HOME SCHOOLING is a flourishing phenomenon within the United States. In the early 1980s, the general public had never heard of home schooling, but today, almost everyone has.
Still, society at large knows little about home schoolers: their backgrounds, their activities, or their achievements. A recent study conducted by Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) provides some answers.
This study, Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America, collected data on 5,402 home school students from 1,657 families for the 1994-95 and 1995-96 academic years. Nearly 6,000 surveys were sent to home school families using a variety of sources and methods. Some were mailed directly to families (both those randomly selected from numerous mailing lists as well as longitudinal participants from Rays similar study in 1990). Others were blindly forwarded to families through the leadership of independent home school support groups and networks operating in every state. Unquestionably, this research represents the largest and most comprehensive study on home schooling ever undertaken (see Ray, 1997).
In a collaborative effort to provide solid answers to common questions about home schooling, HSLDA and Dr. Ray have highlighted some of the key findings of this study. Where available, comparable public school student data were also obtained. This publication, Home Education Across the United States, is the result.
This study demonstrates that home schooling works. It suggests that direct parental involvement and hard work are the keys to educational success. Regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, parent education level, teacher certification, or the degree of government regulation, the academic achievement scores of home educated students significantly exceed those of public school students. Home school students are fully engaged in society and experience a wide range of opportunities outside the home. They are smart users of both technology and their time. And graduates are equipped to pursue their aspirations work or college. Contrary to the often speculative opinions of critics, the facts from this study demonstrate success.
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