I’ve been researching homeschooled children and their long-term success for years. Years. In fact, as intellectually superficial as this is, the academic success rate in homeschooled children is what initially drew me in. At first, I wasn’t convinced. Due to some personal experiences, I was actually a homeschool critic. However I am never one to hold an opinion without first having research to support it. As I delved deeper, as I researched and talked to successful homeschool parents, children, adults, and families, the more I was convinced that one negative experience was just that, one.
So what was the research that brought me to homeschool my own children?
Like I said, I had a negative perception of the very idea of homeschooling but again it was all personal. As my husband and I were contemplating having children our society was starting to take a sharp morality turn, I wasn’t sure if having children was even a good idea anymore. My husband shrugged his shoulders and simply replied, “Eh, will homeschool.” I didn’t set my mind right then on home education rather the idea of an alternate school of choice was enough for me to move forward in our life together.
Then one day soon after, we had a little girl and our whole outlook changed on just about everything.
Choosing To Homeschool
There are moments in your life where you remember every miniscule detail. I remember the first time that tiny little hand wrapped itself around my finger. I remember her new baby smell, the warmth of her small body skin to skin against mine, I remember when I fed her for the first time. I remember the first time that I felt an unconditional self-sacrificing love for my child.
Over the next several months that connection, that bond, continued to grow and grow. Acquaintances would ask about child care and then if I was going to place her in preschool.
I could teach my child the alphabet, shapes, numbers and how to get along with other children. Which I did, and in the back of my mind I thought, “I can homeschool.”
But was home education successful?
Then I received an email from my mother in law and my mind quickly settled as did my heart.
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The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method to College Ready by Age Twelve
My mother in law sent me a link to a news article about a homeschooling family that had their children in college as young as age 12.
This was amazing to my husband and I. In fact, it was surreal and enlightening. I had no idea that it was even possible, I assumed it was a rarity that only happened to geniuses. I read all the news stories I could find on them. One of their daughters is one of the youngest female doctors in the country at age 22. Another daughter Rosannah, a Masters in Architecture by age 23. Hannah, an engineer graduated with BS in mathematics at 17 and MS in Mathematics at age 19. The oldest son Heath, graduated with a Masters in Computer Science at age 17. If your curious to read more about the Harding family check them out here: Meet the Harding Family.
(Our oldest viewing Jupiter for the first time at a beginners astronomy event)
How Did They Do This?
Mrs. Harding was clear that her children were not Einsteins by any means. After reading the book it was my understanding that she accomplished this by allowing her children to progress at their own academic rate. She was sort of an eclectic in her curriculum choices as in she picked and chose what was right for each child. After covering required subjects she supported her children in focusing on their area of interest. As soon as she thought they could test into college she had them try. This was shocking, not one but all of her older children were hugely successful. This was the moment we decided to homeschool.
I found one successful family, I still needed more research and this is what I found:
- “SAT test scores of homeschool students are higher than the national average for all students.”(Source:NHRI.org)
- “Students who were home-schooled before entering university had a significantly higher overall GPA than students who were non-home-schooled.” (Source:nhri.org)
- “Homeschooled children in this study scored well above average in academic achievement, and their overall performance was more highly related to the number of years they had been homeschooled than to the number of years they had attended conventional schools. There was a statistically significant effect of grade level on achievement scores, but not simply because older children were more academically advanced than younger children. (Children in different grades took different levels of the test, and the standard scores used in this study were independent of grade level.) This effect indicated instead that from one grade to another, homeschooled children’s performance varied when compared to the Stanford norm group, which was made up of public-school students. For example, children in grades 5, 11, and 12 scored higher overall than 75% of their public-school peers, while children in grades 8 and 10 performed better than only slightly more than 50%.”(source:nhri.org)
- “The home-educated receive comparable scores on the SAT test and maintained an equivalent grade point average in their university studies. They considered themselves more confident with adult and small group interaction, were involved in meaningful relationships and activities on campus and were overwhelmingly satisfied with their university experience. The measure of success attained by the home-educated undergraduates demonstrates the proficiency of their home-based education.”(nhri.org)
- “Homeschooled children’s social skills scores were consistently higher than those of public school students. Differences were most marked for girls and for older children, and encompassed all four of the specific skills tested: cooperation, assertiveness, empathy, and self-control. Among homeschooled children, girls were more empathetic and assertive than boys, and at the lower grades, more self-controlled. These results mirror gender differences found among public school children––girls tend to have better social skills than boys in grades 3 through 6.”(nhri.org)
- “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.
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.(hslda.org)
Deciding To Homeschool
The enormous difference between the academic success in homeschooling compared to public schooling is eye opening. Knowledge is empowering and ultimately I hope that this encourages you to homeschool or inspires you to continue. Personally, I find it exciting to know my children are not limited in our home education and that if allowed to progress at their own academic rate they will be amazingly successful.
What are your thoughts on the success of home education?