Homeschool vs. Public School Review on Test Scores and Life Success 

“Do homeschool students perform better than public school students?” Most parents ask this question before deciding to opt for home education. You’ll be surprised by the positive turnout of homeschooling for kids from years back and even until today. Let’s take a look at long-running discussions and research about kids’ life success not only based on test scores but including all the other factors that determine their success.

QUICK OVERVIEW:

  • We will compare the academic performance of traditional or public school students and homeschool students
  • We will take a look at the holistic development of kids under homeschool and traditional or public school environments
  • We will list down all the motivating factors of homeschool curriculums
  • We will cover the determinants of leading a successful life concerning the educational background of students

Academic Performance: Homeschool vs. Public School

Not to discard the capability of public schools to produce students with high-quality academic standards, but several studies support the efficiency of homeschooling in training kids to achieve high performance in terms of their school grades.

To start, let’s examine the numbers.

  1. In an article written by Basil Qaqish titled “An Analysis of Homeschooled and Non-Homeschooled Students’ Performance on an ACT Mathematics Achievement Test” in 2007, one of the published studies from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), is stating that:
    • In their fact sheet I, the home educated students scored, on average, at or above the 80th percentile in all areas on standardized achievement tests in one study.
    • In their fact sheet IIIc, a study of 16,311 home educated students found that home educated students performed above average on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which is a test of abilities in reading, language, and math.
  2. A comparative study of 215 undergraduates was conducted in 2005 by Erika M. L. Jones. She published the study in NHERI entitled “Transition from Home Education to Higher Education: Academic and Social Issues” in 2010 with these findings on the academic measures of students in private, public, and homeschool:
    • According to the Christian University in Southern California admissions department, during the 2004-2005 academic year, the undergraduate grade point average (GPA) was 3.52. The mean GPA of the home-educated subsample, 3.56, is slightly higher than the population mean. The mean GPA of the public school subsample, 3.41, and the private school subsample, 3.45, is slightly lower than the population.
    • According to the admissions department, the mean score for incoming freshmen on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) was 1123. Home-educated participants reported their average SAT score was 1219, which is higher than the reported scores of both private school respondents, 1148, and participants who attended public school, 1176.
    • The home-educated group was as capable as their peers in utilizing study techniques and balancing time management.
  3. In a study conducted by Richard G. Medlin in 2010 entitled “Learning Style and Academic Achievement in Homeschooled Children,” Homeschooled children (57 boys and 57 girls) from grades 5 through 12 completed the Stanford Achievement Test and the Learning Style Inventory (LSI).
    • The conclusion stated that homeschooled children’s academic achievement was high overall, and their motivation to learn and persistence were related to their performance in specific subjects.
  4. In 2016, Sahar Almasoud and Samantha R. Fowler conducted a study entitled “The Difference in the Academic Achievements of Homeschooled and Non-Homeschooled Students.” They investigated if “there is any significant difference in the success of homeschooled and non-homeschooled students after a year of study at a private university in the Southeast United States.”
    • The mean of the undergraduate homeschooled students’ GPA was 3.45 (SD= 0.52) while the mean of the undergraduate traditionally schooled students’ GPA was 2.69 (SD=0.73). The difference in GPA was determined to be significant. Homeschooled students before entering this university had a significantly higher overall GPA than students who were non-homeschooled.
    • All students enrolled at the school meet minimum admission requirements. SAT scores of 1550 or higher, ACT scores of 21 or higher, high school GPA of B+ or higher in math and science, letters of recommendation, and an admission essay; therefore, it is natural to assume that students were fairly evenly matched concerning previous academic performance.
  5. Brian D. Ray successfully achieved a series of reviews of research in 2018, which he entitled “Academic Achievement of Homeschool Students: A Review of Peer-Reviewed Research.”
    • In 11 of the 14 peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement, there was a definite positive effect on or correlation with success for the homeschooled students. That is, 78% of peer-reviewed studies in existence at the time of the article’s writing showed a statistically significant positive connection with home education.

Homeschooling Motivations for Parents and Kids

The answer to the first question stated at the beginning of this article will help establish the motivation of both the parents and kids to homeschool. There are various reasons to put your kids out of formal school organizations and take the matter of their education into your hands. Well, not entirely, because you will have a lot of help from numerous resources that you can find online and other homeschooling moms.

Here is a list of motivating factors for homeschooling:

  • For one, some studies show the high performance of homeschool students, which is comparable to the performance of public school students.
  • You can choose customized lesson plans for each school year.
  • Academic accomplishments are set with personal goals and obtained at their own pace.
  • You can focus on the lessons that you want to impart to your kids, especially on life values that are essential to their development.
  • You can create the kind of learning environment that you specifically want for your kids.
  • You can regulate exposure to the downsides of social interactions that might influence kids to get involved with unhealthy practices with peers outside the home.
  • Family relations get strengthened because of the majority of the time you spend together while learning.
  • You can set your budget according to your most convenient schedule of spending on school materials.
  • The growing trend of homeschooling at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years is spread throughout the United States (Ray, 2019).

Know what the experts have to say about homeschooling with this book authored by Rebbecca M Devitt, Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Australian Christian Homeschooling. She integrated the theories of homeschooling experts to give you enlightenment on how this type of schooling program can help your child build their future. Find out the other benefits that your kids can enjoy while weighing them with the issues of the traditional educational system. 

