Rorate Caeli

Homeschooling growing seven times faster than public school enrollment

And test scores of students educated at home by their parents, compared to government-schooled children, are much higher, while absurd fears of the children not being "socialized" are put to rest:

From Breitbart:

As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.

A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.

As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.

Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or ethnicity—all of which have plagued public schools around the country—do not exist in homeschooling environments.

According to the report:

Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.

The high achievement level of homeschoolers is readily recognized by recruiters from some of the best colleges in the nation. Home-educated children matriculate in colleges and attain a four-year degree at much higher rates than their counterparts from both public and private schools. Schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, and Duke Universities all actively recruit homeschoolers.

Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers “miss out” on so-called “socialization opportunities,” often thought to be a vital aspect of traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute survey, homeschoolers tend to be more socially engaged than their peers and demonstrate “healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.

From the report:Based on recent data, researchers such as Dr. Brian Ray ( “expect to observe a notable surge in the number of children being homeschooled in the next 5 to 10 years. The rise would be in terms of both absolute numbers and percentage of the K to 12 student population. This increase would be in part because…[1] a large number of those individuals who were being home educated in the 1990’s may begin to homeschool their own school-age children and [2] the continued successes of home-educated students.”


Throckmorton P. said...

The student population in the public school system is dependent of the number of students in the school district, state, or country. There would have to be a baby boom similar to the one after WWII to have any substantive increase in the percentage of public school students. Since the population of home schooled children is very small, “only 4% of all school-age children nationwide”, it is not surprising that a small increase in the home school population would result in a large percentage increase. Additionally every home schooled child added to that side of the ledger is subtracted from the public school side.

“Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile.” Again, these statistics are misleading. The study compares 4% of students with the benefits of home schooling and without the distractions of the public system to the 96% in public schools. Public school have to try to educate everyone, even those who do not want the education, whose families do not value education, who come to school hungry, scared, and abused.

This in not an argument against home schooling; it is an objection to an unfair study with predictable slanted results.

Anonymous said...

Thrickmorton, some of your points are illogical.

First, an increase in homeschoolers doesn't necessarily take away from public schools. Those of us who homeschool would never enroll our children in a public school, so it actually takes away from parochial schools in many cases.

Also, you think every homeschooled child wants to be educated? Ha! That's hilarious.

You say you're just debunking a study, but truly your biased against homeschooling shows, as your logic pertaining to the study is flawed.

Brian Murphy said...

My oldest child will be starting homeschooling next year. My wife and I are considering Mother of Divine Grace and are looking forward to getting it started.

Anybody else have experience with Mother of Divine Grace?

croixmom said...

Don't forget the number of children who are special needs, whose parents homeschool, rather than to put them in the system. Or children who, if in the system, would be put on drugs and labeled as ADHD, etc..... who seem to do quite well as homeschoolers -- amazingly, without teaching them to be drug addicts.

Adfero is correct: many homeschooled students would never be enrolled in public schools in the first place.

croixmom said...

We LOVE Seton!

Forward! They are Ours! said...

We all too often accept the liberals' language. I know the term "public schools" is ubiquitous, but the correct term in my view is "government schools".

Anonymous said...

Forward, that's why I called them government-schooled.

We use Our Lady of Victory and love it.

Throckmorton P. said...


I am very surprised at the antagonism of your response. Addressing me as “Thrickmorton” is sophomoric at best and unsuited if one wishes to engage in civil conversation. You posit my “logic pertaining to the study is flawed” yet supply no example. I state, “This in not an argument against home schooling” yet you feel “‘truly’ your (mine) biased against homeschooling shows” again without evidence. Your insight, gained from what I wrote, trumps my word on the matter! I would expect such demeaning verbiage on caustic traditional forums, but not on Rorate, and from a moderator no less.
And croixmon, yes, many, no most, home schoolers would not enroll in public schools, justifiably. That is not my point. Comparing the outcome of a study when one sample represents 4% of the population and the other sample represents 96% on the population will cause the results to be skewed in favor of the 4%.
Anyone who can home school should, but promote the virtues and positive outcomes of home schooling. If we traditionalists could only concentrate on the remarkable assets of our beliefs, life, and desires for our children and omit the negative attacks on others we would be better people and better examples which to emulate.

Anonymous said...

That was actually just an incidental typo on my iPhone, so my apologies.

What I find remarkable, from a trad, is that instead of just saying something positive about homeschooling, you choose to attack the survey. Very interesting.

PJL said...

