Structured homeschooling gets an A+

Sep 08, 2011

A new study from Concordia University and Mount Allison University has found that homeschooling -- as long as it's structured or follows a curriculum -- can provide kids with an academic edge.

"There's no place like home," an iconic line uttered by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, might apply to learning the ABC's, math and other core subjects. A new study from Concordia University and Mount Allison University has found that homeschooling — as long as it's structured or follows a — can provide kids with an academic edge.

"Structured homeschooling may offer opportunities for academic performance beyond those typically experienced in public schools," says first author Sandra Martin-Chang, a professor in the Concordia Department of Education, noting this is among the first nonpartisan studies to investigate home education versus public schooling.

Published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, the investigation compared 74 children living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick: 37 who were homeschooled versus 37 who attended public schools. Participants were between 5 and 10 years old and each child was asked to complete standardized tests, under supervision of the research team, to assess their reading, writing, arithmetic skills, etc.

"Although public school children we assessed were performing at or above expected levels for their ages, children who received structured homeschooling had superior test results compared to their peers: From a half-grade advantage in to 2.2 grade levels in reading," says Martin-Chang. "This advantage may be explained by several factors including smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, or more academic time spent on core subjects such as reading and writing."

The research team also questioned mothers in both samples about their marital status, number of children, employment, education and household income. The findings suggest that the benefits associated with structured homeschooling could not be explained by differences in yearly family income or maternal education.

Unschooled versus traditional school

The study included a subgroup of 12 homeschooled children taught in an unstructured manner. Otherwise known as unschooling, such education is free of teachers, textbooks and formal assessment.

"Compared with structured homeschooled group, children in the unstructured group had lower scores on all seven academic measures," says Martin-Chang. "Differences between the two groups were pronounced, ranging from one to four grade levels in certain tests."

Children taught in a structured home environment scored significantly higher than children receiving unstructured homeschooling. "While children in public school also had a higher average grade level in all seven tests compared with unstructured homeschoolers," says Martin-Chang.

Public schools play an important role in the socialization of children, says Martin-Chang, "Yet compared to public education, homeschooling can present advantages such as accelerating a child's learning process."

In Canada, it is estimated that about one per cent of children are homeschooled. According to 2008 estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics, about 1.5 million in the United States are homeschooled.

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CHollman82
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2011
In my experience home schooling is abused by fundamentalist groups to avoid teaching anti-biblical science to children...
Mauricio
not rated yet Sep 08, 2011
In my experience home schooling is abused by fundamentalist groups to avoid teaching anti-biblical science to children...

very narrow experience this person has. Probably reality tv?
gmurphy
not rated yet Sep 09, 2011
The most popular reason given by parents who homeschool is based on religion(33%). Examine the "Motivations" section on wikipedia: http://en.wikiped...chooling
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2011
In my experience home schooling is abused by fundamentalist groups to avoid teaching anti-biblical science to children...

very narrow experience this person has. Probably reality tv?


Real life...
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2011
The most popular reason given by parents who homeschool is based on religion(33%). Examine the "Motivations" section on wikipedia: http://http://en.wikiped...chooling


Thank you. The category "Object to what school teaches" is the same as well... namely they are talking about evolution and an old Earth.
_lasandra
not rated yet Sep 11, 2011
Many homeschoolers teach evolution. Home schoolers are a very diverse bunch.
_lasandra
not rated yet Sep 11, 2011
Tapestry of Homeschool Survey Report

90% of the respondents were married, 4% were single, a little over 3% were in domestic partnerships.

80% were homeschooling for non-religious reasons.

The Tapestry of Homeschooling Survey Report was conducted by Learning is for Everyone.