There are pages upon pages of stories about homeschooled nerds beating public schoolers at spelling or geography bees. Published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, a new, if very small, study adds another win for the homeschoolers — depending on how much you care about standardized tests.
Of course, not caring about standardized tests is the reason some people homeschool in the first place. But the bad news for those ultra-critical of curriculums? So-called "unschooling" is not as good as public school.
So says Time:
The researchers studied 74 children aged 5 to 10 living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick: 37 kids were schooled at home, and the other 37 attended local public schools. Each child was asked to complete standardized tests of reading, writing and math.
Researchers found that the public-school kids tested at or above their grade levels, but home-schooled children tested even higher than that — about a half-grade higher in math and 2.2 grades in reading, compared with the traditionally educated children.
Alas says The Atlantic:
Children in the unstructured home-schooling group, however, performed the worst across all seven academic measures.
A recent Associated Press (AP) story looked at unschooling:
Reliable data is hard to come by, but estimates of children and teens home-schooled in the U.S. range from 1.5 million to 2 million. Of those, as many as one-third could be considered unschoolers…meaning their parents are "facilitators," available with materials and other resources, rather than topdown "teachers."
There's no fixed curriculum, course schedule or attempt to mimic traditional classrooms. Unless, of course, their children ask for those things.
The authors of the Canadian study said they allowed for differences in socio-economic background and parental education levels and the results remained the same. Not surprisingly, they suggested the academic excellence of the homeschoolers was due to individualized attention and teaching methods.
Reason on homeschooling