I'm not trying argue against the statistics reported in this story. I support home schooling and for many families it is the only real option in the face of what is going on in many public schools.

However, the fact that the average student in the public school system is at the 50th percentile should be of no shock to anyone with a mathematical background. The fact that public schools make up the vast majority of students, their statistics should closely resemble the overall normal distribution of scores. The center of a normal distribution curve is the 50th percentile which is what you would expect the average to be for public schools.

Just saying.

I'm not surprised homeschoolers are well above the 50th percentile it's not that tough of a mark.

Throckmorton P. said...


My apologies for assuming the worst, I should have realize it could have been a typi, oops a typo.

I don’t see why one cannot be a supporter of home schooling or any position and have questions about the design of a statistical study or its statements base on that study. I find it remarkable that trads first reaction when faced with someone or something that is apposed to their beliefs (and I am not opposed to home schooling) automatically assume the attack mode i.e., hilarious, illogical, flawed, which examples, by-the-way, have not been cited.

It is interesting that you continue to examine my motives and/or judgement rather than my position on the statistical comparison of 4% versus 96% as the basis of the study’s claim that home schooling is rising 75% faster, of course it is.

I will close with best wishes for your home schooling and all home schoolers and thanks for the moderation of this board, a job I do not envy.

A Canberra Observer said...

commenting on the title, it is very easy to get large percentage fluctuations in small numbers/populations but in larger numbers/populations that takes bigger actual changes. Statistical significance?

Sarah said...

My husband and I both have ADHD, and we see it in our kids, too, to varying degrees, but we've been homeschooling for three years now. Putting our kids in public school isn't an option we'd consider, but I'm not one of those moms who make homeschooling look good. That said, while this year has been the messiest yet, our oldest has done better than ever on the standardized test he and his sister took in May.
I don't mean that we taught everything that's on the "scope and sequence" lists made by experts so we all know what each child should learn at a particular grade. Scratch that. We don't unschool, but we're not a "classical curriculum" family or a Charlotte Mason or Montessori or Great Books family, either, though we take from different approaches what works for us. We love books, and we love digging into things that interest us. We haven't tried a pre-packaged curriculum because, honestly, we can't afford one, nor can we possibly afford a good Catholic school for even one of our kids, let alone all four.
We're actually going to try the online K12 program for 2013-2014 just to see how it goes and what its like to work with someone who has time-management skills. At least we can try it for a semester. We'll still have them at home, and we can and will intervene if it's not working out for one or more of our kids.
The more I think about it, the less I expect it to be a good fit for us. Ultimately, it'll all come down to the teachers assigned to our kids.

Forward! They are Ours! said...

Throckmorton P.:

I'm happy to address your comments.

First, let me say that I am fairly young having been born in the 1980's. I went K-12 in above average government schools with undergrad from private university and masters from government university.

Additionally, I prepared for some time to teach in government schools, but ultimately chose a different career. This is to say that I am thoroughly familiar with the government school arena. My wife and I now home school our two children and are expecting a newborn girl in August.

In my view, one of the main objectives of the article is to provide further evidence to debunk two persistent myths: that home schooling provides 1) inferior education compared to government schools and 2) home schooled children do not socialize well and are ill-suited to interacting in public life.

The fact that we are comparing data within a small population between data within a huge one is obvious to anyone paying attention. What is important are the trends. The homeschooling population is growing against all odds. One of the biggest being the governments ability to force middle class families to pay for the government schools whether they send their children to them or not. If funding were tied to the children themselves, I can assure you there would be max exodus in many places. I could go on and on with this topic.

I'll end by just saying that the article accomplishes its objective even if some complain about the comparison between the two populations.

Unknown said...

*raises glass*

To Adfero

- adulescens

Anita Moore said...

Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers “miss out” on so-called “socialization opportunities,” often thought to be a vital aspect of traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit.

The concern about socialization is interesting. Isn't sending kids to school in droves a fairly recent idea? How did Western Civilization stagger on during all the centuries when kids passed their days doing chores or working to help support their families, instead of going to school? Yet the fabric of society, while far from perfect and not without its rips and tears, was in rather better shape than it is right now.

"Socialization" these days seems to mean early exposure to booze, dope and, above all, sexual immorality. If I had kids, I would definitely see to it that they missed every possible opportunity for that kind of socialization.

Unknown said...

We 'unschool' our four children in rural France. For us it's important first to hand on our Faith to our children as much as it is to encourage them to cultivate and immerse themselves in their own individual interests, whether that's computer coding, playing the piano, graphic design or farming.

