Homeschooling By the Numbers [infographic]

December 21, 2010 |  by  |  Education

I remember when I first met my home-schooled neighbors. I was in about 3rd grade and my neighbors were twins. I would get to hang out with them after school and I could never grasp what it would be like to be home-schooled. They’d talk about how they got 2 and 1/2 hours for lunch where they could go on the computer, watch tv or go outside. They could eat whatever was in the fridge and didn’t have to wait in long lunch lines for bad food. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being home-schooled.

Now I noticed that homeschoolers must really enjoy their parents’ company, but it can’t be as good as all of the friends I made at public school. Sitting next to someone all year is an easy way to get to know them. I guess that there must be some homeschool meet-ups around town where home-schooled kids can find other homeschoolers to hang out with. I’m sure they aren’t awkward…

Another bonus for homeschoolers is having parents who can help with your school work, which would be pretty awesome. I mean if my parent was my teacher, I would’ve made straight A’s. Instead my parents tried to help me with my 6th grade algebra, but that’s okay. I just got done with the last math class of my life last semester, so my parentals don’t have to worry anymore.

I know a lot of parents want to homeschool their kid to get them ready for college. I feel my public school career prepared me more than enough for my time at University. It wasn’t anything the school district did to prepare me either, solely the quality of the teachers I’ve had. [Via]


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  • don

    I wonder whether or not home schooling WOULD HAVE made you less likely to type “I would of made straight A’s” when you meant “I would’ve made straight A’s”

    • Debbi Lowther

      I caught that too. I went to private/public schools. But I am a homeschooling mom, and am a stickler for correct grammar usage.

      • Anonymous

        I also noticed that. Even before I was a homeschooling dad, I was a sticker for grammar/diction/spelling.

        • Roshan Patel

          No offense, but you spelled “stickler” wrong. :P

          • carolanne

            Maybe he actually used stickers a lot in homeschooling… you never know! :)

          • Anonymous

            Well if he meant it literally… then if he was a sticker, I
            think that would have been kind of weird/different.  :^ (sorry if you see any errors with my post
            [public school])

  • Anonymous

    Haha! Right you are. I had an issue getting it to accept my comment the first time. I guess I was moving too quickly during my second attempt. The stickler has been stickled. Yes, I realize “stickled” isn’t a real word.

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    Perhaps the success of home schooling has something to do with the fact that the parents of home schooled children are more than twice as likely to be college graduates, and approximately three times as likely to have advanced degrees than the general US population, according to the statistics in the article and the US Census data on education in the US population.

    • Islavet

      This is true, but conversely, when homeschooled children of parents with and without college degrees are compared, there is no statistical difference in the academic performance of the children. It’s the method (and the dedication of the parents), not the parents’ education, that makes the difference.

  • Guest

    Most people today, home school for the wrong reason and limit their child’s exposure to the harsh reality of the real world.

    • Anonymous

      Your home is the real world. Why must a government institution be the real world?

    • Islavet

      Most people today do not homeschool for only one reason. I have several main reasons:

      1. Can better individually tailor teaching to the child’s strengths, learning style, and interests, and work on the child’s weaknesses. (Why do people keep wanting smaller class sizes in schools? Because it helps!)
      2. Better academic progress. And better grammar (sorry, couldn’t resist).
      3. Better socialization in the real world; participating as a responsible human in society at a much younger age.
      4. Yes, protection from being completely immersed in harsh reality of the SCHOOL world, which is usually very different from the real adult world. There is a difference between exposure to reality and immersion in harsh reality with no respite allowed. (Not saying all schools are like this, but they are more prone than the home environment.)
      5. Foster a love of learning and exploration, as well as contact with the real world that makes book learning make sense. (Read “Last Child in the Woods” about the serious consequences of children losing touch with nature.)
      6. Much more free time because much less time is wasted by sitting, standing in line, and goofing off at school. I attended just enough public school to be very glad I didn’t waste more time there. And I was shocked at the disrespect to teachers, 15 years ago.
      7. I was homeschooled and can’t imagine doing anything else. Although I have known enough homeschoolers to admit that, like in every group, a few grow up to not be shining examples of homeschooling, the majority are more responsible, more interested in reading/learning, more conscientious employees, more involved in society, and just plain nicer and gentler.

      And for the record, I’m a veterinarian, so no, I did not have trouble with the transition to college.

    • Rainspirit_school

      Sadly that’s what people think – there are MANY types of homeschoolers though. We all have vastly different motivations too.

      The ‘real world’ is what my children are living in every day – not the false world of ‘school’. Also, I feel you make your world what it is – it’s unfortunate you feel it is ‘harsh’.

      • Unwelcome Guest

        I generally agree, yet I would not be so quick or so confident to deem certain environments as “false” worlds. This does not seem wise to me.

    • M_d_jessup

      Everyone shelters their children from harsh realities – for instance, do you expose your children to the harsh reality of daily starvation, eating from trashcans, living on the streets, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.? Some who homeschool believe that by sheltering young children while they are learning about life and becoming stronger in their faith in God, they will be confident, less damaged adults who will contribute more to society. We all remember what it was like to attend public school with bullies, drug abusers, peer pressure to drink or have sex before marriage, etc. I’ll bet most people reading this will realize their lives are not what they wish they could be if they hadn’t experienced some of those things. It’s easy to beat up on homeschool familes because they’ve made a decision that’s different and maybe that seems to be a criticism of the decisions of others to use the public schools, but all of us can empathize with the wish of homeschoolers to prevent some of those things from happening to their children.

