Friday, April 11, 2008

Home Schooling Works!

This article came through my homeschool e-group and I thought it was worth passing along! It is a little long, so I went through and enlarged snippets that were the most interesting for those of you who want a quick read. The picture is of four of my kids at homeschool park day which we have twice a month. You can't read their shirts, but they say Galaxy Christian Academy on the back which is the name of our family's school. Elijah had really been playing hard. Disgustingly enough, that's sweat on his shirt!


By Robert Stacy McCain

Home-schoolers are more likely to attend college and be more
politically active than their peers, a study says. The survey of more
than 7,300 adults who were home-schooled found that among those ages 18
to 24, 74 percent had taken college courses, compared with 46 percent in
the same age group among the general population. About 12 percent of the
polled home-schoolers had received bachelor's degrees, compared with
about 8 percent of their peers.
The study, by the Oregon-based National Home Education Research
(NHERI), showed higher levels of political involvement for
home-schoolers in several categories. The poll shows home-schoolers are
more likely than their peers to vote (74 percent versus 29 percent), to
make political contributions (9 percent versus 3 percent) or to work for
a political cause, party or candidate (13 percent versus 1 percent).
Some of the findings were not surprising, given earlier studies
showing high levels of academic achievement by home-schooled students,
said Tom Washburne, director of the Virginia-based National Center for
Home Education.
"We expected to find that they were getting good jobs, going on to
college at a high rate, that they were involved in their communities ?
all of those come as no surprise to a home-schooling parent," Mr.
Washburne said.
"However, we are excited by the findings about the civic involvement
of the graduates. Their voting and their involvement with campaigns and
political parties is astounding compared with the general public."
The idea for the study "had been percolating in my mind for at least
a decade," said NHERI President Brian D. Ray. A proposal for the study
was turned down 10 years ago, he said. But noting the growth in home
education, he said, "Now we have a much larger population [of
home-schooling alumni] from which to draw, [so] maybe it was good to
NHERI estimates that more than 1.7 million U.S. children are
The new study "is one of the few attempts, maybe the only attempt,
to get at the question of what do home-schoolers look like after the
home-schooling process," said James Carper, professor of educational
psychology at the University of South Carolina
, who reviewed Mr. Ray's
findings. "On most measures, they look better than the general public."
Home schooling has been criticized by the country's largest teachers
union, the National Education Association (NEA), which passed a
resolution at its national convention declaring that "home-schooling
programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education
An NEA spokesman yesterday said the organization had no comment on
the NHERI study.
Mr. Ray said critics "have claimed that adults who are home-schooled
would be social isolates, disengaged from civic life and perhaps
uncaring about the world around them. The findings of this study,
however, indicate just the opposite in terms of these adults' behaviors."
Among the study's findings:
About half (49 percent) of home-schoolers ages 18 to 24 were
full-time students. In that age group, 50.2 percent had "some college
but no degree," compared with 34 percent of the same age group in the
general population. In that group, 8.7 percent of home-schoolers had
two-year associate degrees (compared with 4.1 percent in the general
population) and 11.8 percent had bachelor's degrees (compared with 7.6
percent in the general population).
Among various measures of community activity, home-educated adults
were more likely than their peers to have read a book in the past six
months (98.5 percent compared with 69 percent), participated in
community service such as volunteering or coaching youth sports teams
(71.1 percent compared with 37 percent), and attended religious services
at least once a month (93.3 percent compared with 41 percent).
Asked whether they agreed with the statement that "politics and
government are too complicated to understand," 4.2 percent of
home-schooled adults agreed, compared with 35 percent of the general
In six measures of civic involvement, home-schooled adults
consistently ranked higher than the general U.S. population.
Home-schoolers also ranked higher on measures of personal
satisfaction and psychological health, reporting more contentment on the
job and with their families' financial situations. Asked about
happiness, 58.9 percent of home-schoolers reported they were "very
happy," compared with 27.6 percent of the general public.
Home-schoolers differed significantly in their responses to the
question: "Some people say that people get ahead by their own hard work;
others say lucky breaks or help from people are more important. Which do
you think is most important?" More than 85 percent of home-schoolers
said "hard work," compared with 68 percent of the general population.
About 74 percent of the home-schooled adults with children said
they were home schooling their own children.
The thousands of home-schooled adults who participated in the survey
were found through "a highly connected network of home-schooling
organizations, " Mr. Ray said. Their responses were compared with data
for the general U.S. population from the
Census Bureau, the Department
of Education and the National Opinion Research Center.
The study did not compare incomes of adults who had been
home-schooled with the general population, Mr. Ray said, because of a
shortage of age-based income data plus the fact that the average age of
the home-schooling alumni in the survey was 21 and nearly half were
full-time students.
"If we can come back to a substantial portion of this sample in five
to 10 years, we'll get a much better idea of comparative data regarding
occupation, income and completed level of education," he said.
The study rebuts one of the most persistent criticisms of home
schooling, Mr. Washburne said.
"Home-schooling parents have known for years that home schooling
works," he said. "What we always knew to be a myth regarding
socialization has turned out to be just that, a myth. Home-schoolers
appear to be active, engaged, happy adults."

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