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The Facts Are In: Homeschoolers Excel

By Chris Klicka
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #57, 2004.

How do homeschool graduates turn out? The facts are in!
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Chris Klicka

Homeschooling works! This statement concisely sums up the facts. The average homeschooled child receives many benefits, from one-on-one tutoring to more efficient study time to closer family bonds. Homeschoolers are well-socialized and thoroughly prepared for the "real world," easily gaining employment and entrance to colleges. Also homeschoolers excel academically, scoring above the national average on college entrance exams and earning merit scholarships.

Homeschool graduates are even having a major impact on elections - making them a major force to reckon with in high-stakes politics.

For those who think I am exaggerating, take a look at the recent statistics that support the high achievements of homeschool graduates.

"Homeschooling Grows Up!"

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) funded a recent study titled "Homeschooling Grows Up." Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) and commissioned by HSLDA, the study answers homeschool skeptics who claim that homeschooling leads to poor socialization along with many other concerns about whether homeschoolers can make it in the "real world."

The study surveyed over 7,300 homeschool graduates. At least 5,000 of these graduates had been homeschooled over seven years.

Regarding the age -old question, "But what about socialization?" the homeschoolers scored high. In particular, the study found that homeschoolers are significantly more involved in their communities than the average public school graduate. For instance, over 71 percent of homeschoolers participate in a voluntary, church or neighborhood association compared with 37 percent of U.S. adults. In addition, 88 percent of the homeschoolers were members of an organization such as a church or professional organization compared to 50 percent of U.S. adults.

Involvement in politics is really impressive. Over 76 percent of 18- to 24-year-old homeschool graduates voted in a national/state election the past 5 years compared with just 29 percent of 18- to 24-year-old public school graduates. When they reach the age of 25-39, 95 percent of homeschool graduates vote. They are also more than twice as involved in campaigns, candidate contributions, and boycotts. This demonstrates the real and potential power of the homeschool movement to influence elections.

I think homeschoolers vote because they think generationally. They want the next generation to enjoy the freedom we have now. In order to secure liberty for our posterity, we need to be eternally vigilant and participate in the election process.

In the area of higher education and employment, homeschoolers are making the grade. The survey showed 74 percent of homeschool graduates have taken college-level courses, compared to 46 percent of the general population. All the homeschoolers were either involved in higher education or employed in a wide variety of occupations. Forty-nine percent of homeschool graduates participating in the survey are full-time college students, 8.9 percent are professionals (doctors, college professors, ministers, accountants, nurses, artists), 1.6 percent are teachers , 2.5 percent are small business owners, 6.0 percent office workers,1.5 are tradesman (carpenters, mechanics, etc), 1.7 percent are in sales, 4.4 percent are in technical fields such as computer programmers, and others are farmers, managers, laborers, law enforcement, and service workers.

Homeschool graduates are not at all social misfits as the critics charge. They are doing just fine, thank you!

And 95 percent of these over 7000 homeschool graduates agree that they are glad they were homeschooled. Eighty-two percent even plan to homeschool their children!

See the Washington Times article about the study at http://www.washtimes.com/culture/20031022-092314-2522r.htm. To view the full study, go to http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003.

Homeschoolers Earn National Merit Scholarships

Homeschoolers are also making their presence known in the National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the PSAT/NMSQT test in the fall and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements. Approximately 1.3 million initial entrants are screened each year.

Each year, about 16,000 nationwide qualify as semifinalists and about ninety percent of these students go on to become finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced that 250 of 2004's semifinalists are homeschool students.

The National Merit Scholarship has also seen a dramatic increase of homeschoolers who place as finalists. Of the 248 homeschoolers among the 2003 semifinalists, 129 of these students advanced to finalist standing, receiving the National Merit Scholarship. As noted by Kate Grossman, a reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times, the number of homeschoolers receiving National Merit Scholarships has increased more than 500 percent: from 21 in 1995 to 129 in 2003.

Homeschoolers Score Higher Than Average on ACT and SAT College Entrance Exams

Homeschoolers continue to exhibit academic excellence when compared to public school students and to national averages for college admissions tests.

The ACT college admission exam scores show homeschoolers consistently performing above the national level. In both 2002 and 2003, the national homeschool average was 22.5, while the national average was 20.8.

The College Board, which administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) also notes the above-average performance of homeschoolers. In 2002, homeschoolers averaged 1092, 72 points higher than the national average of 1020. In 2001, homeschoolers scored 1100 on the SAT, compared to the national average of 1019. (2003 homeschool statistics are not yet available.)

Patrick Henry College Freshman Show High Ranking

Patrick Henry College of Virginia serves as an example of the quality of homeschool students. Ninety-six percent of PHC students have been homeschooled at some point in their education. The 2002 middle range of PHC freshman SAT scores was 1200-1410 (includes 25th to 75th percentile). Compared with U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings report (in which PHC was not included), PHC ranks second among Christian colleges in SAT scores in 2002.

This evidence of the academic excellence of homeschoolers is nothing new, but only reinforces the trend that homeschoolers, on average, score higher than their public school counterparts. As parents continue to make the necessary sacrifices to educate their children at home, this trend will never become just a passing fad.

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