The article incorrectly says home-schooling demands considerable committments–many parents employ 1 hour a day with the remainder unschooling or self-schooling with good test scores despite the Canadian study–but notes that once again it is very acceptable to US & Canadian colleges.
RALEIGH — Twenty years ago homeschooling was relegated to the fringes of K-12 education — the spurned stepchild in a newly blended family of schooling options. Today homeschooling is a credible, viable educational choice that is garnering respect, even admiration, from outside educators.
At the nation’s elite colleges and universities, once-wary admissions officers are validating the benefits of a home education in the best way possible — with much-coveted acceptances.
As the homeschooling movement gains converts, enrollments are booming. Nationwide some 2 million students are taught at home; in North Carolina, more than 83,000 students were homeschooled in 2011. If current trends continue, statewide homeschooling enrollments will catapult past private schooling over the next five to 10 years.
Surging popularity notwithstanding, can homeschooling survive the hard scrutiny of outside accountability? Indeed it can. According to a 2009 study from the Home School
Legal Defense Association of almost 12,000 homeschooled students, homeschoolers scored 37 percentage points higher on standardized tests than their public school counterparts.
A more recent study comparing Canadian homeschooled and public school students, published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science in 2011, also found homeschooling gave kids a boost — “from a half-grade advantage in math to 2.2 grade levels in reading,” notes lead author Sandra Martin-Chang.
There’s a key caveat to homeschooling’s academic acclamation: Homeschooled children excel in “structured” academic environments, in which parents provide intensive, formalized instruction. So-called “un-schooling” settings, which lack clear parameters and direct parental guidance, produce student outcomes that are inferior to public schools, the Canadian study found.