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Homeschooling vs. Public School
Q: Where can I find statistical information on homeschooling vs. public schooling? I am a public-school teacher who has considered homeschooling my own children. I am now taking a graduate course and chose this topic for a paper to present to teaching peers who are very opposed to homeschooling. I would like some graphs that would show tracking of homeschoolers vs. public-school students in areas of college success, career success, sport success, etc.
A: I do not know of any specific graphs in all the areas you mention, but of the statistics that are available, the accomplishments of homeschooled children on standardized tests are quite amazing.
Here is an excerpt from a recent study of homeschoolers: "According to a report published by the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, homeschool student achievement test scores were exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade were well above those of public and Catholic/private-school students. On average, homeschool students in grades one to four performed one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests. Students who had been homeschooled their entire academic life had higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who had also attended other educational programs."
One interesting facet of the study noted that academic achievement was equally high regardless of whether the student was enrolled in a full-service curriculum, or whether the parent had a state-issued teaching certificate.
The study states, "Even with a conservative analysis of the data, the achievement levels of the homeschool students in the study were exceptional. Within each grade level and each skill area, the median scores for homeschool students fell between the 70th and 80th percentile of students nationwide and between the 60th and 70th percentile of Catholic/Private school students. For younger students, this is a one year lead. By the time homeschool students are in 8th grade, they are four years ahead of their public/private school counterparts."
Also, "Homeschool students did quite well in 1998 on the ACT college entrance examination. They had an average ACT composite score of 22.8 which is .38 standard deviations above the national ACT average of 21.0 (ACT, 1998). This places the average homeschool student in the 65th percentile of all ACT test takers."
Also, be sure to visit the National Home Education Research Institute at www.nheri.org for more information.
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.