3% in homeschool.

I love the homeschool decision and am really really looking into it, as well as private school. However public school comes with so many other variables that homeschool doesn't.

Wouldn't a more accurate comparison be the top 10 percent of public schoolers vs. the top 10 percent of homeschoolers? My hypothesis would be that there isn't much difference.

Janine Cate said...

Good point.

Maybe a better comparison would be to compare children from similar parental involvement and demographics.

Eric Holcombe said...

"However public school comes with so many other variables that homeschool doesn't."

Such as? Are these vital to education, extraneous variables or unnecessary ones?

How would you determine whom the top 10% of either group are? GPA, SAT/ACT scores, something else? It will be very tough for anyone (Brian Ray included) to get a real measure of homeschooling nationwide, but I think NHERI has done the best job of it so far.

Another thing to remember with the 10% filter: you aren't even considering 90% of the student population in either group. What will your comparison tell you? I.e., if your child happens to not be a 10%er (and if you haven't started how will you know), how would your comparison be useful? said...

Eric I guess the really question is "how would you determine." How does the homeschool gage this? National test? ACT/SAT? Etc.

I am not trying to threaten homeschool, I am just saying I don't think it's highly accurate to say the average homeschooler vs. the average public schooler when you are talking about 3% of the nations children vs. 89% of the nations school children.

Private and homeschools have much more controlling factors. Like minded home enviroments, class room size, student to teacher ration etc. Not to mention some public schools are vastly different than others. I'd dare say Kansas schools are producing better educated schools than NYC schools just for example.

Henry Cate said...

89% to 3% might seem a bit lope sided, but we're talking something like 60 million children to 2 million children.

The statistics Brain Ray has been able to gather do indicate that how ever you want to bracket or group children and campare, homeschoolers more than hold their own. At the top range homeschoolers dominate in things like the spelling bee. As an group they are above average. I haven't seen any studies, but I think that you would find that at the bottom range children who have learning disabilities do much better in a homeschooling environment.

In response to your original question on how to compare, the answer may be that is is unreasonable to compare homeschoolers to children in government schools, because it is a completely difference experience.

Eric Holcombe said...

"How does the homeschool gage this?"

Now you are asking the question you need to answer for your own family. Many homeschoolers would not point to standardized test scores as a measure of "success" by their own definition, but it seems to be the only one acceptable to the government school system. That is why you find the research you do. The standardized tests are the only common ground for these students. Not every family has the same goals. They don't have to. They are just as different as the comparison you have made with Kansas and NYC. That's why I asked what happens if your child isn't a 10%er. Are they deemed a failure in your estimation? Will it cause a change in your choice of education? If you believe you are doing the right thing, will a test score change your mind? If you are seeking God's direction (and according to your blog I think you are), then His ways are greater than our ways. He uses the simple things of the world to confound the wise. This can't always be predicted with statistics.

Janine Cate said...

>If you believe you are doing the right thing, will a test score change your mind?

No it won't, but it is nice to get some positive reinforcement from outside your own camp. Yes, it is the world's measure of success, which doesn't necessarily have substance, but it feels good anyway.

This discussion reminds me of a great post from Spunky called Why Do We Educate. said...

I am really searching and praying in regards to the right thing for my family. Read my blog its full of all sides of the issue.

In regards to my kids ( or any kids) their percentile doesn't give them more or less worth. I am just simply saying how do we accurately compare 2 million kids in the homeschool community vs. 60 million kids in various public school communities.

To whoever commented on homeschool and learning disabilities....I think that's a great idea for kids to be homeschooled if they have a learning disability..... I was in school with a bit of dyslexia and ADHD so school was really an uphill battle.

Though sometimes public school is the best place for kids with learning disabilities. One homeschooler I know has on a part time basis used the public schools to help her daughter with a form of autism and other learning disabilities.

Henry Cate said...

When our oldest was ready for kindergarten we tried homeschooling on a trial basis. We figured if it didn't work out she wouldn't have suffered too much and then we could put her into a public school at first grade.

Kindergarten went well and we've never looked back.

You might just try out homeschooling and see how it works out for you. said...

Thanks Henry, I'll be entertaining that thought. My daughter is 2 and a half right now. She already knows most her letters, number 1 - 10 and all her colors. It is a blast teaching her. My wife and I plan to decide this issue by Christmas so I'll keep you posted. = )

Henry Cate said...

Another thing you might want to think about is children who get an early start with their education seem to have trouble in public schools. They may be reading at third grade level, or higher, while the teacher is trying to teach the rest of the class their letters. The result is children who have already mastered many of the basics are bored and don't enjoy school.

Good luck with your decision. said...

Yeah...I've heard that and been told that by a friend of mine who home schools. It's my aim to get her reading before school. I know some public schools have beginner, intermediate,and advance programs. Many do not. So that we'll be a factor.

Jehu said...

The gold standard study would be one that controls by nearly solely by parental average IQ (and possibly also by race, to account for differing impact of regression towards the mean)---say, using an SAT, ASVAB, or other reasonable proxy. That would neatly avoid most of the confounding factors (e.g. if a homeschool environment raises average IQ of students, it isn't necessarily fair to control by student IQ, and most researchers believe that IQ has in the neighborhood of a 20-40% environmental component). It would also allow for the determination of whether in practice homeschool kids overperform or underperform their IQ's and standardized test scores.