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Running Head: A LITERATURE REVIEW ON HOMESCHOOLING

A Literature Review on Homeschooling


Danielle Ortiz
University of Texas at El Paso

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to enter a discourse on education and answer three common
questions that relate to homeschooling. The paper will examine the issues of social development
with homeschooling, whether it is equivalent to public education, and whether children that are
homeschooled are deemed college ready. This paper addresses these debates by which scholars
argue, and use both sides of the discourse to provide answers to these issues. The primary
research conducted for this paper includes interviews with both homeschool and public school
teachers. The public school teachers were allowed to openly express their opinions and concerns
on homeschooling as well as comparing it to public school. Homeschool teachers were able to
discuss their methods for homeschooling and express their opinions on public school. Secondary
research was conducted using journals, youtube videos, books, and websites to help support
these questions. The paper concludes that public school is unaffected by homeschoolings
continued popularity and there is not definitive answer as to which education is better.

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

A Literature Review on Homeschooling


For the past 50 years homeschooling has not been accepted as formal education and now
it is an, acceptable alternative to conventional schooling (Stevens, 2003, p. 90). Home
education grew as a practice in the United States in the late 1970s and became another form of
schooling in a short period of time. Throughout the years it has become more familiar to people
around the United States. This normalization of homeschooling (Stevens, 2003, p. 90) has
prompted scholars to write: Homeschooling goes mainstream (Gaither, 2009, p. 11) and
Homeschooling comes of age (Lines, 2000, p. 74). This method of schooling, which is in fact
an old practice, has become yet again a main practice of education. As it continues to grow and
grab the attention of more and more parents who are interested in homeschooling their own
children, it has also gained the attention of child development specialists.
Despite this popular acceptance, homeschooling remains controversial. Now that it has
become more familiar, there have been many studies done and arguments that have been placed
on this topic of homeschool education. Within the discourse of education, scholars argue that
homeschooling may deprive the child to learn social skills and does not amount to the education
of public schools. They highly believe the child needs to be interacting with other children
besides their family. On the other side of this discourse, there are scholars who argue the exact
opposite of this view and challenge the debates of the previous scholars. Considering both views
of this controversy, there are three questions that will be answered in this literature review.
1. Does homeschooling have an impact in social development?
2. Is homeschool education equivalent to public education?
3. Are homeschool children college ready?

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

Does homeschooling have an impact in social development?


One of the biggest debates about homeschooling is whether or not homeschooling
deprives the child of social development. Many people have this view that homeschoolers wake
up at eight in the morning, start their school work, stay home all day, and finish at three in the
afternoon. With this type of mentality it is easy to assume that homeschooled students do not get
social interaction and in turn are socially deprived. However, the practice of homeschooling has
grown considerably around the United States and homeschoolers are more socialized than people
understand. Some of the programs offered are sports activities, fields trips, debate teams and
many others which help, to enhance the social aspect of homeschooling.
In addressing the socialization debate, Maccoby (2007) defines socialization as the
process by which a child acquires the skills, behavior patterns, values, and motivations needed
for competent functioning in the culture in which the child is growing up (p. 13).
Homeschooling allows the parent to determine the type of socializing their child will be exposed
to. In an article by Rob Reich (2005), he argues that homeschooling permits a way of parental
despotism so strongly that children may fail to develop the capacity to think for themselves
may grow up to be civically disabled (p. 111). Reich also states that this generation depends
on the people who are self-governing and self- determining persons (p.113). According to this
view, homeschool children are being deprived of socializing and they fail to think for
themselves. This side of the discourse challenges the ways of homeschooling with an intense
concern for homeschool children who do not get the socializing they need. Many scholars such
as the ones mentioned above, compare homeschooling with the the public school system. These
scholars have expressed their understanding for parents concern about their childrens education

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

due to poor academics in their public schools. Considering the strong concerns parents have,
scholars and teachers still believe that it is better to have their children in a public school where
they are able to socialize than to deprive them of socialization.
Homeschool parents disagree with what scholars argue about homeschooling and
socialization. Being that homeschool parents majority of the time are the teachers at home, they
know and understand how much socializing their child is getting which is where their argument
begins. As the comedian Tim Hawkins joked, Im tired of people saying that homeschool kids
arent properly socialized. And then you go to public school and what do you get in trouble for?
Socializing. Then they put you out in the hall by yourself, just like
homeschooling (LaPavoniMac, 2011). Parents of homeschool children highly disagree with
scholars that their children lack socializing. In their argument, their children not only learn to
interact with kids but they also learn to interact with adults.
In a nationwide study done by Kelley (1991), he discovered that homeschooled students
scored higher than public school students in self-concept scale. This proved that homeschool
students have higher and more positive self-concept than those students in public school. In two
different interviews with homeschool parents, they argue that their children do not lack social
skills and in fact, they believe that their child develops better social skills than most public
school kids. Dora Ortiz, a parent of three homeschool children, was asked in an interview on
October 14, if she thought homeschooling deprives the child of social development. Ortiz stated,
absolutely not, as a matter of fact my belief is that they are exposed to so many different age
groups whether they go to a senior citizens home to volunteer to serve, or whether they help in
childrens church where they work with younger kids. All three of my kids are actively involved

