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Homeschooling is a topic that many parents are understandably curious about. It has recently resurfaced in the media as a hot topic and this has people wondering whether it’s a suitable way to educate your child.

About homeschooling research

At this stage, there’s not enough unbiased research about home schooling to make direct comparisons about the academic achievements of homeschooled children to school children. However, this is what we know so far:

  • The majority of evidence comes from self-report surveys, which can be biased by individual feelings and emotions.
  • Most students that participate in homeschooling studies are self-nominated, rather than randomly selected (this means we tend to hear more about success than failure).
  • When properly controlling for confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status, homeschooled and traditionally schooled students are very much equal.
  • The general trend in research (of very small groups of students) is that homeschooled students appear to perform better than traditionally schooled students, on all measures, excluding maths. However, this is an unreliable finding, due to the previous points.
  • Most students that are homeschooled move between homeschooling and traditional schooling methods, without any concerns.

What does this mean?

At this point, it would be irresponsible and scientifically impossible to draw clear conclusions about homeschooling and academic achievement. However, with the research that is currently available, there are indications that homeschooling and traditional schooling methods lead to similar academic achievement. We believe that it’s a good option if you’re considering school alternatives.

If you’re considering homeschooling, please keep the following in mind:

  • The media does not inform the public of the limitations of research and instead portrays the results in a way that fits their narrative. It is not detrimental to children’s growth and learning but media portrayals of homeschooling as a method to transform children into academic geniuses is simply misguided and unfounded. Your child will be no better off whether the are homeschool or attend school.
  • It is essential that a planned approach is taken to homeschooling. Research the curriculum, ensure that the basics are mastered and remain invested in your child’s learning.
  • Consider yourself a facilitator – provide your child with access to various learning opportunities and educational professionals that can support the development of a number of skills (that you may not be able to help your child to build). Consider private tuition, support from an educational psychologist, work experience in a variety of vocational settings and community-based educational opportunities.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine traditional schooling with homeschooling. This can help your child to prepare for tertiary studies and can support the development of social skills and adaptability. Find a school that will work with you and support your approach.

Looking for more information about home schooling in Queensland?

Here are some helpful pages:

If you have any questions about your child’s education and academic achievement, please contact us at info@scaes.com.au. We are always happy to help with unlocking potential and boosting educational confidence!

References

  • Chang, Sandra, Odette Gould and Reanne Meause. 2011. “The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 43 (3): 195-202. doi: 10.1037/a0022697
  • Kunzman, Robert and Milton Gaither. 2013. “Homeschooling: A comprehensive survey of the research.” Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives 2 (1): 4-59. https://www.othereducation.org/index.php/OE/article/view/10/55
  • Murphy, Joseph. 2014. “The social and educational outcomes of homeschooling.” Sociological Spectrum 34 (3): 244-272. doi: 10.1080/02732173.2014.895640
  • Yu, Martin C., Paul R. Sackett and Nathan R. Kuncel. 2016. “Predicting college performance of homeschooled versus traditional students.” Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 35 (4): 31-39. doi: 10.1111/emip.12133