This is the last planned post in my series “Why We Homeschool“. This series title is a bit of a misnomer for this particular post because, while we believe that superior academics is an advantage of homeschooling, we would still choose to homeschool even if there was irrefutable proof that our children would receive better academic training at ABC Christian school. While academics is important, in our house it is not most important. (You may wish to read the post titled Homeschool Goals for a deeper explanation of this point.)
All that said, we are thankful that homeschooling is an excellent choice even for those whose primary goal is academic achievement. Take a look at some statistics:
- In our home state of Tennessee the Department of Education reported that homeschooled children in 2nd grade on average scored in the 93rd percentile while their public school counterparts averaged 62nd percentile.
- In 1997 a study of 5,402 homschool students from 1,657 families entitled “Strengths of Their Own: Homeschoolers Across America” was released. It demonstrated that homeschoolers on average out-performed their counterparts in pubic schools by 30-37 percentile points in all subjects.
- Perhaps a more significant finding in the above study was that students who had been homeschooled 2 or more years scored in the 86th – 92nd percentile while those who had been homeschooled for one year or less were in the 59th percentile.
These results have been demonstrated time and again in many different studies over the years. This should not be surprising if you consider that there is no one in the world who cares about the academic achievement of a child more than the parents. Parents are motivated to provide the best for their children. Also, parents know their children’s strengths and weaknesses and are able to work at the child’s level rather than having to cover a defined curricula to benefit the “average” student. Homeschooling is full time private tutoring!
What may be more surprising to you is that, according to some studies, the parent’s education does not seem to make much of a difference in the academic outcome of the homeschool student, while parental education dramatically affects the performance of students who are in the public schools.
I was rather surprised when I saw the above graph and have thought about it for a good amount of time. When parents are responsible for educating their own children, their own academic background does not affect the resulting education. However, when parents give the responsibility for educating their children to the state, their educational level directly affect the academic outcome of their children. This seems contradictory. Here are two of my thoughts on this.
- God blesses covenant faithfulness. When parents accept the responsibility that He has given to them to educate their own children, I believe that He blesses the results.
- Since God gave the responsibility of educating to parents, they will be one of the primary educators in their child’s life whether they like it or not. So if a parent makes no effort to instruct, the dearth of teaching will be keenly felt. Whereas if a parent recognizes their influence and responsibility their efforts will not go unrewarded.
Those thoughts are absolutely free. Feel free to tell me that I have some odd things going on in my brain. I already realize that, which is why I’m thankful that my children’s education is not dependent on my intelligence. (I’m also thankful that my husband teaches math, whew! That requires more brain power than I currently possess.)
Despite more children in compulsory education and more money being spent than ever before the illiteracy rate is scads higher than it was in the 1930′s when the illiteracy rate reflected people who had not had the advantage of formal schooling. I wrote a whole post about John Gatto and appreciate his thoughts on why our educational system is failing. His article “Nine Assumptions of Schooling” is worth your perusal if you are at all interested in education.
This leads to my next series of posts, “How We Homeschool“. Here is a peek, we do not have a classroom with 9 desks facing a chalkboard (although we do have the chalkboard), we rarely use “school type” textbooks, and our children LOVE “school” and learning. In fact most of the children’s “free time” is spent on activities that “educators” would call educational. Interested? Stick around. I may even have this series finished before next year.