A study of standardized test scores of home educated and public school educated students reveals a growing achievement gap in favor of home educated kids. According to a recently released study, "Progress Report 2009", the percentile gap increased between home and public educated students from 30 percentage points in 1997 to 37 percentage points in 2009.
"Progress Report 2009: Homeschool academic achievement and demographics" is a study commissioned by The Home School League Defense Association (HSLDA) on the the academic performance of home educated kids. It compared the nationally recognized standardized test results of 11,739 home educated students to public school educated students nationally.
It found a growing gap between the academic performance of home versus public educated students. It found home educated kids continued to do very well regardless of socio-economic background, education level of parents, whether the parent was a certified teacher, whether the state imposed heavy or light regulations on home education or style of home education.
Why do home educated students perform so well? From demographic info in the study, I think there are a couple of factors.
First, family structure and parental involvement. Nearly 98% of the families studied were married. And second, most of the time one parent stayed at home. Just under 20% of home educating mothers worked outside the home and most them, nearly 85%, worked part-time.
The key is parental engagement and time with their kids. That's just not possible in a single parent household or where both parents are working outside the home.
This reaffirms the incredible importance of intact families on our children, our next generation of leaders.
What can government do? Obviously, it can't mandate that parents stay together or educate their children at home. But it can encourage strong families by reforming no fault divorce laws and empowering parents with more educational choices -- like educating their kids at home if they choose to do so. An added benefit of more students educated at home is saving taxpayers a lot of money. The median home educating parent spent between $400 to $600 per student a year.