On the third Tuesday of each month we post a quick roundup of some recent academic publications and news about homeschooling, offered for your interest. These are typically university research papers, and they may have a positive, negative, or neutral outlook on home education. The title links generally point to the full text of each publication, which is often a printable pdf file. In some cases, a paid subscription may be required to read the whole article. The article abstracts or introductions below are quoted in full whenever possible, without editing.
We have four items this month. The first is an interview with anti-homeschooling law professors Elizabeth Bartholet and James Dwyer, who have been featured in our posts a number of times before.
(1) A Q&A With Homeschooling Reform Advocates Elizabeth Bartholet and James Dwyer — E. Bartholet & J. Dwyer (2021)
Abstract: Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP), and James Dwyer, the Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School, were interviewed by Harvard Law Today about their virtual conference titled, Homeschool Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform. The June event was attended by leaders in education and child welfare policy, legislators and legislative staff, academics and policy advocates, medical professionals, homeschooling alumni, and others, to discuss children’s rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States.
(2) Homeschooling and Learners’ Academic Achievement: Evidence from the United States of America — A.R. Bosswell (2021)
Abstract: There is solid evidence that homeschooling has made notable gains in absolute numbers and percent of the school-age population in nations as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Scotland, and Russia. Home education’s rebirth after about a century of quiescence has surprised many educators, sociologists, political scientists, historians, and theologians, and has captured the imagination and engagement of hundreds of thousands of families. One of the most common and widely accepted ways to assess the learning of students and the effectiveness of their educational environments is via academic achievement as measured by standardized tests. Through literature review, through scholarly articles, interviews, and a survey, research reveals that homeschooling will continue to be on the rise. Thus, homeschooled children tend to score higher or similar compared to regular children attending public schools. Children become more responsible for themselves, and have control of their education. Homeschooling is an alternative to education for children who do not adjust well. While homeschooling allows students to focus only on what is important to them, it makes learning more enjoyable, since they are learning at their own pace, and at the same time affects their academic achievement in many ways. There were an estimated 4.5 to 5.0 million homeschool students in grades K–12 in the United States during March of 2021 (roughly 8% to 9% of school-age children). There were about 2.5 million homeschool students in spring 2019 (or 3% to 4% of school-age children). The homeschool population had been growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past several years, but it grew drastically from 2019–2020 to 2020–2021. Studies have shed light on the extra sleep needed in teenage years, yet the conventional school system often requires students to stay up late finishing homework and get up early to rush to their morning classes. Homeschool offers some great advantages when it comes to scheduling: less rushing in the morning sets kids up for less stress overall in their day, longer sleep ins are important for mental and physical wellbeing as well as better focus and work ethic throughout the day and homeschooled children can take breaks throughout the day as needed and are less likely to burnout and form negative associations with school and learning. Homeschoolers are becoming sought-after for higher education. Many colleges and universities have begun to modify their admission practices to not only allow for, but to encourage, homeschoolers to apply for admission.
(3) Contemporary Homeschooling Arrangements: An Analysis of Three Waves of Nationally Representative Data — A. Cheng & D. Hamlin (2021)
Abstract: Homeschooling has increased dramatically in recent decades. During this period of expansion, scholars have reported on growing diversity in the ways that homeschool families educate their children. However, research tends to treat homeschooled children as a uniform group without accounting for differing homeschool arrangements. In this study, we examine the prevalence of four types of homeschool arrangements reported in prior literature as follows: (1) home education supplemented by the use of a private tutor or a homeschool cooperative, (2) home education supplemented by the use of online learning, (3) home education supplemented by part-time enrollment in a brick-and-mortar school, and (4) fully parent-delivered home education. For the analyses, three cross-sectional waves of nationally representative data on homeschool families (n = 1,468) from the National Household Education Survey (NHES: 2012, 2016, 2019) are examined. Results indicate that the four types of homeschool arrangements tested in this study are widespread and that the majority of homeschool families supplement home education with cooperatives and tutors, brick-and-mortar schools, and online education. Homeschool families who continue to perform conventional homeschooling without additional supplements are more likely to be white and less educated with elementary-aged children in the South region of the United States. Homeschool families whose children attend brick-and-mortar schools part-time are less likely to be white and more likely to have secondary school-aged children in urban areas. Use of online education is also higher at the secondary school level.
(4) The Pandemic’s Effect on Demand for Public Schools, Homeschooling, and Private Schools — T. Musaddiq et al. (2021)
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic drastically disrupted the functioning of U.S. public schools, potentially changing the relative appeal of alternatives such as homeschooling and private schools. Using longitudinal student-level administrative data from Michigan and nationally representative data from the Census Household Pulse Survey, we show how the pandemic affected families’ choices of school sector. We document four central facts. First, public school enrollment declined noticeably in fall 2020, with about 3 percent of Michigan students and 10 percent of kindergartners using other options. Second, most of this was driven by homeschooling rates jumping substantially, driven largely by families with children in elementary school. Third, homeschooling increased more where schools provided in-person instruction while private schooling increased more where instruction was remote, suggesting heterogeneity in parental concerns about children’s physical health and instructional quality. Fourth, kindergarten declines were highest among low income and Black families while declines in other grades were highest among higher income and White families, highlighting important heterogeneity by students’ existing attachment to public schools. Our results shed light on how families make schooling decisions and imply potential longer-run disruptions to public schools in the form of decreased enrollment and funding, changed composition of the student body, and increased size of the next kindergarten cohort.
What interesting homeschool news and academic research have you come across this Cygnus Term? 👩🏻🎓
❡ Explore more: If you’d like to investigate the current academic literature on homeschooling yourself, the best place to start is Google Scholar, the special academic search engine from Google. Just enter a search term or phrase of interest (“homeschool,” “unschooling,” “classical homeschooling,” “deschooling,” etc.), and Google Scholar will return a list of academic publications that mention your topic. 🔍
❡ Explore more: For a comprehensive review of homeschooling research prior to 2020, see the paper by Kunzman & Gaither that is linked in our Research & News post for July 2020. 📖
❡ Stay in the loop: This is one of our regular Homeschool Research & News posts. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