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Children schooled at home have better social skills - Challenges orthodoxy
National Post ^ | October 15, 2001 | Julie Smyth

Posted on 10/15/2001 6:14:36 PM PDT by Clive

Children who are educated at home have better social skills and achieve higher grades on standardized tests than students in private or public schools, according to a new report.

Contrary to the popular belief that children educated at home are disadvantaged because of a lack of peers, the study by the Fraser Institute shows they are happier, better adjusted and more sociable that those at institutional schools. The average child educated at home participates in a range of activities with other children outside the family and 98% are involved in two or more extracurricular activities such as field trips and music lessons per week, the report says.

Home-schooled children also regularly outperform other students on standardized tests.

Children taught at home in Canada score, on average, at the 80th percentile in reading, at the 76th percentile in languages and at the 79th percentile in mathematics, the report shows. Private and public students perform, on average, in the 50th percentile on mandatory tests in the same subjects.

In the United States, students educated at home also achieve the highest grades on standardized tests and outperform other students on college entrance exams, including the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), according to the study.

Parents of home-schooled children in both countries are generally higher educated when compared to the national average.

They tend to be in two-parent families and have a higher-than-average number of children than the overall population.

Patrick Basham, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a conservative public policy group in Washington, and author of the report, said he was surprised to see such positive results linked to home schooling.

"People think these children are neurotic, unsocialized and can't function in normal society. But the opposite is true. I think the fact children educated at home do better than private school students would also surprise people. It is not something that is widely debated or studied," he said.

Home-schooled children are still a tiny minority in Canada, although an increasing number of parents are opting for this style of education. In 1979, 2,000 children were educated at home. By 1996, 17,500 students -- 0.4% of total enrollment -- were home schooled. The most recent figures show the number has risen to 80,000 children.

Parents educate their children at home for a variety of reasons, including the desire to impart a particular set of beliefs and values, an interest in higher academic performance and a lack of discipline in public schools, says the report.

"Although parents home school their children for myriad reasons, the principal stimulus is dissatisfaction with public education," said Claudia Hepburn, director of education policy at the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based conservative think-tank.

Home schooling is legal throughout Canada, but most provinces require parents comply with provincial education legislation, which means they must provide satisfactory instruction. Alberta is the only province that funds home-based education.

None of the provinces requires that parents have teaching qualifications. However, having one parent who is a certified teacher has no significant effect on the achievement of students educated at home, the research shows.

Gary Duthler, executive director of the Federation of Independent Schools in Canada, the association for non-public schools, said children educated at home likely do better and are more sociable because of the smaller student-teacher ratio and the fact students of all ages learn together.

"In institutional schools, there is social pressure for 10-year-old children to behave like other 10-year-olds and they tend to not play with any older children at school.

"In a home setting, that same pressure is not there, so it helps the children mature."

He said they probably also do well because they have access to education resources and teaching expertise over the Internet but their parents are controlling their education.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
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To: Sloth
The author was probably not home-schooled or she'd know the difference between average and median. :)

LOL! I thought that was funny, too, when I read it.

41 posted on 10/16/2001 7:34:14 AM PDT by cantfindagoodscreenname
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To: TontoKowalski
My eldest jedi started Tiger Cubs this year! Hubby is the den leader. As soon as I get the pics developed, I'll post one of them both in their orange shirts.
42 posted on 10/16/2001 7:36:00 AM PDT by 2Jedismom
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To: Carry_Okie
and the nine-year-old factoring quadratics in her head to entertain the people in line

Do you mean: x^2 + 5x + 6 = (x+2)*(x+3)? At nine years old?
43 posted on 10/16/2001 7:36:25 AM PDT by ConservativeNJdad
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To: Artist
Thanks for the bump.

Maybe homeschooled children are better "socialized" because they interact with people of all ages? Ya think? We need a study to figure this out? Sheesh.

A great critique of mass-schooling here.