Handing on the Faith, handing on culture, handing on history, handing on everything you know about life, so that the next generation can improve on that in their own unique way. That's what it's all about. No government can or should be doing this - governments generally detest Christ, and detest families - what would you want to be sending your child off to their prisons for? So you can make-believe that people care about your child? Really?

The truth will set you free - no 'school' can 'educate' your child. Education happens despite school. School and education are not the same thing at all. No institution has you child's best interests at heart, no curriculum has our Lord's stamp of approval.

Catholic 'schools' should be for the poor (the materially poor and the spiritually poor). They should be the safety net for those parent who can't or won't hand on to (educate) their own. These places should try to teach the Faith, literacy and numeracy, and how to self-learn. They should be a safety net only

Otherwise, Catholics have no business in the 'schooling' business, which is basically a racket.

Mass compulsory schooling offends God and offends freedom. It was an idea formed in the 18th century by the Prussians who were at least honest about their intentions, which were nothing to do with 'education' but in creating a servile sub-class, ready to obey the State in everything (as a sort of false deity), and especially, to be ready, willing and able to go to war at the drop of a hat. Read it up for yourselves, it's all out there.

Our Lord does not command us to have our children locked up in warehouses for most of their waking lives, being force-fed at best, state-indoctrinated at worst.

Read "Dumbing Us Down", John Holt books and check out Sandra Dodd. No need to replicate 'school' at home. Learning is natural - a parents job is to facilitate, respect and guide. We thought it was hippies until we realised what was happening to our oldest two who we sent to a 'Catholic' school.

So many institutions and people use the word 'Catholic' that are actively misleading people into error and sin.

St. Corbinian's Bear said...

We homeschooled the cubs and they received an excellent education. We turned one room at my law office into a classroom and my wife and l divided up the subjects, bringing outside teachers in for a couple of subjects in which neither of us felt competent. They could also participate in the government school district's programs like theatre. We would take them to museums for field trips, taught rhetoric and Latin.

They turned out very smart. They scored well on admission testing and got good grades. Sometimes our twins would be in the same college class, and woe be to the Prof who tried to trash their Faith. Our three homeschooled kids remain in the Church.

"Socialization" they got through theater, Scouts (before it went gay) and Church, not to mention family.

Not homeschooling your kids borders on child neglect in my opinion.

Sarah said...

Loved _Dumbing Us Down_. Also, I like the idea of Catholic schools being a safety net, but I'm not sure how on earth the average parish would be able to run a school without charging parents a penny to help keep it running. Our parish is constantly struggling financially, and the parish school had to scale back to K-5, cutting the 6-8 grades that it started providing only recently. It wasn't sustainable.
Honestly, even if it were free, the commuting costs alone would break us. Plus, I'd rather have our kids at home with us.
And much as I habitually recoil from the idea of "unschooling," our messy approach to it (this past year especially, with our two-year-old, curly blond haired and brown-eyed cyclone) comes closer to unschooling than to any other approach to homeschooling. We tackled stuff that interested us, we deviated from the math busywork-intensive Saxon math textbook, we read books and played outside, we ran errands and cleaned house, etc. Homeschooling is the most family-friendly approach to education I can think of. I've read books that say moms with ADHD probably shouldn't homeschool, but I disagree. They might as well say that moms with ADHD probably shouldn't be moms. Education doesn't have to be rigidly structured to be effective.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Of all objections to homeschooling, none is as idiotic as the "socialization" concern. Spending all day exclusively with other people exactly the same age as you is far more likely to produce "asocial" children. In any large group of children, one can almost always tell which kids have been homeschooled, because they are able to converse with adults, and indeed, to interact with others regardless of age. Whereas the kids from our regimented, government schools have been taught to keep their speech, writing, behavior, and perspectives at an "age-appropriate" level. They are self-absorbed and maladjusted, preoccupied with their feelings and their self-esteem.

Boniface said...

For really quality online Catholic courses to supplement whatever you are doing at home, I recommend Homeschool Connections. Don't let the goofy looking website deter you; the quality of instruction is top-notch.

Anonymous said...

@ Brian Murphy -

We have used MODG for about seven years and just graduated our two oldest from high school. They are now headed to Thomas Aquinas College in the Fall.

MODG is an absolute treasure. We tried a number of other programs when we first started 15 years ago, but MODG is the cream of the crop in terms of giving the best possible classical education to ordinary children. I can't speak too highly of the program, especially their Learning Support classes.