This first educational blog post is specifically about the social and educational outcomes of home-schooling. It is so important to research home-schooling and the possible outcomes “because it is the most robust form of educational reform in the United States today.” (Murphy 2014) The growth of home-schooling in the United States is astonishing! It is estimated that 2 million students were being home-schooled in 2010, this is a huge jump from the approximate 15,000 students being home-schooled in the 1970’s. (Murphy 2014) Unfortunately, with numbers that big, there is still a surprising lack of information and research about home-schooling and this huge educational movement.
There is one experimental design in particular that I want to focus on in this blog post. This design was done by Joseph Murphy in 2002 and his results divide his finding of home-schooling into two categories: effects on broad measures and effects on children. He then breaks these two categories down even more. In Murphy’s first category he includes outcomes based on the impact on the social fabric, impact on public schooling, costs and family. In his second category, he includes the outcomes he found based on academic achievement, social development, and post-school success.
While Murphy focused on multiple aspects, I am going to focus only on the second category, the actual effects on the children. These are the findings where he explains the outcomes of academic achievement, social development, and post-school success and this is what I am especially interested in and think is most important.
In regards to academic achievement, there is, again, very little research and “we know almost nothing about the impact of home-schooling on academic performance.” (Murphy 2014) While there is little data from research to prove the benefits of home-schooling versus public schooling, specifically, there is no data that suggests that home-schooling is a disadvantage by any means. However, when comparing home-schooling to a national norm, overall, there is some “evidence [that] suggests real academic benefits flow to home-school children” (Murphy 2014) and these same analysts believe that there is some indirect evidence that positively links home-schooling and academic performance. (Murphy 2014)
When comparing home-schooling with national norms, home-schooled children often do better on standardized tests than their peers who were schooled in a more traditional setting, such as public-school. (Murphy 2014) However, when compared to privately schooled children, home-schooled children had similar test scores. (Murphy 2014) In many different studies, it was found that home-schooled children scored above the 80th percentile in all subjects. (Murphy 2014) So, while it is stated that there is very little research to feel confident about the findings on home-schooling, overall, there does seem to be some positive correlation between home-schooled children and their academic achievements and, at the very least, there is no data that suggests, in the academic sense, that there is a disadvantage of home-schooling.
Now that we have covered academic achievements, let’s talk about the research on social development and home-schooling. If you read my introductory post you know that I am considering home-schooling my children and this is the topic I am most concerned about. It didn’t take long for me to realize this is the topic that is most often ranked at first in importance regarding home-schooling concerns. Obviously, schooling is a very large part of childhood through emerging adulthood. During this period of life (and longer if you attend university), school is where you spend the majority of your day and it makes sense that this is where most children will learn to socialize. Because of this, “it is asserted [that home-schooling], limits the exchanges by which skills and norms are developed.” (Murphy 2014) Obviously, the biggest worry is, without proper socialization, these home-schooled children are at risk of becoming social misfits.
This is a big worry of mine since I struggled with socialization so much after being home-schooled for just 4 years. However, with proper chances for socializing, these skills will develop. That is why it is so important to do some research before making this big decision. Look online for home-schooling co-ops near you and other home-schooling group opportunities. I know that my local gym has days for home-schooled kids each week where the pool or other activities are reserved specifically for those families. Again, this is a really big decision and it can be so beneficial for you and your children if it is done correctly. If you are not going to have the motivation and consistency that is needed to school at home, it could be a disadvantage to your child in the future.
Speaking of the future, again, there is not a lot of research on post home-schooled children. However, the research that has been done shows that home-schooled children are “being academically and socially prepared to handle the rigors of college life and [are] at least as well prepared as graduates of public high schools.” (Murphy 2014) It has also been found that they are also as prepared when it comes to verbal, writing and critical thinking skills and that home-school students score as well or better on ACT’s/SAT’s than their public school peers. (Murphy 2014)
After reading this article, I feel like home-schooling could definitely be a beneficial thing for many families. As I mentioned in my introduction post, I feel like public schools lack teaching real world necessities and don’t prepare students for choosing a career path. To summarize my findings, although there is little research done on this subject, what has been found indicates there is a positive link between home-schooled children and academic success in school and post-graduation, and, with proper socializing, there should be little to worry about when it comes to social development.
This is not the last of my research though. I have two more articles to share with you all! Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments!
Thanks for reading!
Murphy, J. (2014). The Social and Educational Outcomes of Homeschooling. Sociological Spectrum, 34, 244-272. doi:10.1080/02732173.2014.895640