Homeschooling: Academics, Socialization and College Admissions Prospects
Homeschooling is probably one of the least known and least understood issues in education. Many people tend to think that most homeschoolers are religious conservatives or extremists. However, the truth is that people from all walks of life are joining the homeschooling bandwagon (Ray, 2004). The main misconception is that homeschooled children don’t get the same academic and social education as traditionally schooled children. Contrary to popular perception, homeschooled children have the same, if not better academic opportunities, social opportunities and college admissions prospects than traditionally schooled students have.
According to Mary Griffith, author of the book The Homeschooling Handbook, the concept of homeschooling is nothing new to society. It is only in the past 150 years that public school system as we know it came into effect (Griffith, 1999). Prior to that, “…the family was the basis for social life…the home was where children learned what was necessary to function in their community” (1999). By the mid-1970s, there were barely any people practicing homeschooling (Ray, 2004). However, over the past twenty years there has been a resurgence in people choosing homeschooling (2004). There has been a 500 percent increase in homeschooling from the 1990-1991 school year to the 2002-2003 school year (2004). The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates “that between 1.7 and 2.1 million students were being homeschooled in the U.S., in every grade level from kindergarten through twelfth grade…Indications are that the growth rate is between 7 percent and 15 percent per year ” (2004).
People choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common reasons include the promotion of family values, dissatisfaction with the local school district, not being able to afford private school, religious beliefs, and concerns over school safety and negative peer pressure (Saba & Gattis, 2002). Laura Saba and Julie Gattis, authors of the book The McGraw-Hill Homeschooling Companion, offer insight into why some parents choose to homeschool:
They [parents] worry…about their children’s exposure to illegal drugs, alcohol, and teen sex. These parents feel that homeschooling gives them more opportunity to guide their teens in making wise decisions about issues that have such a big impact on their lives (2002).
Griffith’s interview with a mother who homeschools her children states:
We homeschool because we love it, but that is an answer that can only come from having done it…I knew that the kids would get a better education, and it was really important to me that they keep their joyful interest in life and learning, that they know that they can accomplish anything they wanted to… (1999).
Homeschooled students have consistently scored higher on achievement tests compared to private and public school students....