I have been researching homeschoolers’ academic achievements lately to diffuse some expressed concern about what options will be available to my children later on. I am a public school supporter, and we are registered with the public board therefore I consider us “public schoolers”, and I don’t like comparing in-school students with home school students. There are brilliant teachers out there who benefit the lives of children everyday. Unfortunately, comparative analysis is the format within which I find much of the evidence that homeschoolers have a great chance of academic success. For instance:
- Homeschoolers score 30-40% higher on standardized achievement tests than their peers. Homeschoolers score in the 89th percentile, while public schoolers score in the 50th percentile (“Homeschooling Works” and “Progress Report 2009”, http://www.hslda.org)
- According to the U.S. department of education, homeschoolers on average test 1 year ahead of their peers. The longer they homeschool the wider the gap. By 8th grade they score on average 4 years ahead of their peers
- The best schools in North America including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Berkley, MIT and Duke actively recruit homeschoolers. In Canada there are homeschool admittance policies for every school I looked into, including McMaster, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Brock university, WIlifred Laurier and Mcgill with the exception only of Queens. According to the “Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents”, Canadian universities also actively recruit homeschoolers
- A higher percentage of homeschoolers graduate from colleges and universities than their peers, and once in college or university, homeschoolers maintain a higher GPA than their peers (“homeschool population report 2010” – http://www.NHERI.org).
- In public school, socio-economic factors correlate with the success of the student. Not so in homeschooling families. The educational outcomes of homeschoolers do not correlate with factors such as parents education or income levels, (“Homeschooling: From Extreme to Mainstream”, http://www.fraserinstitute.org ).
A great example of whats possible: The Colfax family.
For you veteran homeschoolers out there, this is old news. For the rest of us, inspiration.
Dave and Miki Colfax homeschooled their four boys through out the1980’s. As described by them, it was mostly self lead learning, ( similar to un-schooling), accompanied by hard work helping to build and maintain their farm. So, what became of them?
Grant Colfax graduated from Harvard medical school. He is an infectious disease specialist. President Obama recently named him the director of the White house office of National Aids policy. John Colfax earned his MA in biological anthropology as well as a law degree from the university of Michigan. He then earned his MD from Harvard medical school specializing in emergency medicine. Reed Colfax has an A.B. from Harvard, and a law degree from Yale. He specializes in civil rights litigation. Garth Colfax is currently a computer specialist, who works with the developmentally challenged.
There is a long list of notables who were homeschooled, or homeschool their children including but not limited to: Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Taylor Swift, Venus and Serena WIlliams, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Bolton, Franklin Roosevelt, Leonardo Da vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, Kristen Stewart, the Wright Brothers, Mozart, Hans Christian Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, C.S. Lewis, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Dickens, Katherine Hepburn, Kristen Stewart, Elijah Wood, Claud Monet, Winston Churchill, Margaret Mead, Julian Assange, Leanne Rhymes, Justin Bieber, Agatha Christie, Michelle Kwan, Florence Nightengale, Thomas Edison, Louisa May Alcott, Condaleeza Rice, Hilary Duff, Tim Tebow, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dakota Fanning, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilara, Pearl Buck, Theodore Roosevelt and Virginia Woolf
Celebrity homeschoolers: Jada & Will Smith, Bill & Melinda Gates (while travelling), Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt, John Travolta & Kelly Preston, Lisa Welchel, Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise, Gwenyth Paltrow & Chris Martin.
The idea that homeschoolers do not take education seriously is perplexing. Whether we un-school or homeschool, we make that level of commitment and dedication because it is in the best interest of our children. We sacrifice time money and sometimes our sanity, because for whatever reason, our kids would benefit from doing something different than attending public or private school. Sometimes the reason is autism, attention deficit or another special need. Other times a child needs extra attention in a certain subject. There could be time conflicts with traditional school hours and a parents work schedule inhibiting sufficient family time. Some people travel a lot, or want to study different material than what is covered in the common curriculum.There are language barriers that keep a child from reaching their full potential that wouldn’t exist at home. Some children are born athletes or musicians who want to focus their time and energy on nurturing their talents. Finally, Some families simply prefer learning together in the comfort of their home, and are able to do so.
Attending a public school is superior to home schooling for many reasons for many people. Academics is not one of them. I think that homeschooling is a viable option, and it is the best choice for us. I am convinced that homeschoolers such as my children have every future opportunity that children who physically attend the school do. So for all of the people who have questioned the future opportunities of homeschoolers, I hope this helps ease your mind.