Homeschooling: The Research


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Homeschooling: The Research

Did you know that 11% of homeschooled children don’t have a parent that speaks English? Or that the number of families citing religious reasons for homeschooling is declining? Or that homeschooled students have a math gap? Are you wondering just who homeschools—and why? Keep abreast of the latest research with these research summaries!

Original Research

In A Meaningful Measure of Homeschool Academic Achievement,” published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Other Education in July 2020, Dr. Chelsea McCracken and Dr. Rachel Coleman compared homeschooling outcomes with those of children in public school. McCracken and Coleman looked at around 195,000 test scores for students homeschooled in Alaska from 2003 to 2014. These students were enrolled in programs that allowed their parents to receive public reimbursements for educational expenses while homeschooling independently, as explained in a “Who ‘Counts’ as Homeschooled?” in the same journal.

The study’s primary findings were as follows:

  • Homeschooled students who were white or middle- or upper-class had lower scores across the board than similar students in traditional public schools.
  • Homeschooled students in all categories scored worse in math than their peers in public schools, while the results for reading were more mixed.
  • Where homeschooled students performed well, low income students, students of color, and students with disabilities were primarily responsible for the higher scores.

You can read more about these findings here.

Summaries of the Research

Surveys on Homeschooling

Research Analysis

by Dr. Rachel Coleman

Research Reviews

by Dr. Chelsea McCracken

State Histories

HIC Case Database

Research Notes

Virginia’s Religious Exemption (Ray, 1994)

Click here to view this document as a pdf. Virginia is the only US state that allows parents to bypass compulsory education laws by claiming a religious exemption from school attendance, according to the University of Virginia School of Law’s...

State Histories of Homeschooling

State Histories of Homeschooling
Milton Gaither, educational historian and author of Homeschool: An American History, once described difficult task of writing the legal history of homeschooling as follows: One of the greatest achievements of the homeschooling movement was the legalization of homeschooling in the 1980s...

The Cardus Education Survey

The Cardus Education Survey, which was designed to study adult graduates of Christian schools in North America, was conducted between 2007 and 2012 by the Canadian Christian think tank Cardus. Reports on the study were published in 2011 (focusing on...

Research with an Agenda (Ray 2010)

Click here to view this document as a pdf. One of the publications most widely cited to support the claim that homeschoolers have higher levels of academic achievement than other children is Dr. Brian D. Ray’s Progress Report pamphlet, produced...

Correcting the Record (Rudner 1999)

Click here to view this document as a pdf. One of the sources most commonly cited to support claims that homeschoolers outperform public schoolers academically is Home Schooling Works!, a 1999 web summary of the findings of a study conducted...

Research Summaries

What Is Homeschooling? Homeschooling allows parents to teach their children at home instead of sending them to school. Parents make use of a wide range of resources; children's experiences vary. Read More Homeschooling by the Numbers After a long period...

A Highly Selective Sample (Ray 2003)

Click here to view this document as a pdf. In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commissioned Dr. Brian Ray to conduct a study on the social, educational, and economic successes of homeschool graduates. The two publications resulting...

Studies of Abuse & Neglect

Studies of Abuse & Neglect
Research on the intersection of child abuse or neglect and homeschooling has long been somewhat limited. Given that most agencies do not collect or report this data, this oversight is hardly surprising, if unfortunate. In recent years, a growing number...

The HARO Survey of Homeschool Alumni

In 2014, HARO, the parent organization of Homeschoolers Anonymous, conducted a survey of adult alumni of the modern Christian homeschool movement in consultation with the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE). The purpose of this survey was to investigate the life...