Saturday, September 3, 2011

The History of Homeschooling

I saw this at Ramblings of a Dysfunctional Homeschooler, and had to share it. It's a very interesting look at homeschooling statistics prepared by


My comments, for what they're worth...

Does it seem a little silly to say that Alexander the Great is the first "known homeschooler?" What, did they eschew the local p.s. and send in an intent form? I don't know why, it just struck me as funny.

I've seen conflicting reports on test scores, including one study that found no measurable difference between the scores of homeschooled students and public school students.

This graphic includes "online education" under methodologies. In our state, students who use online schools are not technically counted as "homeschoolers" if the online school is public. So the numbers would be even higher if those students were included. (No matter how "schoolish" an online curriculum may be, those students are still getting a very different educational experience from students at brick-and-mortar schools!)

I really like the graphic showing why parents choose to homeschool. It's a good representation of what a complex decision it can be, and what a diverse group homeschooling families are.

Looking at the comparison section, I had to laugh. Not all schools can provide more resources than homeschoolers: there are plenty of schools out there who don't even have enough textbooks for their kids!

I'm completely confident that my kids have more resources than their public-schooled friends. Everything we have is used by two kids instead of a whole class. Our local school might have a more expensive microscope than ours, but ours works fine and it's available all the time. The same goes for our chemistry set, our computer, our binoculars, our math manipulatives, our art supplies, our book collection, and even the teacher! :) Plus, we can go to the library whenever we want, not just the first Monday of the month.

I can't say if our curriculum is richer than a public school's curriculum, because I don't know what the school kids are doing these days. But I can tell you that when my kids were in public school, they often seemed to touch briefly on a multitude of topics instead of studying anything in depth. My kids were vaguely familiar with historical events and scientific concepts, without having a real understanding of any of them. To me, a rich curriculum is measured in depth, not breadth.

Anyway, if you haven't seen this before, it's definitely worth a look!


MamaTea said...

Interesting stats, and nicely put together. I too like the one that talks about why a parent would choose to homeschool, because it is a complex decision that stems from and feeds into a lot of things. Thanks for posting this!

Jennifer said...

I saw this before and liked it too. I agree completely with your comments on it - "fewer resources" and "poorer curriculum" in the comparison section at the end really rubbed me the wrong way. I am also confident that our resources and curriculum are/will be superior, since they are tailored to my kids' interests and learning styles. Hmmm... a custom curriculum vs. one-size-fits-all curriculum... which sounds preferable?

Sara said...

Interesting, and put together in a fun way. Thanks for posting it!

Debra said...

This is interesting and easy to follow, but I agree that it's been "interpreted". For instance, if 98% are involved in more activities and yet only 87% play with kids outside their family, then what are the other activities that the 11% difference are doing? And are they doing it by themselves? Likely not. It makes it LOOK like 17% of homeschoolers don't interact with other people and that's simply not possible. C'mon, someone has to deliver the mail to their house. :)

Sparklee said...

True--once you really look at the stats, you have to wonder about the accuracy.

I think it's because it's so hard to get information on homeschoolers. We're "off the grid" so to speak, so the only way to get numbers is to interview the sample that you can find.

The other thing that surprised me about the activities was how few reported participating in group sports. I wonder how that compares to school kids.

Jennifer, I totally agree. "Richer curriculum" is a very subjective term. No, I'm not an expert on automotive history, but if my kid is crazy about it, I find everything I can to let him explore it!

Besides, we do all kinds of things now that we never had time for when my kids were in school: more museums, more reading, more time outdoors, etc. I consider all of those things part of our curriculum!

Thanks for visiting, everbody! I love it when a post leads to a great discussion!

Liese4 said...

And here is the virtual schooler. I just don't consider us public schoolers. Yes, my curriculum comes from a state funded source that gets money for having my child enrolled in their 'school', but I school at home, without teachers telling me what to do. I'm in that weird place of saying we homeschool as we use public school funds. Because even though we are a part of COVA, I still feel and teach the same way we did when we were unschoolers, is that wrong? Is it wrong to be in a HS group and not technically be a HS'er? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

I wish it were clear cut as to what we are, but in the meantime we go merrily down our path of schooling.

Sparklee said...

Liese, your family is about as far from a public school as you can get!

You manage your own time, you supplement the curriculum with all kinds of projects and field trips, and you're out there participating in the community every day!

Virtual schoolers are pretty much homeschoolers, no matter where the funding comes from (in my humble opinion!)