Homeschooling system of education has been on the rise in the recent years with more than 2 million students being homeschooled across the world. Homeschooling is a legal form of education, so parents have the right to choose the form of education system their children are to take, homeschooling or the formal education system (Berger, 1997). However, parents need to have the facts that surround each option they have and the knowledge of the expected implications for each system they choose.
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A literature review of the systems of education does not offer a clear identity of the choice that is more beneficial to the students. An argument for the formal education, argues that the parents benefit most by having their children in public schools, while the argument against the homeschooling system argue that homeschooled children are deprived of the opportunity to socialize so lack social skills. However, recent research shows that children under the homeschooling system are more independent and are better socialized than those in the formal or public schools. In this paper, I intend to research on the effectiveness of homeschooling as a form of the education system.
Available literature validates both education systems, but research shows that the number of parents opting for the homeschooling education system for their children is on the rise. “The number of home-educated students in America are estimated between 1.7 million and 2.3 million, and over the last two decades, home education has grown consistently at a rate of 7 percent to 15 percent a year.” The reasons for each parent to adopt this form of education varies and the children who benefit from the system exhibit varied outcomes as well. This study will seek to identify any existing differences in the educational implications of the children who go through the formal public school system and those who undergo the homeschooling education system.
The research will review outcomes and implications in terms of the standardized testing results, educational attainment, social skills, and the future the homeschooling education system. Students will be selected from both education systems to evaluate the existing variations they may exhibit. The conclusions from the research will lead to the question that will be answered: is homeschooling an effective method of education?
The literature review shows different perspectives and opinions of the homeschooling education and the formal public school system. Nonetheless, most parents and students claim that they make the decision to adopt homeschooling based on their personal needs and individual circumstances. The literature indicates varying requirements in different states for those parents who want to homeschool their children and also offer different techniques of homeschooling. The literature also offers the reasons for the recent increase in the number of parents who opt for the homeschooling system instead of the traditional form of education or the public school education system.
Compulsory Education: The law requires every parent to offer their children a form of education through any state accredited institution, including parochial, state accredited private, or public school. The start period and the end period for the education is dictated by the state laws and so obviously the periods are different, but in most of the laws, a child is required to begin attending school at an age between four years and seven years while the ending age is between sixteen years and eighteen years (Romanowski, 2001). .
Full-time Student Equivalency (FTE): This refers to the amounts of hours a day a student is required by the state curriculum to attend in class (Romanowski, 2001).
Home Schooled: this describes the form of education where children are taught by their parents, a hired tutor or any other shared service at home. In the home schooled system, the parents are responsible for the resources required in the child’s education (Jaycox, 2001). .
Socialization: this is described as the process through which individuals acquire the behavior rules and the attitudes and beliefs of a system that equips the individual with the skill to effectively function as a member of the society that surrounds him.
The idea of offering education in the comfort of one’s home evolved over the years to offer female students and children with disabilities an education since most of the educational institutions only allowed male students. Education is compulsory for every child, the public school system is under heavy review, especially in the delivery of the content which is viewed not to be in the best interests of the children. The current homeschooling system of education revolution begun in the middle of the 20th century as a liberal alternative to the public school system of education (Cogan, 2010). . The diversity of the experiences and backgrounds of the children and parents is what dictates what form of education parents choose for their children and how they meet the obligation of educating them.
Homeschooling was not always an accepted form of education, and it is still not popular in most parts of the world. The society has just recently started to embrace the homeschooling after education professionals gradually started to admit that public schools do not offer adequate education for all children. This is in line with what most parents who opt for the homeschooling system, that the formal public school system does not offer their children the appropriate level of education as they would at home. The popularity of the homeschooling system was contributed by a large number of families that support their constitutional right to educate their children personally.
Research by Ray, (2015) shows that the American society has over years become more receptive of the homeschooling system. The research study did not specify the group studied, but it reaffirmed that the homeschooling system is being taken up as the better alternative for the public schools. Back in the 1980s, less than 20 percent of the people thought that homeschooling was an appropriate alternative for the public schools while a decade later more parents were starting to embrace homeschooling as an acceptable form of education. One of the supporting arguments for homeschooling children claims that the homeschooled children show better higher student achievement levels than those in the public schools. An academic achievement survey for the both students in the public school system and those who are homeschooled was done. Standardized state tests and ACT scores show that homeschooled children perform better academically than the public school students. (Chang et al., 2011)
A research study by Cai, Reeve and Robinson shows that the incorporation of religion in the public school system shuns most parents who want to stay in control of the religious beliefs of their children. In their study, they reviewed parents with high education levels, two parent homes, advantaged homes, and socioeconomically disadvantaged homes that homeschooled their children. They revealed that they incorporated their religious studies of choice in the curriculum that they used to educate their children. Therefore, religion was found to be one of the major factors that swayed parents to homeschool their children.
The literature offers varied perspectives of the homeschooling system of education which are based on the parent choice dictated by the individual needs and circumstances. The literature also offers an explanation for the increased popularity in the number of children being homeschooled across the world (long, 2012)
A research study by Bohon (2010) evaluated the different types of educational resources available for the homeschooled children, including personal tutors, canned courses, and online classes to identify the methods commonly used in the home schools. The study reveals several curriculums including The Freedom Project Education whose delivery is online. This curriculum empowers students to preserve, enjoy, and understand the moral responsibility and freedoms engraved in the founding principles of America, through basic education. Home schooled children were found to take art and physical classes in public schools and the rest of the class at home.
Socialization is one of the major concerns for homeschooled children. Research by Rothermel (2004), evaluated the factors surrounding socialization factor of the homeschooled children, which was found to be different from student to student due to the different methods of homeschooling used. The study revealed that lower socioeconomic group students performed better in social settings than students in the middle class. These results were supported by the study by Chang et al. (2011), which showed that homeschooled students portrayed higher levels of social maturity than those in public schools.
Several research surveys have been conducted to evaluate the academic effectiveness of homeschooling as a system of education, but still, little data on the academic level of students with disabilities are still available (Ray, 2015). Studies have measured the student’s aptitudes in different environments, and the results revealed that students with disabilities who were homeschooled had an advantage over other students in public school. This showed that the environment offered to the homeschooled children was better than in public schools. The study also revealed that home schools were more effective than public schools since the homeschool setting concentrated more on the quality of education offered to the student while the public school education was based on the effectiveness of the educator.
The participants in the research study will include parents and students from the homeschool setting and the public school setting. 100 participants will be selected randomly from public schools and from the internet. Questionnaires for the homeschooling participants will be sent through email, and the responses will be received through email too. The public school participants will be recruited through questionnaires left at the school library and parent support group. The surveys will be done concurrently in the spring semester and the fall semester. The survey will evaluate three variables; quality of education, the significance of the education, and social and academic achievements attained. IBM SPSS statistical analysis software will be used to generate the regression analysis of the data. The regression analysis will compare the data from the two groups to show the correlation of the variables.
Homeschooling is an effective system of education for students as well as the parents. The children have the chance to study in an environment conducive to them, and the parents get to spend more time with their children without worrying of any negative influence from the other students they interact within public schools. In academic achievement, homeschooling is more effective as the test scores from home schooled students were higher than those of students in public schools.
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