By David Barfield, CHECK Chairman
From the February 2003, CHECK News
In December, in part one of my report on last fall's national homeschool conferences, I summarized HSLDA's report on legal and legislation issues, particularly at the national level. This article presents some highlights from a presentation at the HSLDA conference on homeschool research by Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI, www.nheri.org). Also included is information from Dr. Ray's new book, Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling: Facts and Stats on the Benefits of Home School 2002-2003, which I obtained at the conference and would encourage you to purchase if you have an interest in learning more about this important topic. Finally, at the end of the article, I have included links to summaries of major studies of home education which I found in my research for this article.
Much basic research has been done on home education over the last decade or two. This research reports positive findings regarding home educated students. Below are findings of this research as they apply to common questions about home education:
These results bring the question: how can untrained, uncertified parents accomplish these results? I believe the answer is principally rooted in the significant degree of parental involvement in the child's education and the ability of homeschooling parents to customize each child's education to his or her specific needs.
While much research has been done to substantiate many of these basic conclusions, Brian suggested other areas which require further research. For example, Brian suggested more study is needed regarding how home-educated children do in the "real world." The limited research done to date indicates that homeschooled students are doing well in college academically and that they tend to be more involved in extracurricular activities in college, often being involved in positions of leadership. This civic engagement likely can, in part, be attributed to their parents' model since they, as a rule, are more involved civically than parents of public school students. Brian is embarking on a long-term research in the area to better understand the impact of homeschooling beyond the high school.
The results of research has benefited homeschooling much over the last decade or more as these studies have substantiated that homeschooling works and have provided arguments against inappropriate and ineffective regulation of home education in many states. However, Brian noted that some critics of homeschooling are becoming more vocal. These critics believe homeschooling is harmful to society as a whole for various reasons. For example, Michael Apple sees the decision to homeschool as an attack on public schools, somehow weakening the public educational system to the detriment of society as a whole. Similarly, Chris Lubienski writes that homeschooling harms the public good and states that homeschool parents are selfish because they care more about their kids than the good of the whole. Others claim that homeschooling reinforces divisiveness in our culture. Brian believes these claims regarding the harm of homeschooling to society are without factual foundation or convincing logic. Yet there are becoming part of the public discourse and will need to be addressed. Solid research substantiating the falsehood of the claims will certainly help us in that discourse.
I have only touched on this broad topic. Below are a number of sources of additional information:
National Home Education Research Institute
NHERI (www.nheri.org) offers a wealth of homeschooling research. Start with Brian Ray's new book, Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling: Facts and Stats on the Benefits of Home School.
Rudner Study: Educational Policy Analysis Archives
The complete 1999 Rudner study, "Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998," is available online at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n8/.
Canada's Frasier Institute offers "Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream" by Patrick Basham online (pdf) at: www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/homeschool.pdf
Site copyright © 1998-2003. All
Rights Reserved, Christian
Home Educators Confederation of Kansas
Page last updated 2/16/2003