Another Study on Homeschoolers Doing Great :) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-09-2011, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/is-home-schooling-a-better-option-than-public-school/article2160188/

 

 


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#2 of 12 Old 09-10-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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Wow though, the unschoolers didn't fare very well!


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#3 of 12 Old 09-10-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post





Wow though, the unschoolers didn't fare very well!



No they didn't.

 

I tend to think USing is a long term commitment.  The goal is for them to come out of childhood/adolescence with their love of learning intact and the skills they need for their life.  Many USers catch up on academic type skills in adolescence as they develop interests in them or to fulfill their goals (such as getting into college).  I do not expect, for one minute, a young USer to test as well as more traditional homeschoolers.  The goals and timelines are different.

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#4 of 12 Old 09-10-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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Exactly... the article sort of implies that unschoolers are doing more poorly because they're not testing as well on academic, standardized tests.

 

But those tests don't test for happiness, joy, curiosity, security, desire to learn, confidence, skills in the kitchen, interpersonal skills, heck they don't even generally test on science & nature subjects, it's just language and math usually.

 

And that's kind of the whole point for unschoolers.  They believe that pushing formal language and math skills early is not advantageous in the long run, that it's more important to cultivate these other things.  The 7yo doing multiplication is at no real advantage for the scope of the life ahead of them... it's only an advantage for the current year's tests.  While of course there are always exceptions, the vast majority of unschoolers completely "catch up" once they're reached the maturity level or the life goals to focus and self-motivate to learn academic stuff, whatever their reasons are... and so in the end they have the same technical academic skills but also many more, since they spent their early years doing other stuff.

 

So it's not WORSE, it's just a different curve.  A little disappointing that the article doesn't go into that, it seems quite biased to the idea that formal, structured education is still "the best way", whether at home or at school. With the further bias being that children who test well at such-and-such an age perform better in their later years. 


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#5 of 12 Old 09-10-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





No they didn't.

 

I tend to think USing is a long term commitment.  The goal is for them to come out of childhood/adolescence with their love of learning intact and the skills they need for their life.  Many USers catch up on academic type skills in adolescence as they develop interests in them or to fulfill their goals (such as getting into college).  I do not expect, for one minute, a young USer to test as well as more traditional homeschoolers.  The goals and timelines are different.

 

Very well said.  I would love to unschool but I know it takes a long-term commitment and being a single working mom, I just can't do it.  So I traditionally homeschool right now.  I don't want to unschool and then next year "have" to put my kid in public school and have him behind.  If I could guarantee I could unschool all the way through high school I would, knowing my child may be "behind" now but would catch up later when his goals and interests become more defined, spurring his education through self-teaching.

 

I've always read that unschooled kids often learn to read very late as compared to traditionally schooled kids, but when they DO decide to learn to read, they pick it up quickly and jump ahead of the curve.  So you really can't effectively test unschoolers, IMO, until they are adolescents.
 

 

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#6 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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Interesting. Has anyone read the original study? The news report says absolutely nothing about how well they controlled variables like socio-economic background, learning disabilities, English-as-a-second language, public schooling parental involvement in their child's education (homework assistance, classroom volunteering, etc.) and the many other factors that impact on standardized test outcomes. If the public schooling group included students who struggle with these factors (likely) and the homeschooling group didn't (also possible) then really all the study says is that some homeschoolers can do well on standardized tests. That's not really news. It says nothing at all about what type of educational setting is more effective or preferable for individual families and students. 

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#7 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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A member of our homeschool group was a part of the study. She didn't seem particularly impressed with it. They asked her son to recite hickory dickory dock which he had never heard before. I'm assuming they were checking for knowledge of a random set of facts. The fact that the unschoolers didn't fare well isn't surprising then and shouldn't be of concern to unschooling families.
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#8 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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Has anyone heard of any studies comparing graduating seniors (or the equivalent) from PS, structured HS and US?  It seems like each system has potential advantages and disadvantages but I've been curious for years how it basically flushes out by the end of high school/beginning of college.


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#9 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Interesting. Has anyone read the original study? The news report says absolutely nothing about how well they controlled variables like socio-economic background, learning disabilities, English-as-a-second language, public schooling parental involvement in their child's education (homework assistance, classroom volunteering, etc.) and the many other factors that impact on standardized test outcomes. If the public schooling group included students who struggle with these factors (likely) and the homeschooling group didn't (also possible) then really all the study says is that some homeschoolers can do well on standardized tests. That's not really news. It says nothing at all about what type of educational setting is more effective or preferable for individual families and students. 

