Many still consider homeschooling a social and academic death sentence to your children. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. More than 20 years of studies and statistics support the fact that homeschooled children are more socially adept and academically superior to their public and private school counterparts and that the homeschooled child is more likely to succeed both professionally and personally in life.
The notion that homeschoolers are less prepared for the “real world” either socially or academically is ill-founded. In the traditional school system, the child rarely socializes with people outside their age group or class. Homeschooled children interact with people of all ages, races and genders. The misconception that homeschooled children are cooped up in their homes, huddled around a dining room table are simply not true. Homeschooled children are afforded the freedom and time to explore their worlds and learn “real world” socialization through field trips, homeschool groups, 4-H, scouts, church, etc.
Today’s modern public and private school systems separate and segregate our children by their ability and age while reinforcing gender and class (Homeschool.com, 2008). They are told “school is not social hour” or “this isn’t the place to socialize,” limiting their social time to recess periods. The homeschooled child will make better decisions based on the values they are taught at home rather than the values and examples shown by the peers in their age group. There is less pressure for the homeschooled child to conform to pressure or the perceived behavior by others so they can “fit in.”
During a 2005 teleconference, Diane Flynn Keith stated, “Socialization is actually meant to prepare children for the real world, which means learning to interact and deal with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. In this case, homeschooling actually does a better job of this because homeschoolers spend more actual time out in society.”
The homeschooled child is a better decision maker, leader and team member. Because they spend more time in the real world, they socialize and communicate better with all age and social groups outside the home. Inside the home they are more likely to have strong, meaningful relationships with both parents and siblings. The freedom to learn and explore the world together increases family strength and the bonds created between siblings.
With all that said, the second question on the minds of the skeptics and those not familiar with the homeschooling environment is, what about the graduation ceremony? What about the big dance or football game? The fact is that homeschooled children are exposed to all of these “rites or passage” through organized events and sports. Through community and private sports, children have the opportunity to compete at the same level as the schools. Many states have passed legislation to include homeschooled children in the local district school system’s sports programs.
Considering academic performance and the ability to succeed in secondary education, homeschooled children have been extremely successful. In 1997 a study titled Strengths of Their Own: Homeschoolers Across America showed that “homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.” The same study showed the most significant gap in academics was in the subject of vocabulary. “For example, fourth graders in public school scored in the 49th percentile while the homeschooled fourth graders scored in the 80th percentile.
“Homeschoolers are accepted and recruited by some of the top universities in the country because of their maturity, independent thinking skills, creativity, and strong academic preparation” (Homeschool.com, 2008). Homeschoolers score higher on the ACT and the SAT. “An article in Time on September 11, 2000, reported that 26 percent of 35 homeschooled applicants had been accepted into Stanford University’s 2000-2001 freshman class. This is nearly double the rate of overall acceptance” (Homeschool.com, 2008).
Superior academic performance, real world social skills and an environment that is contusive with all the benefits that go along with homeschooling, it is still not for everyone. It takes a lot of dedication by the parents to facilitate a successful program. The number one hurdle that most families face when considering homeschooling is the financial cost. The decrease in income by one parent so they can stay home with their children is a significant challenge for many families. For many it takes a dramatic lifestyle change to accomplish. However, with some financial planning and dedication the many benefits of homeschooling your children far out-weigh the sacrifice.
Klicka, C., 2004. Academic statistics on homeschooling. Retrieved from HSLDA website: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp
Kochenderfer, R. 2008. What about socialization? Retrieved from www.homeschool.com/articles