According to one of the most comprehensive studies on homeschooling ever undertaken, compiled from the results of 15 independent testing services, homeschooled students are some of the best educated in the country. Research done in recent years has indicated that homeschooling is indeed a mainstream education alternative to traditional public or private schools.
Teacher’s unions, school administrators, social service workers, judges, politicians, and even family members have long been critical of the supposed advantages of homeschooling. However, a recent growing acceptance and an increase in the numbers of students being schooled at home is beginning to turn the tide.
The 1998 Rudner Study on Homeschooling
Until this most recent study conducted by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the only real research and statistical information on homeshool academic achievement was done by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, a professor at the University of Maryland. This study titled “Home Schooling Works” was compiled form a survey of more than 20,000 homeschooled students.
The Rudner study did a lot to help the cause of homeschooling because it discovered that on standardized achievement tests, homeschoolers had scored about 30 percentile points above the national average. In spite of resistance and criticism from many people, homeschooling is now seen as an acceptable form of education.
New Information Supports the Findings in Rudner Study
In 2007, the HSLDA decided to commission Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute and internationally recognized scholar, to begin collecting information for a new study. The “Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics” surveyed almost 12,000 homeschool students from all 50 states.
The new information was taken from the 2007-2008 academic year test results from the California Achievement Test, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test. Based on the extent of the new information gathered, the results are considered to represent the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.
Results of the Homeschool Progress Report 2009
Overall, homeschooled students showed big differences between themselves and those kids educated in public schools. For example, national average percentile scores for reading were 89 for homeschool students and 50 for public school students. There were significant differences in language skills, math, science, and social studies as well with homeschooled kids scoring higher in every category.
The new HSLDA study results are consistent with the Rudner study done more than 10 years ago-homeschooled kids have consistently outperformed their public school counterparts by a wide margin. And the cost to homeschool a child is much cheaper than the cost for a child to attend public school. According to the HSLDA study, the cost to homeschool a child is around $500 per year, while the average cost to educate a child in the public school system is almost $10,000 per year.
Perhaps it’s time for parents, teachers, legislators, and critics of the homeschool model to take a look at the real numbers. Homeschool kids are proving just what can be achieved everyday in an education system that clearly works better. It will take a sacrifice of time and resources to educate children at home, but how much is a good education worth to your child?
HSLDA.org; Homeschool Achievement Confirmed
The Heritage Foundation; Homeschooling Sees Dramatic Rise in Popularity