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

in the youth group at our church and in the homeschool sports. Ortiz went on to say that,
homeschooling has benefitted my children far more than being in a sixth grade class with only
sixth grade students to interact with. As Maccoby (2007) states in his book, homeschool
parents agree that socialization in public schools is usually negative and focused more on same
age interaction instead of with people of all ages (p. 13). This side of the discourse strongly
believes that homeschooling does not impact social development. Nevertheless, the argument
still remains at the heart of the controversy within the discourse.
Is homeschool education equivalent to public school education?
This question of homeschooling being equivalent to public school education has been a
long standing debate in the United States. Homeschooling falls under state law which means
each state has its own requirements and regulations for homeschooling. Scholars debate
whether or not homeschooled children are getting the education they need, as opposed to public
school education. Those who support homeschooling believe that it is the safest and most
comfortable environment for the child to learn without having to experience peer pressure. This
gives the child more room to focus on his/her studies and in turn giving the child the securest
environment for the child to learn. However, supporters of public school argue that the real
world is not the calm and peaceful setting that homeschooling provides. Public schools believe
they are more helpful in the success of the childs education because of the classroom setting
where children work and interact with one another. During an interview with Yvette Gutierrez, a
fourth grade public school teacher, that happened on October 19, she stated that if homeschool
children do not go to church or have that extra interaction with kids, then they are definitely
missing out on socialization and developing social skills which are very important for society to

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

be able to interact with people. Overall, public school teachers view social interaction as key
factor for a childs successful educational development.
Public school supporters strongly believe that the goal of a public education is to teach
children the skills and be able to use and apply them through meaningful, needed interactions
with their peers and also their teachers. In an article by Haverluck (2007) he states, Many
teachers also believe that successful home instruction by uncredentialed parents undermines [the
teachers] expertise and jeopardizes their jobs (par. 5). This concern for children being
educated by uneducated parents falls under state law. For example, in the state of California
homeschool parents are required to have valid teaching credentials according to their standards.
(Family Protection Ministries, 2012). Not all states have these requirements as they varies
throughout the United States. Both sides of the discourse strongly believe in what they support
which is why this debate remains heated between the two sides of the discourse.
Within the discourse, this question of equivalency between homeschool and public school
education is common and well discussed, so much so that now there have been many studies
created for this topic in particular. The majority of these studies have proven that homeschooled
children receive good quality education, and even test better than those in public school. Ian
Slatter (2009), states that the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commissioned
Dr. Brian Ray, a president of non-profit National Home Education Research Institute and
international scholar, to gather data for the academic years of 2007-2008 for a new study (par. 8).
This study used well known tests like the Stanford Achievement Test and the California
Achievement Test for both homeschool and public school students. The results showed a

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

significant increase to homeschool students. The tables below depicts between homeschool and
public school students and their test results in each subject.
Test Scores of Homeschool and Public students

National Average Percentile Scores


Subtest
Reading
Language
Math
Science
Social Studies
Corea
Compositeb

Homeschool
89
84
84
86
84
88
86

Public School
50
50
50
50
50
50
50

a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.


b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.
Source: Ian Slatter (2009), New nationwide study confirms homeschool academic achievement. Retrieved from
http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp.

Even with evidence such as this, the discourse still debates about this topic and questions
homeschooling. With homeschooling being under state law, each state holds different types of
academic accountability. The studies have shown homeschooling to be a far more and above
average form of education to grant the child a better education than public schools.
Are homeschool children college ready?
The question of whether or not homeschooled children are prepared for college is a well
discussed topic among the discourse. This question is based on the two previous questions on
education and socialization. The discourse debates whether or not homeschooled children will
be able handle the transition to college, considering the environment homeschooling offers.
Moving away into a dorm with a stranger, is a tough transition in itself, which leads people to
assume this transition is harder for a homeschooled student. Therapist Karen Hylen states,

