You might have heard that last week a homeschooled student was sworn into Congress, the first such Representative in the modern era. People like Beutler and Tim Tebow are gradually making it harder to dismiss the homeschooling phenomenon as a movement of freaks and geeks.
But you may still not realize the size of the homeschooling movement. Even I was surprised yesterday to see this statistic: the number of homeschooled students in the U.S. is now estimated at over 2.3 million. When my wife and I first decided we would homeschool our kids back around 2001 or 2002 (before we had any), estimates hovered around 1 million.
Enough time has passed since the modern homeschooling movement began (early 1980s) to start compiling some real statistics about the performance of these students. This article summarizes some findings from recent studies, among which are a smaller (non-existent, really) achievement gap between boys and girls than is found in public schools. Homeschooled students also have higher levels of academic achievement than their schooled peers as well. This trend holds true across income groups, undermining the argument that only those from privileged economic backgrounds get these benefits.
Opponents of homeschooling often argue that the students are not being “socialized” sufficiently. But studies show that homeschoolers have higher levels of civic involvement and community service.
So what’s the downside? Pssst . . . if you homeschool your children, you’ll make less money than you would if both you and your spouse were working full-time. But if you’re willing to give up that trendy neighborhood, expensive forms of entertainment, and frequent restaurant visits, you might just find out that it’s worth it.