The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXV
No. 5

In This Issue


The Last Word Previous Page Next Page
by J. Michael Smith
- disclaimer -
About the New Study

Needless to say, we’re very pleased with the outcome of the Homeschool Progress Report 2009: Academic achievement and demographics. We’ve included a removable copy of the study summary in the center of this Court Report for you to share with skeptical relatives, friends, and government officials or with other homeschooling parents.

The Homeschool Progress Report is the fourth nationwide academic and demographic study that Home School Legal Defense Association has commissioned. (The first was in 1990.) Although other academic studies on homeschooling have been done, they were on a much smaller scale. We knew that it was time for a major study that would indicate how homeschoolers were doing academically across the nation.

HSLDA / Art Cox
J. Michael Smith, President, Home School Legal Defense Association

The reason for this was two-fold. First, we wanted to be able to use the results (assuming they would be favorable) in court cases to demonstrate generally that home education is academically superior to public education as we establish the academic credibility of homeschooling to judges and juries. Second, we wanted homeschoolers to be able to use this study to show legislators in the various states around the country that homeschooling is a viable education choice for parents.

Previous nationwide academic studies have been instrumental in amending compulsory attendance/education laws and regulations in over 30 states to provide for home education as a viable and legal exemption from public school attendance. In such situations, legislators and state officials needed to know that home educated students are academically prepared for the future. Seeing that home educated students were scoring on average at the 80th percentile and above persuaded legislators to recognize that home education was meeting the state’s interest in education and to pass favorable legislation for homeschoolers.

The most recent study, featured in the Court Report and conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute, the Homeschool Progress Report 2009 confirms what all the previous studies have found. Homeschoolers as a group score significantly higher (averaging at the 88th percentile on core subject areas, i.e., Reading, Language, and Math) than public school students nationwide (averaging at the 50th percentile).

This study also supports the position that HSLDA has taken from the beginning: that you don’t need to be a highly educated person to be a successful homeschool parent. For example, homeschool students of parents without college degrees scored on the average at the 83rd percentile in the core subject areas. Additionally, we can conclude from this study that you can trust homeschooling parents to be responsible, regardless of the stringency of their state law’s accountability requirements. Homeschool students in states with low regulations scored the same as students in states with high regulation—at the 87th percentile.

These results prompt a shout-out to homeschooling parents: “You are doing a tremendous job of educating your children!”

Sometimes homeschooling parents will confess they were shocked when they saw how well their children did on these standardized achievement tests. In my experience and observation, even in the midst of extenuating circumstances, parents who are faithfully seeking to give their children the best education possible find that the Lord blesses and multiplies their efforts beyond their expectations.

Thank you, parents, for so conscientiously and diligently teaching your children at home. Keep up the good work and praise the Lord for supporting and multiplying your efforts!