Homeschooling has become increasingly popular in recent years and has allowed students to explore learning opportunities outside of the traditional school setting. Its advocates argue that it gives students more control over their personal learning, the ability to pursue interests that pique their curiosity, and the potential to become more advanced learners. But is this the case?
Are homeschoolers really more advanced? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the components of a successful homeschooling program, the theories behind its potential effectiveness, and the empirical research that has sought to answer this very question.
Components of a Successful Homeschooling Program
For homeschoolers to excel, comprehensive and organized curricula need to be developed that support the student’s various academic, social and emotional needs. A successful course of instruction should include well-defined learning objectives, clear expectations, and materials that are age- and level-appropriate.
Not only should the educational materials match the student’s intellectual abilities and interests, but there should also be a good balance between teacher-directed lessons and self-directed activities. Moreover, parents should take an active role in their children’s homeschooling experience. It is important for them to remain involved and supportive of their child’s curriculum and outcomes, while also considering the social interaction the student will miss out on should they solely be home-educated.
Involving other homeschooled peers in learning activities, or participating in organized sports teams, or other extracurriculars, can help ensure that the student is well-rounded, socially and emotionally.
Theories Behind the Potential Effectiveness of Homeschooling
The ability for homeschoolers to become more advanced learners can be attributed to the theories that support the efficacy of homeschooling. It is important to understand why homeschooling may be beneficial as it allows us to better evaluate the practical experiences. The social-interaction theory suggests that homeschoolers may benefit from the unique learning that takes place outside of the classroom due to their increased access to physical, social and cognitive experiences.
For example, through interacting with their parents and siblings at home, or with their communities beyond the school setting, they may develop skills that they might not have acquired through traditional means. Another theory that may explain why homeschoolers may be more advanced relates to the power of personalized learning.
Homeschooling provides opportunities to learn what the child is interested in, as opposed to being bound to the traditional school’s curriculum. This allows the student to develop deeper connections with the material and better retain what is learned.
With this type of personalization, the student can progress at their own pace, develop a deeper understanding of topics that are being focused on, and be free of distractions that are present in the traditional school environment. Finally, for homeschoolers to excel, there must be a good balance between teacher directed instruction, and student directed exploration. The purposeful integration of both of these aspects allows the student to develop self-management and problem-solving skills, which are vital in any field of study and can lead to better academic performance in the long run.
Empirical Research: What Do The Studies Say?
Research on the topic of homeschooling and student performance has produced mixed results. For example, one study found that homeschooled children scored significantly higher on standardized tests than those who were traditionally schooled.
However, other studies have not been able to replicate these findings. Studies have also found that the longer students are homeschooled, the better they tend to fare. This is likely due to the fact that they have had, on average, more time to couple their interests with the curriculum, work on their independent research projects, and engage in self-directed exploration.
Overall, more research is needed to better understand the effects of homeschooling on student performance. However, some preliminary studies provide hints as to the potential benefit of homeschooling, indicating that those enrolled in the program can, perhaps, become more advanced learners.
Homeschoolers have the potential to become more advanced learners due to components of a successful homeschooling program, the supportive theories behind its potential effectiveness, and the empirical research studies that have been conducted. Clearly, each of these are integral in providing the holistic educational experience that is typically missing from traditional schooling. While more research is needed in the area of homeschooling and student performance, there is evidence to suggest that, with proper instruction and support, homeschooled children may excel and be more advanced.