44 posted on 10/16/2001 7:40:31 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: BibChr
I have often heard the educrats assert that the reason home-schooled children do so well is that they come from families with high standards, high incomes, and superior ability. It is a belief that reflects their racist class-warfare world view.

My comment indicated that a large fraction of home schooled children were doing so badly in government schools that the parents had to act. These kids were either behavior problems (having the intelligence to rebel against bureaucratic tyranny and endless psychobabble) or they had developmental or genetic disabilities that the bureaucratic system would not or could not address. Removing them raised government test scores and lowered home-school test scores (at least temporarily :).

In sum, if both home-schools and grubbamint-schools were given the same population of kids, the spread in test scores in favor of home schools would be even larger. Think of what would happen if home-schooled kids were offered the same financial resources.

BTW, my kids are upstairs spontaneously singing America the Beautiful as they get ready for school.

I guess they like the song.

45 posted on 10/16/2001 7:43:28 AM PDT by Carry_Okie
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To: Clive
From the article:
Private and public students perform, on average, in the 50th percentile on mandatory tests in the same subjects.

Well, duh!

By definition, the average will be the 50th percentile.

46 posted on 10/16/2001 7:51:34 AM PDT by Razz
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To: joathome
One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is how little our children are affected by peer dependence. No, they're not immune. One of mine is less immune than some others.

So is one of mine.

47 posted on 10/16/2001 7:52:20 AM PDT by biblewonk
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To: Carry_Okie
Okay, thanks very much, I think I get it. In other words, HS success isn't because it's Chauncey III and Madelyn-Marie Pomeroy having the maids and butlers tutor little Chauncy IV, right? Plus the other elements you mentioned. Gotcha!

BTW, my kids are upstairs spontaneously singing America the Beautiful as they get ready for school.

Times like that, don't you just want to get down on your knees and thank God, pinch yourself, cry, hug them 'till they squeak, or all four? Happens a lot with HSing, other things being equal. I just took my two oldest HSed boys (6 and 15) to the mountains, staying in friends' guest house. The adults we were around kept remarking about what great kids they were, specifically praising their attitude and behavior.

Honesty forced me to agree. (c8 Glory to God.


48 posted on 10/16/2001 7:54:52 AM PDT by BibChr
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To: Clive
"Private and public students perform, on average, in the 50th percentile on mandatory tests in the same subjects. "

Duh! I'm no statistician, but Translated, this says: "The median of the the entire set is exactly in the middle." This guy must have gone to public school.

49 posted on 10/16/2001 7:54:57 AM PDT by Harrison Bergeron
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To: Clive
50 posted on 10/16/2001 8:10:06 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: 2Jedismom
At the end of the conversation, Mr. Largent asked him if he wanted to be president when he grew up and my son said no, he wanted to be a gardener.

That is priceless! Thanks for the flag - great article to share with my definitely-warming-to-the-homeschooling-idea husband. :)

51 posted on 10/16/2001 8:11:28 AM PDT by agrace
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To: ConservativeNJdad
Yes. I used algebra to teach arithmetic. She was multiplying polynomials, finding crossing points, foci and directricies, and plotting parabolae, on paper at six. She was factoring quadratics in her head and completed her first year of high school algebra at eight. Her currently developing term paper is on how Dickens' childhood struggles colored his perceptions of British industrialization after having devoured Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Tale of Two Cities in a couple of months. Yesterday we were discussing the chemical content of fertilizers and the role of soil mechanics in processing nitrogen as I rototilled the garden.

The seven-year-old is not quite as far along, but is doing very well indeed. She is a more synthetic thinker than her sister (who is very analytical). I suspect she will come on strong later in her developmental curve. We'll see.

School is 8:30-5, five days a week with NO after-dinner homework. That's FAMILY TIME. (We do Bible readings and discuss current events, etc. at dinner. I drop anything I am doing to answer a question.) School lasts all year except for vacations and other stuff. I spend less time teaching these kids than I used to spend commuting them and helping them with stupid homework when they were already tired. I am hoping that the elder will soon be the COO of the family business. (I just finished writing a book.)