 

I pulled the paper; not the strongest study design in the world:  74 children total participated, 37 public school children and 37 homeschooled (12 unschooled and 25 structured).  The homeschool children had to be exclusively homeschooled from grade one onwards; the public school children could never have been homeschooled.  Homeschooled children who attended formal school some days of the week were excluded.  A matching procedure was used whereby for each homeschooled child a public school child was picked from the same geographical area -- they didn't detail their methodology for this exactly.  In a table, the populations appear relatively well matched with regard to economic status, but there were more mothers with professional, masters, or PhDs in the public school group.  The unschooled/structured homeschooling analysis was decided upon after interviews with the homeschooling mothers.  Measurements of academic acheivment was by Woodcock-Johnson administered in the home with parents in a seperate room but nearby.

 

I'm concerned about the small sample size, especially given the division of homeschoolers into structured and unstructured groups, as well as the matching methodology.

 

Best,

Anka
 

 


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#10 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnkaJones View Post



 

I pulled the paper; not the strongest study design in the world:  74 children total participated, 37 public school children and 37 homeschooled (12 unschooled and 25 structured).  The homeschool children had to be exclusively homeschooled from grade one onwards; the public school children could never have been homeschooled.  Homeschooled children who attended formal school some days of the week were excluded.  A matching procedure was used whereby for each homeschooled child a public school child was picked from the same geographical area -- they didn't detail their methodology for this exactly.  In a table, the populations appear relatively well matched with regard to economic status, but there were more mothers with professional, masters, or PhDs in the public school group.  The unschooled/structured homeschooling analysis was decided upon after interviews with the homeschooling mothers.  Measurements of academic acheivment was by Woodcock-Johnson administered in the home with parents in a seperate room but nearby.

 

I'm concerned about the small sample size, especially given the division of homeschoolers into structured and unstructured groups, as well as the matching methodology.

 

Best,

Anka
 

 


Sounds pretty good to me.....

 

Yes, the sample size is small.

 

_____________________________

 

As with almost all research (except for huge reproducible, double blind, yada-yada-yada studies) I think you are going to look at it and use it to confirm your own theories.  

 

Pro HS?  Well, it is yet another study showing Hs kids do well :)

 

Anti HS (or have serious reservation)?  The sample size is small, has other flaws.

 

Anti US?  They did poorly

 

Pro US?  They tested at an inappropriate time (adolescence would be better) and had a small sample size.

 

 

 

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#11 of 12 Old 09-11-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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Even with a huge sample size, I'm not sure how helpful any study of homeschooled kids could be if it lumps them all together.  There are parents who are homeschooling because they want to delay or de-emphasize academics and those who are homeschooling because they want their kids to get more rigorous or accelerated academics.  There are homeschooling parents with advanced science degrees and those who believe everything in the Bible is literally true.  There are kids being homeschooled because they're highly gifted and kids being homeschooled because they were struggling in school.  If you take all those kids and average their scores on some standardized tests, does that provide information that would actually be helpful to someone trying to decide whether homeschooling would be a good idea for their kid?  Probably not.  I suppose if the average scores of a large sample of homeschooled kids were significantly lower than scores of kids in public school, you could use that fact to argue that homeschooling should be illegal, or more highly regulated, since it would indicate that many parents must be doing it wrong.  But you wouldn't find me making that argument.

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#12 of 12 Old 09-12-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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That's an important point.  The only real way to get at the question would be a randomized control study -- but it would be nearly impossible to get families to enroll in a study where they might be assigned to homeschool vs. the local public school.  Given that, this sort of matched study is a pretty good way of trying to look at it.  I think they should have gone into the exact methodology they used for finding the matching public school students as that was how they got their statistical power as high as it was.

 

Anka

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Even with a huge sample size, I'm not sure how helpful any study of homeschooled kids could be if it lumps them all together.  There are parents who are homeschooling because they want to delay or de-emphasize academics and those who are homeschooling because they want their kids to get more rigorous or accelerated academics.  There are homeschooling parents with advanced science degrees and those who believe everything in the Bible is literally true.  There are kids being homeschooled because they're highly gifted and kids being homeschooled because they were struggling in school.  If you take all those kids and average their scores on some standardized tests, does that provide information that would actually be helpful to someone trying to decide whether homeschooling would be a good idea for their kid?  Probably not.  I suppose if the average scores of a large sample of homeschooled kids were significantly lower than scores of kids in public school, you could use that fact to argue that homeschooling should be illegal, or more highly regulated, since it would indicate that many parents must be doing it wrong.  But you wouldn't find me making that argument.



 


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