Academic and socialization aspects of homeschooling in American
aren't the only plus for children and the nation.
Even though many conservatives argue that the current
administration has done little to cut the budget or taxes, the National Home
Education Research Institute (NHERI) contends that
homeschoolers have saved taxpayers billions.
"Families engaged in home-based education are not dependent on
public, tax-funded resources for their children's education," NHERI
founder Dr. Brian D. Ray states. "The finances associated with
their homeschooling likely represent over $16 billion that American
taxpayers do not have to spend since these children are not in
The institute maintains that the age-old practice of
homeschooling ― which just over a decade ago was considered
cutting-edge as an alternative form of education ― is now bordering
on being mainstream. Ray claims that home education is likely the
fastest-growing form of education in the United States, reporting
that up to 2.35 million students are now being taught from home, a
number that has been increasing by as much as 8 percent a year.
In fact, homeschooling is growing in many other countries around
the world, as well, including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Japan,
Kenya and the United Kingdom.
More money, more learning?
During the months preceding election day last year, millions of
Americans repeatedly heard pleas on the television and radio to
vote for more educational funding "for the children." With the
greatest proportion of collected tax revenues filtering into public
education for state and local governments, do schools need more
money to produce the greatest learning?
Factoring in inflation, studies by NHERI and Dr. Lawrence Rudner
(College of Library and Information Services, University of
Maryland) show that it costs between $760 and $780 annually to
educate home learners.
The per-pupil costs for publicly schooled students?
The average per-student expenditure for publicly educated
children in the United States is $10,615 ― nearly 14 times greater
than that of homeschoolers.
Does this reflect on their learning?
NHERI reports that homeschoolers score between 15 to 30
percentile points higher on average across the curriculum on
standardized testing than their publicly schooled counterparts.
And a comparison of per-pupil expenditures with graduation rates
in states further attests that more money is not the ingredient for
When comparing all the states (plus the District of Columbia and
Puerto Rico), D.C. ranked number one when it comes to per-pupil
expenditure at $19,698 ― nearly twice the national average and
almost 26 times greater than the average annual amount spent on
home learners. Paradoxically, D.C. ranks dead last (52nd) in high
school graduation rates at 52.4 percent ― more than 20 percent
above the national average of 73.4 percent.
Further contradicting the argument that schools need more
taxpayer funds to increase learning is the state of Utah. With the
lowest per-pupil expenditure in the nation at $6,612 (still nearly
nine times that of homeschoolers), the Beehive State is ranked in
the top 10 when it comes to high school graduation rates at 78.4
Even though homeschooling has been stereotyped over the years as
being practiced by predominantly white, upper-income and
higher-educated families, this form of education continues to
become represented by more and more diverse segments of America's
"Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities
… [a]bout 15 percent of homeschool families are
non-white/non-Hispanic (i.e., not white/Anglo)," NHERI asserts. "A
demographically wide variety of people homeschool - these are
atheists, Christians, and Mormons; conservatives, libertarians, and
liberals; low-, middle-, and high-income families; black, Hispanic,
and white; parents with Ph.D.s, GEDs, and no high-school
Regardless of the level of education possessed by home educators
and regardless of whether parents have a credential or not, home
learners consistently score higher academically than those enrolled
in traditional education.
"Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests
regardless of their parents' level of formal education or their
family's household income," Ray points out. "Whether homeschool
parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their
children's academic achievement."
One-on-one instruction and the ability to adapt instruction to
children's needs play a bigger role in home learners' exceptional
performance than the actual curriculum being taught, which benefits
them past their K-12 years.
"Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not
related to academic achievement," divulges Ray, who also publishes
the peer-reviewed, refereed academic journal
The Home School Researcher. "Home-educated students typically
score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider
for admissions [and they] are increasingly being actively recruited
As many critics of homeschooling have claimed that children
don't get properly socialized when instructed by their parents,
NHERI emphasizes that they are very active outside their homes.
"Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and
educational activities outside their homes and with people other
than their nuclear-family members," the Salem, Ore.-based
organization maintains. "They are commonly involved in activities
such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church
ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work"
In fact, homeschoolers are reported to be above their publicly
schooled peers when it comes to social engagement and charisma.
"The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on
measures of social, emotional, and psychological development," the
NHERI founder contends. "Research measures include peer
interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion,
participation in community service, and self-esteem."
As school reform measures pick up steam, millions of Americans
in all 50 states took part this week in a host of National School
Choice Week events.