I wish to add that these are otherwise perfectly normal kids. In fact, I don't think that they have extraordinary ability or have done anything amazing at all. This is what we should be EXPECTING out of public schools AND MORE. There are certainly opportunities that schools could offer that I would like my kids to have or do and the lack does complicate what we do here. But the point stands, public schools have degenerated to the point that NONE are producing an acceptable product. If you have ever seen a sixth grade reader from the 19th century you would certainly understand and agree.

52 posted on 10/16/2001 8:12:06 AM PDT by Carry_Okie
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To: theoutsideman
Every responsible parent home schools their children.

My, what a cute display of unabashed pridefulness.

53 posted on 10/16/2001 8:12:20 AM PDT by newgeezer
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To: joathome
There was an article in Time a few weeks back that, to my mind, was a stealth slam. They tried and tried to find things that were wrong with it, but it seemed they were having a hard time. I recall statements like, "one might conclude that these children are missing out on a childhood", when they were trying to criticize how they were "socialized". When they did give complements they were left handed or watered down. No surprise for that magazine. It is good to see articles like this one.
54 posted on 10/16/2001 8:55:56 AM PDT by 70times7
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To: Clive
Before I reply let me just say that I've never had any children of my own so you may or may not take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I used to believe that home schooled children would have that lack of 'socialization' that people talk about, but I have come to realize that opinion was based on the typical liberal thought process (which doesn't exist). I was just parroting what I had heard.

Since joining FreeRepublic, I have paid close attention to the threads involving home schooling and I support it ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!!

You go homeschoolers!! Give the kids the ability for independent thought (bad word in public schools), some logic and reasoning ability so that when they run into their public school peers on a political discussion (or any other for that matter) they will have the upper hand because their argument will be based on those qualities rather than how they 'feel', or what someone else has told them.

The number of blind lemmings in our society is astounding.


55 posted on 10/16/2001 9:03:18 AM PDT by Looking4Truth
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To: Clive
Funny how kids were schooled at home for about 10 centuries now. This should read "Challenges NEW orthodoxy"
56 posted on 10/16/2001 9:05:14 AM PDT by lds23
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To: Looking4Truth
When people ask me, "What about socialization?" I respond, "What? You want them to be good socialists?"
57 posted on 10/16/2001 9:07:49 AM PDT by Carry_Okie
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To: Clive
My mother was skeptical of our decision to homeschool until she attended a large family reunion (my father's side). All the homeschooled teens came and sat with the adults, played with the toddlers, chatted and enjoyed themselves. The public schooled teens sat together and had to be begged to join in for the group photos. My mom came home and said, "Well, if that's the result of homeschooing. Go to it!"
58 posted on 10/16/2001 12:00:25 PM PDT by wjeanw
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To: Clive
bump from hs mom of 3 great kids who are learning How To Think :^)
59 posted on 10/16/2001 12:15:54 PM PDT by mamaduck
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To: Clive
From a Homeschool mom who has completed the job, both kids are married, own their own homes, our son is running the family business, our daughter went to trade school and is now working at her job very successfully. They both are about the most confident, pleasant people, make friends easily from any age group, and are as loved by their in-laws because of the way they as if they were their own. I know that you are probably thinking "what would you expect a mom to say", but if you knew them you would understand. I get compliments about them everywhere they go, church, community. And I always attribute it to "the grace of God" and homeschooling. The kids tell everyone they feel like they missed out on nothing, and we are still each others best friends, including their spouses, who say they wish they had been homeschooled becasue of them, and intend on homeschooling their children.

No one will regret homeschooling, you more then make up in closeness with your kids, for anything you have to do without because mom doesn't work. I highly recommend it.


60 posted on 10/16/2001 3:31:03 PM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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