Holistic Development of Kids: Homeschool vs. Public School

There is a misconception that homeschooled kids generally lack social skills. This developmental issue has been present since the homeschooling system began.  To point out a fact on students studying in public schools, not all of them display what the social norm requires from all of us. It only means that a child’s development is adaptive in any environment. But aside from social skills, education addresses all aspects of the development of a child. For us to gauge a child’s capability to become successful in life— which is utterly relative, their holistic development should be at a balance.

Social Development

Social interaction does not only happen inside the schools. Sometimes, even schools don’t have the healthiest environment for all kids. Other kids have different needs that should receive proper attention in terms of being “social.”

For some kids, the structural organization and context of public schools help them become the kind of person they aim to become. However, homeschooling is not a hindrance to becoming a social individual. There are other forms of activities that you can freely choose to enter into when you’re outside the school grounds.

With your permission (parent-teachers), the students can join scouting, field trips, community events, volunteering, youth camps, sports teams, dance classes, and many other forms of social groups that will expose them to their peers. These kinds of activities, although they’re not within the school curriculum, are not out of the norm. These involvements actually help them nurture interactions and relationships that support their social development.

Check out how Melissa Calapp, a homeschooling mom of 19 years, makes the most out of homeschool adventures and the effectiveness of field trips in her book: Homeschool Adventures: Learning Through the Power of Field Trips (Live, Learn, Work at Home). You will learn how essential outdoor activities are on the kids’ learning process. Use your world as your classroom and let the students explore!

Psychological and Emotional Development

A survey conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) in 2003 resulted in positive findings on 7,300 U.S. adults who were homeschool students and 5,000 among them for over seven years. To focus on their psychological and emotional development, one of their findings states that:

“Of those adults who were home-educated, 58.9% report that they are “very happy” with life (compared with 27.6% for the general U.S. population). Moreover, 73.2% of homeschooled adults find life “exciting,” compared with 47.3% of the general population.”

A U.S. government agency named The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) has also published multiple articles that discuss kids’ development in terms of psychological and emotional aspects in both educational settings: homeschool and traditional schools.

The following are what the proponents argue to be present in the social environment of traditional schools compared to the wider community offered by homeschooling. These may be listed on the psychological consideration of parents when deciding to prepare their kids for their education.

Traditional schools:

  • strongly inhibit individuality and creativity
  • follow the standards set by the slowest students
  • involve bullying, recreational drug use, early sexuality, defiance, criminality, materialism, and eating disorders.

Homeschooling:

  • better prepares them for real life
  • leads them to see adults, rather than peers, as role models
  • encourages them to be more involved in youth, church, and sports organizations
  • helps them develop an independent understanding of themselves and their role in the world, with the freedom to reject or approve conventional values without the risk of ridicule,
  • teaches children to deal with a variety of situations and people,
  • still provides for interaction with conventionally-educated children after school hours in their neighborhood and other after-school activities.

The importance of your kids’ proper education, especially during the developmental years, requires parents to be psychologically and emotionally healthy as well. If you wish to take a quick break on your homeschooling struggles, read  The Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Homeschooling by Durenda Wilson. This book could be a great reminder that homeschooling does not have to get filled with anguish and frustration. With her 20 years of experience, she might offer fantastic advice on how you can raise and teach your kids right in your home— without losing your mind.

Physical Development

Public schools follow the traditional practice of encouraging kids to enhance not only their sense of sportsmanship but as well as their physical development by providing the facilities they need for sports and recreation.

On the other hand, homeschooling will not deprive your kids of becoming physically healthy. Your kids can take advantage of having the freedom to participate in their preferred physical activities. Since exercise can be a part of your customized P.E. program, their physical development won’t get taken for granted.

As stated above, your kids’ availability to join groups that promote sports, outdoor adventure trips, and dance arts will help them become physically active. Even your backyard holds a lot of possibilities for kids to play outdoor games, and simply enjoy their childhood. It’s one of the perks of homeschooling!

Spiritual Development

Unlike public schools, you can incorporate the spiritual aspect into your homeschooling curriculum. The privilege of homeschoolers to steer closer to the direction of Christian values is not equal to those kids who go to traditional schools unless they’re being encouraged by parents or guardians outside of school. If you want your kids to have a strong foundation on spiritual beliefs and teachings, homeschooling might be your best option.

A lot of homeschooling curriculums are firmly based on the Christian worldview to strengthen their values and perception of the life they’re living. The faith-based teaching incorporates good practices such as obedience, compassion, honesty, love, and respect. This world will surely become a more beautiful place to live in if these values are what our future generation will uphold.

Life Success: Is It Based on Test Scores and Formal Schooling?

The traditional formal schools may not be present up until now, if not because of the proven efficacy of the educational system that we have been following for hundreds of years. Even though many families haven’t considered homeschooling, it has been bearing great individuals in our society today.

If it boils down to the two options, and according to the data stated above, homeschooling stands as a wise choice. But, without discounting the fact that sending your kids to public schools might also be useful for them. If you were to assess your kids, where do you think will they flourish?

If you were asked, would your grades and your educational background be the ultimate basis of life success? What will your answer be? Wherever you are in your life right now, one of your main goals is for your kids to have a bright future and be happy living a comfortable life. But, some (maybe most) of you will agree that not everyone who succeeds in life came from the grandest schools and had the perfect grades throughout their school years. If you think you (the parents) can bring out and foster your kids’ love for learning, nothing can stop you anyway.

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