      • Unwelcome Guest

        I like your points esp. because they anticipate the sheltering critique well.

        My own knee-jerk reaction to home-schooling is actually not that at all, though. That is, the problem is not with the “home” and the “sheltering,” but the latter part of the word, for me — “schooling.” I would prefer the term ‘homelearning’ or domestic education, for example, which makes sense to me. I’ve had that too! Although, I also went to school. The things I learned “in class” or “on the playground” etc could be taught at home, no doubt. The awareness of differing perspectives, differentiation of family and institutional social dynamics, how to speak to large bodies of people, etc., all came from insights triggered in my case by being able to perceive the difference between the institutional and domestic environments. These are the sorts of things which are not tested but likely are learned sooner by children in schools rather than those in purely domestic education. I would therefore be wary of buying into the reductionist view of schooling which is propagated here by advocates of home-schooling. Schooling ? education. To school a bunch of kids as an institution or as a teacher of the institution carries with it a whole host of other skills, responsibilities, perspective built through experience, etc.

        Should parents teach their kids? Yeah, duh. Can they be everything a school is? No more than a school or a teacher for a year or two can be a parent.

        If you are home-schooled, you are not necessarily better educated, despite comparing SAT averages, unless you are proud to score less than 600 points on the SATs. I would say in favor of parents teaching their kids that the key is to encourage children to learn to self-educate. All real learning is from the inside out, not from the outside in, from thoughts to understandings, not from data to regurgitation. If I felt that my children were being taught in the latter manner and not the former, I would risk doing it all myself because the latter attitude is a total waste.

  • ME

    Interesting statements. I have heard it before. However, it is hard to tell if you like or dislike the idea of homeschooling.

    As for the social aspects, much depends on the parents and how much they work to place their children into social situations. I know many home schooled children that are socially inept where others are ingrained into their communities. Many through civic groups, clubs (such as Boy and Girl Scouts), etc.

    Strait A’s????!!! HA! Tell my home schooled kids that. Their teacher (mother) does not give free passes. They have to work for their grades and in some cases I know they do more work and our expectations are higher than the public school requires.

    That is not to say that public schools can’t provide an adequate education or in some cases superior education than home schooling. Much depends on the teacher(s), the student and the parents regardless of how and where the children are schooled. You can have the best teachers but have unsupportive parents and the education of the child could fail. Or the other way around. I guess what I am saying is that it is a team effort all they way around.

    With three of mine home schooled and one in public school (we chose not to teach high school) we have seen the differences. With our one in public school we keep in constant touch with our child’s progress, ask lots of questions, express our expectations of performance and communicate with the teachers.

    It takes effort to educate a child and it requries the community to accomplish the task.

    • Anonymous

      I have known many public school kids who are socially inept, also. Social ineptitude is not the birthright of home schooling. There are social clods in private school, as well.

      • Unwelcome Guest

        Misuse of “birthright.” That word does not mean what you seem to think it means.

    • Unwelcome Guest

      I always stop reading at the first typo/error etc. I stopped at “into” in this case.

  • Anonymous

    I hope that more folks read your great chart, and not as much of the sarcasm in your post! :)
    I shared many of your misconceptions about homeschooling before I looked into it myself. Of course, there are some people that still give it a bad name, just like in public school. But, in summary, it is nothing like it used to be.

    • Timmy Willingham

      Thanks for catching my sarcasm! :D

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  • Anonymous

    Your readers should be aware that the source of your data is not exactly unbiased. It’s an affiliate of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, which is an Evangelical Christian lobbying group. The National Center for Educational Statistics (part of the Federal Dept. of Education) did its own survey of homeschooling families and came up with significantly different demographics. It makes sense that members of the HSLDA differ from the wider homeschooling community since Evangelicals are far more likely to belong to HSLDA than other homeschoolers.

    • Rainspirit_school

      Do you have a link? I’d be interested in seeing that study myself. For the record – I don’t belong to HSLDA.

    • Sarah Arnold Nelson

      It should be noted that the NCES report extrapolated from a survey of 239 students – or 2.17% of the estimated 1.1M children registered in the U.S. as homeschoolers in 2003.

      While it is true that HSLDA does have a significant number of Evangelical Christians as members, that does not mean that the statistics they compiled are inaccurate. The HSLDA data is pulled from a survey of 11, 739 homeschooled students.

  • Marjorie

    Interesting but it may miss the point of some homeschoolers, which is that their kids are individuals, not numbers.

    I’m always amused by the observation of non-homeschoolers that socialization can only occur with age-mates in a classroom (because that’s *never* awkward). I prefer my kids to have social opportunities to mix with people from different age groups. Even spending time with groups of kids whose age ranges from a few years younger to a few years older can have a softening effect on the tribalism that can occur in schools. I’ve always been more interested in seeing my kids become civilized individuals and not simply “socialized” units that can be counted and sorted. But it’s possible I’m denying my daughters the ability to become bubble-headed, celebrity obsessed, label-conscious tweens who brag about the reading group or math class to which they’ve been assigned. Different strokes and all that.

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  • Katie Conaghan-Dennis

    Home schooling can be done correctly. But you have so many more people out there like my ex sister-in-law, not even a graduate from HS, and she’s going to home school all 5 of her kids. Not because she could provide them a better education, but because she was lazy and her kids were being bullied, she has no source of income, and moves too much for the kids to be transferred from school to school. I can’t wait to see what productive little persons she churns out of her home school!!

  • romacox

    Teachers are now the biggest influx into the home school venue. The reasons they give are interesting.

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