Homeschooling is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of education in the United States. It is estimated that, as of 2019, more than 3% of US school-age children were being homeschooled. With its increasing popularity, it is important to consider what psychologists say about homeschooling as a form of education.
In this article, we will examine the research and opinions of psychologists about homeschooling, including its impact on learning, socialization, and self-directed learning.
The Impact of Homeschooling on Learning
When it comes to the impact of homeschooling on learning, the research is mixed. Some studies suggest that homeschooled students outperform their traditional school peers in certain subject areas, while others indicate that there are no differences in learning outcomes.
One of the most cited studies on the impact of homeschooling on learning is a 2014 review of fourteen studies conducted between 1985 and 201 This review found that, in general, homeschooled students tended to outperform their peers in achievement tests. The review also found some evidence that homeschooled students tended to score higher on standardized tests, although the differences were small.
These findings have been corroborated by other studies that have compared the learning outcomes of homeschool and public school students. In a study published in 2017, researchers compared students from traditional public and charter schools to students from homeschool programs.
They found that the homeschooled students scored higher than the traditional public school students on both math and reading tests. They also found that the difference in reading scores between the two groups was statistically significant. While there is evidence that homeschooling may lead to improved learning outcomes in some areas, the research is still inconclusive.
Some studies have even found that homeschooling may lead to lower learning outcomes in certain subject areas, particularly in social studies and foreign language classes. Furthermore, some studies have suggested that homeschooled students may be less likely to pursue college or university education.
Socialization and Homeschooling
One of the most common parental concerns about homeschooling is that the student may not be properly socialized, or may lack the chance to learn social skills and build interpersonal relationships. However, research on this topic is still in its infancy, and findings are largely inconclusive. One study found that homeschooled students scored significantly lower than their peers on tests of self-esteem, peer relationships, and social competence.
Other studies have yielded conflicting results, with some showing no difference in social competence or levels of aggression between homeschooled and traditionally schooled children, and others showing improved social competence and less aggression in homeschooled children. The research on socialization and homeschooling is further complicated by the fact that homeschooling usually involves home-based cooperative programs, in which the students are still able to interact and form friendships with peers.
Thus, some studies have argued that homeschooled students maintain the same level of socialization as traditionally schooled peers, while still having the benefits of being in a home-based learning environment.
The Benefits of Self-Directed Learning
Self-directed learning is often cited as one of the primary benefits of homeschooling. Homeschooling allows students to take control of their own education, allowing them to customize their learning to their own interests and focus on the topics that interest them the most. Furthermore, research has found that homeschooled students often have higher levels of self-esteem, self-direction, and motivation.
Some studies have even suggested that self-directed learning can have a positive impact on long-term success. A 2011 study found that homeschooled students were twice as likely to be accepted into colleges or universities than their traditionally schooled peers.
This could be due to the fact that homeschooled students are able to develop their own unique skillset without being hindered by the constraints of traditional schools.
Overall, the research on homeschooling is still inconclusive and more research is needed to understand the full impacts of this form of education. That being said, psychologists generally agree that, while there are still some unanswered questions, homeschooling can be a beneficial form of education in terms of learning, socialization, and self-directed learning.
For parents considering homeschooling, it is important to consider the research and opinions of psychologists as they decide what type of education is best for their child.