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

transitioning from homeschool to college can be a daunting experience, especially with the lack
of socialization that is associated with homeschooling (as cited in Sheehy, 2012, par 3). Even
with what is being said about homeschoolers not being capable for the transition into college,
homeschool parents and students argue that they are more independent and better prepared for
college than even some of their public school peers.
The homeschooling community says that their students spend less time in a class which
gives them more time to engage themselves in the world with other adults and teens alike.
Homeschool families also believe that their child is better prepared for college due to the fact
that they were able to get the one on one attention that only homeschooling offers. In an
interview with Caroline Velasco on October 22, she stated, I definitely do think homeschool
kids are college ready. As my kids get older, they learn to depend less on me, the teacher, and
they become more independent. Velasco has now enrolled her son into college at age fourteen
and she said in the interview, my son was a bit nervous at first, mostly because he did not know
what to expect, but now he is very comfortable and doing well in all his classes. I believe that
homeschooling structure prepares kids for college. The homeschoolimg community expresses
that their students get a better education at home than what public schools offer, and in turn are
the results that homeschoolers average higher test scores than public school students.
In a study done by Cogan (2009), he compared homeschool and public students at one
doctoral university from 2004-2009. He found that students from homeschool graduated college
at a higher rate than their peers while also earning higher grade point averages along the way.
Homeschooled students graduated at the higher rate of 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

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from public school students. Research results have consistently shown favor to the homeschool
community. In the interview mentioned earlier Ortiz stated:
I have homeschooled all three of my children and now I have two in college, one who is an
Architect student at Texas Tech University in the Honors program, and the other at the University
of Texas at El Paso, who is also a straight A student. If you ask me, my kids were not only ready
for college but I am fully confident that they could run the country if they wanted to run for
presidency.
Ortiz has confidence in her children despite what the discourse is saying about homeschoolers
not being prepared for college.
Although the debates on socialization of homeschooled students, the difference between
public school and homeschool education, and college preparation of homeschooled students have
been answered by both sides of the discourse, there is still not a definitive answer as to which is
better. Homeschool parents believe their children are socialized well enough and receive the
education they need to enter into college and do well. But, the supporters of public school
education have expressed their concern for the homeschool students social development in order
to be able to interact with other peers. They say that homeschooling does not offer the same
level of interaction they would get in a classroom setting, which would better prepare them to
pursue college education. Despite homeschoolings continued popularity throughout the United
States, the public school system continues to be unaffected in major ways.

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

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References
Cogan, M., (2009). Exploring the academic outcomes of homeschooled students. U.S.
Education. Retrieved from http://i.bnet.com/blogs/homeschool.pdf
Family Protection Ministries, (2012). Home schooling in California. [Web log comment].
Retrieved from http://www.pheofca.org/legalfactsheet.html
Gaither, M. (2009, Winter). Home schooling goes mainstream. Education Next, 9(1), 1118.
http://educationnext.org/home-schooling-goes-mainstream/
Haverluck, H. F., (2007). Socialization: homeschooling vs. schools. In CBN News US (Politics).
Retrieved from http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2007/May/SocializationHomeschooling-vs-Schools/
Kelley, S. W. (1991). Socialization of home schooled children: A self- concept study. Home
School Researcher 7 (4), 112. http://www.nheri.org/home-school-researcher/volume-07issue-4/socialization-of-home-schooled-children-a-self-concept-study.html
LaPavoniMac (2011, Nov. 22) Tim hawkins- homeschoolers and crayons. [Video file].
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0DaZlBs4ec
Lines, P. M. (2000, Summer). Homeschooling comes of age. Public Interest, 140, 7485.
http://www.discovery.org/a/277
Maccoby, E. E. (2007). Historical overview of socialization theory and research. In J. E. Grusec
& P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization. (pp. 1341). New York, NY:
Guilford Publications Inc.
Reich, R. (2005). Why homeschooling should be regulated. In B. S. Cooper (Ed.),
Homeschooling in full view: A reader 109120. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

A Literature Review on Homeschooling!

http://web.stanford.edu/group/reichresearch/cgi-bin/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/
ReichSheehy, K., (2012). Home-schooled teens ripe for college. U.S. Education. Retrieved from
http:// www.usnews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2012/06/01/home-schooledteens-ripe-for-college
Slatter, I. (2009). New nationwide confirms homeschool academic achievement. Homeschool
legal defense association,. Retrieved from http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/
200908100.asp
Stevens, M. L. (2003). The normalization of homeschooling in the USA. Evaluation and
Research in Education, 73, 90100. https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ scmsAdmin/uploads/
000/328/ERiE%20article%202005.pdf

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